The Apprentice, a Brass Monkey and a Princess

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    Tony Gazley

    If you belong to a tramping and mountaineering club of some sort then maybe every now and then you think about actually climbing to the summit of a mountain. But one immediate problem for you is which summit do you choose from the thousands of named (and a gazillion of unnamed) peaks in NZ?

    Some peaks look attractive, such as graceful Aspiring; some have unusual features, think Ngāuruhoe; some are spectacular viewpoints, like Earnslaw; while others have cool names, such as Mephistopheles and The Princess. But there are plenty that share all of the above to some degree. One of those goes by the name of The Apprentice.

    Lucretia Bivvy

    The Apprentice is a fairly non-descript peak above the Lewis Pass Tops, but it does have a cool name and it does offer grand views of the other Lewis Pass peaks including Faerie Queene and Gloriana.

    You could climb it in a day from the St James carpark, but why not make the ascent part of a round trip taking in Lucretia Stream and a night at the Brass Monkey Bivvy?

    Start up the Nina River Track then follow the marked route up Lucretia Stream to the bivvy. This has been recently renovated by the Backcountry Trust volunteers who do so much amazing and unrecognised work on our mountain huts. The track above the bivvy to the bushline has been recut and is easy to follow. More easy travel takes you to the ridgeline at a saddle between Pt 1602 and Point 1605, and then a straightforward descent to the totally underwhelming Brass Monkey Bivvy.

    Brass Monkey Bivvy is somewhere beneath the cloud

    Brass Monkey Bivvy

    The Apprentice

    On the summit of The Apprentice

    Gloriana and Faerie Queene from The Apprentice

    Next morning happily leave the bivvy and climb back to yesterday’s saddle, then continue over the summit of Lucretia and on to The Apprentice. Goal achieved.

    It’s then an easy romp over the wide grassy Lewis Pass Tops passing many tarns before meeting a track and a bush descent to the carpark and then wait for your chauffeur.


    Tony Gazley
    9-10 November 2022.

    PS. Well, what about the Princess? Try the WTMC Forum.

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