I might be coming to the South Island for a couple of weeks in November, and the Routeburn definitely looks like it's something that can't be missed. I know there is a chance that sections will be shut down due to avalanche danger, but I'm wondering what those chances usually are. Should I assume it's pretty likely that sections are going to be closed then, or would it just be an unlucky day if I get there and I can't get much farther than the Routeburn Falls hut? Also, does the section up to the Routeburn Flats Hut and then the side trip up the Route Burn North Branch ever get shut down? That looks like a really incredible hike. I'd most likely be looking at starting the track in early November (e.g., sometime in the 1st-10th or so).
Also, the elevation gain doesn't look too crazy. Assuming nothing is shut down, is it reasonable to do a trip along the lines of:
Day 1: Get an early start, go to Routeburn Flats, take the sidetrip up the North Branch, come back to the flats, and hike up to the Routeburn Falls Hut to spend the night.
Day 2: Hike to the Lake McKenzie Hut. Conical Hill would be a no-go without crampons that time of year, correct?
Day 3: Hike down to The Divide. Is Key Summit a reasonable walk-up in November without crampons and an axe?
I'm OK doing 1000 meters elevation gain in a day if the trail is good, especially since the altitude isn't too high there. From videos I have seen Routeburn looks like it's a pretty wide and well-defined trail other than maybe the sidetrips. Is that a fair characterization of the trail? Is there much up and down, or is it pretty consistently up and then consistently down? How difficult are the side-trips up the North Branch, and to Conical Hill and Key Summit (if doable)? Thanks!