Yeats Ridge Hut is designated as minimal maintenance. The track up to it from the Toaraha valley track is non-maintain and is being kept open by Permolat volunteers. Liz Wightwick of Christchurch has recently taken a lead role in this. In 2014 a watertank was installed at the Hut as part of a Permolat/ DOC collaboration. In 2016 Paul Reid of Permolat received some High Country Consortium (now BCT) funding and carried out some addition maintenance.
Toaroha catchment. Map BV19. Grid Ref: E1449075/ N5239244 (BV19 491 392). Altitude 970m. Yeats Ridge Hut is located on a flat ridgetop that divides the Zit Creek and Toaroha catchments. The surrounds are alpine peat bog with scattered alpine scrub and open patches of tussock, and there are good views out over the Toaroha valley. Yeats can be done as an overnighter from the Toaroha roadend, or day-trip traffic from Cedar Flat Hut down in the Toaroha. Access from Yeats onto the Toaraha Range is relatively straightforward and there are good tops routes to a number of other remote huts and bivs in the area. It currently gets around 20 recorded visits per year, with interest, particularly in the longer tops circuits, increasing steadily.
The Yeats Ridge track turns off from the Top Toaroha track on the TL of Zit Creek, 30 minutes up the from Cedar Flat Hut. Zit Creek can be difficult or uncrossable after heavy rain. The track climbs from the turnoff onto a terrace, follows this briefly, then climbs again steeply up the lower bush faces of Yeats Ridge. It flattens briefly in the montane zone, then climbs again through the sub-alpine zone to around 940m where it emerges on a flat tussock bench with scrub patches and tarns. This is followed for just under a kilometre, to a low scrubby rib that is crossed to reach the Hut. The bench section is marked by wooden stakes and permolat. The track was recut by volunteers in November 2020. Allow 2-2.5 hours to Yeats Hut from Cedar Flat Hut, or 6-7 hours from the Toaroha roadend.
Yeats is an NZFS S81 four-bunk design built in 1960. The cupboard/ woodshed alcoves synonymous with this design were removed at some point to create more space, and the bunks realigned along one wall. Yeats has no fireplace, woodburner, or toilet, and is unlined. A watertank was installed by Permolat volunteers in January 2014.
Yeats Ridge Hut blew off of its piles in the early 1980's and lay on its side until righted and repaired by the NZFS in 1984. It was painted and resealed by DOC in 2004. The Hut was repainted by Permolat volunteers when they installed a roof-fed watertank in February 2014. The doorstep was repaired and loose purlins, other timbers and iron secured. DOC supplied the paint, the watertank and stand, and flew the materials to the Hut. Permolat contributed funding for the materials not scrounged or supplied by DOC. In April 2016 Paul Reid and friends made a new door flashing, put in a new door step, took in a new mattress, made pillows from the old, surveyed a site for a toilet. The door flashing hasn’t worked and water still blows in under the door. The studs and floor plates on either side are damp. There is a roof leak in the centre of the Hut, probably along the ridging somewhere. The clearlight on the roof has torn around one of the roof nails and is lifting in the wind and will possibly be letting water in when it is blowing and raining. The paint on the door and window frames is flaking quite badly.
The Toaroha Range tops can be accessed from Yeats Hut up the prominent spur that divides the Zit and Crystal Creek catchments. The spur forks at the 1300m contour and the SW fork can be used to access Crystal Biv. The spur is accessed across the basin below the Hut. Small wooden snow stakes are followed through patchy scrub to a low ridge bounding Zit Creek. A trail leads South along this to a broad face at the foot of the main spur. Permolat, then the odd warratah, mark a trail up through a band of alpine scrub to a flat bench with tarns at 1300m. A side-spur that drops off in a SW direction provides access down to Crystal Biv. It is open easy travel down to the Biv which is visible in fine weather from around the 1200m mark. A band of scattered scrub above the Biv can be negotiated by veering North around the big tarn. Allow 1.5 hours to get from Yeats Hut to Crystal Biv.
Top Kokatahi Hut can be accessed by continuing up the main spur onto Toaroha Range. A short bluffy section of ridge around 1400m can be avoided by sidling on the Zit Creek side. Head North along the crest of the Range to around E1451479/ N5239437 (BV19 515 394), and drop down the tussock faces into the head of the Kokatahi River. Boulderhop from here down to the Hut. Ice axes may be necessary on some of the steeper bits on the Kokatahi side during the colder months. Allow four hours for the crossing in good conditions.
Mungo Hut can be accessed by heading South from point 1694m along to Mt. Chamberlain. A short vertical pitch just South of Chamberlin can be avoided by sidling around some rock benches just below the summit on the Park Stream side. Access into Park Stream is down steep scree from the low point between Mts. Chamberlain and Bannatyne. The top section of the gut is steep and eroding, is snow-filled for most of the year, and can be icy near the top. An ice axe and crampons should be carried during the colder months for this bit. Travel down the Park is straightforward to the start of a track on the TL near where the Stream veers SW. This enters the bush and climbs steeply for 5-10 minutes up to Mungo Hut. It was recut in 2012 by volunteers. Allow 5-6 hours from Yeats Hut to Mungo Hut in good conditions.
Adventure Biv can be accessed from Yeats Hut by continuing North along the Toaroha Range. There is a narrow section of ridge just before Zit Saddle that needs to be sidled on the Kokatahi side. The slopes are steep here and care is required in wet or icy conditions. Recently, and with the increased popularity of this traverse, a few parties have found this bit too exposed for comfort. It shouldn't be a problem for those confident with heights, but take a rope if you are unsure. Continue from the Saddle to where the poled route from Top Kokatahi Hut crosses over (around E1451380/ N5240035 (BV19 514 400)). On the Toaroha side the poles lead down a steep tussock face then down a narrow rib. This is followed by a short section of track through a band of scrub into the upper TR branch of Zit Creek. The route exits the TR of the Creek and sidles across a face with patchy alpine scrub onto Adventure Ridge. There is short section of cut track down the Ridge through the alpine scrub to the Biv. Don't try dropping down into Zit Creek directly from Zit Saddle unless you have a rope and a spare day up your sleeve. Allow five hours for the trip from Yeats Hut around to Adventure Biv. Ice axes should be carried for back-up during the colder months.
Repairs Still Needed
The clearlight panel and roof ridging needs replacing pretty urgently. A way also needs to be found to stop rainwater driving in under the door. A small porch would probably be the best solution and a DOC/ BCT team that recently flew in for a recce seem to be in agreeance with this, Paul Reid wants to replace the roof, clearlight, ridge capping, barge flashings, install building paper and replace the rotten framing with H3.2. Many of flat head nails that secure the wall cladding and leadheads securing the roof will be replaced with tech-screws. The door and window frames need repainting. A toilet if it happens, will be useful addition given Yeats' increasing level of use, and the fragility of the surrounding peatland.
Provisions on Site
A shovel, a spade, a hearth shovel and broom, a full-sized broom, a hand basin, a camp oven minus lid, and a small billy. There are two spare louvre panes under the end bunk, a bench seat, a 20 litre water bucket, a bucket of tools (hammer, hacksaw blade, sealer and gun), some downpipe, paint, sugar soap, brushes, sandpaper, lengths of 4x2, various nails and screws and some Permolat.