sidebar
titlebar
xbg1

Arthur's Pass - a guide for mountaineers (8th Edition 2019 - DRAFT)

Number of mountains: 118 Number of routes: 327
Arthur's Pass National Park: (Mountains: 68 Routes: 245)
Castle Hill Conservation Area: (Mountains: 4 Routes: 10)
Central Southern Alps Wilberforce Conservation Area: (Mountains: 2 Routes: 7)
Craigieburn Forest Park: (Mountains: 11 Routes: 20)
Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park: (Mountains: 15 Routes: 22)
Lake Sumner Forest Park: (Mountains: 1 Routes: 1)
Lochinvar Forest Conservation Area: (Mountains: 1 Routes: 1)
Mt Horrible Conservation Area: (Mountains: 1 Routes: 1)
Otira-Kopara Forest Conservation Area: (Mountains: 2 Routes: 4)
Porter Heights Conservation Area: (Mountains: 1 Routes: 1)
Private Land / Lease: (Mountains: 6 Routes: 6)
Wanganui / Otira Catchments Conservation Area: (Mountains: 6 Routes: 9)

COPYRIGHT

First Edition: 1985 G.Kates
Second Edition (Revised and Expanded): 1996 G. Kates
Third Edition (Revised and Expanded): 1997 G. Kates
Fourth Edition (Revised and Expanded): 1998 G.Kates
Fifth Edition (Revised and Expanded): 2000 G.Kates
Sixth Edition (Revised, Expanded, and Updated): 2004 G. Kates
Seventh Edition (Revised, Expanded): 2012 G. Kates
Eighth edition (Revised, Expanded, and Updated): © 2019 Graeme Kates and NZAC

ISBN (to be inserted)

Distribution enquiries:
New Zealand Alpine Club Publications
Ph (03)377-7595
Email publications@alpineclub.org.nz

DISCLAIMER

Mountaineering is, by its very nature, a hazardous activity, and could result in severe injury or death. While every attempt has been made to ensure that the information provided in this book is correct, it is not a substitute for your own better judgement. The author and the New Zealand Alpine Club accept no liability for actions taken by individuals based on information presented here.

This book is not intended to be an instructional manual. Users of this guide must be responsible for learning all of the appropriate techniques required to climb the particular route they have chosen to attempt. You should not attempt any of the routes without first being taught by experienced mountaineers and/or professional instructors.

The information in this guidebook has been collected from a variety of sources. It will contain inaccuracies. There are no warranties that this guide is correct or that the information contained in it is reliable. Your use of this guide indicates your assumption of risk, that it may contain errors, and is an acknowledgement of your own sole responsibility for your climbing safety.

If you are aware of any mistakes or omissions please let us know at: graemek@xtra.co.nz

Be sensible, and have fun out there.

The Author wishes to thank the following persons and organisations for their valuable assistance, information, time, encouragements, climbing leadership or partnership in the preparation of this guide: Christophe Bahin, Mick (Bambi) Bolshen, Andy Cole, James Dempster, Ian Dunn, Matthew Elder, Don French, Rob Frost, Alex Geary, Gideon Geerling, Aaron Gillespie, Matt Hanson, Phil Harrison, Alex Hay, Dave Hegan, Kay Holder, Craig Hosking, Geoff Keey, Shaun Jackson, Scott James, David Livingston, Hugh Logan, Stewart Milne, Colin Monteath/Hedgehog House, Ryan Nicol, Peter O’Loughlin, Yvonne Pfluger, David Poulsen, Dave Prebble, John Price, Rochelle Rafferty, Hamish Reid, Matt Sheat, Gerard Smith, Jan Stewart, Falesha Stocker, Richard Strong, Daryll Thompson, Tyler Brummer, Mark Watson, and the Department of Conservation Arthur’s Pass.

The mountain ranges of Arthur's Pass National Park have provided a climbing escape neighbouring the main centres of Christchurch and Greymouth since 1891. Numerous of the South Island’s climbers have encountered their first mountaineering experience amongst the Park's sixty or so mountains and hills.

Within the Park the terrain varies from low hills capable of being climbed by almost anybody of modest fitness and experience, to heavily glaciated peaks and steep rock face routes all of which require a certain mountaineering ability developed through time and experience.

Climbing about Arthur’s Pass National Park could be described as epitomising all that is mountaineering, with the ‘approach’ forming a substantial component of the actual climb – longish tramps up braided river valleys, bush bashes and topless screes.

This guide covers broadly an outline of standard and rarely attempted routes on the peaks in Arthur's Pass National Park, and adjacent conservation areas. The descriptions assume a certain level of route finding prowess, but provide enough detail to keep one generally on track. Detailed face and rock route descriptions are relatively few, however the most obvious routes have been described.

Public Transport: Atomic Shuttles (www.atomictravel.co.nz) services Highway 73 between Christchurch and Greymouth. The Tranz Scenic train (www.greatjourneysofnz.co.nz, Ph 0800 872 467) runs daily to Arthur's Pass township from Christchurch or Greymouth.

Road Access: From Greymouth, go south on Highway 6 to Kumara Junction. Turn east on Highway 73 and ascend to Otira then over the mountains to Arthur's Pass township. From Christchurch access is by Highway 73.

WARNING: In late Autumn, Winter and Spring heavy snowfalls can temporarily close Highway 73 or make driving hazardous in the mountainous area (carry wheel chains).

Arthur's Pass township and environs provides most forms of accommodation, from camping sites to five star lodgings.

Within the township both the Alpine Motels and Arthur's Pass Motel & Lodge provide comfortable private rooms, whilst the Mountain House YHA can meet most of your budget accommodation needs. Basic bunk-room accommodation is available at The Sanctuary. Several B&B options are also available. Many baches can be rented (www.holidayhouses.co.nz). Tramping and climbing clubs also maintain lodges within the village (CMC, WCAC, NZAC, CTC), with accommodation being available to non-club members by arrangement.

Camping is permitted adjacent the Avalanche Creek Shelter (avoid using a tent here because of the risk of kea attack). Camping is also available at Klondyke Corner, Hawdon Shelter, Andrews Shelter, Lake Pearson and the Mistletoe campsite in the Craigieburn Forest Park.

Other accommodation providers outside of the Arthur's Pass township include the Bealey Hotel, Otira Hotel, Wilderness Lodge and the Rata Lodge.

Visit www.arthurspass.com for all available accommodation options.

Before you leave Christchurch or Greymouth/Hokitika, be sure to stock up on groceries, white fuel, gas cannisters, cash, and any outdoor gear you may need. The ATM in Arthur's Pass will only give out cash if you have a New Zealand bank account, and retailers will not.

The Store in Arthur's Pass has a very limited (and expensive) range of grocery items, as well as petrol and diesel, but fill up before you leave major centres.

A public bar exists at the Wobbly Kea, and there is a licenced hotel at Bealey. The Store has a café and bottle store facilities. The Wobbly Kea and Bealey Hotel provide evening café and dining services.

The DOC Visitor Centre sells gas cannisters, topographic maps, and limited outdoor tramping supplies. It also hires Personal Locator Beacons, and can provide excess equipment storage, weather forecasts, track notes and hut tickets.

Please note that mountaineering hire equipment is not available in Arthur’s Pass. Climbers and high altitude trampers should arrive in Arthur’s Pass fully kitted out!

The only way to access Arthur's Pass National Park beyond the reach of roads is by foot; the entire Park is a 'no-fly zone' for all types of aircraft, powered & un-powered, except for a fly-through corridor through the Otira – Bealey valley system. Emergency, Park management, and WARS permit aircraft are permitted.

Aircraft may be permitted into surrounding conservation areas, seek advice from the Department of Conservation.

Weather in Arthur's Pass National Park is notorious for its unpredictability. At any time of year there can be long sessions of unsettled weather, usually accompanied with gusty north-westerly winds and high rainfall, on average there is 200 days of rainfall a year. Seasonally heavy rain usually falls during the months of October and November, but can delay its arrival until late January, this is known affectionately as the 'monsoon'. During this time most rivers can be very high or impassable.

Very hot and dry conditions can exist from late February through to early April.

Snow generally starts to fall and accumulate above 1800m in mid May. Heavier snowfalls can arrive from mid June to September, with falls being not uncommon down to 650 metres. Over a normal winter up to 35 metres of accumulative snow may fall on the various glacial névés (1800m+) and five metres of accumulative snow may fall in the village area. Snowfalls can lower to 1100 metres outside this season.

Following are the average monthly rainfalls and temperatures for Arthur’s Pass village.

Rainfall and Temperatures — Arthur's Pass village

Arthur’s Pass (737m)JFMAMJJASOND
Rainfall mm331327291356346271256288319443398342
Temp (max) ºC16.617.515.212.49.06.75.67.29.011.613.615.2
Temp (min) ºC7.07.77.13.70.4-1.6-2.3-1.10.82.85.16.4

Although a tramper's paradise, Arthur's Pass National Park is and shall continue to be, a literal death trap. Many people under-estimate the severity of its weather, and the seriousness of some of its mountain and tramping routes. Most of the serious search and rescue exercises in the park have involved the recovery of climbers who have taken foolish risks or made bizarre decisions. Most have been taken un-awares by rapid changes in weather, or have misjudged the rock, ice, snow or river conditions to a point where they have well exceeded their own capabilities. Arthur’s Pass climbing is no less dangerous than its southern counterparts. Low elevation in no way cancels out the risks of sudden weather change, snow avalanche, rockfall, exposure, crevasses on seemingly safe snow-fields and loose rotten rock which makes for unsafe holds or anchors. Rivers and streams may also flash flood without warning.

Arthur's Pass is also prone to earthquakes and tremors causing rockfall and avalanche activity.

Being caught out is synonymous with Arthur’s Pass Mountaineering.

Please note that the Department of Conservation office in Arthur's Pass does not maintain a intentions system. Please leave your intentions with a trusted contact. They should contact the NZ Police by phoning 111 should they have any concerns. Note there is no longer a first-response LandSAR group in Arthur's Pass, requiring that Alpine Cliff Rescue teams come from Christchurch or Hokitika. It is recommended to carry a Personal Locator Beacon.

Like the remainder of the Southern Alps, the Arthur's Pass region endures short weather windows, vast areas of rotten rock, a rapidly eroding landscape, earthquakes, and accelerated glacial recession and thinning. Additional to this, access is generally only viable on foot, this means unbridged rivers and streams, and untracked forest approaches are more the norm than the exception.

With climate change the news is probably all bad in terms of the regions glaciers and ice-fields. The South Island's most northern glaciers are now on the march south.

Summer and Autumn conditions – routes that require good glacial access should be tackled earlier in the summer around December and January, however high rainfalls and avalanche risk could still be a present danger. Rapid glacial recession and thinning in the past 10 years has created quite a variation on how glaciers react during the summer months; smaller glaciers (Avoca, Kilmarnock, Goldney, Rolleston) have become entrapped in their own basins meaning they do not substantially flow, with large glacial features such as bergschrunds and crevasses being uncommon, the off-set is the moraines and cliffs surrounding these glaciers have lost support and present very unstable rock.

The larger glaciers (Kahutea, White, Cahill, Cronin, Crow) in the region tend to be hanging glaciers; in recent years all have thinned dramatically, although most still flow to their terminal ice-fall cliffs to some extent. This thinning in some instances has made the glacial surface less broken, though the upper névés have steepened, and there is now a greater risk of rock-slide activity onto the glacier as the rock accumulations at the margins are no longer supported.

Rock routes on good rock are rare due to the predominance of greywacke in the region, the general rule is vertical bedded rock tends to be good in bands, whilst horizontal beds are just shite. For the most-part climbers should expect broken decaying ridges and loose handholds. Immediately after spring there can be extensive fractured rock from winters frost shattering processes.

Winter and Spring conditions – with climate change winters have been arriving later, and becoming shorter at lower altitudes with warmer than average temperatures, however higher altitude snow can be considerably deeper than would be 'normal' early in the season as more moist air comes in off the Tasman Sea. This has the affect of bringing forward the potential for avalanches, with avalanche activity arriving in June in some years, rather than September / October, and the avalanche season being extended into late December.

Those looking for ice this far north in the South Island need to be very vigilant as it may only appear for a brief period in mid to late August. Some small waterfall ice features (1200m - 1400m) can form in June given adequate first snow melt combined with low overnight temperatures, though their lifespan can be short.

Because the prevailing weather is westerly, the snow-pack is a typical maritime one, meaning it will contain an exceptional number of layers, and features such as depth hoar can be preserved for weeks in the pack, climbers should become conversant with digging ‘quick pits’ and be experienced with assessing complex snow-packs before venturing into avalanche terrain. The Mountain Safety Council (www.avalanche.net.nz) does publish regional avalanche advisories for Arthur's Pass National Park and Craigieburn Forest Park, however the back-country accuracy can be dubious at best, as there is inadequate field data feeding this system.

Large cornices also form predominantly on lee to western aspects, though double cornices are not uncommon about complex ridge systems.

On the up side, the weather can have long settled periods in winter, and some routes, such as Rome Ridge on Mt Rolleston, come into their own in this season when all the loose grud is hidden from view.

Spring is definitely better spent reading or writing books, though occasional windows of good weather can give excellent ski-touring possibilities in the eastern ranges of Craigieburn and Korowai/Torlesse, though avalanche risk is ever present. A considerable amount of wet and heavy snow can arrive about the Southern Alps of Arthur's Pass in September and October bringing with it increased risk of avalanche and poor access in unsupportive snow.

Most New Zealand climbers need not be told about the antics of kea, for many stories have attained legendary status. Kea (Nestor notabilis) are critically endangered and unique, being the only alpine parrot in the world.

Kea are very conspicuous in the skies and about the crags of Arthur's Pass. The rule simply put is don’t feed the kea; this includes not tossing your food scraps about. Given a few kilo-joules of human food they are quite capable of systematically dismantling your hut or tent, chopping your rope into useful two metre lengths, flying off with plastic boot inners and basically being downright annoying. If you do become victim to the legend it will be your fault. Kea are totally protected and it is a criminal offence to harm them!

For up-to-the-minute weather, climbing conditions and webcams refer to the Arthur’s Pass Mountaineering site available at: www.arthurspass.com

Local Arthur’s Pass township information can be found at the same website. Route information can be found at: www.climbnz.org.nz/nz/si/arthurs-pass/

Regional History

In the mid-1800s, shepherds searching for grazing land beyond the Canterbury Plains were the first Europeans to explore the mountain wilderness of Arthur's Pass National Park. Yet long before this time, Maori travellers and traders had crossed the Southern Alps via the then un-named Arthur’s Pass. It was the lure of gold however that would be the driving force that shaped the region’s destiny.

Gold was first found on the West Coast in 1863. The newly arrived English settlers of Canterbury were prepared to leave their homes and trek hundreds of kilometres on the merest chance of making their fortune. However the awesome barrier of the Southern Alps lay between them and the alluring goldfields.

The first European explorers, like the Maori, preferred to cross the Southern Alps by the Harper Pass route at the head of the Hurunui and Taramakau Rivers. As an endless train of gold-seekers, packhorses, cattle and sheep reduced the bridle path to a boulder strewn mud slurry by 1863, an alternative route was imperative.

In February 1864 the surveyor Arthur Dobson and his brother Edward, responding to information obtained from the Poutini Kaitahu (from Tarapuhi—the clan chief), rode horses up the Waimakariri River in search of a new route west. On reaching the Bealey Valley, they followed this to its head, then crossing a moraine wall, they made a descent to the Rolleston River confluence.

On his return Arthur Dobson pronounced the route extremely difficult, if not impossible, because of the precipitous descent from the pass on the western side. He wrote 'There was enough width for a zig-zag cutting to be made in the head of the gorge, but a good deal of heavy rock cutting would be required beyond.' The search continued, but no better route was found. In 1865 Arthur’s father, Edward Dobson senior, the Canterbury provincial engineer, decided a road would be cut through Arthur's Pass.

Within months a bridle trail had been forged and work begun on a metalled road. About 1000 men toiled through a bitter alpine winter and less than a year from its commencement, using only hand tools, rudimentary rock drills and explosives, the road was completed in 1866.

William Cawley started his stage coach service as soon as the road opened. The journey from Christchurch to Hokitika took 36 hours in exceptionally good weather, and could be delayed more than a week in anything else (snow, flood, road collapse - still common occurrences today).

From 1907 onwards the rail link from east–west was slowly forged from each side, culminating in the opening of the through line in 1923. Its construction included the Otira rail tunnel, an epic engineering feat through 8.5 kilometres of rotten rock (not unlike the surface).

The first attempt to establish a town near Arthur’s Pass was made between the confluence of the Bealey and Waimakariri Rivers. It was named Klondyke Corner for the site was verycold, receiving no sunshine in winter, hence its name is reminiscent of the Alaskan gold rush settlement. The year 1865 saw about 100 people encamped; 208 sections were surveyed and an ambitious street plan mapped out. Eighteen months later everyone but the telegraph operator and a police sergeant had moved to the much sunnier present day site of Bealey.

Tourism began early in the area; one of the pioneers was a man named O'Malley, proprietor of the then illustrious Bealey Glacier Hotel from 1882–1901. He personally guided his guests to the head of the Waimakariri Valley to gaze at the numerous glaciers. Arthur’s Pass National Park was established in 1929.

Climbing History

With the opening of the road, and later the Midland railway, came not only fortune hunters but recreation seekers—in particular the mountaineers.

The New Zealand Alpine Club had just formed in November of 1891 when members, Arthur Harper, Marmaduke Dixon and Robert Dixon visited the pass from Christchurch. They attempted reaching Mt Rolleston’s summit from the Otira Valley, unfortunately being turned back by soft snow conditions. However, not willing to return unsuccessful they achieved the first recorded ascent of Mt Philistine.

In December the same year George Mannering, AM Ollivier and WD Wood started their attempt on Mt Rolleston from the pass via the Goldney Ridge. With visibility poor, they topped out on the Low Peak, realising only sometime later they had not succeeded. The High Peak was not climbed until 1912, when H Thompson and I Gilligan climbed it via a snow covered Otira Slide. Notably the first solo climb to the summit was achieved by J Murray that same year.

The Waimakariri Valley's slow, wide meanderings and rushing head-waters attractedsome notable mountaineering feats. In 1912 Mt Davie was climbed by AP Harper, Eric Harper and George Dennistoun. Mt Murchison and Mt Harper were climbed in 1913 by CK Ward and AE Talbot.

In the ensuing years Mt Rolleston received many more climbers, choosing varied routes. B Fraser and W Caldwell made the first ascent from the Bealey Valley (insert route number) in 1923. The first traverse to Waimakariri Col over Mt Rolleston, was made by George Lockwood, R and A Page and Oscar Coberger (a guide at Arthur's Pass) in January 1929. The notorious 'gap' of the Rome Ridge (insert route number), was first scaled in April 1929 by Oscar Coberger and S Saville. Finally the first winter ascent went to Wyn Barnett and Roland Cant in August 1935.

Today the classic route on Mt Rolleston has to be the Otira Face (insert route number) put up by Hec McDowell and John Estall in 1934. Its notoriety being attributed to the many epics (present and past), and tragic losses that colour its short climbing history.

In 1925 the Canterbury Tramping Club (forebears of the Canterbury Mountaineering Club) was formed. They based their activities around Carrington Hut's construction. The Canterbury Mountaineering Club during its development in the early 1930's accomplished many notable ascents including the first solo ascent of Mt Carrington (insert route number) being achieved remarkably by the then 14-year-old C Hilgendorf. Mount Greenlaw (insert route number) was reached in November 1930 by Edgar Williams, RE McInnes and RE Clark via the avalanche swept slopes out of the Avoca.

Linked ascents of Mounts Murchison, Harper and Speight (insert route number) in one day from Carrington Hut were achieved by Roger Chester, Wicket and RE McInnes.

Mention at this stage must go to the late John Pascoe. His love of the national park, its mountain environment and his enthusiasm for climbing led him to make several first ascents. With his climbing partner Stan Conway he climbed most of the summits in the park over a 15 year period. John Pascoe is also renowned for his detailed documentation of various routes on the park's peaks in his own writings, and trip reports published in the Canterbury Mountaineer (CMC Journal).

Sadly though, first ascents in Arthur's Pass National Park have not been well documented. The climbing history is punctuated by 10 year gaps whilst guiding was still active in the area. We can only assume of the 60 or so hills many may have been climbed in these breaks.

Today, all that remains for modern day pioneers of rock and vertical, are the obscure remote rock faces and difficult to reach ridges dotted about the park.

General

Of the 30 or so huts and bivouac sites in the Arthur's Pass region, more than half of them make for convenient, and more or less comfortable, bases for climbing expeditions. Most of these are easily reached on normal tramping routes, with three exceptions that tend to be difficult or slow to access in mid winter conditions (Barker, Goat Pass and Waimakariri Falls Huts).

In most cases hut fees are payable, either directly to the owners, or the Department of Conservation by utilising the Annual Hut Pass and ticket system.

Always enter your party name and intentions in hut visitors books, and make sure you leave the hut clean and tidy on leaving. (this includes taking out whatever rubbish you create!)

Hut Radio System

Carrington, Edwards, Hamilton (Craigieburn Forest Park), Hawdon and Goat Pass huts are in radio contact with the Visitor Centre at Arthur's Pass. Weather forecasts are available on request daily from 8.15am until 4.45pm (summer), and 8.45am until 4.15pm (winter). The radio system is monitored only during normal opening hours of the Visitor Centre in Arthur's Pass.

Barker, Waimakariri Falls, and Park Morpeth huts all have mountain radios. You may listen to the weather forecast schedules at 8.30am and 7.30pm. Messages can also be passed to the radio operators at 8.30am, 12 noon, and 7.30pm if necessary. The service is monitored 24/7.

It is important not to place too much reliance in the Park's radio network, as it is prone to failure, due to weather conditions, kea attack, solar battery failure or just mis-use. Do not assume your distress call has been monitored if no radio response has been received, alternative action may be imperative!

Hut Categories

Serviced - $15 (One green hut ticket, or a 6 Month/Annual Hut Pass)
Standard - $5 (One blue ticket, or a 6 Month/Annual Hut Pass)
Basic - Free

Hut and Bivouac Listing
(listed alphabetically)

Ant Stream Bivouac (DOC Basic) 1080m
Located in Lochinvar Forest Conservation Area and in the headwaters of Ant Stream it is accessed via the Esk River and Mt White Station. It has two bunks and a fireplace. It gives easy access to Mt Crossley (insert route numbers) and Mt Turnbull (insert route numbers).

Anti-Crow Hut (DOC Standard) 700m
Located on the Waimakariri River (south bank) opposite the Crow River confluence. It has six bunks and tank water. This hut makes a good climbing base for Mts Stewart (insert route numbers), Guinevere (insert route numbers), Lancelot (insert route numbers), Rolleston (insert route numbers), Mottram Peaks (insert route numbers), Mts Gizeh (insert route numbers), Damfool (insert route numbers), and Cow Peak (insert route numbers).

Gizeh bivvy no longer exists at the head-waters of Anti-Crow River (demolished).

Avoca Homestead (DOC Standard) 415m
This restored historic (1909) hut has 6 bunks, a fireplace and a water-tank. It lies in the Korowai / Tolesse Tussocklands Park, and is accessible at the end of the Craigieburn Road. From the hut Bold Hill (insert route numbers) is accessible on the Torlesse Range.

Avoca River Hut (CUTC) 1020m
This hut is in Craigieburn Forest Park, being located on the southern bank of the upper Avoca River (600m downstream of the Hanging Valley Creek confluence). It can be accessed from the Waimakariri Valley via the Black Range by traversing over Jordan Saddle then down the true right branch of Galilee Creek, or Sphinx Saddle then descending Easy Stream to the wide Avoca River flats. This hut has 6 bunks and a wood stove. From this hut a number of 'interesting' routes are available on Mt Avoca (insert route numbers) using approaches from the southeast, and eastern icefalls. An ascent of Mt Greenlaw (insert route numbers) can be made by traversing the often jagged joining ridge with Mt Avoca (insert route numbers).

Barker Hut (CMC, hut fees $5 payable directly to CMC) 1560m
Located on the spur just below the Marmaduke Dixon Glacier, at the head of the White River. In winter conditions access to the hut, by way of White River, can be slow and dangerous. It is recommended to stay relatively high above White River on its western side to avoid losing oneself in soft snow amongst the boulders. However be aware of potential rock/ice falls off the escarpment fed by the Kilmarnock Glacier and Davie ice-field.

See the tramping route information on page (insert page number) for access details. The hut can sleep up to 10 persons uncomfortably (six large bunks)! It has a water tank, a HF mountain radio (Scheds 7.30pm–8pm daily), electric lighting, and an environmentally friendly toilet—use it! This hut has no heating or cooking facilities. If the hut is over-crowded there is ample room in summer to bivvy near the hut, or in winter create snow caves next to the tarn. Only drink tarn water if the tank is empty, and certainly do not drink any surface water below the hut site. Barker Hut tends to be battered by strong southerlies from over White Col, and can be a very exposed camp-site.

From Barker Hut routes are available on Mts Murchison (insert route numbers), Harper (insert route numbers), Wakeman (insert route numbers), Davie (insert route numbers), and The Black Range Traverse (insert route numbers), Maraduke/Dixon Skyline (insert route numbers).

Bealey Spur Hut (DOC Basic) 1290m
The hut is easily reached by a 6km walk up the well-formed Bealey Spur track from Highway 73. It has 6 sack bunks, a smokey open fireplace and a water tank. Although no specific climbing routes are accessible from here, it does good access to traverses of the Black Range along easy ridges.

Candlesticks Bivouac (DOC Basic) 935m
Located in the headwaters of Bull Creek, accessed via the East Poulter River or Mt White Station. It has two bunks, an open fireplace, and a natural water source. Climbs from this bivvy include Mt Crossley (insert route numbers) and Mt Turnbull (insert route numbers).

Carrington Hut (DOC Serviced) 810m
Located at the confluence of the Waimakariri River and White River (below Camp Spur). It has 36 bunks, a wood burning stove, a radio, tank water, and an environmentally friendly toilet.

Tent sites around the hut are plentiful. Do not light open fires however—use a stove. Routes from Carrington tend to make for long days. Early starts require some familiarity with the area, in particular where to cross the Waimakariri or White Rivers. (Night crossing is inherently damper than expected!). From the hut climbs can be had on Carrington Peak (insert route numbers), Mts Campbell (insert route numbers), Guinevere (insert route numbers), Harper (insert route numbers), Isobel (insert route numbers), Davie (insert route numbers), Harper (insert route numbers) and Stewart (insert route numbers).

Carroll Hut (DOC Standard) 1300m
Located just below Kelly Saddle on the Kelly Range, about 2 hours uphill tramping time from Kelly's Creek on Highway 73. It has a sleeping platform for 8-10 persons. Water is obtained from a nearby stream. In winter it can be snow-bound. From the hut it is a simple climb onto Kellys Hill (insert route numbers), and a long haul onto Rangi Taipo (insert route numbers).

Casey Hut (To be replaced 2020) 625m
Casey hut was destroyed by fire in 2015. The site is still a good campsite. The site gives access on some of the Poulter Peaks, Castle Hill (insert route numbers), Brown Hill (insert route numbers), Mts Forest (insert route numbers), Morrison (insert route numbers), Scarface (insert route numbers), Row (insert route numbers), Koeti (insert route numbers). Worsley Bivvy or Trust/Poulter Hut are better options from a climbers view point for mountains at the head of the Poulter.

The new Casey hut will likely be built 1km further south, on a Poulter River terrace.

Crow Hut (DOC Standard) 1020m
Located on the western bank of the Crow River, approximately 5 km upstream of the Waimakariri River confluence. This hut has platform bunks sleeping 10 persons, a wood stove, and is well insulated. Water is taken from the Crow River. From this hut there are some good approaches to Mt Rolleston (insert route numbers), and routes onto Mts Lancelot (insert route numbers), Guinevere (insert route numbers), Stewart (insert route numbers) and Avalanche Peak (insert route numbers). In late summer the Crow ice-fall is cut-off.

East Hawdon Bivouac (DOC Basic) 1060m
Located on the edge of wooded area in upper East Hawdon Stream (5 km upstream from its junction with the main valley). The bivvy can cope with 2 climbers. The nearest possible communication with the outside world is at Hawdon Hut, 8 km away. From the bivvy climbs onto Mts Valiant (insert route numbers), Hunt (insert route numbers), Smooth Peak (insert route numbers) and Rugged Peak (insert route numbers) are available.

Edwards Hut (DOC Serviced) 1070m
Positioned on the eastern bank of the Edwards River 7 km up from the Mingha junction. It has 16 bunks, a radio and a wood stove. From the hut routes on Mts Bowers, Wilson (insert route numbers), Scott (insert route numbers), Williams (insert route numbers), Falling Mountain (insert route numbers), and a long haul up to Mt Oates (insert route numbers) are available. A 6 km tramp around into the East Branch of Edwards River gives access to a route on Mt Bowers (insert route numbers).

Goat Pass Hut (DOC Standard) 1055m
Located in a hollow just north of Goat Pass. It has 20 bunks, water tank, and a radio (reception can be very marginal). Goat Pass Hut can be difficult (slow) to reach in fresh snow conditions, particularly via the Temple Col route. From the hut routes are available on Mt Oates (insert route numbers), and Mt Franklin (insert route numbers). Mts Russell (insert route numbers) and Tarapuhi (insert route numbers) can be climbed from the hut, but this requires a 2-3 day excursion, and it is more usual to camp out in the vicinity of Gorge Creek. Both of these peaks can be reached by traversing from Mt Franklin along the Aicken Range. Phipps Peak (insert route numbers) and Mt Stuart (insert route numbers) are best climbed from Upper Deception Hut.

Greenlaw Hut no longer exists. From its old position on Greenlaw Creek good routes are found onto Mt Greenlaw (insert route numbers), Mt Speight (insert route numbers), Mt Harper (insert route numbers) and the Mottram Peaks (insert route numbers). Other peaks, lumps and bumps are climbable from Greenlaw Creek, however Anti-Crow and Barker Huts are a much better base.

Hamilton Hut (DOC Serviced) 800m
Located at the junction of the Harper River and Hamilton Creek in the Craigieburn Forest Park, this is a very popular hut on a well used tramping circuit. The hut has 20 bunks, a fireplace, water-tank, and a radio. From the hut steep ascents can be taken to the peaks of the Craigieburn Range (insert route numbers).

Hawdon Hut (DOC Serviced) 730m
The New Hawdon Hut (built in 2007) is located about 150m upstream of the Discovery Creek junction on the western side of the Hawdon River. The hut provides 20 bunks (sleeping platform style), water tank, a wood stove and a radio. From the hut site a long indirect route ascends onto Mts Scott and Wilson (insert route numbers), and a long day via Trudge Col can obtain routes on Mt Hunt and Rugged Peak (insert route numbers). East Hawdon Bivouac provides for other routes in the area.

Hunts Creek Hut (DOC Standard) 880m
Located 1.5km south of Hunts Saddle on the true right of Hunts Creek in a clearing of red tussock grass. The hut has only 3 usable bunks, a small water tank, and a pot belly stove. From the hut routes are available onto the peaks of the Barron Range. Both Mt Barron (insert route numbers) and Anderson Peak (insert route numbers) may be climbed by ascents up a series of gullies or ridges from Hunts Creek .

Julia Hut (DOC Standard) 600m
The hut is located near the confluence of the Taipo River and Mary Creek on the western side of the Divide below Harman Pass. The hut has 6 bunks, and a wood stove. The old Julia Hut nearby has 4 bunks. From Julia Hut a route is available onto Mt Walcott (insert route numbers). A high camp near the headwaters of Julia Creek gives access to Mt Axis (insert route numbers), Mt Harman (insert route numbers), Mt Pope (insert route numbers). Mt Rosamond (insert route numbers) and Mt Marion (insert route numbers) are accessible from Mary Creek.

Koropuku / Big Tops Hut (DOC Basic) 850m
This hut is a 5-7 hour tramp in from highway 73 at Aickens. The hut has 4 bunks, a toilet, and a natural water source. Routes from this hut give access to Mt Koeti (insert route numbers), and Mt McRae (insert route numbers).

Locke Stream Hut (DOC Standard) 500m
Located in the headwaters of the Taramakau River, this hut has 18 bunks, and a fireplace. Water is available from the stream nearby. The hut gives access to Foy Pass, Mt Byrne (insert route numbers) and Mt Wilkinson (insert route numbers). Tainui Peak (insert route numbers) is also possible from the hut.

Minchin Bivouac (DOC Basic) 950m
Located high on Minchin Stream (950m), near the junction of the stream that drains the eastern slopes of Mt Koeti. It provides shelter for two, possibly three persons. There is no fireplace. From the bivvy Mts Koeti, Scarface and Morrison (insert route numbers) can be easily reached via a myriad of ridges, saddles, and uphill bashes.

Mingha Bivouac (DOC Basic) 880m
Located on the grassy flats 2km north of Dudley Knob on the Mingha River. It provides shelter for two climbers, and has a fireplace. Goat Pass Hut is really not that much of a push up the valley! From the bivvy Mt Oates (insert route numbers) and Mt Williams (insert route numbers) can be gained.

Page Shelter (Temple Basin Ski-field) 1510m
Located 500m to the west of Temple Col, it is included here primarily for its emergency shelter value, in view of parties stumbling over the col in less than perfect conditions. During winter it provides day shelter for the skiers. There is no radio (excepting ski patrol in winter), no water tank and no bunks. It is however equipped with a wood stove (but is above treeline) and has ample floor space (7m x 9m). It is in an avalanche zone.

Warning: Explosives are used in the Temple Basin Ski area to control avalanches. If any un-detonated charges are found they must not be touched. Mark the location in some obvious way (cairn, debris, snow mound) and inform the DOC office in Arthur’s Pass of your discovery as soon as possible!

Park Morpeth Hut (CMC, hut fees $5 payable directly to CMC) 900m
Located on Cronin Stream, near its confluence with the Wilberforce River. It can sleep 10 persons and has a HF mountain radio (Scheds 7.30pm–8pm daily). From the hut long climbs could be had onto Mt Davie (insert route numbers), Mt Harmam (insert route numbers), Mt Isobel (insert route numbers) and Mt Marion (insert route numbers). Other peaks in the area that this guide does not cover might be Mt Beals (1940m) climbed from Lake Browning, or Mt Learmont (2042m) via the difficult Hall Glacier–Hall Col route.

Otehake West Branch Hut (DOC Standard) 640m
Found on a small bush-covered flat 300m above where the East Branch of the Otehake joins the West Branch, about 30m back from the river. The hut provides 6 bunks and an open fireplace. The hut is not well placed as a climbing base, but can provide transit accommodation enroute to Edwards River climbs, or the contrived routes on Mt McRae (insert route numbers) via Worsley Pass.

Poulter Bivouac (DOC Basic) 920m
Located in the headwaters of the Poulter River. It has 2 bunks. From here routes are available onto Mt Scarface (insert route numbers), Mt Koeti (insert route numbers), and Mt McRae (insert route numbers).

Poulter Hut (DOC Standard) 900m
Located on the true left bank of the Poulter River just downstream of the Minchin Stream Confluence. This hut has 10 bunks, a wood stove, and is well insulated. Ascents from this hut could include Mts Scarface (insert route numbers), Morrison (insert route numbers), McRae (insert route numbers), Koeti (insert route numbers), and Hunt (insert route numbers).

Sudden Valley Bivouac (DOC Basic) 1000m
Located midway up Sudden Valley Stream (approx. 2.5 km above Barrier Falls) adjacent the bushline on the true right. The bivvy provides shelter for 2 persons (good camp-sites abound). Its central location means it is well placed for routes onto Mt Foweraker (insert route numbers), The Pyramid (insert route numbers), The Dome (insert route numbers), Mts Wilson (insert route numbers) and Scott (insert route numbers). Be aware that the gorge below the Barrier Falls readily floods denying access to the lower valley!

Trust/Poulter Hut (DOC Standard) 700m
Situated about 300m upstream of the Thompson Stream junction with the Poulter, on the southern grass flats. It has 6 bunks and an open fireplace. Using a combination of this hut and Worsley Bivvy, all of the Poulter Peak routes can be obtained, Green Hill (insert route numbers), Castle Hill (insert route numbers), Mt Row (insert route numbers), Mt Morrison (insert route numbers), Mt Scarface (insert route numbers) and Mt McRae (insert route numbers). Lake Minchin is easily reached, and provides a good base camp, for climbs on Mts Morrison (insert route numbers) and Scarface (insert route numbers).

Note: Minchin Hut does not exist, nor does the old Lake Minchin hut. The new Poulter Hut is 30min upstream on the true left.

Upper Deception Hut (DOC Standard) 740m
Found 2.5km down the Upper Deception River from Goat Pass, on the true right, 100m before Good Luck Creek. It contains 6 bunks, and an open fireplace. Unlike Goat Pass Hut, this site provides a little closer access to Mt Franklin (insert route numbers), Mt Russell (insert route numbers) and Tarapuhi (insert route numbers), however a camp at Gorge Creek is still the attractive option. A route up the spur opposite the hut gives access to Phipps Peak (insert route numbers) and Mt Stuart (insert route numbers); the initial scrub bash may deter some climbers.

Waimakariri Falls Hut (CMC, hut fees $5 payable directly to CMC) 1390m
Located on the east bank of Waimakariri River, 400m above the main waterfall, is in a very exposed position. Having six bunks, the hut is quite small, and could be very uncomfortable if overcrowded, or caught there sitting out foul weather. There is a HF mountain radio (Scheds 7.30pm–8pm daily) and lighting. Waimakariri Falls Hut is a good base for climbs on Carrington Peak (insert route numbers), Mt Armstrong (insert route numbers), Anderson Peak (insert route numbers), Mt Rolleston (insert route numbers) and Mt Lancelot (insert route numbers).

Weka/Burnet Bivouac (DOC Basic) 740m
Located in Craigieburn Forest Park, near the junction of Burnet and Weka Streams (a stake marks the ascent to the bivvy from Weka Stream). The bivvy is well hidden (don’t panic if you can’t find it in the first half hour of searching—you’re not the first!). It can cope with 2–3 climbers. Climbs are available to several of the areas most spectacular peaks including Mt Murchison (insert route numbers), Mts Avoca and Greenlaw (insert route numbers) and Mt Speight (insert route numbers).

Worsley Bivouac (DOC Basic) 730m
Located at the head-waters of the Poulter River, just on the southern bank, 150 metres east of the Enchanted Stream confluence. It has four bunks and is quite small. Climbs from the bivvy include ascents of Mt Scarface (insert route numbers), Mt McRae (insert route numbers) and Mt Hunt (insert route numbers).

Waimakariri River and Tributaries

Klondyle Corner - Carrington Hut (4 - 5 hours)
This is a very popular tramping route for climbers and the many backpackers that also find their way to Carrington Hut, attracted by the dramatic scenery which flanks both sides of the river, and of course the relatively easy nature of the route.

Weather very much dictates which route one should take up the Waimakariri River, and whether or not you have an allergy to fording rivers.

In dry weather (i.e. river not in high flow) from Klondyke Corner a route can be picked up the centre of the river flats (this could requires several crossings of the Waimakariri).

Access to Crow Hut (3 - 4 hours from Klondyke Corner) is available by picking up a marked trail in the large tussock flat on the true-left of the Waimakariri about 1.4km prior to the Crow River junction. The marked route initially follows the true left of the Crow river, but crosses to the true-right after approx. 2km, following a marked and cairned route for a further 2.8km to the hut (beware of rockfall and slides off the eastern flank of Mt Stewart).

For those travelling to Anti-Crow Hut (2 hours from Klondyke Corner), and upstream, ford the Waimakariri to its southern bank. The Anti-crow hut is visible in its small flat opposite the Crow River confluence.

The rocky knolls either side of the Anti-Crow River can avoided by crossing the rocky fan north of them, or crossed by gaining the marked track 200m west of the Anti-Crow hut.

Note: The Waimakariri River is a dangerous crossing near the Anti-Crow confluence as it runs over bedrock and 100% of the river flow is met, rather than it running underground.

A line of sight route is then taken towards the heavily wooded corner on the true-left below Greenlaw Creek. Head for the outlet of Greenlaw Creek, and cross the flats towards Harper Creek. Pick up the marked trail on the true-left of Harper Creek, following it for about 2km on a high terrace, through a notoriously boggy section, before dropping onto the poled route across the flats, and the entrenched track to Carrington hut.

Note: Greenlaw Hut was removed in 1996 due to earthquake damage.

With persistent wet weather the Waimakariri is not fordable. It should also be noted that most of its tributaries are also prone to flooding (Jordan Stream, Anti-Crow River, Greenlaw Creek, and Harper Creek). In view of this, a route exists on the southern (true-right) bank, from the Bealey Bridge to Carrington Hut (O’Malley’s track). This route takes approximately 5 hours. A marked track leads from the bridge to Anti-Crow hut (2 hours). The track continues on through bush and on to the boggy Anti-Crow ‘roche moutonnee’ crossing the Anti-Crow and dropping back towards the Waimakariri riverbed. In 2018 a flood destroyed the flood-route here, a braid of the Waimakariri River may need to be crossed, or a bush bash around its southern bank for 300m. Regain the marked track in the bush-edge near a stream running parallel to the river, several waterfalled sidestreams cross this section of track, take care.

The track continues vaguely across the rocky Greenlaw Creek fan and onto the tussock flats leading to Harper Creek. After crossing the creek the track re-enters the bush following a high terrace as per the description earlier.

Carrington Hut - Waimakariri Col (5 - 6 hours)
From Carrington hut follow the marked route to the White River near the Waimakariri junction, cross where safe then travel upstream on the true-right bank of the Waimakariri River, at first in the river-bed, but shortly entering the bush on a well defined track. The route continues on the true-right bank, crossing Campbell Creek in a little over an hour, then turning east towards the gorge at the base of Waimakariri Falls. From here a rough track (staked, and cairned) climbs steeply through low dense shrub on the true-right side to the footbridge below rock cliffs. Ford the river or cross the swing bridge (an interesting approach) and follow the trail to Waimakariri Falls Hut (3 hours from Carrington Hut).

For those travelling to Mt Rolleston (access off the glacier running from the north-west ridge), head towards the prominent gorge on the true-left of the river visible from the hut. When just below the gorge, cross the river (to true-right) and follow a series of scree and rock ramps up diagonally providing a negotiable route around the ravine. Beware of avalanche danger from the ridge running northeast of Carrington Peak.

Once above the gorge move eastward towards Mt Rolleston, or if heading to Waimakariri Col continue towards the head of the valley sidling slowly towards the bluffs to the west. About 90m below the ridge turn west and sidle for about 25 minutes (passing a low rocky peak on the ridge running west from Mt Rolleston) to the flat saddle (with tarn) where this ridge merges with a slope leading to the glacier below Mt Armstrong. This is the crossing point into the Rolleston River, the true Waimakariri Col IS NOT a viable route.

Note: Under winter conditions the route to Waimakariri Falls hut tends to be difficult to traverse, and find, due to deep snow. Another option (though possibly more difficult) under these conditions is to come in via the Rolleston River from Otira. In good conditions this can take in excess of 7 hours.

Carrington Hut - Barker Hut (3 – 5 hours)
From Carrington hut follow the marked route upstream on the White River towards the Clough Cableway. This cableway is difficult to use, and should not be used to leave Carrington hut if the rivers are uncrossable. It is best to ford the White River 300m below or above the cableway to its true-left bank.

The route follows the true left shingle bank upstream crossing the Taipoiti and Kilmarnock Falls streams (dangerous crossings in flood).

The original high level track was destroyed in the 1994 earthquake. Continue upstream, boulder hopping until a large cubic boulder (4m high) is met adjacent the river with a cairn of rocks atop. From here commence climbing the large shingle slide diagonally upstream, following cairns, until the vague remnants of the track are intersected high on its tussock border with possibly a marker post. The route generally sidles the contour, and can be lost at small slides easily, follow cairns and the occasional marker post, crossing two deep ravines. The route avoids the 'black' gorge below. Finally the route descends via an ugly gut back to the White River. Boulder hop upstream looking for cairns on the true-left indicating a route around and over the stream draining the Cahill Glacier just above the White confluence.

Note: In winter this entire area is snow bound, and finding a comfortable route is quite difficult. If the snow is firm staying high away from the White River is generally easier. Also note that many of these screes are avalanche prone in winter (especially below Mt Isobel/Davie).

A short steep hill climb leads to the 'chasm' (marked by large cairns). Dependant on the season this obstacle may be bridged by a very suspect snow plug (use a rope!). A loose, steep descent gully exists about 60 upstream of the old swing bridge location (marked by plaque on opposite side) giving access to a large boulder crossing of the White River below a waterfall. On crossing the upper White River, a long hill climb on rock/scree skirts around the southern side of the main bluff. Follow cairns up through a series of gullies that top out at Barker Hut.

If the water flow in the upper White River is too much to ford safely, not an irregular occurrence, a route exists climbing a series of 'dry' gullies on the true left of the large rock buttress. Sidle on the very loose slopes to the Marmaduke Dixon Stream, crossing near the glacier’s terminal. The White River is jumped over a narrow slot (don’t miss), then follow a series of easy slabs up to the ridge behind Barker Hut.

Carrington Hut - Harman Pass – Julia Hut (5+ hours)
From Carrington hut follow the marked route upstream on the White River towards the Clough Cableway. This cableway is difficult to use, and should not be used to leave Carrington hut if the rivers are uncrossable. It is best to ford the White River 300m below the cableway to its true-left bank.

Rock-hop up the true-left bank to the Taipoiti's dry eastern branch confluence. Continue boulder-hopping up the Taipoiti River. Follow the stream through the narrow gorge until you reach the cairned and poled beginning of a bypass track on the true left. This track skirts over the top of a small waterfall crossing the stream to its true right.

Note: In late winter/early summer this area may contain large amounts of avalanche ice suspended some tens-of-metres above the stream-bed with a risk of falling through or collapse!

Sidle around on loose rock and tussock, climbing gradually towards Harman Pass (1321m) on the poled route. Deep snow drifts cover this area in winter.

The pass has a large cairn on it, and poled routes leading towards Ariels Tarns (southwest) and down into Mary Creek (north).

From the pass, descend on loose rocky ground negotiating the poled route into the head of Mary Creek. Cross the creek to its true-left. A meandering trail can be found on the terrace above the creek. Keep generally high above the creek, crossing several scree fields and side-streams. A descent can be made to the creek-bed once easier ground is reached. Continue boulder-hopping down the creek following marker posts.

A formed track is found on the true-left at the bushline marked by a large orange triangle. Follow this for a kilometre, crossing a 3 wire bridge to flats surrounding the Julia Huts.

Note: From Harman Pass a route exists to Whitehorn Pass, by sidling on slopes above Ariels Tarns, then ice and snow to the pass. In 2019 the Whitehorn ice-field completely collapsed exposing considerable loose rock; it is unclear whether it will reinstate itself given the trends in climate change. A descent into Cronin Stream may be quite dangerous in heavy winter conditions. The route descends screes and under bluffs on the true-left. Follow Cronin Stream for some way before crossing to the true-right. A marked bypass trail is met just prior to the stream flowing through a narrow gorge. This trail leads to Park Morpeth hut near the junction with the Wilberforce River. 8–10 hours are required for this route from Carrington Hut.

Arthur's Pass - Avalanche Peak - Crow Hut (5 - 6 hours)
Take the slightly easier Scott's Track (leaves from the Devil's Punchbowl car-park). Follow the orange snow-pole track marking to the summit of Avalanche Peak. In winter do not attempt to cross the snow basins above Avalanche Creek or Rough Creek as risk of avalanche is very high. Time to the peak in summer is about 2 - 3 hours.

From Avalanche Peak go counter-intuitively south for about 50 – 100m before descending on steep slopes west onto a scree track that leads north to the saddle between Avalanche Peak and the lower peak to the west. From the saddle sidle northwest to join the main ridge leading towards Mt Rolleston.

Follow the ridge, there is no marking, however large rock arrows on the ground indicate the need to keep going; all the initial screes lead off deadly cliffs. A saddle is reached after about 1.4km where there should be two marker poles, a large scree slope to the west obviously has no cliffs, and the full drop (133m) of the Devil's Punchbowl waterfall should be visible. In winter this scree is prone to avalanche from its northern side chutes.

Descend the scree, beware of rockfall, to the Crow River. The Crow hut is a 20 minute rock-hop downstream situated on a grassy rise on the true-right embankment.

Mingha and Deception Rivers

Highway 73 to Goat Pass hut (3.5 - 5 hours)
From Greyneys Shelter on Highway 73, 5km south of Arthur’s Pass village, use the tunnel under the railway line and follow the poled route along the stop-bank. Cross the Bealey River just above its confluence with the Mingha River (do not attempt in times of flood). Round the Mingha corner on the river flats (true-right). The river is met at a scree, ford to the true-left and continue upstream. After about 1.5km you are forced into another crossing to the true-right. As the river approaches a narrow gorge, a marked track enters the bush just past a side creek and climbs to a point well above the gorge at Dudley Knob (excellent views). It then descends via a series of boardwalks and staircases towards the river, keeping within the bush-line.

Once the track emerges from the scrub, a short distance upstream on the true right is the Mingha bivouac (2 bunks). From here a cut track continues to follow the true-right river bank, passing Kennedy Falls, leading on to another, more bouldery, crossing of the Mingha River.

The track climbs through low scrub, leading onto the long board-walks across the boggy terrace. The Goat Pass hut is in a hollow just north of the pass.

Note: The Mingha River, Agility Stream and Lake Mavis Stream can be very dangerous crossings when in high water.

Goat Pass - Deception River - Highway 73 (5 – 8 hours)
A marked track through the scrub descends to the upper Deception River. The route now takes the form of scrambles, rock-hopping down the river bed, and adjacent bush; very rarely is it on a marked trail. The Upper Deception hut is reached in approximately 1 hour, on the true-right.

Continue in or beside the river bed for the next 9.5km, crossing the river as necessary and safe to do so; there can be 20 – 30 crossings required. Below Twin Slips Creek you may be on the true-left again; about 1.3km before the Otira River confluence cross to the true-right (near the bush edge) then continue following the river to the Morrison Footbridge.

Goat Pass – Lake Mavis – Tarahuna Pass (2.5 hours)

Climb the prominent scree slope to the east of Goat Pass, about 300m south of the hut, on its true-left. As the scree narrows into a gut sidle out south onto stepped tussock slopes, whilst still ascending. This leads onto a moraine ridge, dotted with rock cairns. Where the ridge begins to climb steeply once more, sidle the grassy slopes around to Lake Mavis. This climb normally takes 1 hour from the Pass.

An obvious ridge running northeast, overlooking the Deception River headwaters, joins the North Ridge of Mt Oates. Follow this ridge northwards to a low point above the first small tarn (E1490616 N5249482) in the Edwards catchment. A snow/scree slope can be descended directly to the tarn.

There are two tarns in this vicinity, the small tarn is not easily visible from the ridge. Cross its outlet stream, sidling southwards under the North Ridge of Mt Oates. Slowly descend the grassy spur leading to Taruahuna Pass. A steep descent gully is met on the true-left, shortly before the spur becomes bluffed. A descent of this gully leads to a stream draining the small tarn above. It is an easy descent from here to the moraine head-wall at Taruahuna Pass. Time from Lake Mavis is about 1.5 hours.

Highway 73 - Temple Basin - Goat Pass (5 – 7 hours)
A well defined track leads from the Temple Basin car-park to the ski huts. Following the northern ski tow, a well defined trail runs from the top towards Page Shelter. From the shelter climb directly towards Temple Col (the obvious low saddle).

From Temple Col survey the way ahead carefully; if there is poor visibility consider turning back. Bearing slightly left, drop down steep scree for about 150 metres to a boulder terrace above the first line of bluffs. Descend on the left of a small stream and onto the rim of the next line of bluffs, about 305 m below Temple Col. Avoid traversing further to the left into the bluffs and avalanche terrain. From the rim of this terrace two grassy ridges lead steeply down through the next line of bluffs. Take the left hand one—it runs down between two major streams and looks the better one.

Where the ridge forks near the bottom, drop off to the right into the stream-bed. Follow the stream-bed for about 15 minutes. Then begin sidling on the true left, slowly climbing between the river and the bluffs and following deer trails through the thick alpine scrub where possible.

The unmarked route crosses multiple rock ribs and some steep gullies before turning north towards Goat Pass. Continue sidling through untracked scrub to the top of the pass.

In anything but good conditions, the route above could provide plenty of 'epic' potential! Reversing this route (i.e. ascending from Goat Pass) in poor conditions usually finds you inadvertently climbing the East Ridge of Mt Temple, not a comfortable place to be involuntarily, with numerous steep gullies falling away on both sides.

By spring quite large cornices can form on the eastern approaches to Temple Col.

Edwards, Otehake and Hawdon Rivers

Highway 73 - Edwards River - Taruahuna Pass (5 – 7 hours)
From Greyneys Shelter on Highway 73, 5km south of Arthur’s Pass village, use the tunnel under the railway line and follow the poled route along the stop-bank. Cross the Bealey River just above its confluence with the Mingha River (do not attempt in times of flood). Aim for a point about 200m south of the Edwards River gorge (there may be a large orange marker), fording the Mingha River, then possibly the Edwards River if it is running parallel. A marked track enters the bush here.

The track provides a 20 minute bypass of the lower Edwards gorge. The gorge is also negotiable at low river levels, but very slow-going. When the track re-emerges onto the riverbed, travel upstream on the true-left climbing the bank once or twice where the going requires it.

Cross the East Edwards River about 200m above its confluence with the main river, and pick up a well defined track opposite (big cairn and orange marker). This track leads easily through several gullies and bush until it emerges among the large tussock flats with a clear view of Edwards Hut. Total time from the road to the hut is 3.5 – 5 hours. Continue upstream of the hut on track, until it ends at the Edwards River. Keep travelling upstream, crossing back and forth as necessary. The stream usually dries out before the major rock-piles of Taruhuna Pass. A cairned route leads across the pass on its eastern side meeting a signpost at the base of Tarn Col.

Upper Edwards River - Goat Pass (2.5 hours)
At a point approx. 300m upstream of the creek running down from Amber Col, and north of the stream running off Mt Oates, follow the steep tussocked slope uphill towards the buttress on Mt Oates North Ridge. When about 150m below the base of this buttress sidle to the north and upwards around into a basin containing a small tarn. The North Ridge of Mt Oates is easily gained from here. A wide open ridge runs southwest down grassy slopes to Lake Mavis. From the lake sidle northwest onto the back of the main ridge (rock cairns). Descend the ridge, sidling north where it steepens to intersect a scree slope descending for 200m directly to Goat Pass (170m from the hut).

Taruahuna Pass - Taramakau River (10 - 12 hours)
Once on Taruahuna Pass bear somewhat right on the landslide debris towards the foot of the slopes below Tarn Col and pick a way down towards the head-waters of the Otehake River. This involves traversing down some rough but easy terraces. Carry on down the river until it begins to drop away between high shingle banks on both sides. From here, climb to the high terraces on the true-left using marked tracks through the bush where the bush cover extends to the brink of cliffs.

Descend an open, grassy terrace and drop into the riverbed at the point where the first major side stream joins the Otehake River. This is about two hours from the summit of the Pass. Ford this side stream and continue down the riverbed on the true-left for about 15 minutes towards the point where the bush-clad banks draw together. Pick up the marked trail on the true-left and follow it for about 30 minutes to the Otehake Hut, just above the point where the Otehake joins its East Branch.

From the hut downstream, this author would not recommend the route to anyone with a mountaineering pack on their back. It was recut and marked in 2018, but still is slow-going. The route sticks to the true-left the entire way to the hot spring in the lower Otehake. This would take the most persistent party about 6 hours. From the hot spring follow the river for about 1km until a marked track is found on the true-left, this leads to Lake Kaurapataka. Follow the marked track along the southern shores of the lake to the Pfeifer Creek junction, then onwards to the Taramakau River. From here it is 1.5 hours out to Highway 73 at Aickens.

Taruahuna Pass – Hawdon Shelter (7.5 hours)
From the pass bear northeast across landslide debris and make for the foot of a grassy saddle just north of Falling Mountain. This is Tarn Col (signpost at base), a poled route up the steep ascent follows the creek and spur which drops straight down from the lowest point on the col (climbing time = about 25 minutes). Skirt the tarn and drop immediately into the bed of the creek running east of the col. Travel the creek to its junction with the East Branch of Otehake River, then turn south and travel the riverbed upstream for 20 minutes. Ascend through low scrub to Walker Pass on the true right, approximately 2 hours from Tarn Col.

Pick up the Twin Fall Stream draining the tarn on the pass, following it downstream through boulders and scrub. A track does traverse this stream. After about 40 minutes, the start of the bush track is staked at the bottom end of a series of rounded rock cliffs on the true-left. Climb to the second marker on the low ridge, at the end of the cliffs, and about 30m back up the ridge to the cairn which indicates where the marked track enters the bush. Follow the track steeply down past Twin Falls until it emerges in Twin Falls Creek.

Five minutes down this creek the new Hawdon hut is met near the confluence of the Hawdon River and Discovery Stream. Time from Walker Pass is about 2 hours.

From Hawdon hut follow the marked route (true-right) until just below a point where the East Hawdon River joins the main Hawdon River. If the rivers are low, cross here, follow the open grassy flats, crossing the river as necessary. It is prudent to be on the true-right just prior to Sudden Valley Stream, fording it then heading for the gate in the cattle fence that spans the river. Below here look for the best crossing of the river to Hawdon Shelter. It takes about 3 hours to travel from Hawdon Hut to the road head.

Otira, Rolleston and Taramakau Rivers

Otira – Rolleston River – Waimakariri Col (6 - 7 hours)
From the rail bridge on the Rolleston River, follow the true-left of the river for about 500m until above the obvious bluff on the opposite bank. Cross to the true-right and continue upstream boulder hopping where necessary.

As the gorge is approached the route rises steeply up an often dry side creek. Climb some 70 vertical metres before entering a marked trail on the true-left. It sidles the hillside for an hour or more, crossing scree gullies and bush, then descends a scree gully back to the riverbed. A boulder hop of some 200m finds several cairns marking a steep pitch on the true-left. Negotiate the so-called track (scree slope marked with cairns) upwards until the track levels out on the scree and avalanche slopes below Anderson Peak and Mt Armstrong. Theoretically a track sidles this face, but is generally too vague to recognise let alone follow. The best option is to sidle the contour on the true left, crossing scree gullies and avalanche chutes (these chutes can be still active into early summer—especially below Mt Armstrong—beware!).

Eventually your route should skim under some bluffs to the east, finding a series of grassy ridges that should be ascended. This tops out in a basin (Rolleston head-waters) below Waimakariri Col. Follow a stream fed by the glacier running onto the saddle below Mt Armstrong. When at the same level as the saddle, cut across a scree and boulder field to the tarn on the saddle.

Highway 73 - Carroll Hut (2.5 hours)
From the car-park at Kellys Creek follow the marked track. Cross the side-creek then turn right onto the uphill track. This first side-creek is prone to flash flood and can be deadly, as it is adjacent the much wilder Kellys Creek. The track rises steeply through the podocarp forest, breaking tree-line at 1000m. The track then sidles the hillside, crossing two avalanche paths, before rising onto the boggy basin near Carroll hut.

Highway 73 - Hunts Creek Hut (4.5 hours)
From the car-park at Kellys Creek follow the marked track. Cross the side-creek then turn left onto the Hunt Saddle track. The track sidles then descends back to Kellys Creek. Riverbed travel for just over a kilometre finds a marked track on the true-left, this climbs steeply, then sidles avoiding an impassable gorge section. Again follow the much steeper and bouldery riverbed. Another marked track on the true-left leads up through light forest up to Hunt Saddle. The saddle can be difficult to navigate - it's muddy and covered with head-high tussocks. Look for marker poles and watch out for deep holes. A rough track continues to sidle in forest above Hunts Creek, climbing and falling regularly. The track crosses two large screes before dropping into the basin and the tussock flat where the hut is located.

Highway 73 – Locke Stream Hut (6 hours)
The car-park is located between the two level railway crossings on Highway 73 at Aickens. From the car-park cross the stile and follow the fence line to the Otira River. Check out the most suitable place to cross from up on the embankment as there can be deep holes in this section of river. After crossing the Otira, make for the end of the band of tall trees immediately opposite (marked by an orange triangle).

A track leads through scrub and gorse to grassy flats. Continue walking along these grassy flats past Pfeifer Creek and the signposted turn-off to Lake Kaurapataka. Stay on the true-left bank and cross Otehake River and then, further upstream, cross the Taramakau River to its true-right at the safest place to cross.

Continue along the true-right. The route has been washed out here in recent years and further crossings of the Taramakau may be necessary, but aim to stay on the true-right. About 1km above the Otehake a sign will indicate the short side-track to Kiwi Hut.

Upstream from Kiwi Hut remain on the true-right. Towards Locke Stream the riverbed begins to narrow and eroded banks on the true-right become steeper. Cross to the true-left just downstream of the Taramakau/Locke Stream confluence and continue on over Locke Stream where you will locate a short track leading through the forest to Locke Stream Hut.

The 'flood track' from the Morrison foot-bridge to the Taramakau is particularly useless in high water, as it also gets inundated by the Otira River.

Highway 73 – Julia Hut (6 - 8 hours)
From the small car-park on Highway 73 (2km towards Otira from the Taipo River bridge) follow the four wheel drive track for about 3km onto the first river flats, the track has been washed out by the Taipo River shortly after, and it takes about 40 minutes from here to reach Dillons hut.

About 1.5km upstream of Dillons hut is the Scottys 3 wire bridge; a route does continue upstream on the true-right, but you need to be certain the Taipo is crossable on foot safely. Cross the 3 wire, the track sidles upstream meeting a large active landslide area (not the first big gut), pick your way carefully down this 60m to the river flat below. From here it is a relatively straightforward walk of 6.5km to Mid Taipo hut; both the Dunns and Hura side-streams are unbridged and can be treacherous if running high.

From Mid Taipo it is a just over a kilometre to the swing-bridge that spans the Taipo River to its true-right. From here it is a couple of hours to the Julia huts.

Poulter Valley

Andrews Shelter - Casey Hut Site (6-8 hours)
Just upstream of the bridge near Andrews Shelter, a marked track begins on the true-left and climbs steeply through open scrub to the beech forests above. It continues to climb but then meanders across regular side creeks, while generally keeping much to the same contour. Eventually it rejoins Andrews Stream at Hallelujah Flat (about 2.5 hours).

From the start of Hallelujah Flat, follow the grassy flats over Casey Saddle on the obvious worn track. The saddle itself is a mixture of tussock and low scrubs.

Beyond Casey Saddle, keep to the terrace immediately above Surprise Stream. After a few minutes, the reasonably well-worn track crossing the saddle drops into the stream-bed below a small swamp. The forest track to the Casey hut site begins a few minutes below the Trinity Stream–Surprise Stream–Pampas Stream confluence. The track marker is tucked under the forest canopy on the true right, just past a bit of rough track through scrub on that side.

About 50m downstream from the marker on the opposite side, a steep eroded gravel bank drops into the stream. If you get as far as this almost treeless bank, then you have overshot the track. From the stream the track climbs a little, sidles then descends a ridge to emerge from the bush on a large grass flat near Casey Stream.

The Casey hut site is back from the stream at the bush edge, midway down the flat. The Casey Hut burnt down in October 2015 and is expected to be replaced in 2020.

Casey Hut Site - Poulter Hut - Minchin Bivouac (6.5 hours)
From the hut site follow the old vehicle track west to the ford in Casey Stream, close to where the track to Casey Saddle enters the bush. Casey Stream is dangerous to ford when running high. The old vehicle track continues north over a low forested spur, emerging onto a scrub terrace then dropping six metres to the main flats of Poulter River, just up-river from a long, curving shingle cliff. From here continue over gentle grass flats to Trust/Poulter hut at the edge of the bush on the true-right. Time from Casey Stream is about 1.5 hours.

Beyond here the vehicle track turns the corner and peters out. Continue on the true-right of the Poulter for a few minutes, then head diagonally across the riverbed aiming for a point about half a kilometre below the outlet of Minchin Stream, the major tributary on the true-left. Follow the marker poles through high matagouri to the start of Lake Minchin track and Poulter Hut. The hut is on the bush edge on the true-left bank of the Poulter River, about an hour's travel from Trust/Poulter hut. A further hour of well-marked, easy track leads to the old hut site at Lake Minchin. This is about 1 hours travel from Poulter hut.

Follow the well-formed track around the eastern side of the lake and travel up the river flats for about half an hour. A few minutes before the river narrows to an impassable gorge, a track begins on the true-right, just beyond the broad shingle fan of a side creek opposite. This track bypasses the gorge, climbing high to rocky outcrops above precipitous bluffs, then drops steeply through bush to rejoin Minchin Stream at its junction with Linwood Creek. Above the gorge the route follows Minchin Stream, constantly crossing and re-crossing, to the next significant junction, about 1.5km upstream. Minchin Bivouac stands a little above the river in the 'V' of this junction.

Poulter Hut - Poulter Bivouac (2.5 hours)
From Poulter hut it is only 2.3km of easy riverbed travel to the Worsley bivouac. The river remains straightforward to the Chasm Stream junction, where turns north and travel is through a much tighter kilometre long gorge system, this can be tricky in high water. Above the gorge the riverflats broaden again and it is relatively easy travel for the remaining 3km to the bivouac.

Mt White Road - Bull Creek Hut - Candlesticks Bivouac (10 – 12 hours)

From the road-bridge over the Poulter River follow the well formed trail up the true-right of the Poulter River for 12.5km to the Mt Brown Creek, and the National Park cattle fence. Cross the Poulter River to the Poulter River East Branch. In low water this is easily followed upstream, crossing as necessary to the mouth of the McArthur Gorge. The gorge can be traversed at low water, but it may be necessary to cut across the true-left meanders using animal trails through the forest during higher water levels. After about 10km on the East Poulter the valley opens out into large river-flats and is easily followed to Bull Creek hut hidden in a forested alcove north of Bull Creek. This route takes about 6 – 8 hours.

From Bull Creek hut ascend Bull Creek. In high water it will be necessary to climb the slope directly opposite Bull Creek hut and sidle above the gorge until you can climb back down to Bull Creek where the river flats widen again. A second gorge must also be skirted in high water, again returning to the creek bed and following it all the way to the Candlesticks bivouac. This takes about 3.5 hours.

Craigieburn Forest Park

Cass - Hamilton Hut (5 - 8 hours)
From the signposted car-park at the east end of the Cass River road bridge, follow the vehicle track next to the row of pine trees until it meets the Cass River.

Follow the riverbed upstream, keeping to the true-right bank as much as possible. You will need to cross the river several times. The track climbs into the forest at a marked point just below the junction with Long Valley Stream; it is easy to miss if you are on the wrong side of Cass River so stay on the true-right. The river is crossed again via a bridge, then the track climbs for another 20–30 minutes before crossing the river again. Cass Saddle hut is reached soon after you have crossed to the true-right bank.

The tussock basin above Cass Saddle hut is reached shortly after leaving the hut, and the poled route climbs gradually to the saddle. Hamilton hut can be seen in the distance down the valley. Traverse left for 200 metres to the start of the cut track.

This area is subject to avalanche activity during the winter. During heavy snow conditions, it is advised not to travel this route unless sufficiently equipped and experienced to assess the conditions and choose a safe path through avalanche terrain.

The track drops steeply from the saddle, and then more gently through the bush terraces, joining Hamilton Creek 15 minutes from Hamilton hut.

Hamilton Hut – Cora Lynn Station (5 - 8 hours)
The route crosses Hamilton Creek at a footbridge 10 minutes downstream from Hamilton hut and leads to a swing bridge across the Harper River, a short distance above its confluence with Hamilton Creek. After crossing the swing bridge, the route continues upstream on the true-right of the river to West Harper hut.

From West Harper hut the track bypasses a small gorge to reach river flats and a good campsite at Windy Creek. The route crosses the creek and is followed to the confluence of Long Creek and the Harper River. Follow the rock cairns up the Harper riverbed for approximately 500 metres and then a formed track on the true-left climbs steadily to Lagoon Saddle shelter. Lagoon Saddle hut is located just across the river. From Lagoon Saddle shelter the track gradually climbs through patches of beech forest above the tarns on Lagoon Saddle. It is marked by poles and markers.

Once on the northern face of Mt Bruce, the track descends through tussock and gives excellent views of the peaks of Arthur's Pass National Park and the braided Waimakariri River.

The track descends through beech and exotic forest to Bealey hut. A further 5-minute walk from the hut takes you to the car-park by Cora Lynn Station, and another 2 minutes to SH73.

Arthur's Pass, like the rest of the Southern Alps, shares a true fickleness in weather and climbing conditions. It is hard to be too specific about the difficulty of routes as these can change on a day-to-day, season-to-season basis.

This guide uses the same grading system as used in the Aoraki – Tai Poutini guidebook (2018) . This involves using both a 'Seriousness' and 'Technical' grade to the routes. For some routes a separate rock grade is mentioned, these are based on the Australian originated Ewbank System.

For an indepth explanation of this new 'New Zealand Mountaineering Grading System' refer to the Aoraki – Tai Poutini guidebook (2018).

NZAC Seriousness Grade

The Seriousness Grade is the most important grade from an overall mountaineering perspective. It takes into account (in no particular order): the objective hazards throughout the climb; how easy or difficult it is to retreat; the importance of good route finding; the length of the route; and whether or not the easiest descent is on familiar ground.

The start point for a climb is referred to as a ‘base’, which is considered to be the nearest hut or safe campsite. Climbs starting from remote bases will have a slightly higher Seriousness Grade.

  • I. Close to civilization with non-technical access and no significant objective hazards. Simple to reverse. Requires good navigation in poor visibility and familiarity with movement in the mountains.
  • II. Generally climbed in a half day to a full day close to a base. Likely to need skills relating to crevasse rescue, abseiling, and placing snow/ice/rock anchors. Descent is probably the same route as ascent, i.e. on familiar ground. No unusual objective hazards.
  • III. Moderate to long routes close to a base, or shorter routes a few hours from a base. Can be reversed but this may involve brief sections with tricky downclimbing or abseiling. Easiest descent could be different from ascent route, but if so is straightforward. There could be short sections exposed to significant objective hazards.
  • IV. Getting into the big stuff now. Requires sound mountaineering judgement and experience to complete with a good level of safety and to manage objective hazards. Could be long, but if so should be straightforward to reverse. Routes at this grade that are not so long may require multiple abseils to reverse, or may involve a traverse of the peak to get to an easier descent route.
  • V. Very long routes close to a base, or moderate length routes in a fairly remote area. Likely to be very tricky to reverse. Easiest descent is moderately complicated and is probably different from ascent route. Access, climb, or descent could involve significant objective hazards.
  • VI. Routes at this grade are generally very long, and are challenging to reverse even for very experienced climbers. Potentially major objective hazards. The best descent route is likely to be complicated, and a night out is likely for most parties.
  • VII. Very experienced, strong climbers will have a tough climb. Start of route is remote and route is very long. Objective hazards could be severe. Retreating from the route would be difficult and would put you back in a serious spot. Easiest descent is probably very complicated and involves a traverse of the peak.

NZAC Technical Grade

The Technical Grade takes into account the actual difficulty of the climbing moves. It considers both the crux and how sustained the route is. A '+' symbol is used to indicate a greater level of difficulty. The Technical Grade may be increased slightly if the rock quality is poor.

  • 1. Snow up to 25° and/or low angled rock scrambling.
  • 2. Sustained snow of 30° to 35° or moderately steep rock scrambling, and/or may have a brief section of 50° snow/ice or exposed rock. Ridge travel may have brief exposed sections.
  • 3. Sustained snow of 40° to 45° or sustained steep rock scrambling, and/or may have a short step of ice, or a pitch of 60° snow or grade 10-11 rock. Ridge travel may involve some tricky gendarmes or very exposed sections.
  • 4. Sustained snow/ice of 50° to 55° or sustained grade 10-12 rock, and/or may have crux sections of WI3 ice, M3 mixed, or grade 13-14 rock. Ridge travel likely to involve massive exposure or numerous steep gendarmes.
  • 5. Sustained 60° to 65° ice/mixed climbing or grade 13-15 rock, and/or may have crux sections of WI4 ice, M4 mixed, or grade 16-17 rock.
  • 6. Sustained WI3 to WI3+ ice, M3-4 mixed, or grade 16-18 rock, and/or may have crux sections of WI4+ to WI5 ice, M5 mixed, or grade 19-20 rock.
  • 7. Sustained WI4 to WI4+ ice, M5 mixed, or grade 19-20 rock, and/or may have crux sections of WI5+ ice, M6 mixed, or grade 22-23 rock.
  • 8. Sustained WI5 to WI5+ ice, M6 mixed, or grade 22-23 rock, and/or may have crux sections of M7 mixed or grade 25-26 rock.

Special notes and warnings

Special warnings or notes in the text are indicated with

Finding your Route

This guidebook is organised into four chapters for each area it covers: Arthur's Pass National Park & Surrounds, Craigieburn Forest Park & Surrounds, Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park, and Private / Leasehold Lands.

This is further divided into smaller areas, that typically can be valleys or catchments in alphabetical order eg. 1. Andrews Stream Valley, 2. Anti-Crow Valley, 3. Avoca Valley. These all have an integer number allocated to them (1 - 37). Within these smaller areas, the accessible peaks and mountains are listed again in alphabetical order eg. Cow Peak, Mottram Peaks, Mt Damfool etc. with an altitude and possible brief description of the feature. The possible routes are then listed under each feature, giving them a unique decimal number (1.1 – 37.3).

Each climbing route listing includes the following information as a minimum:

  • A descriptive name for the route eg. From Gizeh Col
  • Seriousness Grade (I to VII) and a Technical Grade (1 to 8), refer to the Grading System section for more information on grades.
  • Name(s) of the first ascentionist(s) and date of ascent.
  • Recommended routes are marked with a ; note that the ticks are awarded by the author for many potential reasons. Caveat emptor applies.

Critical warnings in the route notes are indicated with

Other information could include climb height from base (m) and typical ascent time from base (hours).

The colour of a particular route in an annotated photo (or ‘topo’) does not imply anything about the route; it is simply a visual aid to make the route stand out of differentiate it from other routes.

Mt Stuart 1906m
4.18Southeast Face190m 1.5hrsII, 3
 The southeast face is reached by traversing over Phipps Peak, and the 1820m point, or by sidling into the col between Mt Stuart and the 1820m point from Pegleg Creek. Ascend the scree slope from the col towards a left-trending ramp of rock and scree at the bottom of the rock face. Ascend this ramp upwards then traverse off right to join the hanging scree slope. Climb to the head of the scree under a vertical gully.

Ascend the obvious, diagonal, left-trending ramp until you reach a rock ledge. From here there are multiple routes up to the South Ridge of Mt Stuart that involve climbing straight up steep, but solid rock, or working your way up through various ledges and chimneys, skirting around patches of scree and/or rotten rock as you go.

Once the ridge is gained continue on to the summit.

Dave Hegan, Hanno Snyman, Robert Phillips & Jun ?, 6 February 2018
Arthur's Pass National Park & Surrounds
1. Andrews Stream Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Brown Hill (1716m)(1.1) From Casey Saddle
Climb Height: 939m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Casey Saddle (777m) follow the stream for about 1.8km that drains the escarpment north of Brown Hill. A large scree slope drops in from the north at this point, ascend the scree on its true-right, aiming for the more shallow tussock slopes near its head, climb onto the forested ridge and ascend it for 300m to open ground. This same forested ridge can be followed from the stream, however is confusing on descent and should be avoided. Follow the tussock ridge to the 1651m point then follow the ridge southeast through a broad saddle before climbing easy slopes to Brown Hill. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
2. Anti-Crow Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Cow Peak (2022m)(2.1) From the Anti-Crow River
Climb Height: 800m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Follow the Anti-Crow River to its headwaters. Climb the broad scree chutes to an area under Gizeh Col. Ascend the head-wall slabs to the col, then ascend the crumbling south ridge to the summit.

An alternate route climbs to Fools Col from the upper scree basins via the permanent ice-field then ascends the north ridge to the summit.

 The upper basins of the Anti-Crow are extremely avalanche prone in winter / spring
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Cow Peak (2022m)(2.2) Southeast Face - Greet the Sacred Cow
Climb Height: 280m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2+
UIAA: AD
Ewbank: 14
This route is accessed from the Anti-Crow Valley and starts at the toe of the obvious buttress in the centre of the face.

The route heads up roughly the centre of the buttress (more sustained options could be in the extreme left of the buttress) to the top of it where it ends in a rock arete opposite the large notch in the ridge line between Gizeh Col and Cow Peak. The notch is avoided by following the arete towards the notch and turning north to follow slabs and then a gully to the summit ridge roughly 100m south of the summit proper.

The rock is surprisingly good with comfortable belay ledges at the top of each pitch. The seventh and final pitch to the ridge is a bit chossy but is manageable.

Descent is via Cow Peak ridge to Fools Col and back to the head of the Anti-Crow.

Climbers Notes: A single 60m rope, a full set of nuts, Camalots 1 through to 3, a set of hexes and 3 - 4 slings are useful.

First ascent: Ryan Nicol & Ellie Watson, 24 January 2015
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mottram Peaks (1751m)(2.3) From lower AntiCrow River
Climb Height: 1014m
Ascent Time: 3.5 hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Ascend the Anti-Crow River to a split in the river directly adjacent the south ridge of the 1789m point. Ascend this side creek for about 250 metres then turn north into a scree gully leading into a large scree basin directly south of the summit (this basin is avalanche prone in winter). Climb the basin trending northeast towards the saddle west of the 1789m point. The summit is easily reached from here. This ridge can be severely corniced in winter to the south. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Damfool (2030m)(2.4) From Anti-Crow River
Climb Height: 400m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
Ascend the steep scree slope from the high basin in the Anti-Crow Valley south of the peak to Fools Col then easy slopes to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Damfool (2030m)(2.5) The sunglasses route
Climb Height: 330m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 3+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2+
UIAA: AD
Ewbank: 12
This nine pitch route starts on the extreme right hand end of a large and obvious bench accessed from basin above the waterfalls at the head of the Anti-Crow River. It then follows through a short steep section then follows slabs angling left until on the main arête. The rock is excellent; compact greywacke, great friction, but sparse protection available. From the top of the arête the route follows an easy but broken ridge over a short step to main summit.

First ascent: Andy Cole & Paul Stevens 2005
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Gizeh (2162m)(2.6) From Echo Col
Climb Height: 100m
Ascent Time: 30mins
NZAC: 2
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
The ridge from Echo Col to the summit is very steep and loose whilst rock; firm winter conditions are preferable, however avalanche risk does tend to be very high in the upper basins of Anti-Crow River. In early summer, a descent on permanent ice to the south may find steep couloirs still holding enough ice to make an ascent to join the south ridge to the summit. Descend to Gizeh Col via the easier north ridge. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Gizeh (2162m)(2.7) From Gizeh Col
Climb Height: 190m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 2
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From the high basins at the head of the Anti Crow River, climb to Gizeh Col via a steep scramble on scree then loose rock. Follow the loose, narrow rock arete to the summit.

First ascent: R E Clark, John Pascoe, A G Flower, 19 April 1930
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Greenlaw (2315m)(2.8) From Anti-Crow River
Climb Height: 1150m
Ascent Time: 5.5hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
  Mt Greenlaw is best climbed from a high camp in the head of the Anti-Crow River. The usual route crosses Gizeh Col and descends to the upper Avoca Valley onto Moraine Flat ascending the Avoca Glacier route to the summit. A much longer, and more varied route crosses Fools Col, then traverses the stepped ridge to Avoca Col, then continues onto Greenlaw Col over broken ridges. From the col, either continue along the very loose north ridge, or if in condition drop onto the Avoca Glacier route.

First ascent: G Doig, K Coad, R G Logan, December 1934
Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
3. Avoca Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Cow Peak (2022m)(3.1) From the Avoca Hut
Climb Height: 1000m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From Avoca Hut dropdown to the river and boulder-hop upstream to where Hanging Valley Creek joins the river, the lesser flow Avoca River continues straight ahead through a forested section before sinking into the extensive moraines of Moraine Flat. Continue the easiest path to the upper scree basin. In winter / spring Moraine Flat is a prime run-out zone for avalanches from both sides. Cow Peak can be ascended via Gizeh Col or Fools Col, both easily reached via screes and spurs. From Gizeh Col follow the crumbling south ridge to the summit, and from Fools Col follow the north ridge. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Avoca (2131m)(3.2) From Avoca River
Climb Height: 880m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
Mt Avoca tends to be a fortress with imposing shattered bluffs on all approaches. From Moraine Flat, at the head of the Avoca River, ascent a vegetated spur to the south of the ridge from Mt Avoca. Scramble through steep, loose ground to the moraines above. Sidle north under the nose of the ridge to gain the steep screes, sidling up and north to gain a saddle 350m from the summit. Follow the rotten ridge through several steep sections to the summit. Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
Mt Avoca (2131m)(3.3) From Mt Greenlaw
Climb Height: 140m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Mt Avoca can be reached via Mt Greenlaw using the 1.4km rotten and steep joining ridge. Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
Mt Greenlaw (2315m)(3.4) North Ridge
Climb Height: 1175m
Ascent Time: 4.5hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Gain the Avoca Glacier route. The north ridge can be reached from the glacier at various points and followed to the summit, but this is a loose, jagged and time-consuming option.

 Glacial recession has made ascents onto the north ridge much more dangerous and loose in recent years.

First ascent: David Hall, John Pascoe, December 1939
Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
Mt Greenlaw (2315m)(3.5) South Face
Climb Height: 1090m
Ascent Time: 4.5hrs
NZAC: 3+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2+
UIAA: AD
From Moraine Flat in the Avoca Valley ascend interlocking screes and gullies to gain the base of an obvious runnelled rock slab that joins the south ridge. Avoid the loose rock on the bottom by ascending the ice-field on its eastern flank, joining the slab in its northeast corner. Straightforward, but exposed climbing ensues for 300m to the south ridge. It is a scramble on loose rock to the summit. In winter some couloirs from mid height on the slab may come into condition, however the entire approach is a avalanche hazard.

First ascent: Ian Crozier, Manfred Ingerfeld, November 1977
Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
Mt Greenlaw (2315m)(3.6) Via the Avoca Glacier
Climb Height: 700m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
From Moraine Flat, head upstream and ascend scree slopes to the base of the bluffs below the northeast corner of the Avoca Glacier. Several routes are possible through the bluffs, which involve straightforward rock climbing and scrambling on reasonably good rock. From the top of the bluffs, cross the Avoca Glacier, heading southwest towards the summit of Mt Greenlaw, this avoids the gendarmes and loose rock on the north ridge. The rock on the summit of Mt Greenlaw is notoriously loose. At the end of the glacier, rather than join the north ridge, traverse south slightly onto marginally better rock using a rib that leads directly to the summit. Follow this to the top.

 In recent years the Avoca Glacier has receded dramatically exposing considerable loose rock about all its extremities in the summer months, this increasing the difficulty in safely gaining the exit ridges.

First ascent: Edgar R Williams, R E McInnes, R E (Gran) Clark, November 1930
Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
4. Bealey Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Avalanche Peak (1833m)(4.1) Avalanche Peak track
Climb Height: 1100m
Ascent Time: 2.5 hour
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
  Avalanche Peak track starts 100m north of the Arthur's Pass Visitor Centre. It climbs steeply through to tree-line with several easy scrambles. A yellow poled route leads over several false-summits a col below the summit (the direct scree to the summit is avalanche prone in winter/spring), the route turns northwest up screes above bluffs to reach the Scott's track route, then both head out along a narrow ridge to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Avalanche Peak (1833m)(4.2) Scott's track
Climb Height: 1100m
Ascent Time: 2.5 hour
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Scott's track starts about 40m north of the Devil's Punchbowl Waterfall car-park that is 500m north of the Visitor Centre. It crosses the highway then winds its way to tree-line through relatively easy terrain. Outside tree-line an orange poled route leads against a ever heightening cliff to the final narrow ridge to the summit. This route is the normal descent route. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Blimit (1921m)(4.3) Aicken - Blimit traverse
Climb Height: 0m
Ascent Time: 2.5 hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
Ascend the 1863m point before Mt Aicken (1858m). From here the long tortuous ridge that encloses the Punchbowl Falls Creek catchment is visible. Continue along this ridge. Most obstacles tend to be gendarmes, being generally bypassed on one or other side (mostly Punchbowl Creek side), some require partial down climbs of exposed corners then sidling off on ledges. A rope, slings and some crack protection should be carried. Towards Blimit the ridge rock rises in 30° - 60° slabs, with some exposure, protection is sparse, but the climbing is easy (Grades 8–14). This buttress can be avoided by sidling out under its southern flank and ascending a narrow, [very] loose gully to join the South Ridge. Descend to Bill’s Basin, and return via the Temple Basin track. This route is dangerous in new or loose snow conditions. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Blimit (1921m)(4.4) From Temple Basin
Climb Height: 380m
Ascent Time: 1.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Ascend the Temple Basin track from Hwy 73 to the ski-field buildings (45 mins). Pass the buildings and ascend the spur to the true-right of the Temple ski-tow. From its head, sidle along the track to within 200m of the Page Shelter. Climb through bouldery screes/snow-slope to gain the toe of the ridge sweeping around to Blimit. Sidle east and upwards to reach the tarns in Bill's Basin. From the largest tarn climb the loose scree/snow-slopes to left or right sides of the Blimit summit ascending loose ridge rock to the summit. These routes are avalanche prone in winter.

Note: Blimit is short for "bloody limit", as described by its first ascensionists to another climbing party for the choss pile that is its northern ridge to the previously unnamed peak.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Blimit (1921m)(4.5) Via Cons track
Climb Height: 1090m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Reached via Cons Track, which ascends on the southwest ridge of Mt Cassidy from the Bealey River crossing on the Punchbowl Falls track. Once the bush-line is reached continue ascending the ridge on loose rock. At the base of the bluffs, a rough trail, marked sparsely with poles, sidles northwards ascending slowly under the bluffs. After 250 metres a steep scree gully is reached. Ascend the spur to the true-right of the scree, crossing the scree at its head, then onto the easier boulder slopes above, continue to join the main ridge leading towards Mt Cassidy. This ridge is followed for 1.4km, taking care in winter on the final ascent slope to Mt Cassidy as it can be avalanche prone. In winter a substantial cornice can exist to the east from Mt Cassidy to Blimit.

From Mt Cassidy follow the bouldery loose ridge through to saddles to the final ascent to the summit. Generally parties return via the routes to Temple Basin ski-field and back to Hwy 73.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Lyell Peak (1828m)(4.6) From Avalanche Peak
Climb Height: 110m
Ascent Time: 30mins
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Avalanche Peak continue along the narrow south ridge to join a broad shoulder and ridge. Lyell Peak is a very easy climb up the loose slopes from the west. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Lyell Peak (1828m)(4.7) From Mt Bealey
Climb Height: 110m
Ascent Time: 45mins
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Ascend Mt Bealey from Highway 73, via the track that starts just south of the Rough Creek bridge. From Mt Bealey follow the ever-narrowing ridge northwest through four gendarmes that can be summited via gullies on east or west sides from the cols between. Gain the 1778m point then follow a broad ridge to an easy scree ascent to the summit of Lyell Peak.

A good days exercise is to ascend Avalanche Peak via Scott's track, then traverse Lyell Peak to Mt Bealey on their joining ridges. Descend via the Bealey Scree into Rough Creek from Low Bealey (1760m), then follow Rough Creek back into the Village (5-7 hours).
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Lyell Peak (1828m)(4.8) Via Rough Creek
Climb Height: 1090m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Ascend Rough Creek to its headwaters, taking the southern stream branch. This leads to an ugly scree slope directly under Mt Bealey. Its true-right arm leads to the saddle between High and Low Bealey (don't go), while the narrow true-left arm can be ascended for about 300m before climbing up the steep northern tussock slopes to join a spur that leads to the Lyell-Bealey ridge at a steep sided saddle. Continue northwest over the gendarmes to the 1778m point, then onto the summit via the broad joining ridge. Beware that avalanches can roll for 700m down these screes in winter. It is common to continue onto Avalanche Peak and descend via Scott's track. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Aicken (1859m)(4.9) No Pants Nathan
Climb Height: 60m
Ascent Time: 1.5hrs
NZAC: 5
Serious: III
UIAA: D
Water Ice: WI4
Located in the north branch of Graham Stream (Otira E1484144 N5244148). Accessible from above via scree into head of stream from the Mt Aicken track, or from below via Graham Stream. Waterfall ice normally begins to form here in late May / early June, though can be very short lived.

First ascent: Gideon Geerling & Jim Masson June 10, 2009
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Aicken (1859m)(4.10) Normal Route
Climb Height: 1122m
Ascent Time: 2.5 hour
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Easily reached via a steep walking track that commences at the bridge over Devil's Punchbowl Creek.

 Be careful in winter of corniced snow towards the east.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Bealey (1836m)(4.11) Via Mt Bealey track
Climb Height: 1100m
Ascent Time: 2.5 hour
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Reached via the Mt Bealey Track (commences from Highway 73, just south of the Rough Creek bridge). A formed trail heads steeply to tree-line. Beyond here the track fades and follows the ridge to the 1760m point. Descend west to the saddle, from here most parties choose to avoid the loose ridge rocks by dropping 100m southwest, skirting around the bluffs then reascending easy tussock slopes to gain the summit.

A good days exercise is to ascend Avalanche Peak, then traverse Lyell Peak to Mt Bealey on their joining ridges. Descend via the Bealey Scree into Rough Creek from the 1760m point. Rough Creek can be followed on remnant trail to the Village.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Bealey (1836m)(4.12) Via Rough Creek
Climb Height: 1100m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Ascend Rough Creek to it’s headwaters, taking the true right stream fork. This leads to an ugly scree slope directly under Mt Bealey. Its true-right arm leads to the saddle between High and Low Bealey, while the true-left joins the Lyell-Bealey Ridge at a steep sided saddle. All summits are easily obtained from these points. Beware that avalanches can roll for 700m down these routes in winter. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Cassidy (1850m)(4.13) From Temple Basin Ski-field
Climb Height: 485m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Temple Basin ski-field lodges head south to the ski-tow (Cassidy). From here ascend tussock slopes directly towards Mt Cassidy joining scree slopes that lead to the west ridge some 150m from the summit. Alternatively from the ski-tow shed ascend south, aiming for a series of scree ramps leading through small rock bluffs to a broad shoulder on Cassidy's west ridge, ascend the ridge easily for 400m to the summit.

Mt Cassidy can also be reached via Page Shelter and Bills Basin. Follow the track above the lodges that leads towards Page Shelter. About 150m before the shelter turn southeast up screes that lead to the nose of the ridge enclosing Bills Basin. Easy travel ensues into the basin, from the large tarn climb ever-steepening scree to join a saddle on Cassidy's northeast ridge, easy travel to the summit.

 In winter the summit of Mt Cassidy can hold a very large cornice, and all slopes in this area are avalanche prone.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Cassidy (1850m)(4.14) Via Cons track
Climb Height: 1110m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Reached via Cons track, which ascends on the southwest Ridge from the Bealey River crossing on the Punchbowl Falls track. Once the bush-line is reached continue ascending the ridge on loose rock picking up a line of sparsely spaced marker poles. At the base of the bluffs, a rough trail sidles northwards ascending slowly under the bluffs again following marker poles. After 250 metres a steep scree gully is crossed (orange triangle bolted to boulder nearby), two marker poles up-slope indicate the ascent spur. Ascend the spur first up its centre, but move right and climb adjacent the steep gully, cross the gully at its top then climb through easier boulder fields to join the southwest ridge. Follow the ridge, sidling some knolls on the western side where possible. About 150m north of the 1819m point descend into the bowl and ascend scree/snow to join the west ridge about 150m from the summit. DO NOT ascend the slope that has exposure to Punchbowl Falls Creek. Most climbers descend via Bills Basin, after an optional ascent of Blimit.

 In winter the summit of Mt Cassidy can hold a very large cornice, and all slopes in this area are avalanche prone.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt O'Malley (1703m)(4.15) South Ridge
Climb Height: 1030m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the Bealey/Mingha River confluence bash through the bush to the west of the ridge to find deer trails ascending the flanks of the south ridge. Weaving between minor cliffs, the narrow bush-clad south ridge can eventually be gained and is easily followed to treeline. Continue following the main ridge to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt O'Malley (1703m)(4.16) Via Mt Aicken track
Climb Height: 945m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
The Mt Aicken track commences at the bridge over Devil's Punchbowl Creek. Continue up the route to about the 1600m contour then sidle out southwards over tussock and screes, climbing through a gap in a rocky spur then ascending Graham Stream to the tarn. From here ascend scree to the saddle between Mt O'Malley and the 1768m point, then easily to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(4.17) Bealey Face - Chockstone route
Climb Height: 1090m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
Approaches from the head of the Bealey River are reached by climbing the slope on the true left of the Bealey River adjacent the start of the black ravine (follow a creek initially). Climb towards, and traverse the fault scarp that sidles west under the Goldney Ridge buttress to meet the huge scree/snow slope. Ascend the scree/snow-slope; this slope is extremely avalanche prone in winter. About 3/4 way up the slope on the true-right is a obvious narrow ravine, with the "chockstone" visible as a blockage mid-way up it. Climb into the ravine using slabs on the true-left, the chockstone wall is also climbable on the true-left with very poor protection options (7 metres). Above the ravine climb the scree slope to the moraine rib then continue climbing diagonally to intersect the lower Goldney Glacier. Climb the glacier to the ridge, joining the Otira Slide route.

Other variations in this area include climbing the slabs on the true-right of the Chockstone ravine on relatively straightforward ledges and rock steps; watch for loose rubble as you top out. In some winters the slope lower down the Slide can have a reasonable exit couloir, however the approach is an off-angle ramp pouring over a 30m bluff and requires firm bombproof snow and some protection.

 This is a very high risk avalanche area in winter/spring, with some of the Park's largest avalanche events thundering through here.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(4.18) Bealey Face - Error of judgement
Climb Height: 1090m
Ascent Time: 4.5hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2+
UIAA: AD/D
Ewbank: 14
This route follows a series of cracks and ledges up the centre of the main Bealey Face, not a pleasant experience; not climbable when damp. Access the base of the route by traversing out on one of two shelves at the base of the face from the scree slopes. Ascend the orange slab adjacent a wide crack for 25m onto a ledge of crumbling rock. Follow the off-angle ramp upwards left for a further 25m, then continue climbing vertically for another 20m up a pyramid of poor rock with poorer protection onto the scree or snow ramp above. Head up-slope to a corner of orange rock and ascend this final step to the scree/snow-slopes above. Traverse up and to the true-left to lessen the exposure below and up onto the Goldney Glacier. Variations and possible dubious escapes are possible on the true-left at the top of the ramp. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(4.19) Bealey Face - Gap Arête
Climb Height: 1090m
Ascent Time: 4.5hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: IV
Old Alpine: 3-
UIAA: AD/D
Ewbank: 14
This route needs to be perfectly dry. In winter/spring it is glazed with ice (visible from the highway). Protection is sparse, and a good selection of nuts, cams, and slings are helpful. Join the toe of the route on true-left of the entry to the "Gap Route"; easy slabs give way to a very narrow, meandering arête with vertical exposure to the true-right, and loose, crumbling slabs on the opposing side. Where the arête meets the main Bealey Face there is a near vertical 15m high corner crack, and smooth slabs on the true-right, these are stepped for the following 15m as it returns to a sweeping 40º ridge. The arête peters out into snow-slopes or a gravelly rift. Sidle along a very exposed snow or rock ledge to the top of the "Gap Route", then follow ramps onto the Goldney Glacier. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(4.20) Bealey Face - Gap Route
Climb Height: 1090m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 3+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 3-
UIAA: AD
This gut funnels all avalanche debris and falling ice/rock from Rome Ridge, and should only be attempted when avalanche risk is non-existent. In fact it requires a substantial amount of avalanche debris buildup (20m-40m) to be present to come into condition. In summer it is a cascade of linked waterfalls, and any remnant gut ice is undermined by a cathedral sized ice cave. Climbers should be aware of water running behind the snow, and the hidden bergschrund that can form at the base of each vertical drop (the canyon walls are so smooth the ice "flows" down it with gravity).

So having made clear this is a dangerous route - from the lower Bealey Slide traverse south across a series of moraine ridges to the run-out zone of the gut (normally peppered with rock chunks and large ice blocks). A 30º ice slope leads into a canyon type feature, ascending the slope for about 250m. The gut widens briefly, then starts ascending the hidden waterfalls in three 50m pitches of 50-70º ice and snow; snow stakes or cams in the canyon wall tend to be the most effective protection. Once above the falls, move true-left up 30-40º snow ramps onto the Goldney Glacier. You may also continue towards "The Gap" in Rome Ridge.

 This is a very high risk avalanche area in winter/spring, with some of the Park's largest avalanche events thundering through here.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(4.21) Bealey Face - Random wanderings
Climb Height: 1090m
Ascent Time: 4.5hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 3
UIAA: PD/AD
Ewbank: 14
As the name implies you are very likely to contrive a fair amount of this route on the day. The start is reached on the upper shelf at the base of the face near a prominent alcove. Climb slabs, weaknesses, and free standing rock pinnacles for 30m to reach the scree/snow-slope above. Things get a bit less obvious after that, at the head of the slope is a left trending loose ramp and cracks leading to a rotten right trending ramp above; protection is very poor, and this area has seen a couple of rescues over the years (there might even be a pack still hanging under a roof - off route). Basically contrive, but always have an escape route (abseil) possible. Climb 15m over a rock shoulder onto the scree/snow-slopes above and breathe a sigh of relief :) Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(4.22) Bealey Slide - Direct
Climb Height: 1090m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
Approaches from the head of the Bealey River are reached by climbing the slope on the true left of the Bealey River adjacent the start of the black ravine (follow a creek initially). Climb towards, and traverse the fault scarp that sidles west under the Goldney Ridge buttress to meet the huge scree/snow slope above. Climb up the centre of the slide to the base of the Goldney Ridge, multiple routes through gullies and low angled couloirs are available here to reach the ridge, then onwards to Low Peak (2212m).

Note: the rock cairn at the top of the fault scarp is the only safe place should a cycle of avalanches commence in this area.

 This is a very high risk avalanche area in winter/spring, with some of the Park's largest avalanche events thundering through here.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(4.23) Bealey Slide - Goldney Col
Climb Height: 1090m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: PD
From midway up the Bealey Slide turn into the obvious broad snow/scree gully that enters from the north. This is easily followed to the col at its head overlooking the Otira Valley. The Goldney Ridge is climbable in steep steps here, or you can descend slightly on the Otira side and follow a terrace along under the ridge rocks, ascending easy slopes about 200m further on to regain the ridge crest, then onto Low Peak (2212m). Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(4.24) Crow Face - Central Direct
Climb Height: 450m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Commences on similar snow ramps to the Right Couloir route, then meanders left through a large snow-field and into a gully at its head, leading to a steep narrow series of gullies leading directly to the summit. If the summit pitch is too dodgy you may traverse out right to Rome Ridge. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(4.25) Crow Face - Central left
Climb Height: 450m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 3+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 3
UIAA: AD/D
Follows an obvious broad gully through several narrow gates, sustained at 40º, to join the southwest ridge of Low Peak 100m from the summit. An option exists here to wander out onto the Crow Glacier neve and ascend to Low Peak via the northwest ridge, or climb 100m of 45º ice to the summit.

First ascent: John Harris, July 2015.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(4.26) Crow Face - Left Rib
Climb Height: 420m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Can have a difficult start due to bergschrunds, or lack of snow ramps. Move left up the ramp, meandering through dog-legs to gain a large, moderately angled, gully leading directly to the southwest ridge of Low Peak, 300m from the summit. Walk out onto the Crow Glacier neve and ascend to Low Peak via the northwest ridge. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(4.27) Crow Face - Right couloir
Climb Height: 250m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
A large bergschrund may cause a desperate move at the bottom on a somewhat smooth slab, or try the Central Direct diagonal ramp start. Climb up and to the right, seeking out a ramp trending right. Climb upwards, looking towards the corniced ridge above, and trying to avoid the worse of them; normally there can be less obstacles heading towards a flatter area of the ridge using a left trending ramp. Follow Rome Ridge to its summit.

 Some avalanche danger!
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(4.28) Crow Face - Right Gully
Climb Height: 100m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
There are several possible gully starts to this route, from the high point of the East Crow Glacier neve. The route heads out right at the base of a deep cleft in the face, then proceeds to climb on the steep ramp above it to join Rome Ridge. There are several short gullies further right, near "The Gap", that can be used in firm snow conditions to avoid the complexity of the Rome Ridge route on the Bealey Valley side. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(4.29) Goldney Ridge
Climb Height: 1290m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
Begins at the top of Arthur’s Pass (920m). Enter the Dobson Nature Walk opposite the memorial, taking the right-hand branch towards the Otira Valley. Where the track nears the scree chutes, bash through the scrub and follow the chutes through the bluffs to the wide open ridge above. The ridge suddenly narrows prior the first massive buttress. Sidle for about 150 metres onto the Bealey River bank then ascend the steep scree to regain the ridge. Easy travel takes you to the summit of the second buttress. The third can be reached or bypassed on the Otira Valley side, and can involve some steep rock pitches (beware of large cornices in winter). A craggy ridge leads to the head of the Otira Slide ice-field; sometimes in winter this ridge is heavily corniced and making a descent/ascent of the Goldney Glacier provides a bypass. The Goldney Ridge route is seldom climbed in its entirety as climbers prefer the less time consuming Otira Slide route. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(4.30) Rome Ridge
Climb Height: 1420m
Ascent Time: 4-7 hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Ewbank: 12
  The classic Rome Ridge route leads to the Low Peak.

The ridge is usually and most readily approached by the Coral Track 300m north of the McGraths Creek bridge. It takes about 45-60 minutes to gain tree-line.

It can also be reached from the upper Bealey Valley, by way of an ugly scree adjacent the lower Bealey bluffs. Access is also possible from the Crow Valley: usually the Avalanche Peak tramping route is used to gain access to the ridge and the East Crow Glacier by sidling the final gendarmes on the eastern slopes. In avalanche free conditions it is possible to gain the East Crow Glacier directly by climbing out of the Crow Valley head, utilising the narrow gut on the true left.

On the Coral track route above the tree-line the lower ridge is easily climbed, though three prominent buttresses can be of some concern in soft or loose snow conditions. The first of these buttresses is climbed on its south-eastern flank (climbers left) via gullies and rock steps. The second buttress is usually climbed via a wide scree/snow-slope just off the ridge on climbers right; this gully can be extremely avalanche prone in late Winter/Spring. An alternate is to drop down south and sidle under the ridge to join a col above the East Crow Glacier, though avalanche and soft snow conditions can make this hazardous.

The last buttress on the ridge (Sharks Tooth) presents a steep down-climb into the notch known as the "Gap", it can be avoided by dropping down the Avalanche Peak joining ridge southwards then sidling across the East Crow Glacier to the Gap. In late summer a large bergschrund can cut access across the glacier to the Gap.

During summer the Gap has a chockstone feature (the keyhole) that you can pass through onto the Bealey Valley side. A steep loose climb from here leads onto a very broken ridge, then up some loose gullies to gain the broader, more stable ridge above. In winter it may be possible to climb steep couliors directly off the East Crow Glacier to gain the main arete (50m).

The first few pitches of the main ridge beyond the Gap are steep and loose, with some exposure towards the Goldney Glacier. About 2/3 of the way up the main arete is an area of stacked loose blocks that requires care in summer conditions. Once the Low Peak (2212m) is gained, access to the High Peak (2275m) is by continuing along the ridge on easier ground, via the Middle Peak. Middle Peak can be avoided by utilising the Crow neve if it is negotiable. Descent should be made via the Otira Slide.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Stuart (1906m)(4.31) Southeast Face
Climb Height: 190m
Ascent Time: 1.5hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
The southeast face is reached by traversing over Phipps Peak, and the 1820m point, or by sidling into the col between Mt Stuart and the 1820m point from Pegleg Creek. Ascend the scree slope from the col towards a left-trending ramp of rock and scree at the bottom of the rock face. Ascend this ramp upwards then traverse off right to join the hanging scree slope. Climb to the head of the scree under a vertical gully.

Ascend the obvious, diagonal, left-trending ramp until you reach a rock ledge. From here there are multiple routes up to the South Ridge of Mt Stuart that involve climbing straight up steep, but solid rock, or working your way up through various ledges and chimneys, skirting around patches of scree and/or rotten rock as you go.

Once the ridge is gained continue on to the summit.

First ascent: Dave Hegan, Hanno Snyman, Robert Phillips & Jun ?, 6 February 2018
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Temple (1913m)(4.32) From Temple Col
Climb Height: 150m
Ascent Time: 40mins
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Temple Col but not generally directly. Either climb the orange rock ramp some 200 metres off the col back towards the ski area to join the South Ridge. Alternatively cross the col and traverse the scree/snow slopes under the South Ridge then climb a ramp that rejoins the ridge to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Temple (1913m)(4.33) Phipps Traverse
Climb Height: 52m
Ascent Time: 1 hr
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
The joining ridge with Phipps Peak (1965m) is relatively straightforward descent to the first saddle. From here climbers should attempt to regain the ridge ASAP after avoiding the various gendarmes on the route to avoid being drawn onto dead-end ledges. The ridge narrows into several slabby pinnacles (beware slab avalanche) that should be protected climbs. In summer the ridge is loose rock, in winter it can be heavily corniced. Descent via the west ridge of Phipps Peak. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Temple (1913m)(4.34) Temple Buttress - Carter / Gough Gully
Climb Height: 230m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2+
UIAA: PD/AD
Ewbank: 12
Winter route. This route starts directly below the major incised gully between Central & Right Buttresses, but climbs the couloir that flanks the Central Buttress through steep terrain. In 1973 this route finished at the base of the broad gully ascending to the north ridge. In August of 1974 the route was extended by climbing the craggy spur to the south and subsequently to the north ridge of Mt Temple. Descend via the normal descent route (4.38).

First ascent: Bryan Carter & Peter Gough 1973. Hugh Logan, Warick Anderson & Paul Scaife August 1974
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Temple (1913m)(4.35) Temple Buttress - Central Buttress
Climb Height: 200m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 4+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2+
UIAA: PD/AD
Ewbank: 14
  The central buttress starts directly above where the rock outcrops protrude lowest inton the screes (easy slab start). This route is best if you want rock and route that is undeviating in quality (ie. OK rock with no major hassles). The overall rock grade is 8-12, tending to increase the higher you get. The final pitch throws in its crux, an overhang (Grade 14), at its beginning. This overhang is actually avoidable, by moving true-left, an option when fear catches you up. Above the pitch, dig your way through the shingle towards the rock spike near the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Temple (1913m)(4.36) Temple Buttress - Choked Gut Gully
Climb Height: 170m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 3
UIAA: AD/D
Winter route. Climb the steep, narrow couloir that ascends on the left of the descent route ramps (4.38). The "choke" is midway up this couloir. 2/3 way up easier ground (spur) is met to the summit of Mt Temple. Descend via the normal descent route (4.38).

First ascent: Hugh Logan & Wilf Lammerick July 1972
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Temple (1913m)(4.37) Temple Buttress - Lammerink / Jenkins
Climb Height: 200m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Ewbank: 13
Winter route. Start up the couloir between the Left Buttress and Central Buttress and over a short section of 70 degree thin waterfall ice at one third height with a couple of mixed moves. Stay right when the couloir branches and continue up a short rock step with a skinny seam of ice at two thirds height. Follow easy snow to join the north ridge to the summit. Descend via the normal descent route (4.38). Note: this route may also be known as "Temple of Doom" in some publications.

First ascent: James Jenkins, Wilf Lammerink, Hugh Logan & Paul Scaife 29/07/1973. Description by Alex Geary 27/09/2011.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Temple (1913m)(4.38) Temple Buttress - Left-hand Buttress
Climb Height: 170m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2+
UIAA: PD/AD
Ewbank: 14
The left-hand buttress (triangular shaped rock tower) conceals some of the most desperate routes and moves, however the first two pitches are on bombproof rock (all being relative), quaintly followed by two pitches of absolute yuk! Take plenty of 2 inch camming devices. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Temple (1913m)(4.39) Temple Buttress - Right-hand Buttress
Climb Height: 170m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: AD
Ewbank: 14
The right-hand buttress deteriorates into rotten, loose rock on its second, third and fourth pitches, requiring some navigational work near the top. It does retain its inclined slab aspect through most of its height.

 Be very aware of loose stratum and hanging scree chutes.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Temple (1913m)(4.40) Temple Buttress - Smith / Glystra Route
Climb Height: 150m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Ewbank: 14
Start 1/4 way up the normal descent route (4.38) taking the north sloping gully adjacent the right buttress. Climb the steep head-wall out of the gully, then easier ground to the summit of Mt Temple.

First ascent: Andrew Smith & Colin Glystra 1973
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Temple (1913m)(4.41) Temple Buttress - The Last Crusade
Climb Height: 150m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2+
UIAA: AD
Ewbank: 14
Winter route. This climb starts at the base of the second gut to the left of Left Buttress. Climb the gut through three pitches (150m) directly up onto the north ridge of Mt Temple. Good rock protection (stoppers and a few [tri]cams). Descend via the normal descent route (4.38).

First ascent: Craig Hosking & Oliver Boyd 19/10/2013
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Temple (1913m)(4.42) West Face gullies
Climb Height: 180m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Several gullies break through the West Face of the mountain to gain the summit. These are generally used as loose scree descents in summer and good icy ascents in winter.

 Beware of sliding towards the lower bluffs in soft snow conditions.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Phipps Peak (1965m)(4.43) South Face
Climb Height: 265m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
From the basins directly under south face and summit of Phipps Peak several routes can be taken using interlocking snow/ice gullies to join a steep snow slope ascending directly to the summit. The most common approach is via a broad ramp that traverses under the south ridge. Descend via the west ridge.

 This route is very avalanche prone.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Phipps Peak (1965m)(4.44) South Ridge - Chronic Freezing Syndrome
Climb Height: 140m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 4+
Serious: IV
UIAA: D
Ewbank: 15
Start in the gully between the two slabs and scramble up the low angle terrain tending right for about 45 m until reaching a small gravel ledge. Pitch up the center of the face. First pitch grade 10 - 12 on solid rock with limited gear. Second pitch tend left following a large crack. At the end of the crack traverse briefly left to the arete to avoid loose rock. Head up the arete to the base of a loose gully with a small roof to your right. Pop onto the roof (crux, grade 14/15) and summit. Good quality, solid rock (for Arthurs Pass) the whole route. Summit Mt Temple then descend via the normal descent route (6.14).

Climbers Notes: We used a single rack of nuts, tri-cams and cams (000 - 3 camalots). An extra one or two #3 camalots (or equivalent) would have been nice to protect the long crack on pitch 2.

First ascent: Terra Dumont & Matt Hanson, 26 April 2014
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Phipps Peak (1965m)(4.45) Temple Traverse
Climb Height: 0m
Ascent Time: 1.5hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
A traverse to Mt Temple (1913m) is possible via the craggy south ridge. The secret to this traverse is not to climb too low off the ridge avoiding the various gendarmes, regain the ridge ASAP to avoid being drawn onto the dead-end ramps and ledges on the Deception side.

 In the summer the route has very loose rock, in winter it can be heavily corniced.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
The Dome (1945m)(4.46) From the Bealey River
Climb Height: 1270m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the railway bridge across the Bealey River go upstream about 1.2km. Bash onto the hillside following deer trails, always aiming for higher ground. Eventually more open ground is found atop a knob at 1050m. From here cross the head of a gully intersecting the ridge and climb steep forested, but open slopes to break treeline at about 1300m through a short rocky cliff area. Once on the 1484m point continue following the southwest ridge easily for 4.3km to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
5. Crow Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Avalanche Peak (1833m)(5.1) From Crow Hut
Climb Height: 733m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the Crow hut follow the Crow River upstream for 600m. Ascend the large scree slide that runs from the valley floor to the main ridge 500m above (easier on south side). The ridge is followed south for 1.4km, ascending a scree to the southeast to arrive at a saddle between Avalanche Peak and its 1800m west summit. Sidle a scree south for 200m and ascend easier slopes to join the south ridge of Avalanche Peak and onto the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Guinevere (2042m)(5.2) From the Crow Hut
Climb Height: 1020m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From Crow Hut follow the track upstream up onto the first scree slope (cairned route), leave the track and ascend the scree slope to near its head where it passes through a narrow rock canyon (fault line) to the slopes above, a further short canyon above leads onto a shelf that arrives at the tarn in a deep cirque. From here several routes can be followed to join the North East ridge near point 1807m. Continue across slopes into a small basin on the eastern escarpment, then ascend towards the summit directly or by joining the north ridge. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Guinevere (2042m)(5.3) Northeast Ridge
Climb Height: 1130m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
Bash up through the very steep scrub 500m south of Crow Hut (below the huge landslide, and the first steep gully beyond), to an interesting scree gully at about 1400m elevation, or haul up through the trees on the true-left. A series of slabs and gullies leads to the North East ridge overlooking the tarn near the 1807m point. Follow the ridge into a small basin north of the summit, then climb directly to the summit or join the north ridge. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Lancelot (2112m)(5.4) North Ridge from Crow Valley
Climb Height: 810m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
From the head of the Crow Valley, underneath the Crow ice-fall, turn northwest and climb the scree cone then loose bluffs to the north of a stream, then head towards the terminal ice of the Crow Glacier. A steep avalanche prone snow chute may give easier access here during winter/spring; this also hides a waterfall so climbers should be very aware of it being detached ice! Continue up the broad snow/scree gully leading to the col adjacent the north ridge of Lancelot. Climb the north ridge to the summit. This ridge can be heavily corniced. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Lancelot (2112m)(5.5) Northeast Couloir
Climb Height: 200m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
Ascend the north ridge route (route 5.4) from the upper Crow Valley until the snow basin northeast of Mt Lancelot is reached at about 1750m. From here the couloir is obvious, leading directly to the summit ridge and is straightforward to climb on 40-45º compacted snow, topping out approximately 10 metres southeast of the summit on 50º snow/ice. The summit can be reached from here by following the ridge on the Waimakariri side as the ridge itself is narrow and can be corniced.

A descent can be made by following the north ridge (Jellicoe Ridge) back to the head of the snow-slope (route 5.4), avoiding any difficulties by travel on the Waimakariri side, then descending to the Crow Valley. In winter/spring a steep snow chute is generally present into the upper valley, in summer a loose set of bluffs requires care. A descent of the northeast couloir can be made on skis or snowboard in good snow conditions.

 This route and the northeast snow-slope can be threatened by avalanche activity. Potential rockfall & ice shedding into this couloir is possible with day warming. In summer this route becomes an ugly loose rock chute.

First ascent: Surveyed by M.Wigley, A.Rogers, E.Skea, M.Yungnickel, B.Harvey, J.Andric, L.Burbery, R.Nicol 30 September 2017. Snowboard descent by M.Wigley, R.Nicol. 30 September 2017.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(5.6) From Crow Valley
Climb Height: 890m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
From the head of the Crow Valley, underneath the Crow ice-fall, turn northwest and climb the scree cone then loose bluffs to the north of a stream, then head towards the terminal ice of the Crow Glacier. A steep avalanche prone snow chute may give easier access here during winter/spring; this also hides a waterfall so climbers should be very aware of it being detached ice! Continue up the broad snow/scree gully until level with the base of the rock spur to the north. Traverse underneath the spur and climb on steep neve ice to get above the ice-fall area. By late summer this entire area can be cut-off by crevasses.

From the Crow neve all three peaks of Mt Rolleston are accessible.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(5.7) Glacier Spur Route
Climb Height: 890m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2+
UIAA: AD
Winter route. Initially follow route (5.6) towards the wide gully leading to Mt Lancelot however traversing true-left to the base of the prominent spur that flanks the true-right of the Crow Glacier (beware of avalanche terrain). Follow the spur-crest in winter over mixed conditions on 40º terrain with some steep ice pitches about the mid-way point, the angle eases as it approaches the Lancelot - Rolleston Traverse, follow the ridge traverse until you can drop into the neve of the Crow Glacier continuing towards High Peak (2275m) ascending routes 5.1c-e to the summit. This route is not recommended in summer as it consists of extremely loose rock.

First ascent: Richard Strong & Mattie Scheider Aug 2008
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(5.8) Low Peak - From the Crow Glacier
Climb Height: 830m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: PD/AD
From the northeastern reaches of the Crow Glacier neve, the Low Peak is ascended by its northwest ridge over relatively easy terrain. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Stewart (1934m)(5.9) From lower Crow River
Climb Height: 1180m
Ascent Time: 4 hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
Ascended out of the lower Crow River via the scree that leaves the Crow River about 2km upstream from its confluence with the Waimakariri River. Follow the slope around to the south at its head aiming for a narrow couloir/rockgut that ascends onto a spur leading towards the 1810m knob (an easier climb with snow). It is preferential if avalanche risk is low to use the initial screes on the eastern flank to access the narrow, craggy ridge then continue following it onto Mt Stewart via its final southeast ridge. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Stewart (1934m)(5.10) From near Guinevere Creek via Northeast & East ridges
Climb Height: 1090m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Climb the narrow scree gut leaving the Crow River 150m downstream of the major creek that drains the basins under Mt Guinevere. Ascend about 500m then break left up a steep bush covered spur. At tree-line this meets a broad ridge covered in tussock. Climb this ridge, breaking up through the bluffs at 1600m to gain the toe of the northeast ridge, this ridge is extremely craggy and loose and is not climbed. Drop south into the scree basin under the east face of Mt Stewart. Climb steep scree/snow slopes to gain the east ridge near where it joins the southeast ridge via a steep gully system, then onto the southeast ridge for the final 100m to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
6. Deception Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Mt Franklin (2145m)(6.1) From the Deception River (South Ridge)
Climb Height: 1400m
Ascent Time: 4.5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
  Climb the single slide 200 metres upstream of Upper Deception Hut. When at about the 1400-1500m contour sidle through several gullies north until in the Good Luck Creek hanging valley, and continue sidling at about 1400m until in the head of the basin. Climb the easier slopes on the southern side to gain the Lake Anna cirque.

From Lake Anna climb the less steep slopes northeast to gain the col at 1890m on the south ridge. From here climb the ridge over slabby rock and shattered pinnacles; if good snow ramps exist it is possible to bypass this section by climbing a short couloir in the northeast corner. Where the south ridge merges into the west ridge there is a steep slabby climb on relatively good rock. Above the slabs the ridge narrows, and becomes quite exposed above Lake Sally. In winter this ridge can have double cornices.

Normally climbed via the Good Luck Creek basin by the West Ridge, or from the col above Lake Anna via the steep South Ridge. The West Ridge can be dangerously corniced under winter conditions, making it extremely difficult to negotiate. To reach the basin, ascend the slide upstream of Upper Deception Hut to the scrub line, then sidle into the head of the creek.

First ascent: AC Snowden and AS Ahnfeldt, Nov 1930
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Franklin (2145m)(6.2) North Ridge
Climb Height: 1425m
Ascent Time: 2 days
NZAC: 4
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2+
UIAA: AD/D
Ewbank: 14
From upper Good Luck Creek, ascend to and cross over the 1652m point on the west ridge, descending to the 1560m contour at the head of the unnamed stream below the north western slopes of Mt Franklin. From here sidle scree slopes in a north easterly direction, aiming for the low point on the ridge between Mt Franklin and the 1806m point. Once on the ridge, scramble mostly good rock (around Grade 10) with moderate exposure to about 3/4 height where the ridge steepens. From here, climb two 40-50m pitches of Grade 12 with one short section of Grade 13-14 (although it may be possible to avoid the short section of Grade 13-14). The summit is a further 100m of about Grade 10 scrambling.

First ascent: Raphael Bullet and Ryan Nicol 24 March, 2019
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Franklin (2145m)(6.3) Southwest Ridge and South Ridge
Climb Height: 1100m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
This route can be climbed in winter to late spring by reaching the head of the Deception River from Goat Pass Hut. Scree or snow slopes head through the lower bluff to reach the steep snowfield (avalanche danger!) below the 1975m South West Ridge rocks. In a normal season three 150m couloirs gain the South West Ridge. Alternatively, gain the ridge lower down by utilising the obvious deep gully and notch directly opposite Goat Pass Hut. Continue along the ridge to gain the col above Lake Anna. Ascend the steep South Ridge to the summit. Return via the South Ridge / Lake Anna route. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Franklin (2145m)(6.4) Southwest Ridge from Goat Pass hut
Climb Height: 1100m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Ascended from opposite Goat Pass Hut utilising the obvious deep gully and notch. A generally straightforward ascent joins the col above Lake Anna, then climbs the steep South Ridge to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Franklin (2145m)(6.5) West Ridge
Climb Height: 1585m
Ascent Time: 4.5hrs
NZAC: 3+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Ewbank: 13
The complete west ridge can be approached via the very steep wooded spur/slope that leaves the Deception River 300 metres downstream of Good Luck Creek, or via the long densely wooded spur that climbs from the true left of the stream that drains the Franklin-Russell escarpment. Alternatively ascend into Goodluck Creek (Route 6.1) and climb to the 1652m point. The west ridge is notoriously long and loose, and has multiple gendarmes (Grade 13). Once committed to this route, there are few escape routes, however travel tends to be fast over large sections of it. Considered a mid-spring climb when ice clings to it. Descend via the south ridge route. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Russell (1868m)(6.6) Deception River spur
Climb Height: 1300m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
Approached via the heavily wooded spur that ascends from the Deception River 2.5km downstream of Upper Deception hut. This spur is on the true-right of the stream that drains the amphitheatre under Mt Russell's summit. The spur is best climbed by traveling down the Deception River another 200 metres then climbing steep animal trails to gain its crest. Very ugly best describes this spur. The treeline is met at 1100 metres. Follow the spur to the 1689m point using screes on the true-left where necessary to avoid loose crags. The final west ridge to the summit is quite loose and craggy in a couple of sections, snow makes life more secure if it is stable.

First ascent: H Jackson, A Jackson, December 1930
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Russell (1868m)(6.7) From lower Deception River
Climb Height: 1440m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
Approached from the lower Deception Valley by ascending a 70m bush-bash to a narrow scree chute about 100m downstream of the Midday Creek sulphur spring. This chute leads into the scree basin south of Mt Tarapuhi (1605m). Once nearing the bluffs near the top, sidle up & south to gain the easier slopes and ridge south of the 1510m point. Descend to the tarn, then diagonally right to just south of the 1585m point. Follow the ridge south above Spray Creek, ascending the craggy ridge or screes to the east to gain the 1847m point. A steepening ridge leads to the dome of Mt Russell, the final ascent of 70m is on steep, shingle covered slabs. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Stuart (1906m)(6.8) From upper Deception River
Climb Height: 1200m
Ascent Time: 5hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
About 300m downstream of Good Luck Creek is a small scree side-stream on the true-left of the Deception River, this climbs up onto a much larger scree. Climb the scree seeking to gain the east ridge of the 1820m point near its head, the true-right gives easier options. Climb this ridge to 1820m then turn north following the joining ridge to the saddle south of Mt Stuart. From here climb the southeast face route(4.31), or drop west into the headwaters of the south branch of Pegleg Creek, descending on the true-right to swing north onto Pegleg Creek route (13.33) to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Tarapuhi (1605m)(6.9) Via Tutu Creek
Climb Height: 1300m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
Tutu Creek is located about 4km upstream from the Morrison foot-bridge on the Deception River. Ascend the creek for 800m to where it becomes a massive and quite loose scree slide. Climb the scree to near its head. In the amphitheater below the ridge search out the easiest possible ascent to join the north ridge of Tarapuhi; in most seasons this should be the slopes on the true-left just below a prominent buttress; climb steep & loose screes to the ridge then easily to the summit. In winter huge avalanches can run the full length of Tutu Creek, and during summer it can be a bowling alley of loose rocks. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Phipps Peak (1965m)(6.10) From Deception River
Climb Height: 1265m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F/PD
About 300m downstream of Good Luck Creek is a small scree side-stream on the true-left of the Deception River, this climbs up onto a much larger scree. Climb the scree seeking to gain the east ridge of the 1820m point near its head, the true-right gives easier options. Climb this ridge to 1820m then turn south following the joining ridge to Phipps Peak. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
7. Edwards Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Falling Mountain (1901m)(7.1) From Edwards Valley head
Climb Height: 660m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: PD
From the junction of the stream that that drains Amber Col and the Edwards River, ascend the steep spur to the northeast to a shoulder at 1650m. Cross to the north and sidle across the scree slopes following chamois trails into the bouldery basin containing a small tarn. Ascend bouldery slopes to the saddle east of the summit then onto the summit.

First ascent: Daryll Thomson - 21 April 2016
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Falling Mountain (1901m)(7.2) Southwest Ridge (Amber Col)
Climb Height: 250m
Ascent Time: 1 hour
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Gain the southwest ridge near the 1731m point from Amber Col (1650m). Amber Col can be approached from either side on relatively easy scree scrambles. The southwest ridge ascends steeply on broken rock to the lower eastern summit. Obstacles can generally be turned on scree/snow-slopes to the west. Turn west and ascend to the summit. A easier alternate descends from the 1731m point to a terrace containing a shallow tarn then climbs a steep bouldery scree towards the saddle between the summits.

 Beware that Falling Mountain is still extremely unstable with shattered rock on its western escarpment.

First ascent: C E Fenwick, H F Baird, H McD Vincent, 10 December 1930
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Bowers (1891m)(7.3) From East Edwards River
Climb Height: 657m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
Climb the scree slope that ascends from the upper East Edwards River to the col north of the 1650m point 1.1km south of Mt Bowers. Several steep rock slabs ascend to the easier ridge above. It is possible to descend the steep scree west from the col, ascending through a break in the slabs to the easier screes above, rejoining the ridge. The ridge is easily followed to the summit. The southeast face of Mt Bowers is generally too loose and steep to climb.

First ascent: First ascended by E Wilson and A Anderson, December 1930.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Bowers (1891m)(7.4) From Edwards Hut
Climb Height: 820m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
Mt Bowers is easily accessible via several routes. 300m south of the hut is a long scree slope that ascends to the summit ridges; either fork near the top may be taken. The true-right fork is slightly easier. North of the hut by 400m a gut descends from Mt Bowers. The steep spurs on either side of this creek may be climbed to the summit, the spur on the true-left is easier and avoids some scrub. Both spurs have animal trails.

First ascent: First ascended by E Wilson and A Anderson, December 1930.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Edgar Evans (2019m)(7.5) From the Edwards Valley
Climb Height: 918m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
Mt Edgar Evans is usually reached on ridge traverses of the Polar Range from either Mt Wilson (2035m) or Mt Bowers (1891m). It can be reached independently from the Edwards Valley by climbing steep snowgrass slopes and spurs on its west faces about 1.4km upstream of Edwards Hut, then ascending screes. Avoid the bluffs by sidling out towards Mt Wilson then circling back to the north ridge of Edgar Evans. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Oates (2058m)(7.6) Edwards Direct
Climb Height: 820m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Ascend the spur, opposite the stream that drains Amber Col, and on the true-left of the stream draining the Mt Oates northeastern basin. Climb steeply northwest, then sidle up through bouldery screes into the basin above. Ascend to the head of the scree basin, then onto steep screes leading to the north ridge about 200m from the summit. The ridge following is loose and crumbling. This route is quite avalanche prone in spring.

Other routes can be taken via a small tarn and over the shoulder of the north ridge and onwards to Lake Mavis.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Oates (2058m)(7.7) From Edwards Hut
Climb Height: 970m
Ascent Time: 4.5hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Reached along the ridge which leads northwards from Williams Saddle. The saddle is gained by climbing the tussock/scree slope opposite Edwards Hut, aiming for the gap between the two prominent rock buttresses then sidling to the saddle. From the saddle follow the easy ridge northwards, sidling under the 1869m point on its west side (scramble down), then continue sidling on screes across the 1700-1800m contour, finally ascending to join the main west ridge leading to the 2041m summit.

The 2054m summit can be gained up the steep loose gut between 2041m & 2054m, to its col then up good quality rock steps to the summit; or by joining the southeast ridge via a steep scree gully, then following the very narrow, rotten ridge to the summit.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Scott (2009m)(7.8) From Amber Col
Climb Height: 360m
Ascent Time: 1.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Reach Amber Col from the Edwards River by following the stream that drains it. Climb joining ridges onto the Polar Range at the 1937m point. A long gully from the lower Amber Col stream can be taken more directly towards the Polar Range. From here relatively easy ridgelines lead to the buttressed north ridge of Mt Scott, steep gullies and screes on its northwest corner give access to the summit ridge. A further straightforward traverse of 700m is available onto Mt Wilson (2035m). Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Scott (2009m)(7.9) From the Edwards Valley
Climb Height: 885m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F/PD
A steep scramble from the upper valley floor in summer conditions. Ascend the spur on the true-right of the ravine that drains the basin between Scott and Wilson. Aim for the low point in the saddle from the upper basin, then climb on easy ridges.

First ascent: J Gill, J Wilson and E Brough, December 1930
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Williams (1718m)(7.10) From Edwards Hut
Climb Height: 647m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
An easy climb from Williams Saddle near the Edwards Hut. Williams Saddle is gained by climbing the tussock/scree slope opposite Edwards Hut, aiming for the gap between the two prominent rock buttresses then sidling to the saddle. From the saddle climb the north ridge easily to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Williams (1718m)(7.11) Gunbarrel Scree
Climb Height: 935m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Approached via the long, very steep, dangerous, scree chute just downstream of the East Edwards River confluence. This chute is known locally as the Gunbarrel Scree. A quick observation of the riverbed should leave you in no doubt as to why! Climb the scree upwards and southwards into a narrow gut joining the saddle between The Spike and Mt Williams. Climb on rotten rock to the summit. Return a safer way!

 Wear a helmet, and keep looking up! An extremely dangerous route.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Wilson (2035m)(7.12) From the upper Edwards Valley
Climb Height: 910m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
A steep scramble from the upper valley floor in summer conditions. Ascend the spur on the true-right of the ravine that drains the basin between Scott and Wilson. From the uper scree basin head for the obvious saddle then easily onto Mt Wilson.

First ascent: E Wilson and A Anderson, December 1930
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
The Dome (1945m)(7.13) From Lower Edwards Valley
Climb Height: 1200m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Climbed from the lower Edwards Valley by a scree slide (use the true-left gutter) about 2km above the first gorge (1km below the East Edwards junction). Ascend to the 1759m point then follow the southwest ridge to the summit for 2.9km.

First ascent: J Gill and R S Odell, 14 December, 1930
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
The Spike (1440m)(7.14) Gunbarrel Scree
Climb Height: 660m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Approached via the long, very steep, dangerous, scree shoot just downstream of the East Edwards River confluence. This shoot is known locally as the Gunbarrel Scree. A quick observation of the riverbed should leave you in no doubt as to why! Climb the scree upwards and southwards into a narrow gut joining the saddle between the Mt Williams and The Spike. The Spike is below you and could require abseils over the rotten gendarmes to reach. Wear a helmet, take a rope, anchors, and keep looking up! A very dangerous route. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
The Spike (1440m)(7.15) Southwest Ridge
Climb Height: 750m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
The southwest ridge to the Spike is quite straightforward. Start up the steep creek gully, about 200m up the Edwards River from its junction with the Mingha Valley. Other access routes can be ascended through the forest from the Mingha River. The route is generally a bush bash, gaining height rapidly; look ahead of yourself where possible to find the best path through a bush-clad step in the ridge. Once at treeline, the crumbling rocky ridge is easily followed to the so-called summit.

The Spike was formally known as the "Razorback" route onto Mt Williams, and it does not disappoint. The route includes several very exposed climbs over/around jagged gendarmes, and some loose inclined slab climbs beyond The Spike.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
8. Greenlaw Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Mt Speight (2116m)(8.1) From Greenlaw Creek
Climb Height: 1360m
Ascent Time: 4-5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
Can be climbed from Greenlaw Creek about 2.3km upstream from its confluence with the Waimakariri, by ascending a long scree on the true-left to join the ridge between Greenlaw and Harper Creeks just southwest of the 1516m point. Continue to climb the ridge until it merges with the ice/scree of the shrinking Speight ice-field, move southwest onto the ice/scree and ascend to the low saddle at its head. Climb the north ridge (9.3) to the summit.

First ascent: R E Chester, R E McInnes, H C Wickett, 23 April 1930
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
9. Harper Creek Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Mt Harper (2222m)(9.1) From Harper Creek
Climb Height: 1030m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
From the base of the waterfall at the head of Harper Creek climb the loose broad scree on the true-right. The scree steepens and divides, initially stay left until it blocks, then climb right over a small crest into another scree chute leading to the ridge-line. Continue climbing this dragon-tooth ridge until a flat scree saddle is met. Sidle upwards northwest gaining an ice-field. Ascend the ice to Harper's southwest ridge, then the short distance to the summit. In recent years the ice-fields in this area have been breaking up quite early in summer. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Harper (2222m)(9.2) North East Slabs
Climb Height: 70m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 5
Serious: III
UIAA: D
Ewbank: 17
Approach to these slabs is across the permanent snowfields underlying the north ridge of Mt Speight (2116m) then onto the permanent snowfield under the southeast flank of Mt Harper (2222m).

Both of the routes shown commence near the toe of a rock slab comprising "solid" gritstone and follow weaknesses in the face.

The face is about 70 metres at highest point and 15-20 metres across. There is potential for a couple more routes on the face. 60 metre ropes are good, a set of wires with doubles of mids and a handful of cams should see you right.

The left hand route climbs on the face to the right of the arete. Good gear can be found on the face through cracks and breaks. 50 metres of interesting climbing on good rock.

The right hand route starts near the centre of face; head up and slightly right following gear to about the middle of the face. Straight up from here. Good gear but a bit spaced at times. 55 metres.

First ascent: A Gillespie & J Dempster 13/12/2008
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Speight (2116m)(9.3) From Harper Creek
Climb Height: 990m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
Ascend Harper Creek to the waterfalls. Climb the very steep and loose scree on the true-right. This forks at its head, move climbers right into another steep scree gut eventually finding a cairned route on the ridge between Harper Creek and Greenlaw Creek. Continue to climb the ridge until it merges with the ice/scree of the shrinking Speight ice-field, move southwest onto the ice/scree and ascend to the low saddle at its head. Climb the north ridge (9.3) to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Speight (2116m)(9.4) North Ridge
Climb Height: 185m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
Mt Speight can be reached by its north ridge from the saddle separating it from Mt Harper. Gain the ice-field east of this saddle and ascend on snow-chutes or rock to the saddle. In recent years this ice-field has shrunk dramatically making the ascent/descent slightly more arduous. This route is the normal descent route from the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Speight (2116m)(9.5) Northeast Face Direct
Climb Height: 250m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 4+
Serious: IV
Old Alpine: 4
UIAA: TD
Water Ice: WI3
The left of the two central gullies topping out directly on the summit. Four sustained pitches of WI3 (WI3+ crux) and 150m of moderate-steep snow gully. Minimal rock protection on lower pitches, with some pro found on the left shoulder of the upper gully. Pro: 8-10 ice-screws, Camalots 0.2-0.75, Wires 1-8, and 2x snow stakes.

First ascent: Tom Botterill, Michael Eatson. 8th September 2015
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Speight (2116m)(9.6) Northeast Ridge
Climb Height: 315m
Ascent Time: 2-3hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: IV
UIAA: D
Ewbank: 12
This route has had several ascents over the past decade; though its original ascentionists have not been recorded. Climb to the head of Harper Creek and head towards the basin below the northeast side of the peak. Ascend a rock slab on far left, which leads to the main northeast ridge. From here the ridge steepens to a short 10–15m pitch (crux). Above is a nice red arete, which is followed until broader, easier ground, to loose rock for the final 50–80m to the summit. Descend the north ridge.

First ascent: Recorded by J Dempster & A Gillespie 14/12/2008
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Speight (2116m)(9.7) Northeast Ridge - Camp Mum Couloir
Climb Height: 150m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 5
Serious: IV
Old Alpine: 4
UIAA: TD
A 150m long couloir that leads up to the northeast ridge. The first (crux) pitch had some mixed (M4) moves, with good rock protection in solid orange greywacke. Two more ice pitches in the narrow couloir lead up to the northeast ridge. Follow the ridge to the summit (9.5).

First ascent: Sarwan Chand, Jack Grinsted 24 August 2014
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Speight (2116m)(9.8) Speight Buttress - Central Buttress
Climb Height: 170m
Ascent Time: 2-3hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: IV
UIAA: AD/D
Ewbank: 14
Commences along a line of weakness traveling left to right, then proceeds to climb stepped rock to join the north ridge for 150m. Highest rock grade is 14. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Speight (2116m)(9.9) Speight Buttress - Left-hand Buttress
Climb Height: 170m
Ascent Time: 2-3hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: IV
UIAA: AD/D
Ewbank: 14
Commence near the toe of the buttress and climb a vertical line (150m) through two of three pitches before the steepness diminishes and scrambling on loose rock to the summit ensues. Highest rock grade is 14. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Speight (2116m)(9.10) Speight Buttress - North Couloir
Climb Height: 190m
Ascent Time: 2-3hrs
NZAC: 5
Serious: V
Old Alpine: 4
UIAA: TD
May be climbed in an icy winter via the narrow, tall (190m) and steep (45º–80º) couloir leading directly to the summit rocks from the head of the northern snow/icefield. The crux is met approximately 70m below the summit, where the ice/snow clings to an almost vertical rock-band and a cornice may exist across its head. Descend via the North Ridge. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Speight (2116m)(9.11) Speight Buttress - Right Buttress
Climb Height: 250m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 5
Serious: III
UIAA: PD/AD
Ewbank: 15
Starts easily, however steepness increases with height, with obvious lines of weakness being followed vertically to the ridge over 250m. Highest rock grade is 15. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Speight (2116m)(9.12) Speight Buttress - Snow Chute
Climb Height: 225m
Ascent Time: 1.5hr
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
May be ascended in winter via the broad snow and ice chute that joins the north ridge about 150m north of the summit. An avalanche risk could exist on this route. The base of this chute is gained from the head of the northern snow/ice-field just to the true left of the Speight Buttress routes. Descend via the north ridge.

 An avalanche risk could exist on this route in winter/spring.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
10. Hawdon Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Mt Foweraker (1804m)(10.1) East Ridge
Climb Height: 1245m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Hawdon Shelter cross the Hawdon River to the true-right bank and make your way to the electric fence that crosses the terrace before Sudden Valley Stream. Where the fence meets the toe of the east ridge start bashing your way uphill utilising trapping lines where convenient. From the 1035m knob continue pushing through extensive beech regen, attempting to stay on the brow of the ridge and following deer trails. The route becomes less scrubby at the 1158m point. Continue following the ridge through varying ground, there is some loose rock scrambles before the 1720m point. The ridge is about 4.4km long. Note: In winter there may be issues with cornices and avalanche terrain about its upper flanks!

First ascent: Surveyed by Tyler Brummer & Graeme Kates, 21 March 2015
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Hunt (1825m)(10.2) From Hawdon Valley
Climb Height: 780m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
Ascend the Hawdon River to its headwaters. Gain Trudge Col (1530m) by climbing fairly horrible broad scree slope under Rugged Peak to the bluffs above, then sidling out true-right on rock steps and dodgy ledges around to the Trudge Col basin and onto Trudge Col. From Trudge Col the ridge to Mt Hunt is straightforward. In winter the Trudge Col route can be treacherous if it does not have thick firm snow. Other routes may exist in winter by following steep avalanche paths from valley floor to the 1738m point on the southwest ridge. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Hunt (1825m)(10.3) From Walker Pass
Climb Height: 730m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From the western end of the Walker Pass tarn, climb a scree-slope north, or track through the bluffs to the west to gain the broad ridge-line leading to the 1742m point. The 2.5km ridge-line traverse beyond here is relatively straightforward, with some scrambling required before the summit.

First ascent: D Brough and JP Wilson, December 1930
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Scott (2009m)(10.4) From Hawdon Hut
Climb Height: 1245m
Ascent Time: 6.5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
From Hawdon hut boulder hop up Discovery Stream to the first major side-stream running in from the northwest. Ascend the vegetated spur on the true-right of this stream following animal where ever possible to eventually break tree-line onto the snowgrass covered slopes of the upper stream. Sidle northwest above the stream, ascending screes heading towards its source in the basin to the west. Note that the tarn shown on some maps disappeared some years ago. Ascend the scree to the saddle north of the 1937m point, then relatively easy ridges onto the Polar Range to Mt Scott's buttressed north ridge. Ascend to the summit ridge via gullies and screes in the northwest corner. A descent into Sudden Valley can be made down a long scree from the col north of the 1876m point. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Valiant (1847m)(10.5) East / South Ridges
Climb Height: 790m
Ascent Time: 1.5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
The contorted south ridge of Mt Valiant can be gained via the east ridge by ascending the long creek eastwards just upstream of East Hawdon bivouac. In the head of the creek climb climb steep screes to gain the narrow ridge just south of 1675m knob. From here either continue to follow the narrow, craggy ridge to the summit, or drop slightly into the basins north of the knob and climb onto the south ridge and to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Valiant (1847m)(10.6) From East Hawdon Bivouac
Climb Height: 790m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
Climbed from the East Branch of the Hawdon River. From the Hawdon Bivouac go upstream to the entry of the gorge, climb a the spur between the two streams (south ridge toe), then sidle northwards above the gorge through scree, tussock and gullies, climbing into the basin under Valiant's southwest flank. Ascend various scree slopes to join the ridge between the 1684m point and Mt Valiant, scramble up steep but easy ridge onto Mt Valiant. A return trip can be made via Smooth Peak to the junction of the East Hawdon and Hawdon Rivers over four higher unnamed peaks (1759m, 1755m, 1795m, 1779m) and selecting a forested spur to bash down (animal trails). Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Wilson (2035m)(10.7) From Hawdon hut
Climb Height: 1275m
Ascent Time: 7hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F/PD
See route to Mt Scott from Hawdon hut (10.4). It is a straightforward traverse of 700m between peaks on their joining ridge. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Rugged Peak (1678m)(10.8) From Smooth Peak
Climb Height: 132m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 2+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
This is a very difficult and potentially dangerous traverse. From Smooth Peak (1710m) traverse out to the 1645m knob to the northwest and descend carefully on loose rock into the col under Rugged Peak. From the col find a weakness in the bluff to the north, climb this, crossing the exposed ridge and climb other weaknesses to find easier ground above to the summit. This route is more "pleasurable" with firm ice to tool into (very rare), protection is poor.

Avoiding this completely would require a steep scree/snowgrass descent (480m) from Smooth Peak into Trudge Stream, then back up onto Trudge Col; or if heading into the Hawdon Valley descend the long scree 500m northwest of Smooth Peak.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Rugged Peak (1678m)(10.9) From Trudge Col
Climb Height: 640m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
Ascend the Hawdon River to its headwaters. Gain Trudge Col (1530m) by climbing fairly horrible broad scree slope under Rugged Peak to the bluffs above, then sidling out true-right on rock steps and dodgy ledges around to the Trudge Col basin and onto Trudge Col. From Trudge Col the ridge to Rugged Peak is fairly straightforward. In winter the Trudge Col route can be treacherous if it does not have thick firm snow. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Smooth Peak (1710m)(10.10) From East Hawdon Bivouac
Climb Height: 653m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
Climbed from the East Branch of the Hawdon River. From the Hawdon Bivouac go upstream to the entry of the gorge, climb a the spur between the two streams (south ridge toe), then sidle northwards above the gorge through scree, tussock and gullies, climbing into the basin under Valiant's southwest flank. Ascend various scree slopes to join the ridge between the 1684m point and Smooth Peak.

A return trip from Smooth Peak can be made to the junction of the East Hawdon and Hawdon Rivers over four higher unnamed peaks (1759m, 1755m, 1795m, 1779m) and selecting a forested spur to bash down (deer trails), or by travelling northwest on the ridge for 500m towards Rugged Peak and descending a very long scree into the head of the Hawdon River. A long spur and scree can be descended from the 1755m point back into the East Hawdon (not a pleasant ascent though).
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
The Pyramid (1608m)(10.11) Southeast Rib
Climb Height: 1030m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
UIAA: F/PD
The track starts about 400m up Sudden Valley Stream from the Hawdon Valley track on the true-left; look for a small cairn and a bit of a ramp up the bank. The first 100m is quite vague, but once on the actual rib it is quite straightforward travel and the track is quite well defined. Some easy scrambling is required once outside treeline to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Woolshed Hill (1429m)(10.12) From Hawdon Shelter
Climb Height: 870m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Hawdon shelter follow the marked track to Kidson Lodge, the track entry to Woolshed Hill is on the bush edge beside a swampy creek, the track is marked and climbs steeply to tree-line. At tree-line the route is less visible but obvious generally sticking to the ridge-back. The final section involves a steep climb beside a beech forest (rife with Aaron's Beard) then alpine scrub to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
11. Mingha Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Mt Franklin (2145m)(11.1) Mt Oates - Franklin Traverse
Climb Height: 560m
Ascent Time: 4.5hrs
NZAC: 3+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
This ridge is a very long journey from Goat Pass (1050m) and would be better tackled from a camp near Lake Mavis (1590m). Gain the ridge along the Main Range above the lake, following its initially broad back to the second knoll (1864m). From here the ridge narrows, taking a steep approach to the summit of the next buttress (1876m). The ridge turns west over the exposed slabs above Lake Sally and the deep gut of the upper Deception, climbing steeply over broken ground to join the South West Ridge. From here descend to the col above Lake Anna then climb the steep South Ridge to the summit.

 Be well prepared for a forced bivvy as it is a very long day’s outing!
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Oates (2058m)(11.2) From Lake Mavis
Climb Height: 450m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Lake Mavis continue along the Main Divide to join the main North Ridge at the 1978m buttress and turn south to the summit. This ridge is heavily fortified and some handline descents may be necessary. Beware of the soft snow cornice to the east in winter. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Oates (2058m)(11.3) From mid-Mingha River
Climb Height: 1160m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Mt Williams (1718m) can also be reached from the mid Mingha River. Climb (bush bash) up a series of steep bushy spurs that commence opposite the southern end of the Dudley Knob track. This route joins the Mt Williams north ridge near a prominent buttress. To reach Mt Oates descend to Williams Saddle then follow the easy ridge northwards, see route 7.7 for detail.

 If descending this route you must stay away from gullies, and beware of pushing through impenetrable bush over small cliffs.

First ascent: Miss B H Blunden, John Pascoe and B A Barrer, 15 February 1931
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Oates (2058m)(11.4) I may be some time
Climb Height: 275m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 3+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2+
UIAA: AD
Gain the southwest spur at it's toe or at half-height using snow/scree slopes and easy scrambling on the right. Above half-height is a fantastic defined rib with easy climbing but terrific exposure. The final section of the spur steepens, with a couple of 5m vertical steps that can be climbed in one 60m pitch. From the top of the pitch it's 30-40m scramble to the summit. Overall the rock quality is good, apart from a couple of loose sections during and above the top pitch. A confident party could solo until the final pitch but simul-climbing until the final steep section suits the lower route.

First ascent: Rob Frost & Claire Gibb 11/12/2011
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Oates (2058m)(11.5) South Summit (2054m)
Climb Height: 215m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
Normally reached by utilising the scree/snow slopes south of the 2041m summit (under the west ridge) and ascending a steep, narrow, loose gully to the col between the peaks. From here a scramble on relatively good rock and ledges leads to the broader summit ridge.

The joining ridge from the 2041m summit is exposed, gruddy, and could require a 20m abseil to clear a gendarme. It can also be reached via the long ridge from Williams Saddle, the final ridge is loose and narrow.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Oates (2058m)(11.6) West Face
Climb Height: 320m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
The 320m West Face rises directly above Lake Mavis. A line can be taken from the northern corner of the lake, diagonally to the true left, directly to the summit. Another more direct route is possible from below the summit, climbing on reasonable rock up through several exposed corners and fissures.

 In winter/late spring, slab and point release avalanches are commonplace across the breadth of the face. In any season watch for stonefall and general shrapnel spinning off the North Ridge.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Oates (2058m)(11.7) West Ridge - Normal route
Climb Height: 450m
Ascent Time: 1.5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
  Sidle around Lake Mavis at its outflow. Continue sidling around, slowly ascending through boggy ground just below rocky outcrops until a broad bouldery scree slope is met. Climb the scree into a steep sided gully that ascends easily to join the west ridge. The west ridge is easily followed, until a short rock step and slab needs to be mounted. Above this the ridge is easily followed to the 2041m summit over loose ground. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Williams (1718m)(11.8) From mid-Mingha River
Climb Height: 978m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the Mingha River climb (bush bash) up a series of steep bushy spurs that commence opposite the southern end of the Dudley Knob track. This route joins the Mt Williams north ridge near a prominent buttress. Mt Williams is a straightforward climb from here along its north ridge.

 If descending this route you must stay away from gullies, and beware of pushing through impenetrable bush over small cliffs.

First ascent: E. Wilson, July 1930
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
12. Otehake Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Mt Franklin (2145m)(12.1) East Ridge
Climb Height: 495m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
The steep, jagged East Ridge merges into the East Face of the mountain. Traverse northwards to gain the steep gullies ascending to the summit.

Access: Lake Sally is at best difficult to approach and a high camp is strongly recommended under the knoll near its outflow. Access to the lake is gained by the ridge and loose bush covered slopes south of the stream which drains it, from the Otehake River West Branch. Alternatively ascend the slopes on the north side of the same stream, sidling around the base of the East Ridge to reach the lake. Eastern descents from Mt Franklin tend to be very steep, natural anchors allowing abseils directly onto the snowfield are available.

 Under winter conditions the routes can all be fraught by overhanging cornices.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Franklin (2145m)(12.2) North East Ridge from Lake Sally
Climb Height: 495m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
From the Lake Sally outlet, head north and sidle across the snow/scree slope to the toe of a spur running east from the North East ridge, climb the spur and gain the snow slope to its north, climb the first attractive gully to the crest of the North East ridge. The ridge is followed cautiously to the summit. The spur could also be climbed in totality but sidling across the lower slopes is difficult.

Access: Lake Sally is at best difficult to approach and a high camp is strongly recommended under the knoll near its outflow. Access to the lake is gained by the ridge and loose bush covered slopes south of the stream which drains it, from the Otehake River West Branch. Alternatively ascend the slopes on the north side of the same stream, sidling around the base of the East Ridge to reach the lake. Eastern descents from Mt Franklin tend to be very steep, natural anchors allowing abseils directly onto the snowfield are available.

 Under winter conditions the routes can all be fraught by overhanging cornices.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Franklin (2145m)(12.3) Northeast Ridge
Climb Height: 1460m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Long, long, long best describes this route. From Taruahuna Pass descend the route to the stream that drains the Franklin / Russel escarpment. Climb (bash) the densely wooded spur on the true-right of the stream to treeline; some deer trails assist here. Follow the initial broad northeast ridge; at 1500m and again at 1600m two steep steps on the ridge may cause difficulty with loose shattered rock, moving north may find easier ground. Above the steps the ridge narrows to an arete with high exposure in places on shattered rock to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Franklin (2145m)(12.4) SE Face - Way Down Sally
Climb Height: 495m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 5
Serious: IV
Old Alpine: 5
UIAA: D/TD
8 pitches. Take the narrow couloir that starts on the right hand side of the main buttress in the centre of the face. Ascend 3 pitches to the snowfield at mid-height. Trend left up the snow field for 1 pitch to the rock rib. Follow the gully to the right of this onto the upper snowfields. The route joins the South Ridge approximately 75m to the SW of the summit. Descend via the South Ridge.

Access: Lake Sally is at best difficult to approach and a high camp is strongly recommended under the knoll near its outflow. Access to the lake is gained by the ridge and loose bush covered slopes south of the stream which drains it, from the Otehake River West Branch. Alternatively ascend the slopes on the north side of the same stream, sidling around the base of the East Ridge to reach the lake. Eastern descents from Mt Franklin tend to be very steep, natural anchors allowing abseils directly onto the snowfield are available.

 Under winter conditions the routes can all be fraught by overhanging cornices.

First ascent: Don French, James Wright 22 October 2006
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Franklin (2145m)(12.5) Upper East Snowfield Couloirs
Climb Height: 495m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
From the permanent snowfield north of the East Ridge, two (three if you count alternate starts) very steep couloirs gain the summit directly up the East Face. These all tend to provide better climbs during the frozen winter months.

Access: Lake Sally is at best difficult to approach and a high camp is strongly recommended under the knoll near its outflow. Access to the lake is gained by the ridge and loose bush covered slopes south of the stream which drains it, from the Otehake River West Branch. Alternatively ascend the slopes on the north side of the same stream, sidling around the base of the East Ridge to reach the lake. Eastern descents from Mt Franklin tend to be very steep, natural anchors allowing abseils directly onto the snowfield are available.

 Under winter conditions the routes can all be fraught by overhanging cornices.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
13. Otira Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Anderson Peak (1840m)(13.1) Via Barron Range
Climb Height: 0m
Ascent Time: 7.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Climb Mt Barron (1730m) via the Mt Barron track from Hwy 73. The route from Mt Barron via the Barron Range to Anderson Peak is about 7km long and is easily followed in good visibility. The ridge is generally scree / loose rocks but is mildly craggy on the approach/departures from its higher points. Viable escape points can be found between the 1690m and 1700m points, these follow basins and screes back to the Mt Barron track above Holts Creek (do not descend Holts Creek).

From Anderson Peak a return can be made via the Rolleston River route, or via the Barron Ridge then via the basins route to avoid going over Mt Barron again.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Goat Hill (1656m)(13.2) From Barrack Creek
Climb Height: 1200m
Ascent Time: 2.5 hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Go through the farm gate on SH73 just east of the Otira River road bridge and cross Barrack Creek aiming for an alcove 200m east of the ridge-nose. A track sign may exist here, climb onto the spur to find the marked track climbing steeply through thick podocarp forest. The track breaks tree-line at about 1050m entering into dense alpine scrub. A cairned route is marked through the scrub and can easily be lost in poor visibility. The prominent ridge to the 1392m point is gained then followed easily for 2.2 kilometres to the final steep ascent onto the summit. In winter the slopes either side of this ridge system can be avalanche prone. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Hills Peak (1645m)(13.3) From Deaths Corner lookout
Climb Height: 809m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
Note: this route may have suffered substantial earthquake damage and may now be cut off! From Death's Corner lookout climb the old zig-zag road for 150m, leaving it and climbing the steep bouldery scree slope adjacent an obvious steep spur. Keep looking for weaknesses onto the spur. A route used to exist near its nose, and a further route some 300 metres up the scree up through a side gully; both routes are fraught with loose rock. Once the spur is gained follow it to join the southwest ridge and onto the summit.

First ascent: Hamish Reid 2008
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Hills Peak (1645m)(13.4) From Pegleg Creek bridge
Climb Height: 809m
Ascent Time: 1.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
Walk north along the SH73 for about 300m, the bash uphill through the tangled scrub until an old vegetated scree is met, affording some easier travel to a shoulder on the southwest ridge. Follow the ridge to the summit, turning any obstacle on the eastern side. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Barron (1730m)(13.5) 1265m Scree
Climb Height: 1280m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
This is probably a more pleasurable descent route than ascent. From the 1265m point, descend steep tussock slopes into the head of the huge scree. This drops 650m into the podocarp forest below, a 260m bush bash then ensues on animal trails to the railway road at its base. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Barron (1730m)(13.6) Goat Creek route
Climb Height: 1330m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From Otira township a trail follows the water supply line to the intake on Goat Creek. A steep trail climbs to the forested ridge on the true-left of Goat Creek. Follow this ridge into the wide alpine meadows and screes. Follow the 1500m contour southwest to ascend onto a saddle under the north ridge of Mt Barron. Climb the short steep ridge on loose rock to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Barron (1730m)(13.7) Mt Barron route
Climb Height: 1290m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
A marked trail starts about 250m north of the railway underpass on Highway 73. The route is easily followed as it zig zags its way to join a ridge above the alpine basin of Goat Creek (the markers cease here). The ridge then rises in steps, with some gullies being avalanche prone in winter conditions. From the 1569m point the ridge descents to a broad saddle before the ridge ascends again in steep rocky steps to the summit.

 In winter most flanks of Mt Barron are avalanche prone.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Pfeifer (1704m)(13.8) From SH73
Climb Height: 1406m
Ascent Time: 5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Morrison foot-bridge follow the track upstream on the Deception River for about 1km, a sign on a tree denotes the turn-off to Waharoa Saddle and Pfeifer bivouac. This track leads into Paratu Stream and climbs steeply to Waharoa Saddle (975m). A cut and marked trail then leads up the spur to the 1364m point. From here sidle around the basins towards Pfeifer bivouac located at 1300m below Mt Pfeifer. From the bivouac climb the basin above and sidle onto the ridge that climbs to the saddle between high & low peaks. Climb the southwest ridge to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Philistine (1967m)(13.9) Philistine Bluff - Diagonal Gully
Climb Height: 150m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 2+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
Ice Only. From bridge follow normal Warnock’s Bluff route, however stay in large scree gully. The obvious gully that runs across to the left as you look up is met at the head of the scree. 2 ½ easy pitches gain a small saddle followed by a traverse into a steeper snow field. The gully line is picked up, more steeply to join the broad ridge above.

First ascent: Stu Robertson and Marc Paterson, Nov 97
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Philistine (1967m)(13.10) Philistine Bluff - Double blind route
Climb Height: 150m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: III
UIAA: AD
Water Ice: WI2
Access as for Waterfall Route but veer left towards two obvious ice flows. Climb the right one and continue straight up on steep ice towards the slightly overhanging rock face. Follow good ice on the right hand side of the rock face to easing snow slopes. 3 pitches. Good climbing with easy access. Potential for other variations here exists.

First ascent: Ben Ellis and Sarwan Chand, August 2016
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Philistine (1967m)(13.11) Philistine Bluff - Grade 2+
Climb Height: 150m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2+
UIAA: AD
Water Ice: WI3
Rock or Ice. Starts on slope between the first two avalanche gullies above bridge. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Philistine (1967m)(13.12) Philistine Bluff - Grade 3+
Climb Height: 150m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 3+
UIAA: D
Rock only. Start directly under a 60 degree crack system that runs into the wall on to East Ridge of Philistine. Climb vertically to the left of the crack for 25m on poor pro to intersect parallel 60deg crack, avoiding moss & water. Continue climbing crack until a small terrace is reached. Break left onto a broad, less steep face moving upwards to a gut that tops out onto screes under the East Ridge. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Philistine (1967m)(13.13) Philistine Bluff - Right Ramp
Climb Height: 190m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 3+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Ice Only. Climb Scree from bridge towards the massive boulder at its head. The route climbs the 45deg RH ramp for 50m, then up steep buttress rock to meet a sweeping RH couloir. After 40m this leads into a less steep gully for a further 150m climbing parallel to a wall on the true R. The head breaks out onto the avalanche slopes underneath the East Ridge of Philistine. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Philistine (1967m)(13.14) Philistine Bluff - The bone collector
Climb Height: 170m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 5
Serious: IV
Old Alpine: 5
Water Ice: WI3
(Rock or ice). Follow faint buttress line diagonally right through mixed ground for 5 pitches, traverse left at a short wall and up a short couloir to climb steep ice covered slabs and then head diagonally right over exposed mixed ground to a short 4m wall ( extremely loose rock), climb delicately over this to reach steep snow at first and then onto the main snowfield below Mt Philistine. Return via Warnocks Bluff route.

First ascent: Gerard Smith & Brian Alder
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Philistine (1967m)(13.15) Philistine Bluff - Waterfall Route
Climb Height: 200m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 3+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Water Ice: WI2
Rock or Ice. 2nd avalanche gully above the bridge Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Philistine (1967m)(13.16) Philistine Bluff - Zero Gully
Climb Height: 0m
NZAC: 3+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Ice only. Supposed to be 3rd avalanche gut upstream from the bridge, however no one is actually sure. Could be one of the many gullies in the vicinity of the Waterfall route. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Philistine (1967m)(13.17) Philistine Bluffs - Ramp
Climb Height: 670m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
Only in conditon late spring early summer due to build up of avalanche debris. Follwow obvious avalanche chute towards SW corner of Rolleston Gl. Some seasons the headwall can be vertical ice. An alternative rock route climbs through the gullies and slabs on the true right of the ravine. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Philistine (1967m)(13.18) Warnocks Bluff
Climb Height: 970m
Ascent Time: 2.5 hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
  Climbed from the Otira Valley. Where the foot-bridge crosses the Otira River (about halfway up the valley) follow a vague track that crosses the vegetated moraine wall high on the true left. It then zigzags up the scree slide that leads to the base of the bluffs separating Warnocks Knob from Philistine’s East Ridge. In summer connecting ramps and gullies, find a path through the bluffs, giving access to the easier slopes above. In winter these bluffs are extremely dangerous when covered in loose snow or ice. An alternative route through the bluffs follows a stepped creek found further to the north, though this has similar winter problems. Above the bluffs continue following the ridge, staying true left of the east ridge buttress, then climbing snow slopes to join the saddle adjacent the Rolleston Glacier. The loose east ridge can be climbed from here; in snowy conditions climbing slightly further north removes the rock steps. In loose snow or potential avalanche conditions a broad gully 200m further north provides a safer run-out.

First ascent: A P Harper and M Dixon, 9 November 1891
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(13.19) High Peak - Direct
Climb Height: 130m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 3+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2+
UIAA: PD/AD
A rock (summer) or ice (winter) route exists on the southern face directly below the summit of High Peak (2275m). Access is difficult due to the very large bergschrund at the base of the face. Ascent is made up a shallow diagonal gully directly to the peak. Protection is minimal in summer. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(13.20) High Peak - Left Gully
Climb Height: 130m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 2
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2-
UIAA: PD
Ascended from the Crow neve by a myriad of rock gullies or aretes joining the southwest ridge of High Peak. Most of these routes tend to be single pitch climbs dependant on snow ramp heights, and the presence of bergschrunds. Protection is sparse in summer conditions, however the rock grades are very low. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(13.21) High Peak - Normal Route
Climb Height: 130m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 2
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2-
UIAA: PD
If the series of bergschrunds between Middle and High Peaks is accessible, gain the col between the two summits. Climb the ridge towards High Peak, either straight up, or traverse a ledge to climbers left to find a anchor sling on the corner (this same sling placement can be used on descent to give an abseil that can clear the upper bergschrund). Ascend up through stacked boulders to the scree slope above, and another abseil sling placement (this one allows access to the col).

Once back on the ridge ascend to the buttress above. A rising ledge above the Otira Face (climbers right) gives access to an obvious 4m crack that is ascended back onto the ridge back at a large boulder (wrapped in yet another abseil/anchor sling); alternatively in good winter conditions the ridge can be gained via a steep ice slope on climbers left from the buttress traversing above the Crow neve.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(13.22) Low Peak - Otira Slide
Climb Height: 715m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
  The Otira Slide route to Mt Rolleston (2275m) is the climbers preferred ascent route to join the Goldney Ridge, and is certainly the most used and quickest descent route.

From the Otira Valley car-park follow the walking trail towards the head of the valley. After the foot-bridge the trail is less defined, and the entire area is avalanche prone in winter. It takes about one hour to reach the area near the base of the Otira Slide avalanche chute. (It is unwise to ascend the slide in darkness because of the high avalanche and rockfall risk in this area.)

Dependent on season and conditions there are several ways to reach the main ice-field below Goldney Ridge:

1) Climb the main avalanche/rockfall chute directly under the Otira Face. Apart from the obvious objective danger there can be two open bergschrunds on this route by mid-late Summer.

2) Ascend the large scree cone just prior to the avalanche/rockfall chute. This leads to a steep rock/ice gut leading to the easier slabs above, then onto the ice-field.

3) A large gully prior to the scree cone ascends towards Goldney Ridge, keeping towards climber's right as you ascend. Either go directly to Goldney Ridge via a series of scree/snow-slopes. Continue following the ridge if it is not corniced, or drop down onto the Goldney Glacier, skirting a protruding rock buttress then back up steeply (avalanche prone) to join the Goldney Ridge just above obvious notch in the ridge. Alternatively the gully to climbers right, climbing a narrow creek gully, then screes to join the main ice-field.

Once on the ice-field head towards the obvious steep gully/couloir leading direct to Goldney Ridge. This gully is extremely loose in summer conditions, and may have a bergschrund at its base. From the top of the gully drop about 3 metres onto the névé/bergschrund of the Goldney Glacier, leaving it very shortly up an easily climbed gully back onto the broad upper Goldney Ridge.

Once on the ridge, do not follow the main back of the ridge, move slightly climbers right, following a series of linked screes/snow-slopes and short horizontal traverses upwards. Aim towards the obvious jutting rock at the top of the slope (Loin Rock or The Finger). Once directly below the rock move climbers right and ascend a bouldery rock step to gain the easy slopes to Low Peak directly behind (Grade. 1+).

An alternative route from the Slide, is to climb directly onto the face between Low and Middle Peaks, a large bergschrund could be present at the head of the ice-field. An obvious steep gully (Hidden Couloir) joins the ridge between these summits and can be ascended avoiding Low Peak in winter; it is avalanche prone.

Once Low Peak is gained and if the Crow névé is not too crevassed, head for the col past Middle Peak, gaining the ridge to High Peak from there. Otherwise climb over Middle Peak. Note : The Otira Slide may be descended in winter on touring skis. You must be an extremely competent skier, and have good avalanche assessment skills.

First ascent: December, 1891 by G.E. Mannering, A.M. Ollivier and W.D. Wood utilising the Goldney Ridge.high peak was made in 1912 by H. Thompson and J. Gilligan via the Otira Valley
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(13.23) Middle Peak - From the Crow Glacier
Climb Height: 50m
Ascent Time: 20mins
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
Generally Middle Peak is only ascended when bergschrunds have completely cut-off the Crow Glacier to High Peak. The southeast ridge tends to be a straightforward, if not a loose ascent. The west ridge is steep and has high exposure towards the Otira Face, care is required in loose or icy conditions. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(13.24) Otira Face - Central direct
Climb Height: 775m
Ascent Time: 3-7hrs
NZAC: 3+
Serious: IV
Old Alpine: 3
UIAA: AD/D
  This route, on the right-hand side of the central gut is by far the most popular (not only because it tops out on High Peak). Most of the climb takes place on the prominent buttress that appears to lead directly to High Peak. The buttress is reached by climbing from the Otira Valley onto the scree/ice-patch at its base, via either the loose green bluffs and ramps (adjacent the central gully), or better still via a narrow couloir that joins the snow-field to the true-left of the route (this can only be climbed when it is loaded with ice, otherwise it is very wet and slippery), an alternate climbs the slabs on the true-left at the base of the couloir then traverses ledges to the snow-field. Routes on the buttress are many and varied, as are the starts, gain the nose of the buttress where it protrudes low into the snow-field or scree, or by ascending various gullies on its true-left flank. The rock is surprisingly solid, and the ensuing 500 metres is a climb to be relished; most climbers use a combination of simul-climbing, fixed belays and free-climbing depending on their experience and perception of exposure. In contrast the next 200 metres is upon the stacked blocks and broken buttresses of the Philistine-Rolleston Ridge, rockfall is an ever present danger. The final 50 metres is on relatively good rock from the col on the ridge and is easily climbed to High Peak (a belay can be found under the lower chockstone). Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(13.25) Otira Face - Headstone gully
Climb Height: 250m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: IV
Old Alpine: 2+
UIAA: AD
The route follows the gully to the right of the access for Central Direct (Mt Rolleston -Otira Face). Climb to the top of the scree slope at the base of the climb and join the gully from there. The climbing on the lower half of the route is on reasonably solid rock and is relatively straightforward. The rock gets looser as you approach the prominent overhang/ roof at about 2/3 height, there is possibilities for good anchor on right hand side of overhang (small cams helpful e.g. .5 camalot and smaller). Climb around overhang via weakness on wall at right side (crux), this section is tricky but is protectable and leads to easier ground. A couple of short scree tiers lead to the final gully system. Climb these gullies to the ridge top. The top gullies are insecure and offer limited chance for protection. Climb to summit via Philistine-Rolleston Ridge

First ascent: Matt Sheat & Alan Haslip 30/4/2011
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(13.26) Otira Face - Left flank
Climb Height: 775m
Ascent Time: 3-7hrs
NZAC: 3+
Serious: IV
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: AD
From the snow/scree field at the base of the Central Direct route keep moving left until the nose of a rocky arete is reached. Climb on generally exposed rock, up ramps and gullies trending right, on poor protection, to join the Central Direct route at half height, then onto the Philistine/Rolleston ridge. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(13.27) Otira Face - Middle direct
Climb Height: 690m
Ascent Time: 3-7hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: IV
Old Alpine: 2+
UIAA: AD
Ewbank: 14
The arete on the left-hand side of the central gut is the most direct line to Middle Peak. It is a loose, long haul, and is best climbed when the face is clear of loose snow. It has claimed several lives in its short history of ascents. Route finding towards the top of this face tends to be quite messy; nearly everybody manages to concoct an original finish. The general theory of ascent is, look for solid, vertical, weaknesses through the bluff sections, ramps between, but look well ahead of yourself so as not to ascend into difficult terrain. The ice or scree gullies over the left side of the upper arete may appear to give some respite, but also can be very loose traps in poor conditions. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(13.28) Otira Face - Middle rib
Climb Height: 690m
Ascent Time: 3-7hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: IV
Old Alpine: 2+
UIAA: AD/D
Ewbank: 12
The rib is best reached via a slabby ramp from the lower Otira Slide. Join the rotten spur that sweeps up to join the Middle Direct route just below the summit of the Middle Peak. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(13.29) Otira Face - Otira Couloir
Climb Height: 775m
Ascent Time: 3-7hrs
NZAC: 3+
Serious: IV
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: AD/D
Ewbank: 14
This route leads up the dangerous central gut between High and Middle Peaks, and is rarely climbed as it is prone to continuous avalanche activity in winter/spring, and extreme rockfall in summer. It is gained by traversing true-right across loose ramps from the shelf under the Central Direct route. Gain the obvious left-trending ramp, then up a narrow couloir to a broad snow/scree field above. Most climbers generally choose to head off right at its top utilising a steep narrow snow couloir or rock arete to gain the top of the Central Direct route, and onto the Philistine ridge. The alternate is to continue climbing straight up into the chute leading to the Middle / High Peak col (winter only). Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(13.30) Otira Face - Westweg
Climb Height: 150m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 4
Serious: IV
Old Alpine: 2+
Ewbank: 15
The Central Direct ridge can be gained on its West side by a 150m long banana shaped corner rising above the snow field. The final 60 metres offers the best climbing on either face of the corner, offering either good rock and poor protection, or loose rock and good protection. Continue climbing Central Direct, once you realise you've encountered it.

First ascent: FFA Justin Hall & Hamish Castle (25 February 2017)
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(13.31) Philistine - Rolleston traverse
Climb Height: 310m
Ascent Time: 2-3hrs
NZAC: 3+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Climbed by traversing the ridge from Mt Philistine (1967m), a very long climb generally on loose rock, with many obstacles. Most gendarmes can be turned on narrow ledges (catwalks) particularly beyond the low point in the ridge as it rises towards Mt Rolleston. Beware of very large cornices in winter to late spring. Some rope-work may be required, especially if loose snow is met on route. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Stuart (1906m)(13.32) From Hills Peak
Climb Height: 260m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
Hills Peak is ascended via its southwest ridge from Pegleg Flat (13.4). From Hills Peak (1645m) scramble up the sweeping west ridge of Mt Stuart to the summit.

 In winter the final ascent arete can be corniced and avalanche prone.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Stuart (1906m)(13.33) Pegleg Creek route
Climb Height: 1000m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2-
UIAA: PD
The upper Pegleg Creek is quite difficult to access. Either climb towards Hills Peak out of the lower Pegleg Creek and start sidling out the slopes into the upper Pegleg basin at about 1500m on the ridge. Alternatively commence ascending the west ridge of Phipps Peak from the Temple Basin goods lift, sidling around on the 1500m contour (using prominent fault scarps) onto the escarpment above the south branch of Pegleg Creek. A wide scree gut is met below the 1728m point and descended (very avalanche prone in winter). Cross Pegleg Creek and ascend slopes to the basins directly below the summit of Stuart. From the basins ascend a series of steep scree/snow covered slopes to the col just south of the summit.

 This route is very avalanche prone in Winter/Spring.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Tarapuhi (1605m)(13.34) From Pfeifer Tops
Climb Height: 15m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Ascend the Waharoa Saddle route (Mt Pfeifer) to gain the Pfeifer Tops at the 1592m point. From here turn south following the straightforward joining ridge 1km to Mt Tarapuhi. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
One Shot Hill (1214m)(13.35) From SH73
Climb Height: 920m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Morrison foot-bridge follow the track upstream on the Deception River for about 1km, a sign on a tree denotes the turn-off to Waharoa Saddle and Pfeifer bivouac. This track leads into Paratu Stream and climbs steeply to Waharoa Saddle (975m). From Waharoa Saddle follow animal trails through the scrub up the steep south ridge, then on more shallow terrain onto One Shot Hill. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Phipps Peak (1965m)(13.36) From Pegleg Creek
Climb Height: 1000m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F/PD
Reached from the head of Pegleg Creek from the saddle north of the 1820m point. The crux in this climb is actually getting to the creek’s headwater; it’s ugly and it’s a bash! Because of thick scrub and waterfalls in the lower Pegleg, it is easier to climb the southwest ridge of Phipps from the Temple Basin goodslift shed to the 1300m contour where an obvious fault-scarp slices the hill, follow animal trails north along this as they descend towards the base of a large scree 300m upstream of the Pegleg fork. Cross the creek, and follow terraces above the south branch, avoiding the upper ravine and waterfalls, into the large scree basin under Stuart's southeast face. Climb to the saddle, over the 1820m point, scrambling south up the ridge to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Phipps Peak (1965m)(13.37) Via Temple Basin
Climb Height: 420m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Phipps Peak can be climbed by following the Main Divide from Arthur's Pass Pass (920m) by utilising the entire West Ridge, but it is usual to gain the ridge from Temple Basin by the col west of the summit. The col is reached from the basins under the peak via a steep and loose gully (beware of shingle on the sections of slab rock). A gendarme on the ridge below the summit is turned on the Westland side up a small gully, or by climbing up a crack on its southwest corner; this can be difficult in new snow conditions. Face climbs are also available on impressive, tall slabs on the Temple Basin side, or via the steep snow slopes and rock gullies on its southern flank.

First ascent: G.E. Mannering, A.M. Ollivier, W.D. wood and F.H. Polhill, December 1896.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
14. Poerua Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Mt Alexander (1958m)(14.1) From Camp Creek Hut
Climb Height: 1780m
Ascent Time: 3 hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From the Camp Creek car-park follow the marked track 3km to Camp Creek Hut. This route crosses the creek 3 times and can only be achieved in low water. 100m before the hut a track is marked to Mt Alexander, this climbs very steeply to treeline up a very narrow spur. Outside treeline the route is poled to the 1795m point, in poor visibility the route can be difficult to follow. From the 1795m point the route generally follows the ridge, however a buttress forces you onto a southern ledge and gully bypass, then further crags are avoided by down-climbing slabs and ledges on the northern escarpment, eventually climbing back up through substantial broken rock to regain the ridge, the broad summit is found shortly afterwards (adorned with a few large boulders).

 This route can be substantially avalanche prone in winter.
Otira-Kopara Forest Conservation Area

Click Here
15. Poulter Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Castle Hill (1545m)(15.1) From Casey Hut Site
Climb Height: 930m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Cross Casey Stream following the marked track into the bush for about 300m (midway through the bush section), turn west and follow animal trails through the dense forest, climbing spurs to gain a sparsely vegetated terrace. Head for the base of the largest scree penetrating the bush above the terrace. Climb the scree on its forested edges, near tree-line spurs on either side, or the scree itself afford access to the upper ridge. The gentle ridge leads to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Castle Hill (1545m)(15.2) Green / Castle Hill Traverse
Climb Height: 0m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
The 2.6km traverse between Green Hill and Castle Hill is very straightforward. Go via the tarn southeast of Green Hill and follow the rim of the escarpment. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Forest Peak (1470m)(15.3) Northwest Ridge
Climb Height: 880m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Cross the Poulter River at the Casey Stream confluence entering the dense forest just south of the stream that drains Forest Peak's north escarpment. Keep to high ground, following a forested rib that eventually merges into the northwest ridge. The summit is easily gained from here. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Forest Peak (1470m)(15.4) Southwest Ridge
Climb Height: 860m
Ascent Time: 3 hours
NZAC: 1
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the Casey Hut site cross the Poulter River and descend the Poulter River on the true-left for about 2 kilometres, just north of the major un-named stream draining Forest Peak's southwestern escarpment, enter the thick scrub and keep seeking out deer trails that lead to higher ground and eventually a spur that breaks tree-line at 1300 metres. Avoid the escarpment northwards as it contains lines of small cliff barriers. Join the broad southwest ridge leading to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Green Hill (1583m)(15.5) From Trust / Poulter Hut
Climb Height: 945m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Trust / Poulter hut ascend through the forest west of the hut following animal trails wherever possible. Continuously seek the highest ground. After about 600m of vertical climbing over 1.5km tree-line is met near the 1288m point. From here climb broad tussock spurs to reach the basin east of the summit, then along easy ground to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Hunt (1825m)(15.6) From Worsley bivouac
Climb Height: 1100m
Ascent Time: 4 hours
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Worsley Biv ascend the vegetated slopes behind the hut, finding animal trails leading to tree-line at 1200m. The ridge from here is easily followed to Mt Hunt. Any obstacle can be turned on the screes on the northern side. This is also the preferred route to Trudge Col, avoiding the bash and waterfalls in Trudge Stream. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Koeti (1786m)(15.7) From the Poulter River
Climb Height: 860m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2+
UIAA: F
From Poulter bivouac ascend the Poulter River to the basin under Mt Koeti. Climb towards the 1687m point using the tussock slopes and bouldery scree on the true-left adjacent the steep spur . Once on the ridge follow it easily to the summit. Other routes are possible via Rover Saddle (very steep scree approach), or up through scree gullies at the head of the valley to the saddle west of the peak. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Mc Rae (1753m)(15.8) From the Poulter bivouac
Climb Height: 830m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From Poulter bivouac go downstream 260 metres to the stream draining the eastern escarpment of Mt Mc Rae. This stream is easily ascended following the southern shingle branch. About 2/3 of the way up start looking for weaknesses through the steep slopes on the true-left. Ascend to the upper basins. Climb the steep but broad ridge to the 1725m point, or up thin screes between this point and Mt McRae. From here Mt Mc Rae is a relatively easy ascent up a stepped ridge.

An alternative route climbs a stream and narrow scree gut 700 metres north of the bivouac. From the upper basins climb easy slopes to gain the north ridge of Mt Mc Rae then to the summit.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Mc Rae (1753m)(15.9) From Worsley Pass
Climb Height: 764m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Worsley Pass, Mt Mc Rae is a straightforward climb along its southeast ridge system. The ridge is gained at the 1566m point by ascending the easy slopes on the southwest corner above the pass tarns. From the 1566m point it is a 2.4km traverse to the summit.

Worsley Pass is gained from the Poulter River by ascending a regenerated slip on the true-right of the first creek met, upstream the Chasm Stream confluence. Animal trails lead from the slip-head onto the pass.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Morrison (1720m)(15.10) From Lake Minchin
Climb Height: 950m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Nearly any vegetated spur can be climbed (bashed through) to gain the various ridge systems of Mt Morrison. The easiest route is from the track where it skirts around the southern edge of Lake Minchin. A short bash southeast on animal trails leads to thinning forest then scrub. Ascend easy slopes to the 1471m point then continue following the meandering south ridge 3km to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Morrison (1720m)(15.11) From Minchin Bivouac (via Penny Pass)
Climb Height: 790m
Ascent Time: 4 hours
NZAC: 1
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From Minchin bivouac follow Minchin Stream to its headwaters then climb easy tussock/scree slopes to the 1680m point on the Snowcup Range. Traverse easily via points 1658m and 1637m points, then onto Mt Morrison, a distance of 6.5km from the hut. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Row (1673m)(15.12) From Thompson Stream
Climb Height: 1030m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From the Poulter River follow Thompson Stream for 6.3km to its junction with Cherrywood Stream.

A direct route starts at the junction climbing the heavily wooded western spur towards Mt Row on animal trails; trend slightly northeast to avoid a deep fault scarp that dissects the spur at 1250m. Gain the west ridge of the 1655m point climbing to its summit, then traverse the ridge northeast to Mt Row.

An alternate route ascends Cherrywood Stream for 1.5km, turning east for about 100m into the stream draining Mt Row's escarpment, then climbing steeply on the true-left onto the wooded spur on the rim of the stream to join the west ridge of the 1655m point, then to the summit.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Scarface (1792m)(15.13) From Poulter Bivouac
Climb Height: 910m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Poulter Bivouac head downstream about 1.1km to an area 300-400m upstream of an obvious shingle fan and streams draining the western escarpment of Mt Scarface. Climb towards a scree gut that gives access to the spur north of the bouldery stream. This spur leads into a hanging basin. Both ridge systems north and south of this basin can be gained to ascend to the 1751m & 1754m points on the north ridge of Scarface. From here it is a relatively easy scramble to the summit.

There is a historical route that climbs the bouldery stream 1.5km south of Poulter Bivouac, it traverses into the southern branch at about 1150m. From here climb interlinking spurs, crossing one gut, aiming for the easier slopes slightly to the north of Scarface to avoid buttresses and steep gullies to the summit - in recent years erosion has made this route very difficult and it has substantial loose rock.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Scarface (1792m)(15.14) From Rover Saddle
Climb Height: 340m
Ascent Time: 1.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Rover Saddle (1474m) can be reached using a prominent shingle slide from the head of the Poulter River, or via the head of Linwood Stream. Linwood Stream is ascended from the Minchin Stream junction, travel is mostly on the true-left and includes sidling around several waterfalls. A long but relatively straightforward ridge-line traverse from Mt Koeti (1786m) is also possible to Rover Saddle. From Rover Saddle the traverse to Scarface is about 3.4km on scree / loose rubble ridge-lines. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Scarface (1792m)(15.15) From Worsley Bivouac
Climb Height: 1070m
Ascent Time: 2.5 hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Worsley Bivouac cross the Poulter River and climb through the forest, following deer trails where possible to gain a southwest sweeping spur. Climb through forest and alpine scrub aiming for the spurs that break through the cliff-lines above. Tree-line is met at 1100m. Easy ground is followed for 1km to about 1600m where the ridge narrows rapidly. Climb the ridge through loose and crumbling rock to gain the easier and broader south ridge to the summit. Other routes exist through the forest about 900m downstream of Worsley Bivouac, again trying to follow deer trails. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Scarface (1792m)(15.16) Via Northeast Spur
Climb Height: 1012m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Follow the track that avoids the gorge 1.5km above Lake Minchin. Near its highest point follow the scrub edge south to gain the crest of the Northeast Spur. The spur is easily followed for 1.68km to gain the north ridge of Scarface at the 1754m point. From here relatively easy scrambling on a scree/loose boulder ridge ensues to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
16. Poulter Valley (East)
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Lookout Peak (1647m)(16.1) From Ellis Stream tarn
Climb Height: 565m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1-
UIAA: F
Ellis Stream can be accessed by ascending the broad Cox River flats from Bull Creek hut. A narrow gorge is encountered 300m before Ellis Stream and may require some deep wades. Ellis Stream is a boulder hop to the tarn under Roche Pass. From the tarn ascend the scree to the west, then onto tussock slopes to the 1420m point. From here follow the easy ridge-lines to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Lookout Peak (1647m)(16.2) From Roche Pass
Climb Height: 521m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1-
UIAA: F
Roche Pass (1126m) can be accessed from the head of Ellis Stream, or from the upper Hurunui River South Branch. From the outlet of the tarn in Ellis Stream, it is a 50m bush-bash up to the north and then traverse 400m west to the snow-grass / tussocks of Roche Pass. From the Upper South Branch Hurunui hut, ascend the river for 800m to the start of a cut and marked track that leads up through dense beech forest to Roche Pass; this route being the more straightforward.

From Roche Pass head west to the least thick piece of forest, then bush-bash about 100m (horizontally) through to the open snow-grass / tussock slopes beyond. Ascend the steep grassed slopes to the open tussock tops and continue on up a rib and main ridge to the summit.

 The steeper slopes would require considerable care if descending when wet.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Crossley (1980m)(16.3) Via Candlestick Stream
Climb Height: 1045m
Ascent Time: 4.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
This peak is more readily ascended from the Ant Stream bivouac via a long, open spur. From Candlesticks bivouac cross the open river flats and enter the Candlestick Stream gorge. The stream is bouldery and steep in sections, and can be slow going. Most obstacles can be bypassed on the southern side. Follow the stream for 2.5km being sure to stay in its southern branch (don't be tempted towards the 1896m point). Turn northeast into the headwaters, ascending a steep scree that intersects the north ridge 150m from the summit. Follow the scree ridge to the summit.

The 2.7km traverse to Mt Turnbull (2024m) can be achieved, though it is much easier and less dangerous to descend into the Ant Stream or Candlestick head-water screes, and reascend to its summit.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Turnbull (2024m)(16.4) Southern Approach
Climb Height: 1089m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From Candlesticks bivouac follow Bull Creek downstream for about 1.8km, enter the bush on the true-left and follow animal trails south and diagonally upwards to intersect the toe of a prominent spur leading to the 1819m point. Drop into the side-creek, following it upstream into a scree basin. Head southeast, climbing tussock slopes around a forested outcrop. Climb towards and cross the 1678m saddle, sidling out across scree at the head of Pūkio Stream to ascend through a small basin to the saddle separating the Candlestick catchment. Traverse the two tarns and onto the east spur to the summit of Mt Turnbull.

This route can be used to access Ant stream & bivouac.

First ascent: Honora Renwick & Frank King 20/01/2017
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Turnbull (2024m)(16.5) Via Candlestick Stream
Climb Height: 1089m
Ascent Time: 4.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
This peak is more readily ascended from the Ant Stream bivouac via the stream and screes above. From Candlesticks bivouac cross the open river flats and enter the Candlestick Stream gorge. The stream is bouldery and steep in sections, and can be slow going. Most obstacles can be bypassed on the southern side. Follow the stream for 2.5km being sure to stay in its southern branch (don't be tempted towards the 1896m point). Turn northeast into the headwaters, ascending a scree gut that goes direct to the summit, or a slightly more shallow scree ascending to a saddle 800m north of the summit, then sidle the scree basin to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Poulter Hill (1617m)(16.6) From Bull Creek Hut
Climb Height: 950m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1-
UIAA: F
Poulter Hill is approachable via many aspects and screes. From Bull Creek hut cross Bull Creek and take aim at the long creek gully and saddle north of the summit, once in the saddle it is only 500m to the summit. On return scree-ski from the summit into the creek. Lochinvar Forest Conservation Area

Click Here
17. Rolleston Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Anderson Peak (1840m)(17.1) From Rolleston Valley
Climb Height: 1350m
Ascent Time: 6-7hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
A long climb that can be done by fit parties in a day from Otira. Park on Hwy 73 and follow the KiwiRail track to the rail bridge, continue up the Rolleston River on the true-left to above Holts Creek, crossing to the true-right where easiest. Continue upstream to the scree leading to sidle track (look for markers).

Follow the overgrown track to where it leaves the scrub to join the Rolleston River again. Head upstream a short distance to where a large scree gut descends to the river from the west. Climb the bouldery scree until it steepens, climb up through alpine scrub on the true-left to gain a vegetated spur, climb through the scrub to gain the broad ridge to the northeast of Lake Florence. Sidle to Lake Florence then towards the col between Mt Armstrong and Anderson. From the col climb directly to the summit on the south ridge. Further routes from the Rolleston River ascending linked screes to the southwest.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Armstrong (2110m)(17.2) From the Rolleston River
Climb Height: 1670m
Ascent Time: 5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
A long climb that can be done by fit parties in a day from Otira (17km return), or with a bivvy en-route. Follow the Rolleston River Route to where it leaves the track at the river. Continue up river avoiding small waterfalls on left or right sides as required. At a prominent bend in the river under Mt Philistine gain the spur on the true-left and follow this up to a gully underneath the Mt Armstrong summit. Before the saddle (tarn), climb the glacial slopes to the southeast of the summit, turning up a steep slope to the summit between two rock buttresses. This route can be very avalanche prone in winter / spring.

An alternative from the Otira River is to ascend the route towards Anderson Peak via Lake Florence, then climb the loose, steep slopes to Mt Armstrong from the saddle between the peaks.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Philistine (1967m)(17.3) From the head of Rolleston River
Climb Height: 620m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Winter only. This route requires very low avalanche risk, and a full, firm snow cover. From the head of the Rolleston River, ascend a shallow ramp southeast to the base of a broad ramp. Ascent the ramp for 150m then cross-over true-left under a prominent rock rib into a narrow gully; this gully climbs steeply at 40-50º for 175m, before easing. It is best to avoid climbing on the face rock adjacent the narrow gully. Climb the steep broad snow-slope above onto a spur that joins the main southwest ridge. Follow the ridge to the summit.

 The initial broad snow ramp appears to give good opportunity for an easier ascent, however the traverse under the buttresses to the snow gully under Philistine is extremely exposed, and the snow that accumulates here from the cliffs above may not be adequately bonded to the underlying rubble covered slab.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Philistine (1967m)(17.4) From the Rolleston River
Climb Height: 1320m
Ascent Time: 4.5 hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
Climbable via the giant scree gully that rises steeply for 1100 metres from the Rolleston River track (1.5km upstream of the railway bridge). This gut can be threatened by rock or ice fall in almost any season, and is invariably a very steep ice/loose scree climb for the final 200 metres to the col between Mt Philistine and the 1780m point on the northwest ridge. Climb up screes/snow-slopes north of the buttress on the northwest ridge to gain the main ridge to the summit. Warnocks Knob should be used as the preferred descent route. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Philistine (1967m)(17.5) From Waimakariri Col
Climb Height: 350m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
On the north side of Waimakariri Col sidle around on screes/snow-slopes gaining height to the base of a narrow couloir that joins the Philistine - Rolleston Ridge out to the north side of the scree fan (these slopes can be avalanche prone in winter, crevasses form here in late Spring). This 80m gully contains extremely loose rock in summer, or hard ice in winter. Once on the ridge you travel towards Mt Philistine, all major ridge obstacles (gendarmes) are bypassed on the Rolleston River side (some may require you to drop 50-100m from the ridge). Once on Mt Philistine you descend the scree/snow-slope to the hanging valley that runs down the left side of Philistine's east ridge (this ridge forms the escarpment into the Otira Valley), Route 6.8. This route may have rock cairns to the edge of a 150m cliff that descends to Warnocks Knob. There is a zig zag route down through this bluff that is generally a scramble, keeping away from bluffs & cliffs (if you slip or fall, there is nothing to stop you to the bottom). It should not be attempted in wet or loose snow/ice conditions. From the base of the cliff you descend the scree to the foot-bridge in the Otira Valley. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
18. Sudden Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Mt Foweraker (1804m)(18.1) North avalanche chute
Climb Height: 1230m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Ascend the Sudden Valley Stream for 4.2km from its junction with the Hawdon River to the obvious avalanche chute running north from Foweraker's west ridge (E1494897 N5242371), it is full of tree debris. Ascend the creek associated with the chute to where it gorges and climb the true-left spur ascending easily through beech forest. Once in open ground aim through the alpine scrub to the isolated stand of beech above and move true-right onto the very loose scree directly under the summit, easier travel is afforded by gaining the rocky spur on the true-right part way up. Ascend easily to summit.

 In winter this route is fully threatened by large avalanches!

First ascent: Surveyed by Tyler Brummer & Graeme Kates, 21 March 2015
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Foweraker (1804m)(18.2) Northwest Ridge
Climb Height: 870m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Head up the stream that joins Sudden Valley Stream on the true-right about 500m downstream of Sudden Valley Biv. Travel up this stream is quite straight forward, no waterfalls etc, but a bit rough and slow in its lower reaches. The stream splits at 1100m, follow the south branch to about 1300m then start ascending the spur that leads to the 1447m point. Some avalanche risk may exist from the basins above! From here follow the broad ridge southeast over the 1711m point and then south to the summit. (Summer route only)

First ascent: Surveyed by Daryll Thompson & Stuart Columbus, 16 April 2015
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Scott (2009m)(18.3) From Sudden Valley Stream
Climb Height: 885m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
A steep scree or snow slope between Mts Wilson and Scott gives good climbing access from the head of Sudden Valley Stream.

 In winter/spring these screes are extremely avalanche prone.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Wilson (2035m)(18.4) From Sudden Valley
Climb Height: 900m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Ascend from the head of Sudden Valley Stream, using a steep scree gully on the true-right 2km upstream of the Sudden Valley Bivouac. Aim initially for the saddle between Wilson and Scott, but start sidling up the true-right scree slopes half way up to join the ridge to the south of the saddle via a steep final section. The ridge is then followed to the peak. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Wilson (2035m)(18.5) From Sudden Valley Stream
Climb Height: 820m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
A steep scree or snow slope between Mt Wilson and Mt Scott gives good climbing access to both peaks from the head of Sudden Valley Stream.

 In winter/spring these screes are extremely avalanche prone.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
The Dome (1945m)(18.6) From Sudden Valley bivouac
Climb Height: 985m
Ascent Time: 4.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Ascend the heavily vegetated spur behind the Sudden Valley Biv, turning northwest to avoid steepening broken slopes. Once the main ridge is reached, it is a relatively easy traverse along its back (most annoyances can be turned on the East Edwards side) to attain the final climb up onto The Dome.

This route, though high, may also be used to return to the lower Edwards River (summer only): continue along the ridge onto the 1920m point, dropping true right to a very small 'green' tarn. Continue sidling to the head of a very large scree slope, descending directly to the valley floor.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
The Dome (1945m)(18.7) Mt Scott - Mt Wilson - The Dome Traverse
Climb Height: 710m
Ascent Time: 5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
Ascend Mt Wilson or Scott: From Polar Range, leaving your un-necessary overnight equipment on the col just north of the 1853m point. Ascend Mts Wilson and Scott using the rotten rock ridge from the col. Recovering your equipment, it is best to sidle high on the screes true-left of East Edwards River to avoid the following 2km of loose, rotten ridge-line. A camp below the 1669m saddle is the best option. Regain the north ridge at this point, climbing the buttressed face onto The Dome. Easy walking follows onto the 1920m point, dropping true-right to a very small green tarn. Continue sidling to the head of the very large scree slope, descending directly to the lower Edwards Valley via the true-left of the scree. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
The Dome (1945m)(18.8) North Ridge
Climb Height: 985m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From Sudden Valley bivouac head downstream about 600m and ascend the stream on the true-right, take the southern fork for about 700m to a snowgrass gully on the true-right and follow this up onto a spur just above the 1447m point. Ascend the spur until it is possible to sidle easily out on scree above Red Beech Stream to join the north ridge to The Dome. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
The Pyramid (1608m)(18.9) From Sudden Valley Bivouac
Climb Height: 650m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From the bivouac head downstream about 1km. A small narrow stream on the true-left drains a very large scree basin above. Scramble up the stream into the upper scree basin. Going up it is best to go true-right up to the 1594m point (from the 1565m point scree skiing down). The ridge to the summit is craggy, loose, with some exposed sidles around several gendarmes. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
19. Taipo Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Anderson Peak (1840m)(19.1) From Hunts Creek Hut
Climb Height: 960m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From Hunts Creek hut follow the cairned trail upstream to the fork in the headwaters under Bijleveld Col. Follow the true-right branch for about 300m, taking a bouldery scree on the true-right before the bluffs. This leads into a small [dry] stream giving access to the scree basin above the rock canyon. From here follow screes to the saddle overlooking Lake Florence, then up the south ridge to the summit. Multiple other routes are available direct from Hunts Creek to join the north ridge via steep screes and gullies. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Axis (1979m)(19.2) From Julia Creek - North Ridge
Climb Height: 834m
Ascent Time: 3 hours
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
Mt Axis can be ascended via the Axis ice-field and its north ridge. Ascend the creek north of the southeast ridge, or an avalanche gully about 100m downstream. These are steep and loose, and are easier to tackle if they still contain stable avalanche debris in early summer. These lead to the nose of the Axis ice-field. The Axis ice-field is generally captive and its crevasses tend to be narrow and the bergschrund at its head is normally cross-able. The north ridge is easily reached in several locations and climbed to the summit.

 In winter all routes are avalanche prone, and a cornice forms along the north ridge.
Wanganui / Otira Catchments Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Axis (1979m)(19.3) From Julia Creek - Southeast Ridge
Climb Height: 765m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
Tackled from a high camp in the headwaters of Julia Creek. In summer the ridge may provide an ice-free route to the summit, however avalanche debris in the approach gullies to the south may provide easier access in early summer if stable. From the Julia Creek headwaters climb screes into a gully system on the high western flank of the southeast ridge, and gain the ridge. The ridge can be loose and has several short steps. Wanganui / Otira Catchments Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Harman (1900m)(19.4) South Ridge from Popes Pass
Climb Height: 300m
Ascent Time: 45mins
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
An easy ascent from Popes Pass climbing mostly on scree ridges these days; in 2017 the Harman ice-field disappeared almost completely leaving just two small ice sheets. The screes are now clear of snow by mid January. Wanganui / Otira Catchments Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Marion (2145m)(19.5) From Popes Pass
Climb Height: 545m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: PD
From Popes Pass climb easy slopes to Mt Pope (1720m). The ridge is easily followed to a col at 1675m. The shoulder here is loose and steep, and leads temporarily onto another broad ridge (1790m) before climbing a very steep rock step (90m); in winter a gully on the true-left may afford some steep ice-climbing here. Beyond the step follow an ever steepening and narrowing ridge through rotten rock to the summit. Note: the extremely steep scree out to the west is not an option! Central Southern Alps Wilberforce Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Pope (1720m)(19.6) From Popes Pass
Climb Height: 135m
Ascent Time: 20 mins
NZAC: 1
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Mt Pope is an easy and short ascent from the pass. Wanganui / Otira Catchments Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Walcott (1808m)(19.7) From Mid Taipo Hut
Climb Height: 1440m
Ascent Time: 4.5 hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Follow the track upstream of Mid Taipo Hut for 1km to Micks Creek. This is more of a scree chute than a creek. Follow the steep scree for 1.5km into the basin above climbing a gully onto the 1513m point. From here it is an easy ascent to the summit following the northeast ridge.

 This scree route can be a prime avalanche path in winter.
Wanganui / Otira Catchments Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Walcott (1808m)(19.8) Via Dexter Creek
Climb Height: 1330m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
The crux on this route is crossing the upper Taipo River. A possible crossing of the Taipo may be found about 150m upstream of its confluence with Dexter Creek. Ascend Dexter Creek following its northern branch, climbing a steep gully at its head into a basin between the 1682m and 1723m points. Ascend screes to the ridge then follow the south ridge of Walcott easily to the summit. Wanganui / Otira Catchments Conservation Area

Click Here
Rangi Taipo (1459m)(19.9) From Taipo River
Climb Height: 1240m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Although the "track" has been remarked (permolat & fading tape) by the Remote Huts Group, it is still overgrown, vague, steep and very slippery. From the junction of the Taipo River and Seven Mile Creek, follow the new mining trails onto a terrace under the southwest ridge of Rangi Taipo. Look for the track entry, then ascend very steeply, looking ahead for tell-tale signs of where the route may go, then thrusting your way through the scrub towards it. After 900m of climbing you break tree-line, if returning this way pay lots of attention to the entry point, and feel free to build additional cairns! The ridge is easily followed to the summit. Wanganui / Otira Catchments Conservation Area

Click Here
20. Taramakau Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Kellys Hill (1394m)(20.1) From Carroll Hut
Climb Height: 274m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Carroll Hut (1120m) follow the marked track onto Kellys Saddle (1165m). From the first shallow tarn follow an obvious gully northeast to join the broad ridge near the 1408m point then follow terraces around to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Alexander (1958m)(20.2) Southeast Ridge
Climb Height: 1617m
Ascent Time: 4.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
There is no easy way to approach this ridge, the full flow of the Taramakau River (includes the Otira River) must be crossed in one or two channels, then a west coast scrub bash ensues to gain the upper ridge, from either the true right spur adjacent the creek draining the Mt Howe basin, or an obvious diagonal fault scarp about 200m further downstream. Either way there tends to be some steep, slippery terrain hidden in the beech forest. Once treeline is reached travel along the wide open ridge is easy. Steepening rock is encountered about 300m short of the summit, in winter the snow/ice allows fairly easy travel (beware of cornices!), in summer expect loose, gruddy rock. An alternative is to track west under the ridge rocks using a series of interlinked scree/snow gullies that lead to the summit, this makes an easier descent route (take care in winter as these are also avalanche paths).

First ascent: Graeme Kates 2007
Otira-Kopara Forest Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Alexander (1958m)(20.3) Taramakau Gully / South Face
Climb Height: 1617m
Ascent Time: 4.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
Cross the Taramakau River opposite Rocky Creek. Bash through the easy scrub and swamp to meet the obvious rock gut that cuts a swath through the south face. The steep gut has several waterfalls and cliffs which have greasy by-passes, be careful!. Halfway up the route a major fork is met. To follow the true left you will meet a overhung rock choke, which may be possible if you are fearless. Alternatively climb out the gut prior to the fork on its true-left, climbing on steep shrubby ground to join up with an easier rock ridge. This ridge merges into scree slopes, followed by a series of easy gullies and scrambles to the summit.

 This gully is a avalanche run-out zone in winter / spring.
Otira-Kopara Forest Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Byrne (1448m)(20.4) From Harper Pass
Climb Height: 486m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the track across Harper Pass pick a route through the alpine scrub to the base of spurs that lead to the broad tussock shoulder leading to the ridge that climbs to the 1725m point. About 300m short of the high point turn west, dropping through easy gullies to traverse onto the ridge at the 1498m point. Mt Byrne is a further 1.4km on a east-west rise above a singular tarn. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Byrne (1448m)(20.5) Via Foy Pass
Climb Height: 948m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Locke Stream hut head downstream 450m and enter Locke Stream. Travel up the stream is straightforward. About 1.2km upstream a steep spur enters on the true-right, before the creek draining Foy Pass is met. Both this spur and the spur upstream of the same creek can be climbed to the broad Foy Pass. From Foy Pass sidle around onto the rocky bump that is Mt Byrne. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Howe (1660m)(20.6) From Alexander Creek
Climb Height: 1400m
Ascent Time: 6.5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
There is no easy way to approach this ridge, the full flow of the Taramakau River at the Otira River confluence must be crossed in one or two channels. The slippery Alexander Creek can be followed in parts, with bypasses either side through dense scrub to avoid obstacles. About 1km of slow travel finds a steep regenerating landslide scarp on the true-left, this can be ascended adjacent its bush edges to about the 900m contour, a haul up through thick podocarp forest then ensues for a further 200m following animal trails where available. Once in open ground head north along broad terraces under the south ridge to gain the scree basin southwest of the summit; it is a relatively easy scramble to the summit using the west ridge from here.

An alternate is to continue up Alexander Creek for a further 900m to the scrub covered screes in the southwest corner of Mt Howe; these can be ascended to the bluffs above, then turn east on well defined animal trails climbing to the large scree basin southwest of the summit; onto the summit as above.

Other routes are available from Crooked River in the north using forested spurs that join the northeast ridge.

 Avalanche danger threatens these routes in Spring.

First ascent: Graeme Kates 2007
Otira-Kopara Forest Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Koeti (1786m)(20.7) From Townsend hut
Climb Height: 645m
Ascent Time: 1.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the hut sidle across tussock and scree slopes aiming for the saddle between Mt Koeti and the 1713m point. Follow the northeast ridge easily to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Pfeifer (1704m)(20.8) From Lake Kaurapataka
Climb Height: 1285m
Ascent Time: 5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From the east end of Lake Kaurapataka ascent the heavily vegetated spur following animal trails where ever possible. After 1km the ridge becomes more defined and steepens. Open ground is met at the 1000m contour. The ridge merges into a basin containing possible shallow tarns under the northeast flank of Mt Pfeifer, it is a straightforward ascent to the summit from here. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Pfeifer (1704m)(20.9) From Pfeifer Creek
Climb Height: 1265m
Ascent Time: 4.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
UIAA: F
From the Taramakau River follow the Lake Kaurapataka track until it reaches Lake Stream, follow the stream back to Pfeifer Creek, then boulder hop upstream for 1.5km. A side creek enters on the true-right here, and looking up the slope a narrow scree forking at the top should be visible. Ascend this creek, the scree chute, taking the true-left branch where it forks. Continue climbing until obvious animal trails provide an exit to the spur on the true-left then onto the open tussock ridge above. Sidle southwest over a spur to Pfeifer bivouac, then ascend the peak from there. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Wilkinson (1430m)(20.10) Via Wilkinson Stream
Climb Height: 930m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Locke Stream hut head downstream 450m and enter Locke Stream. Travel up the stream is straightforward, after 1.3km turn into Wilkinson Creek on the true-left. Again travel up this creek is quite straightforward, after about 1.3km a large is slip is encountered running from the summit of Mt Wilkinson, continue through the base of the slip to a fork in the creek, take the spur between. The spur steepens at its mid point, you can either keep climbing through steep terrain to the southeast ridge, alternatively another spur and scree leads to the northeast ridge. Both ridges are easy climbs to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Rangi Taipo (1459m)(20.11) From Carroll hut
Climb Height: 340m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
A moderately long day outing from Carroll Hut (7.4km one way). From Carroll Hut (1120m) follow the marked track onto Kellys Saddle (1165m). From the first shallow tarn follow an obvious gully northeast to join the broad ridge near the 1408m point then drop down through shallow gullies and terraces to reach the Bald Range. Alternatively sidle the contour from Kelly Saddle around the brow of the hill into the headwater of Seven Mile Creek.

Follow a series of animal tracks that sidle ridges and traverse terraces along the Bald Range. The travel is generally easy. Water may be available from several tarns en-route. The track leading to the Seven Mile / Taipo River confluence is overgrown but has permolat marking and cairned outside treeline.
Wanganui / Otira Catchments Conservation Area

Click Here
Tainui Peak (1745m)(20.12) From Harper Pass
Climb Height: 783m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Harper Pass, follow the well defined track into the head of the Hurunui River (true-left). At the first major side creek entering from the south cross the river to the true-right. From this corner follow animal trails through the scrub and forest, many of these trails lead to a small tarn, climb to the obvious ridge. The meandering ridge is easily followed, becoming steep in the final 500m to the summit. Lake Sumner Forest Park

Click Here
21. Waimakariri Valley (Lower)
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Brown Hill (1716m)(21.1) From Binser Saddle
Climb Height: 631m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the clearing west of Binser Saddle climb north through forest onto the 1203m point. Follow the sweeping ridge northwest onto the open tops. From here a point to point ridge traverse ensues for the next 7.4km. Make sure to drop west off the 1694m point to regain the correct ridge system to Brown Hill. A return could be made via the Casey Saddle route. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Binser (1860m)(21.2) Binser Saddle route
Climb Height: 1320m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Follow the marked tramping trail from the Binser Saddle car-park for about 3.7km to the first open area near the Binser Saddle (just before the track goes left across a clearing). From here bash into the bush following the least line of resistance on deer trails to break tree-line to the west of the creek gully draining the hillside. Climb easily on scree and alpine scrub to gain the low peak at 1753m. Continue to follow the narrow and sometimes exposed ridge to middle peak at 1831m, this same ridge can be corniced in winter with avalanche terrain on its flanks. The climb to the summit is straight forward from here on broad ridges and slopes. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Binser (1860m)(21.3) Southwest Ridge
Climb Height: 1220m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
This ridge is normally descended rather than ascended, so this description is for a descent... from the summit follow the obvious broad ridge to the west. It is steep and loose scree (avalanche risk in winter), rocky crags are met partway down, these are turned on the northern side gullies, regaining the ridge crest below. A saddle is reached at 1320m, from here descend into the creek that flows to the south. This travels into alpine meadows and interesting rocky geology, continue to travel downhill until thick scrub is met, from here it is best to pick a line sidling the hillside north of the forest to avoid the worst of it, looking for clearings and an old farm track that leads down to the Mt White road. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
The Dome (1945m)(21.4) From the Waimakariri River
Climb Height: 1345m
Ascent Time: 5hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Approached via Douglas Stream or Red Beech Stream near the Cora Lynn siding on the Midland Railway (northern side of the Waimakariri River). Both of these approaches are very difficult in terms of waterfall, bluff and thick vegetation obstacles below the treeline. Once out of the jungle on Douglas Stream (3km) a very steep rock amphitheatre is encountered, a steep scree on the true-left, adjacent the bush, gives access to the steep southeast ridge of The Dome. In winter this area is avalanche prone. The head of Red Beech Stream leads to easy scree slides that access the main ridge-lines of The Dome. Attempt these routes as ascents only! (i.e. Don’t come down them!) Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
22. Waimakariri Valley (Upper)
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Anderson Peak (1840m)(22.1) From Mt Armstrong
Climb Height: 0m
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From Mt Armstrong head north about 150m until it is possible to descend through short loose gullies onto the scree/snow-slopes descending towards the col above Lake Florence. Sidle back and forth on slopes slightly westwards staying off the craggy and steep spurs. This route is loose in Summer and avalanche prone in Winter/Spring. Once on the col continue easily onto Anderson Peak. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Carrington Peak (2010m)(22.2) Armstrong - Carrington Traverse
Climb Height: 710m
Ascent Time: 5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
Firm snow or ice is very helpful on this route. Ascend Mt Armstrong, via the Armstrong Glacier, from the saddle to the west of the Waimakariri Col. From the summit drop down the ascent route and sidle under the southwest ridge rocks to 2005m point. Regain the ridge crest and traverse the ridge to the 1994m point over varying but straightforward terrain. Beware of large cornices to the east in winter/spring. From the 1994m point drop off to the east and sidle the snow-slope regaining the ridge at the saddle or where-ever safe to do so; beware a bergschrund can form at its southwestern corner. Follow the ridge over a rock-step to the summit.

 This route is prone to avalanches in winter, as is the hut in 3 avalanche paths.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Carrington Peak (2010m)(22.3) Main Divide Route
Climb Height: 710m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From the Waimakariri Falls hut go upstream about 400m, then ascend the slopes to the west via a steep side-stream and slabs; this leads to a fault scarp ascending diagonally to the left. Follow this up onto a broad terrace of scree/snow. Continue ascending through the basin under the 1994m point and into the basin to the north of the summit. Ascend to the saddle at the head of this basin, then continue following the ridge over a rock-step to the summit.

An ascent of the slabby southwest ridge is also possible by continuing the traverse on the eastern slopes under the summit rocks then ascending to the col under the final southwest ridge. In winter several couloirs also provide access to the summit rocks.

 Both the above routes are prone to avalanches in winter, as is the hut in 3 avalanche paths.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Carrington Peak (2010m)(22.4) Southwest Ridge
Climb Height: 1080m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From Campbell Creek junction with the Waimakariri River continue upstream about 900m until under two large scree chutes that join towards the bottom; both of these can be ascended with varying degrees of difficulty, though the broader one on the right is initially easier.

Once on the broader slopes above join the southwest ridge climbing over relatively easy ground to the final slabs to the summit.
In winter several couloirs also provide access to the summit rocks. The final ascent can also be reached by sidling across the terrace under the southwest ridge and aim for the col just south of the summit dome.

 This route is prone to avalanches in winter.

First ascent: C Hilgendorf, December 1924
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Carrington Peak (2010m)(22.5) Waimakariri Eastern Bluffs
Climb Height: 1100m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 4+
Serious: IV
Old Alpine: 2+
UIAA: D/TD
Climbed by following the prominent Y-shaped gully through the eastern bluffs at the base of the peak some 500m downstream of the Waimakariri Falls. The route is only possible when there is continuous, hard, avalanche debri in the guts. Both guts of the Y have very steep couloirs exiting them to the easier slopes above, the left-hand gut is near vertical at its top, the right-hand gut has slightly lower angled slabs; both routes have considerable exposure. Before committing to one branch or other survey them from the slopes on the opposite side of the Waimakariri River. This route is very prone to capture avalanches and rockfall from above.

Once on the easier slopes above the guts climb towards the basin south of the 1994m point. Ascend to the saddle at the head of this basin, then continue following the ridge over a rock-step to the summit.

 The above routes are prone to avalanches in winter, as is the Waimakariri Falls hut threatened by 3 avalanche paths.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Armstrong (2110m)(22.6) From Waimakariri Falls hut
Climb Height: 810m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From the hut ascend the valley on the true-left of the river until approaching an obvious gorge. Cross the river, and ascend easy slopes on the true-right of the gorge, then follow screes / snow-slopes to the saddle to the west of the 1845m point. Climb the glacial slopes to the southeast of the summit, turning up a steep slope to the summit between two rock buttresses. This route can be very avalanche prone in winter / spring.

First ascent: H R Reid, A Anderson, January 1928
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Campbell (1829m)(22.7) From Campbell Pass
Climb Height: 690m
Ascent Time: 1.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
About 300m north of the Campbell Pass waterfall ascend the steep scree slopes that ascend on the north side of the ridge running to the 1811m point. The ridge or the slopes are easily climbed to the 1811m point from the terraces at the head of the scree. Follow Mt Campbell's north ridge to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Guinevere (2042m)(22.8) Via side creek from Jellicoe Ridge
Climb Height: 1260m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
Ascend the stream 1km downstream of Carrington Hut on the true-left of the Waimakariri. About 1.3km upstream ascend the scree slope that leads towards the 1405m point. Follow this broad ridge until it merges with the south ridge of Mt Guinevere. Sidle northwards a short distance under the ridge until large scree/snow slopes ascend easily to the ridge crest. Follow the ridge easily north to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Lancelot (2112m)(22.9) North Ridge from Waimak Falls Hut
Climb Height: 812m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Mt Lancelot can be attempted by the north ridge (Jellicoe Ridge) which links it to Mt Rolleston. The ridge is easily gained directly above Waimakariri Falls hut, by gaining and ascending a ramp that runs up the western side of a spur ridge that joins the north ridge near a col below the summit. Climb to the north ridge via couloirs or steep scree guts, then on relatively straightforward terrain to the summit. In winter this route can be fraught with avalanche risk, and potential cornices. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Lancelot (2112m)(22.10) Southwest Ridge
Climb Height: 812m
Ascent Time: 2.5 hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F/PD
Reached by climbing to the Jellicoe Ridge opposite Waimakariri Falls hut. Climb up to near the toe of the sub-ridge that runs southwest from Mt Lancelot's north ridge, sidle across the steep snow/scree slope to the toe of the southwest ridge of Lancelot, this then drops into a hanging valley containing a small tarn. From the tarn climb easy ramps to gain the southwest ridge, the ridge is straightforward until the final 50m that is an easier ascent on the western side.

At the head of this valley is a steep scree gully, with large debris cone, climbing 120m to the southeast ridge, travel to the summit is relatively straightforward from here.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Rolleston (2275m)(22.11) From Upper Waimakariri Col
Climb Height: 730m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
Climbed from the head of the valley near Waimakariri Col. Snow slopes lead up towards the head of an ice-field running northwest of Mt Rolleston. Climb the obvious ice/scree gully joining the Philistine Ridge near the base of High Peak. From the col overlooking the Otira Face either climb the gully directly off the col to High Peak, or take the steep dog-legged couloir (Sampson's) on the true-left; this joins the southwest ridge after a climb of 120m. Traverse the short distance to High Peak. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
23. White River Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Mt Campbell (1829m)(23.1) From Carrington Hut
Climb Height: 1020m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
Opposite Carrington Hut is a huge scree that ascends to the 1400m point on Mt Campbell's south ridge system. At the head of this scree sidle out west, zig-zag up a steep scree to gain the upper ridges, this avoids the steep, loose head-wall. This slope is extremely avalanche prone in winter, and you don't want to be here in a earthquake. Once on the ridge meander the 1.7km to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Campbell (1829m)(23.2) From Harman Pass
Climb Height: 513m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Harman Pass follow the creek that drains into the Taipoiti River. Gain the west ridge at a shoulder at the head of a bouldery scree. Follow the loose west ridge to the summit. An alternate route ascends the creek draining the southwest basin of Mt Campbell, then up screes direct to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Davie (2280m)(23.3) Kilmarnock Spur
Climb Height: 1380m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
  From the White River, follow the stream issuing from the Kilmarnock Falls for about 450m until a large bouldery scree is met on the true-right. The scree can be ascended taking the true-left fork, climbing slabs near its head to join the spur to the south of the Kilmarnock catchment. The spur is followed to the summit over several rock steps, or the ridge north of the summit can be gained via steep snowslopes and rock ribs from the upper Kilmarnock basin. An ascent is also possible from the basin to the south direct to the summit if the glacier is passable.

First ascent: Lieutenant G Dennistoun, R N, A P and E Harper, April 1912
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Davie (2280m)(23.4) South Ridge via Cahill Glacier
Climb Height: 720m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 3+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 3
UIAA: AD/D
Note: this route may now be impassable due to glacial recession.

Sidle around to the lower Marmaduke Dixon Glacier from from Barker Hut towards the Cahill Glacier ravine, climbing over a spur into an active avalanche chute then ascending this to a shoulder that gives access via a steep snow gully back down onto the glacier below the ice-fall area (it pays to scope out this route thoroughly from Barker Hut). Be aware of stone fall from the bluffs on the southwest. Ascend to the head of the glacier. Using available snow or ice ramps ascend onto the south east spur joining the craggy south ridge of Mt Davie.

 In early summer this route can be cut by a series of huge bergschrunds, and in winter/spring is extremely avalanche prone.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Davie (2280m)(23.5) Via the Marmaduke Dixon feeder glacier
Climb Height: 720m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
From Barker Hut ascend the true-left side of the Marmaduke Dixon Glacier to the first feeder glacier on its northern flank. Climb adjacent the active ice-fall on the true-right, to gain the steep neve above. Continue climbing north ascending a wide snow gully onto the south east ridge of the 2175m point. Sidle out onto the upper neve of the Cahill Glacier seeking out the easiest slope to join the south ridge of Mt Davie to its summit. The feeder glacier neve can have some extremely dramatic bergschrunds open up by the early summer months. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Harper (2222m)(23.6) Camp Spur
Climb Height: 1320m
Ascent Time: 4.5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
Follow the White River track from Carrington Hut for 250m, follow the true-right of a shingle flow through the trees that is marked by intermittent cairns of red-painted rocks (the first one on the track). Once through the initial bush bash, keep to the true left of the creek gully, some further old rock cairns may be found. A steep scree gully is intercepted that leads through a visible gut in the cliffs to reach the easier slopes below the bush-line. From here cairns lead to the broad tussock slopes of the ridge (an old trig station will be passed). The ascent follows a broad ridge to the 1750m point before narrowing and steepening onto the 1971m point. Travel from here is craggy slopes, a exposed steep rock pinch 300m prior the summit, then a straightforward ridge to the summit.

 In winter/spring the upper eastern slopes can be avalanche prone.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Harper (2222m)(23.7) Southwest Face
Climb Height: 470m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 3
UIAA: AD/D
Can be approached by the steep South West Face and Ridge (reasonable rock and lines) from White Col. From White Col descend into the head of Burnet Stream, and make your way north under the face adjacent the long couloir / gully. The shorter (270m) and easier climbs leave from the toe of the couloir and join the snow-slopes of the normal route, whilst the steep and more complex climbs (470m high) start 50-150m further east. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Harper (2222m)(23.8) Southwest Ridge - Normal route
Climb Height: 470m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Normally climbed from White Col, via the large southern snow-slope joining the South West Ridge to the summit. From White Col climb out carefully on ledges over the couloir dropping into Burnet Stream, until a crack allows and easy ascent. A series of ramps and short rock climbs out to the left takes you onto a moraine and the northern tongue of the ice slope. Climb the ice slope to its head joining the southwest ridge rather than the choss headwall. Follow the ridge through loose rock to the summit.

First ascent: C K Ward and A E Talbot, March 1913
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Harper (2222m)(23.9) West Face
Climb Height: 470m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 3
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
This face has surprisingly good rock, the shortcoming being that it hasn’t had enough ascents to dislodge the numerous chock-stones and loose scree jammed in its rifts and cracks.

The best approach is from White Col, sidling out northwards until standing beneath the chosen route. Most of the obvious lines provide plenty of 'cam breaks'. The going towards the South Ridge gets a little scrappy, but otherwise provides some good cranking.

 This face isn't recommended after fresh snow, as airborne avalanches wash the entire wall.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Isobel (2036m)(23.10) From Harman Pass
Climb Height: 715m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
From Harman Pass ascend the screes south of Ariels Tarns to gain the shoulder of the ridge. The ridge is relatively straightforward to the 1890m knob, a loose, steep slope follows onto the 2013m point. Continue along the main divide, the ridge then climbs steeply through a series of steep exposed slabs to the summit. Once on Mt Isobel it may be prudent to continue southwest, descending on steep snow-slopes / screes to Whitehorn Pass.

The Whitehorn ice-field just about disappeared in 2019, it is now possible to gain Mt Isobel by climbing a very loose moraine wall to a hanging basin containing a small tarn, then up steep slabs / snow-slopes to near the summit.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Isobel (2036m)(23.11) From the White Valley
Climb Height: 1180m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Ascend the Taipoiti River from the White confluence for 900m to a prominent scree slope on the true-right. Ascend the scree until it branches, then continue ascending a series of broken slopes to the scree shelf above. Traverse west over a steep scree slope, then ascend further broken ground to the saddle between the 1890m knob and 2013m point. Continue along the main divide, the ridge then climbs steeply through a series of steep exposed slabs to the summit.

 This route can be avalanche prone after heavy snowfalls.
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Isobel (2036m)(23.12) Via Kilmarnock Glacier
Climb Height: 160m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Ascend to the Kilmarnock Glacier as per Mt Davie (Route 23.3). In recent years the glacier has receded greatly exposing a lot of loose rock along its upper perimeter. Ascend the glacier to its head, then look for [safe] weaknesses through the loose bluffs and gullies to gain the southwest ridge of Isobel. Climb the ridge to the summit, being careful around a steep gendarme.

First ascent: R G Harris and R W Glendinning, April 1931
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Murchison (2408m)(23.13) Kahutea Ridge
Climb Height: 650m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
The Kahutea ridge can be followed from White Col however be prepared for some very loose, exposed climbs, especially on the final two buttresses. This route does not necessarily assist with a cut-off White Glacier, as the Kahutea Col bergschrunds could likely halt progress. Central Southern Alps Wilberforce Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Murchison (2408m)(23.14) White Glacier route
Climb Height: 650m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
The usual route follows the glacier (up the true left of the icefall on an ice ramp) almost to Kahutea Col. Stay close beneath the North Ridge, to avoid the crevasse areas and then ascend the last couloir which joins the ridge near the summit. (Note : Wet snow avalanches or stone-fall are not uncommon in this short 60m couloir!).

First ascent: C.K. Ward and A.E. Talbot 1913.
Central Southern Alps Wilberforce Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Murchison (2408m)(23.15) White Glacier variation
Climb Height: 650m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
  By late summer the above route may be cut by an icecliff for the width of the White Glacier. In this case a good route follows a scree/snow slope adjacent the ridge linking White Col and Kahutea Col. A cross over point onto the White Glacier neve is generally found about 200m up the ridge. In recent years (February) the White Glacier has been cut by a huge bergschrund for its entire width some 150m below Kahutea Col; rock bypasses are very risky to say the least. Central Southern Alps Wilberforce Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Wakeman (2271m)(23.16) From White Glacier
Climb Height: 470m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 3+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 3
UIAA: AD/D
Approached directly from below the ice-fall of the White Glacier by the wide, very steep feeder snowfield below the summit. In early summer this route is avalanche swept, and by late summer a bergschrund and crumbling rock cliff bar access midway. Certainly not an avalanche season route!

First ascent: J P Wilson, A Anderson, 16 December 1930
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Wakeman (2271m)(23.17) North East Slabs - Hug a Ginga
Climb Height: 200m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 5
Serious: IV
UIAA: AD/D
Ewbank: 15
This route is near Barker Hut. Located at the north-eastern end (lowest point) of a outlier summit (2189m) on the North East Ridge. The orange-coloured, triangle-shaped buttress can be seen directly out the west-facing window of Barker Hut. Walk for about 30 minutes from the hut up towards the Marmaduke Dixon Glacier. The climb starts once past some steep, smooth rock with vertical cracks (good options also) and then a broken, rust-coloured gully. Climb up slabs with short steep sections for two pitches (grade 15 with good protection), then easier climbing up to grade 14 through fantastic orange rock for another three pitches. Either scramble up from there to the outlier summit, or angle easily down a scree ledge system back into the basin opposite the Marmaduke Dixon Glacier.

First ascent: John Price, Paul Hersey, 27 November 2010
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Wakeman (2271m)(23.18) Via Marmaduke Dixon Glacier
Climb Height: 660m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F/PD
Climb to the col (sometimes corniced to the east) on the spur between the Marmaduke Dixon Glacier and the steep hanging ice-field to the north of Mt Wakeman; under some conditions an abseil may be necessary here; alternatively climb to the ridge and traverse some sharp gendames to gain the ice-fields crest. Cross this ice-field and ascend a steep gully leading to the main ridge east of the summit. The rocky north ridge to the true left of the col may also be traversed to the peak, however a traverse on the full ridge from the col adjacent the 2108m point tends to become a full day outing. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
24. Wilberforce Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Mt Avoca (2131m)(24.1) From Burnet Stream
Climb Height: 1130m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
About 4 km upstream from Weka Burnet Bivouac take a prominent scree gully on the true-left south of the 1598m point. From the head of the scree traverse north to avoid bluffs and circle back (exposed) south onto a scree ramp leading to a ridge. Scramble over loose steep rock to the summit. This route is tricky when there is no consolidated snow. Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
Mt Davie (2280m)(24.2) Cronin Stream couloir
Climb Height: 1080m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
From the head of Cronin Stream (N5242202 E1467244) below Whitehorn Pass a broad couloir/gully runs northeast towards 2182m point. In the amphitheatre at the top of this gully a steep couloir climbs out of it head on the true-right to join the easier snow-slopes above leading directly to the north ridge and summit. This route is prone to extensive avalanche activity in Spring. This route may also be the elusive "Whitehorn Couloir" route.

First ascent: Deryck Morse, B Morse, J Sampson, Geoff Chisholm, W Mechan, 1941
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Davie (2280m)(24.3) Cronin Stream Spur
Climb Height: 1080m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
From mid-way down Cronin Stream, ascend the long spur that appears to lead to the Low Peak (2182m), however drop south onto the screes and snow slopes in the upper basin at the first opportunity. Follow this snow tongue to join the north ridge. Mt Davie is easily gained from here. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Davie (2280m)(24.4) From Whitehorn Pass
Climb Height: 527m
Ascent Time: 1.5hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Ascend the easy snow slopes northeast of the pass, then take the very loose rock couloir leading to the 2182m point, or continue up the snow slopes to join the north ridge. It is a relatively easy traverse to the summit, though cornices and a couple of steep gendarmes may slow progress. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Isobel (2036m)(24.5) From Whitehorn Pass
Climb Height: 283m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
Mt Isobel is a steep, but short climb from Whitehorn Pass using firm snow-slopes, or loose scree guts to gain the southwest ridge. A small gendarme on the back of the ridge can cause some concern in loose snow conditions. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Marion (2145m)(24.6) From Park Morpeth hut
Climb Height: 1260m
Ascent Time: 4 hours
NZAC: 2
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From the hut climb the track onto the swampy flats above. Aim for the obvious tussock/scree slope above the tarns that climbs towards the 1674m point. From here a broad ridge leads to Pamperos Cairn (1880m). Skirt around the tarns, then ascend the stepped rock-face to regain the narrowing and crumbling southwest ridge of Mt Marion to the summit. Central Southern Alps Wilberforce Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Murchison (2408m)(24.7) From Kahutea Glacier
Climb Height: 930m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD
Follow the bouldery Weka Stream, to a basin at its head with bluffs on the eastern side. From here continue north along the base of bluffs, beyond the two side creeks draining the foot of the Kahutea Glacier, to a narrow scree slope hidden in the bluffs that trends up and right. Climb the scree and continue traversing up and right, crossing a rock rib above the northern-most of the two creeks that drain the Kahutea Glacier, and make a short descent into this creek down a slab with small ledges. This creek channels serac-fall debris from the snout of the glacier above and should be crossed quickly. Continue climbing up and right, and cross the top of the next side creek draining the glacier ; from here the glacier itself is a short climb. The true left of the glacier generally provides good travel to Kahutea Col ; from here traverse to the North Ridge and scramble up snow and loose rock on the north and east aspects to the summit.

First ascent: Neville Barker, Charles Gordon Buchanan, December 1934
Central Southern Alps Wilberforce Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Murchison (2408m)(24.8) From upper Wilberforce River
Climb Height: 700m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 3+
Serious: IV
Old Alpine: 2+
UIAA: AD
From the upper Wilberforce River via Denas Creek, by traversing upstream to a point directly below the summit rocks. A large scree leads up to a long steep couloir which meets the North Ridge not far from the summit. This route is fraught with dangers, avalanche, rock fall, and really rotten rock to name but a few. It is a seasonal route with a very narrow window of safe conditions (typically August to December, daily conditional). Descent is generally made over Kahutea Col, down the Kahutea Glacier (sticking true left), then sidling left diagonally down to gain the slabs and grassed slopes into Weka Stream. Central Southern Alps Wilberforce Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Rosamond (2186m)(24.9) From Harman Pass
Climb Height: 865m
Ascent Time: 4.5 hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: III
Old Alpine: 2
UIAA: PD/AD
With glacial recession Mt Rosamond is no longer safely approachable directly from Whitehorn Pass unless the rock runnels off the pass onto the south ridge of the 2059m point have climbable ice (rare).

A longer approach starts at Ariels Tarns. Drop northwest down gullies into the stream and cross it, ascending the scree above onto a shoulder of the northeast ridge running to the 1809m point. Follow the ridge easily, bypassing any steep obstacles using the northern flanks. Drop northwest into the basin containing a small tarn. From here you may ascend the ice-field feeding the tarn onto a col between the 2059m point and Rosamond, then drop onto the glacier to avoid loose crags and ascend ice to regain the meandering southeast ridge to the summit. Alternatively cross the tarns outlet and ascend a scree that leads to the back of a rib that joins the southeast ridge of Rosamond, either climb loose steep vertical rock beds up the rib then onto the summit, or contrive a careful crossing of the rubble covered slabs onto a ice-field, ascending it to the southeast ridge at the top of the rib.
Wanganui / Otira Catchments Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Speight (2116m)(24.10) From Burnet Stream
Climb Height: 720m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 2+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From the head-waters of Burnet Stream. Ascend the scree/snow-slope north of the creek that drains Speight’s West Face. A steep pitch joins the permanent snow-slope (beware of bergschrunds) that leads to the prominent col north of Mt Speight. Follow the north ridge to the summit. Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Wakeman (2271m)(24.11) West Face - Black Butterflies
Climb Height: 320m
Ascent Time: 4.5hrs
NZAC: 5
Serious: V
Old Alpine: 3+
UIAA: D
Ewbank: 16
The route starts roughly near the centre of the face before heading up a buttress and on to a prominent rib that runs diagonally up the face from left to right, topping out almost directly at the true summit of Mt Wakeman (2271m). A bergschrund may create issues later in the season.

The 1st pitch consists of a good compact sandstone face between a a shallow gully on the left and a larger gully on the right and is 60m long (grade 16). This pitch ends on a large belay ledge. Pitch 2 follows a slabby rib toward the buttress on good rock and is also about 60m long (grade 10-11). The 3rd pitch leads up behind the buttress into a corner before breaking out (crux grade 16) to the left and up on to the prominent rib feature (60m in length).

Pitches 4 and 5 follow the rib feature up sections of good rock sections of broken rock (up to grade 12) to a large belay ledge (approx 60m each). From here there are number of options for the upper part of the climb. Good rock exists on the impressive aretes visible on the ridge line although the climbing steepens dramatically here and it appeared that the climbing grade would also increase. Choosing to continue up the rib feature through 2 pitches (6 & 7) of deteriorating rock (up to grade 12) around 50m each. The final pitch (8) leads up and over the top of the rib feature on absolute choss to the summit ridge. Fortunately this pitch was short, around 15m in length.

From here the summit approximately 20m to the south and is a short easy scramble.

Descent is the same for "Black Tar Prophecy".

Climbers Notes: We used double 60m ropes and carried doubles of cams (0 to 3) and a set of nuts. We found this to be more than sufficient rock protection for the climb. A smaller rack could be used but doubles of smaller cams 0 to 0.75 would be useful.

First ascent: Jason Marshall & Ryan Nicol, 7 February 2016
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Mt Wakeman (2271m)(24.12) West Face - Black Tar Prophecy
Climb Height: 280m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 4+
Serious: IV
Old Alpine: 3
UIAA: AD/D
Ewbank: 14
This route is accessed via from Denas Creek, from the upper Wilberforce River.

The route starts near the northern edge of the west face and heads up directly to the northern outlier peak (2210m) of Mt Wakeman. The route involved an exposed scramble (Grade 2) for approximately 80m before 5 pitches over approximately 200m. The first two pitches consist of grade 12 rock with lots of scree ledges.

The climbing and rock quality improves higher up route consisting of steeper, weathered and compact sandstone around grade 13/14 with lots of exposure on pitches 3 and 4. The final pitch (5) is over loose blocks to the summit of the northern outlier peak (2210m) of Mt Wakeman. Rock protection along the route is spaced but sufficient. The true summit of Mt Wakeman (2271m) is an easy snow plod across the neve that feeds the White Glacier.

The route may be climbed from a camp near the head of Denas Creek, this necessitates a descent back to the camp. This descent involved a traverse along the Mt Wakeman - Mt Murchison ridge to a notch and access to the snowfields at the head of Denas Creek (safe ground). Descent into the notch required a 45m abseil off the ridge on the White Glacier side of the ridge.

Climbers Notes: We carried twin 60m ropes and found a full set of camalots (0 to 3), a set of nuts and a couple of knife blade pitons particularly useful.

First ascent: Ryan Nicol & Ellie Watson, 1 January 2016
Arthur's Pass National Park

Click Here
Craigieburn Forest Park & Surrounds
25. Broken River Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Hogs Back (1032m)(25.1) From Texas Flat
Climb Height: 148m
Ascent Time: 20 mins
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Texas Flat car-park on the the Mt Cheeseman ski-field road climb the marked mountain biking track, then onto the rocky summit ridge. Private Land / Lease

Click Here
Mt Cheeseman (2031m)(25.2) From Mt Cheeseman ski-field
Climb Height: 485m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the ski-field lodges follow the ski tows to the Craigieburn Range ridge south of Mt Cockayne. From here it is an easy walk/ski of 2.4km to the summit. Castle Hill Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Cheeseman (2031m)(25.3) From Texas Flat
Climb Height: 1155m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Texas Flat car-park on the Mt Cheeseman ski-field access road climb to the Hogs Back (1032m) via the mountain biking track. Follow the bike track to the 1056m point then through a short section of forest to join the southeast ridge of Mt Cheeseman. The ridge is easily followed from here to the summit. Castle Hill Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Cheeseman (2031m)(25.4) Via Tims Stream ridge
Climb Height: 630m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the Cheeseman ski-field access road at the 1400m hairpin, sidle out south on the contour to intercept Tims Stream in the upper basin above the bluffs. Scramble onto the ridge south of the stream and ascend it to the 1950m point, then onward to the summit. Castle Hill Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Cloudsley (2107m)(25.5) Long Spur route
Climb Height: 1317m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Castle Hill village follow the Hogsback mountain biking trail for 1.5km until the Long Spur ridge is reached. The ridge is an easy climb to the summit on a well-worn trail. In winter there can be avalanche terrain on the flanks of the ridge, and some cornices approaching the summit.

First ascent: https://www.topomap.co.nz/NZTopoMap?v=2&ll=-43.205989,171.642408&z=14&pin=1
Castle Hill Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Cockayne (1874m)(25.6) From Mt Cheeseman ski-field
Climb Height: 320m
Ascent Time: 30mins
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Follow the ski tows to the saddle south of the summit then onto the summit from there. Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
Mt Izard (2019m)(25.7) From Mt Cheeseman
Climb Height: 120m
Ascent Time: 30mins
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Mt Izard is commonly climbed as part of a traverse from Mt Cheeseman (2.4km) or Mt Cloudesley (2.3km) on the Craigieburn Range. The ridges are straightforward and easy.

 In winter/spring all slopes off the ridge are avalanche prone.
Castle Hill Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Izard (2019m)(25.8) From Texas Flat
Climb Height: 1130m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From Texas Flat car-park on the Mt Cheeseman ski-field access road climb to the Hogs Back (1032m) via the mountain biking track. Follow the bike track to the 1056m point then through a short section of forest to join the southeast ridge of Mt Cheeseman. At the 1600m contour drop and sidle into the basin at the head of Waterfall Creek passing the tarns. Climb the short, steep spur south of the last tarn to join the north ridge of Mt Izard, an easy ascent from here to summit.

 All slopes upper slopes on this route in winter/spring are avalanche prone.
Castle Hill Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Wall (1874m)(25.9) Craigieburn Range routes
Climb Height: 840m
Ascent Time: 1-2hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Mt Wall is also reached from either Mt Cockayne (1874m) or Nervous Knob (1820m) on straightforward ridge traverses. It may also be climbed via the huge avalanche chute that ascends from near the Broken River tractor shed, then onto a steep ridge to the summit. Alternatively it is gained from the lodges of Broken River ski-field by ascending the north spur by sidling around the bush edge to the west. Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
Mt Wall (1874m)(25.10) Via Dracophyllum Flat track
Climb Height: 1075m
Ascent Time: 4hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
Mt Wall is an impressive looking hill when viewed from Parapet Rock on SH73 looking headlong up its craggy south ridge. Unfortunately the approach to this ridge is anything but simple, which makes it more expedient to return via the Broken River ski-field on the descent run.

Follow the Dracophyllum Flat track from the Broken River ski-field road to the bridge across the river. Follow the river upstream to its junction with Wall Creek. Bash your way straight up the southeast spur following animal tracks until clear of the denser scrub (after 300m of steep climbing the going gets a little easier). When climbing the vegetated slope it is important to keep to the higher ground, and once clear of the trees keep towards the the edge of the huge scree gut dropping into Wall Creek. This spur merges with the south ridge of the mountain, climbing in a series of steep rock steps to the summit. Generally the rock is good, however in winter it does tend to glaze up or be plastered in loose snow. From the summit it is an easy ridge traverse around to the Broken River ski-field tows.
Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
Nervous Knob (1820m)(25.11) From Broken River ski-field
Climb Height: 675m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the ski club huts climb directly up the main basin to the ridge then northeast onto the summit. Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
26. Cass Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Baldy Hill (1834m)(26.1) Cass River routes
Climb Height: 1034m
Ascent Time: 2 hours
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Baldy Hill is climbable via many spurs and scree-slopes ascending out of the Cass River. A route exists 200 metres upstream of the Snowslide Stream confluence, ascending tussock slopes, then scree, to join a steep spur ascending to the northeast ridge of Baldy Hill. In winter many of these access routes can be avalanche prone. The giant scree visible behind Grasmere Station, consists of steep clay slopes covered in very thin scree in its upper sections and is advised against. Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
Hamilton Peak (1922m)(26.2) From Cass Saddle
Climb Height: 596m
Ascent Time: 1.5 hour
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Cass Saddle (1326m) can be approached on tracks from the Cass River or Hamilton Creek. From Cass Saddle a steep scree slog leads to a saddle north of the summit, ascend easily from here.

 In winter this slope is an avalanche just waiting to happen!
Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
27. Craigieburn Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Hamilton Peak (1922m)(27.1) From Craigieburn Valley Ski Club
Climb Height: 627m
Ascent Time: 45 mins
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the top of the Craigieburn Valley Road follow the creek or zig-zag track uphill, this leads to the eastern scree face (Hamilton Face) and is easily ascended to the shoulders southeast or north of the summit from which easy ascents are made. These routes are common ski ascents in winter.

 The Hamilton Face in winter can be avalanche prone (talk to ski patrol).
Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
28. Lake Pearson Area
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Baldy Hill (1834m)(28.1) From Mt Manson (1859m), traverse.
Climb Height: 0m
Ascent Time: 40mins
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Mt Manson descend the craggy northwest ridge to join the broader ridge systems leading to Baldy Hill, a distance of about 3 kilometres.

 In winter, all the ridge-lines about Mt Manson can be corniced.
Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
Mt Manson (1859m)(28.2) Coal Pit Spur
Climb Height: 1200m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Manson Creek car-park follow the mountain bike track upstream and up onto the flats under Coal Pit Spur. From here work your way through low scrub to reach the forest at the base of the southeast corner of the spur. Haul your way to its crest. An amazingly clear deer trail then follows the crest of the spur until it suddenly ceases below the 1443m point. Base your way around on the contour northwest, until a gut allows steep but easy climbing to the 1443m point after a section of awkward scrub. Climb down into the saddle then ascend a spur to join the south ridge of Mt Manson to the summit. Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
Mt Manson (1859m)(28.3) Via Flock Hill Ridge
Climb Height: 1200m
Ascent Time: 3.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Permission is required from Flock Hill Station to cross their property. From Mansons Creek car-park go north through the paddock for 100m until a muddy, steep 4WD track ascends the hill, follow this to the power-line route, turning to the south and follow to the last power-pole before the Manson gorge. Bash through low scrub, then find the easiest path to climb adjacent the forested ridge. At steep loose rock enter the forest and continue hauling yourself up that way until clear of the bush. The ridge is notoriously muddy until the 1550m point. From here follow the obvious joining ridges to 1660m, and 1780m points (be aware of cornices in winter). Drop down into the broad saddle to the west, and decide based on snow conditions whether to gain Mt Manson via the sweeping (and craggy/corniced) northeast ridge, or by crossing the basins (avalanche prone). Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
29. Porter River Area
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Blue Hill (1946m)(29.1) From Porters ski-field
Climb Height: 600m
Ascent Time: 40 mins
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Porters ski-field car-park Blue Hill can be ascended via easy scree slopes and spurs. A traverse track is also available from the 1962m point accessible by ski-tow (the Big Mama ski run). Porter Heights Conservation Area

Click Here
Carn Brea (2090m)(29.2) Via Dead Man Spur
Climb Height: 1396m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Access via Whitewater Stream is over Castle Hill Station and permission must be obtained. From Castle Hill Village follow the Leith Hill mountain biking track to the forest edge under Leith Hill. Contour on the 1100m contour or traverse over Leith Hill (1384m) then descend tussock and scree into the headwaters of Whitewater Stream, cross, and ascend the broad spurs onto Dead Man Spur. Carn Brea is straight forward ascent from here. Most parties continue onto Mt Enys (2194m), the highest peak in the Craigieburn Range. Private Land / Lease

Click Here
Mt Cloudsley (2107m)(29.3) Cloudsley - Enys Traverse
Climb Height: 87m
Ascent Time: 35mins
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
The joining ridge (3.2km) to Mt Enys (2194m) is broad and easily followed.

 The steeper ridge flanks can be extremely avalanche prone in winter.
Castle Hill Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Enys (2194m)(29.4) From Porters ski-field
Climb Height: 900m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
From the Porters car-park follow ski tows into McNulty Basin, then continue onto the 1997m point. From here traverse north on the ridge system for 4.2km, sidling the avalanche prone edges where necessary to avoid rocky outcrops. At the toe of the south ridge (2000m) of Mt Enys it is possible to sidle out across the basin to the saddle west of Carn Brea and ascend, this is part of a common avalanche path; the south ridge can also be heavily corniced.

 This route is fraught with avalanche danger in Winter/Spring.
Castle Hill Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Enys (2194m)(29.5) Mt Cloudesley Traverse
Climb Height: 90m
Ascent Time: 35mins
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
The broad 3.5km joining ridge between Mt Cloudesley (2107m) and Mt Enys (2194m) is easily followed. Castle Hill Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Enys (2194m)(29.6) Via Dead Man Spur
Climb Height: 1500m
Ascent Time: 3 hours
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Access via Whitewater Stream is over Castle Hill Station and permission must be obtained. From Castle Hill Village follow the Leith Hill mountain biking track to the forest edge under Leith Hill. Contour on the 1100m contour or traverse over Leith Hill (1384m) then descend tussock and scree into the headwaters of Whitewater Stream, cross, and ascend the broad spurs onto Dead Man Spur. Carn Brea is a straight forward ascent from here. Continue onto Mt Enys (2194m) by choosing side chutes to avoid loose rocky outcrops.

 In winter both sides of this upper ridge are avalanche prone.
Castle Hill Conservation Area

Click Here
30. Waimakariri Valley (Lower)
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Mid Hill (1831m)(30.1) From Cora Lyn Station
Climb Height: 1160m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the Cass-Lagoon tramping track car-park in Cora Lyn Station, follow the marked and poled route 5km to its most western extent, leave the track and descend towards the Lagoon Saddle area sidling around the large tarn to the south. Ascend towards the 1246m point, then pick a route up spurs towards the series of tarns at 1690m. From the upper tarn climb directly to the northeast ridge of Mid Hill. Ascend this ridge, sidling around gendarmes as necessary to gain the summit. Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
Mt Bruce (1630m)(30.2) Burnt Face route
Climb Height: 980m
Ascent Time: 2 hours
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Cora Lynn Station follow the Lagoon Saddle track for about 3km (350m outside treeline). Climb the spur west of the creek, aiming for a patch of low wilding pine trees then onto the col west of the 1409m point. Ascend the northest ridge to the summit. This ridge and summit area can be severely corniced in winter to the south. From the summit several alternative descent routes will be obvious. In good snow conditions this is a nice day out on skis. Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
Mt Horrible (1234m)(30.3) From SH73 - Northeast Ridge
Climb Height: 670m
Ascent Time: 1.5hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the Mt White turn-off on SH73 climb up the gully north of Corner Knob (813m), then gain the northeast ridge. The ridge is broad and easily followed to the summit. Mt Horrible has one of the best views up the Waimakariri River. Mt Horrible Conservation Area

Click Here
Mt Misery (1765m)(30.4) From Hwy 73
Climb Height: 1200m
Ascent Time: 3.5 hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Mt Misery tends to be a bit of a fortress. Many approaches tend to be thickly vegetated, loose and steep, or all of the above.
From the Cass / Lagoon tramping route car-park, follow the track until opposite Misery Swamp, ford the Cass River and follow an old farm trail alongside the swamp until it turns right. Head uphill, aiming for a steep scree gut that starts at about 1000m. Haul yourself up the scree, leaving it high through tussocks on the true-left to the ridge above. Follow the ridge to the summit through a couple of interesting rock outcrops.

An alternate is to climb to the edge of the tree-line that follows the parallel gully south of Pylon Gully. Before the big guts find a suitable place to ascend to the ridge using the not so pleasant steep scree covered claypans.

A 12km traverse to Mt Bruce (1630m) takes about 5 hours when it is snow-free.

 In winter care is required on the wide slope approaches to several hills, as they tend to be avalanche prone.
Craigieburn Forest Park

Click Here
Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park
31. Broken River Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Bold Hill (1286m)(31.1) From Avoca Homestead
Climb Height: 866m
Ascent Time: 1.5hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Avoca Homestead follow the 4WD trail for 2.75km to a spur on the true-left of Rocky Stream. Ascend the spur through easy ground to the summit. Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
Bold Hill (1286m)(31.2) From Broken River Hut
Climb Height: 815m
Ascent Time: 4.5hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From Broken River hut head down to the river and head downstream to Iron Creek. Ascend the creek for about 600m looking for a way up through the clay cliff barrier on the true-right. Once up on the tussock flats follow spurs uphill to join Lansdowne Spur. The spur narrows at the 1086m point, passing through two bands of forest, before ascending steeply on scree onto another sharp-crested spur that peters out just before the top of the range, sidle west slightly and ascend the last 150m to the Torlesse Range. From here many summits are easily accessible including Otarama Peak (1963m) and Back Peak (1979m). Bold Hill is a 5.8km traverse along easy joining ridges, and is commonly used as part of a loop joining Avoca Homestead to Broken River hut via the tops and returning via Broken River. Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
32. Kowai Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Back Peak (1979m)(32.1) Via Mt Torlesse
Climb Height: 1350m
Ascent Time: 4.5 hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Back Peak is normally ascended as an extension beyond Mt Torlesse (1961m) after climbing it via the Kowai River route. From Mt Torlesse descend the easy joining ridge to Junction Peak (1882m), then a further 1km of easy ridge travel to Back Peak. Note: If planning to use the Kowai River route, prior permission must be gained from Brooksdale Station. Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
Junction Peak (1882m)(32.2) Castle Hill - Mt Torlesse traverse
Climb Height: 950m
Ascent Time: 6.5 hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Junction Peak is normally ascended as part of a full traverse to Mt Torlesse (1961m) from Castle Hill Peak (1998m), or via an easy ridge traverse from Mt Torlesse. The full traverse is about 20km and exits via the Kowai River route of Mt Torlesse. The crux is the traverse around The Gap to the 1714m point. From Castle Hill Peak descend to the 1941m point, sidle just off the north side of the ridge until you reach the bluffs above The Gap. Descend down scree to the north for about 50m, to a shoulder that leads directly back into The Gap. From The Gap, descend and sidle around a scree slope on the south side then climb about 100m to regain the main ridge, beyond here travel is relatively straightforward to all further peaks. Note: If planning to use the Kowai River route, prior permission must be gained from Brooksdale Station. Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
Mt Torlesse (1961m)(32.3) Via Kowai River
Climb Height: 1330m
Ascent Time: 3.5 hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the "Pine Tree" car-park at the base of Porters Pass, follow the farm track upstream along the Kowai River, travel is on the true-right of the river for the first 4.5km. Cross the upper Kowai where possible aiming initially for the huts & stables, then turn north and gain the toe of the prominent southwest spur. Ascend the spur on well formed animal paths for a relatively easy climb of 3.5km to the summit. Junction Peak (1882m), Back Peak (1979m), Otarama Peak (1963m) and Red Peak (1853m) are all easily gained by joining ridge-lines from Mt Torlesse. Note: If planning to use this route, prior permission must be gained from Brooksdale Station. Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
Otarama Peak (1963m)(32.4) From Mt Torlesse
Climb Height: 2m
Ascent Time: 1.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
Otarama Peak is a very straightforward ridge traverse from Mt Torlesse via Junction Peak and Back Peak on the Torlesse Range. Otarama Peak is about 500m southeast of the range. Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
33. Lake Lyndon Area
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Castle Hill Peak (1998m)(33.1) From Porters Pass
Climb Height: 1059m
Ascent Time: 1.5hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Start from Porters Pass (939m) following easy slopes and a broad ridge to Foggy Peak (1741m). Continue to along the obvious joining ridge to Castle Hill Peak, the ridge narrows just before the steeper final 200m ascent to the summit. In winter the narrow sections of this final ridge can have cornices. Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
Foggy Peak (1741m)(33.2) From Porters Pass via Foggy Peak Ridge
Climb Height: 802m
Ascent Time: 1 hour
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the crest of Porters Pass (939m) on SH73 ascend the obvious broad ridge to the summit following rock cairns, and tracks in the screes. This route is an excellent back-country ski tour continuing onto Castle Hill Peak (1998m) in winter. Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
Rabbit Hill (1198m)(33.3) From Lyndon Road
Climb Height: 375m
Ascent Time: 30mins
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1-
UIAA: F
About 4km from Highway 73 on the Lyndon Road, and 100m before the road crosses the Acheron River, climb the open tussock spur for about 1.1km to the summit. Alternatively, Rabbit Hill can be reached on an easy 3km traverse from Trig M (1251m). Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
Red Peak (1853m)(33.4) Castle Hill - Mt Torlesse traverse
Climb Height: 1060m
Ascent Time: 4-9hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1+
UIAA: F
Red Peak is normally ascended as part of a full traverse from Porters Pass (942m), Foggy Peak (1741m), Castle Hill Peak (1998m), Red Peak (1853m), Junction Peak (1882m), then Mt Torlesse (1961m), or as a 7km return side trip off Castle Hill Peak. The full traverse is about 23km and exits via the Kowai River route of Mt Torlesse. The crux is the traverse around The Gap to the 1714m point. From Castle Hill Peak descend to the 1941m point, sidle just off the north side of the ridge until you reach the bluffs above The Gap. Descend down scree to the north for about 50m, to a shoulder that leads directly back into The Gap. From The Gap, descend and sidle around a scree slope on the south side then climb about 100m to regain the main ridge, beyond here travel is relatively straightforward to all further peaks. Note: If planning to use the Kowai River route, prior permission must be gained from Brooksdale Station. Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
Trig M (1251m)(33.5) From Highway 73
Climb Height: 410m
Ascent Time: 1.5 hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1-
UIAA: F
Two very easy trails access Trig M (1251m) either side of Porters Pass. The 3.2km Starvation Gully track starts on Highway 73 between Porters Pass and Lake Lyndon. The marked trail zig-zags its way to the open tops and heads south-west to the summit. The 5.5km Coach Stream route starts at the locked gate at the base of Porters Pass on the eastern side. The beginning of this route is across Ben More Station and is closed for lambing from 1 October to 20 November each year. The route passes through two gates, then climbs a ridge sidling against beech forest to join the Starvation Gully track to Trig M. Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
34. Porter River Area
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Castle Hill Peak (1998m)(34.1) From Dry Creek
Climb Height: 1230m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the Dry Creek bridge climb the southwest ridge of Mt Plenty. The ridge continues southeast to join the Torlesse Range at the 1842m point. Continue towards Castle Hill Peak on a narrowing ridge, to climb the final steep 200m to the summit. The final ridge can be corniced in winter. Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
Castle Hill Peak (1998m)(34.2) From Ghost Creek
Climb Height: 1300m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the Porter River road bridge on Hwy 73, follow the trail on the true-right to the ford over Ghost Creek. Ascend Ghost Creek, crossing where necessary. Take the tributary branch to the east at the waterfall. A 5m waterfall is met in about 400m, depending on screes it can be traversed on the true-left side ascending a steep scree gut then using ledges to drop back to the creek above. Continue into the main scree basin taking lesser angled scree chutes to the ridge just northwest of the 1941m point, a easy ascent follows to the summit. Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
Castle Hill Peak (1998m)(34.3) Via the northwest ridge
Climb Height: 1300m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the Porter River road bridge on Hwy 73, follow the trail on the true-right to the ford over Ghost Creek. Ascend Ghost Creek, crossing where necessary. About 100m past the side stream entering from the north, leave Ghost Creek and pick your way through the open scrub to the north edge of a beech forest patch (beware wasps), continue ascending the broad scree spur to join the northwest ridge. The ridge is easily ascended to a terrace just west of the 1941m point, then easy slopes to the summit.

Warning: Descent of this route in poor visibility can lead onto a spur heading due west, this has extremely large bluffs at its end.
Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
Cloudy Hill (1442m)(34.4) From Porters ski-field road
Climb Height: 670m
Ascent Time: 40mins
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From SH73 ascend easy slopes onto the 917m point then continue following the obvious sweeping spur to the summit. Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
Foggy Peak (1741m)(34.5) From Dry Creek
Climb Height: 975m
Ascent Time: 1.5 hour
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the Dry Creek bridge on SH73 ascend the steep tussock spur to the 1190m point. From here pick a route through along ridges and steepening ground to arrive at the 1536m point. Foggy Peak is a straightforward ascent from here along its broad west ridge. A common traverse is to descend back via Mt Plenty to Dry Stream. Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
Mt Lyndon (1489m)(34.6) From Lake Lyndon
Climb Height: 650m
Ascent Time: 45 mins
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the Lake Lyndon picnic area cross the causeway and climb the long sweeping ridge to join the northeast ridge to the summit. Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
Mt Plenty (1459m)(34.7) From Dry Creek (SH73)
Climb Height: 700m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
From the Dry Creek bridge gain and climb the southwest ridge of Mt Plenty following well defined animal trails. Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
Mt Plenty (1459m)(34.8) Via Ghost Creek
Climb Height: 765m
Ascent Time: 1.5hrs
NZAC: 1+
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Ghost Creek is accessed from the Porter River (park near the single lane bridge on Hwy 73). Follow the farm track on the true-right of the Porter River, turning upstream into Ghost Creek at the ford. Follow the creek into an increasingly narrowing gorge until it opens out again at a fork, here the true-right tributary climbs steeply direct to Castle Hill Peak, while the true-left ends at a waterfall. Slightly downstream of the waterfall on the true-left an obvious steep shingle slope can be climbed to a slight col. The narrow ridge beyond the col can be scrambled and traversed in a southwest direction through a steep rocky section and some scrub until it breaks into the open and joins the main north ridge to the summit.

The scree slopes on the northwestern side make a fun and rapid descent back to the Porter River.

First ascent: Mark Watson 2004
Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
35. Thirteen Mile Bush
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Ben More (1655m)(35.1) From Benmore Hut
Climb Height: 815m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1-
UIAA: F
From Benmore hut ascend the spur behind through regenerating beech forest to reach the easy tussock ridges above. Continue following the ridge north for 800m until an obvious spur is visible ascending out of the creek in the west; descend through the creek, ascending the spur, the summit of Ben More is about 1km south-west along this ridge. Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
Big Ben (1416m)(35.2) From Ben More
Climb Height: 0m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1-
Big Ben is a circuitous but straightforward traverse of 7km from Ben More (1655m) along the Ben More Range. Good visibility plays a vital role in not wandering off on a random spur. Return the same way. Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
Big Ben (1416m)(35.3) From Dry Acheron
Climb Height: 1006m
Ascent Time: 4 hours
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1-
UIAA: F
Nil This route starts from the Coleridge Road to the west of the Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park. The track starts on Acheron Flat, about 1.8km south-east of the Acheron River bridge. The car-park is signposted but easily missed. From the car-park, cross a stile and follow the track to the pine shelter belt. At the end of the shelter belt, a poled route leads up onto a terrace above Dry Acheron Stream. The track shortly descends to the stream and follows it, crossing several times. About 1 hour from the car-park the Clay Valley covenant track is met on the true-left, this side-trip takes 30 minutes return. Continue up Dry Acheron Stream. The track comes to a weir, from here a route climbs the spur over the 962m point to Big Ben (1416m).

Please use stiles to cross fences, and leave all gates as you find them.
Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands Park

Click Here
Private / Leasehold Lands
36. Cass Valley
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Cass Hill (1098m)(36.1) Northwest Ridge
Climb Height: 550m
Ascent Time: 1hr
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Permission should be sought from Canterbury University before ascending Cass Hill (unlikely to be granted).

Either follow the Cass River from HWY 73 to the toe of the northwest ridge at the Waimakariri River junction, or follow the trail from the University of Canterbury Field Station. The ridge is a very easy climb to the summit.
Private Land / Lease

Click Here
Sugar Loaf (1410m)(36.2) From Cass
Climb Height: 786m
Ascent Time: 2hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
Permission should be sought from Canterbury University before ascending Sugar Loaf (unlikely to be granted).

The usual route ascends a spur east of Grasmere Stream then the long, steep, northwest ridge to the summit area. A rapid descent can be made down the long scree to the west towards the private hut below.
Private Land / Lease

Click Here
37. Waimakariri Valley (Lower)
MountainRoute /
Climb Height /
Ascent Time
GradesRoute ImageDescriptionPark /
Map Link
Mt St Bernard (1518m)(37.1) From Lake Marymere
Climb Height: 900m
Ascent Time: 2.5hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: I
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
The Lake Marymere fishing access road is about 13.3km along the Craigieburn Road, from the SH.73 turnoff, it is easy to miss. Park at the signs and walk in for 10 minutes over the hill to the lake. Follow the lake shore around to its southern edge, then head across to the toe of the southeast ridge of Mt St Bernard; you will need to jump a couple of farmers fences. Ascend the ridge on a spur between scree guts, then easily follow the ridge to the summit field of St Bernard. Private Land / Lease

Click Here
Purple Hill (1680m)(37.2) From Lake Marymere
Climb Height: 1060m
Ascent Time: 3hrs
NZAC: 1
Serious: II
Old Alpine: 1
UIAA: F
The Lake Marymere fishing access road is about 13.3km along the Craigieburn Road, from the SH.73 turnoff, it is easy to miss. Park at the signs and walk in for 10 minutes over the hill to the lake. Follow the lake shore around to its southern edge, then head across to the toe of the southeast ridge of Mt St Bernard; you will need to jump a couple of farmers fences. Ascend the ridge on a spur between scree guts, then easily follow the ridge to the summit field of St Bernard, drop into the saddle west then climb easily up onto Purple Hill. Private Land / Lease

Click Here

Unique Visitors: 0   Page Counter: 0   Page Updated: 05/04/2019   Page PHP: 5.6.40   Site Map
Copyright © Graeme Kates NZ 2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.