A multi-pitch ice climbing crag located at the head of Twenty Five Mile Creek – a tributary of the Rees River.
This was an area first spotted during a scenic flight in the winter of 2016, but wasn’t properly explored until June of 2018 when three routes were climbed. The cirque at the head of the Twenty Five Mile Creek catchment sits directly below Twenty Five Mile Saddle and contains at least ten separate ice lines. Including the main flow of Twenty Five Mile Falls - a 100m WI4 route. This is marked as the 98m waterfall on the topographic map.
The cirque is approximately 100m high, 500m long and sits at an elevation of 1300-1400m. It faces south-east and during winter catches very little direct sun. However, the large flat area directly above (and below Twenty Five Mile Saddle) is fully exposed for most of the day and provides the feeders for the ice flows below.
While it is not an easy place to access, the long walk from the Rees Valley can be worth it for the great climbing on offer.
The climbs can be accessed either by walking up Twenty Five Mile Creek, or alternatively by climbing up and over Twenty Five Mile Saddle from the Rees Valley.
Via Twenty Five Mile Creek - gain the downstream side of the Twenty Five Mile Creek drainage via the terrace where the old Twenty Five Mile Creek hut was sited. This is hut is noted as being ‘derelict’ on the current topographic map, but in fact is nothing more than a pile of old stones and some rusted corrugated iron. It does not provide shelter. From here climb directly up to the 600m contour, skirting above some scrub, before heading north and dropping down into a small hidden valley. This is followed until just below the confluence with Big Devil Creek. Here climb up and parallel to the southern edge of the creek - following game trails where possible - until a bridge is reached. This is a key crossing point of the Big Devil Creek ravine and is a critical point to hit in order to gain access into the upper valley. After the bridge climb up, through dense scrub, on an old stock track to around 800m where a series of large natural benches are reached. These lead north and rise gradually to the site of the private hut located on a small terrace at just over 900m. This is a locked private hut and casual access is not permitted. From above the hut skirt the edge of the bush line until you can traverse on old tracks to reach an old fence line. This can either be descended to a small grassy flat next to Twenty Five Mile Creek, or alternatively continue on a high traverse (for 2-3km) before dropping down when the creek opens out in the upper valley. There are no tracks in this section of the approach so expect slow, but relatively straightforward, travel until the open river flats are reached. Once on the river flats these are followed until the confluence with Rough Creek. Cross this and the main creek, then continue up the true left bank (of Twenty Five Mile Creek) climbing up over a small bluff until the upper cirque is visible.
Via Twenty Five Mile Saddle - If continuing up the Rees valley to climb to Twenty Five Mile Saddle, follow the main DOC track until below Shelter Rock hut. There is no defined track or route up to the saddle so look for the best line up from the valley floor. Most importantly look for the easiest way through the dense scrub that sits just above the bush line. Once above this open tussock and snow slopes lead to the saddle. From the saddle drop down to the large flat area directly below (this sits directly above the main cirque) and hence down to the base of the climbs using one of the descent routes described below.
Currently there are three routes in the Twenty Five Mile cirque. However, there is the potential for many more to be climbed in the future.
The routes climbed to date are (from L to R when viewed from below):
Twenty File Mile Falls. WI4R, 100m. The main flow in the centre left of the cirque.
The Window Pane, WI3R, 40m. A thin and translucent smear of ice dribbling down rock slabs.
The Enticer, WI2/3, 80m. An easier climb through the right-hand side of the cirque.
All routes were climbed solo on the 23rd of June 2018 by Ben Dare.
All of the routes can be descended on rappel using v-thread anchors. However, the likely easier (and recommended) option is to walk off the top of the crag via the true right, or climbers left. There is a moderately angled snow slope to the lookers left of the main Twenty Five Mile Falls flow and this can be easily descended.
There is also another potential ‘walk off’ descent option down through the middle of the cirque via snow slopes above the Window Pane route. Note that this may require some down climbing, or a short rappel, to reach the snow at the base of the Enticer.
2 x 60m dry treated ropes, standard rack of ice screws.
All anchors will be built in-situ ice anchors (there are no fixed anchors or protection).
As the name suggests, Twenty File Mile Creek, is an isolated location. And as such it is unlikely to be somewhere that you will climb on a day trip – although this could be an option for a fit party who has stayed overnight at Shelter Rock hut.
If you are planning to overnight there a plenty of good tent sites next to the creek on the flats directly below the cirque. Or if approaching up Twenty Five Mile Creek there is a lot of open ground on the river flats below the confluence with Rough Creek. Likewise if coming over Twenty Five Mile Saddle the flat terrace directly above the cirque would a good camp site – it also has the added bonus of plenty of sun.
Early in the season there should be running water in Twenty Five Mile Creek below the climbs, and also possibly in the small stream that feeds Twenty Five Mile Falls. Both of these are likely to freeze up by late season, or following heavy snow.
This is likely to be a venue best visited in the early winter (June – July) before heavy snows bank up within the cirque. This would make access up the valley (or over the saddle) more difficult, and likely cover the more easily angled climbs on the right-hand side of the cirque.