Mt. French Trek-Climb w/ Aspiring View
"A taste of mountaineering"
4 Day Mt. French Guided Trek/Climb
Mt Aspiring treks and climbs commence in Wanaka with a drive to the Matukituki Valley. It is an easy 3 hour valley walk to our self contained private Lodge at Shovel Flat at the base of Mt. Aspiring, in the heart of the Park. A variety of guided activities are available from 3 to 8 days including valley walking, alpine treks and peak climbing on a group or individual basis including:
Facilities at our Shovel Flat "Avalanche" Lodge are for our exclusive client use and include: Dining and kitchen, bunkroom and hot shower.
4 Day Mt French Trek Climb w/Aspiring View
UNCROWDED ASPIRING ęGeoff Wayatt, Mountainrec, Wanaka N.Z.
Hidden from general view and surrounded by three spectacular glaciers the classical "horn" of Mt Aspiring dominates the sky-scape from the Hollyford to the Haast. The Bonar, the Therma and the Volta glaciers provide limitless moderate ski terrain but all drain to the west hence retaining a mystic and awe-inspiring vistas from general view.
For those persons willing to put in the effort and time to tramp and climb for two days from Wanaka to the Main Divide of Mt Aspiring National Park's Matukituki Valley, in summer or winter, the views are breathtaking from either Bevan Col or Mt French.
The valley floor tramping is easy and the views improve from spectacular to awe inspiring at the valley head. There are numerous camp spots and valley accommodation at Cascade Hut and Aspiring Hut.
Mountain Recreation, School of Mountaineering provides exclusive accommodation and treks for small outdoor groups from its Shovel flat base and beyond. Steep, rough tracks lead from Pearl Flat to either Liverpool hut (2 hrs) or French Ridge Hut (elev. gain 900m - 2 1/2hrs+) Above these huts are close vistas of active glaciers and avalanching icefalls and a summer explosion of alpine flowers.
JOFFRE CLIFFS: The easiest alpine meadow access is to the upper valley under the Jeffry cliffs two hours beyond Pearl Flat. The track deteriorates towards the end of the forest opening up into a bouldered meadow and 1300 metre walls or rock and ice, streaming waterfalls and regular snow avalanches.
FRENCH RIDGE-w/ASPIRING VIEW: From the valley floor a steep forest track claws skywards over tree roots and short rock steps. "If you can get over this, you'll have done the hardest part of the climb" encourages Geoff.
Emerging at the Lunch Rock viewpoint above the forest, the track incline relented allowing for magnificent views of Gloomy Gorge and Mt. Avalanche. After 3 hours we reached the new Alpine Club French Ridge hut and stopped for the night.
Our attempt on Mt. French started in the pre-dawn with another stiff climb to the glacier ice of the Quarterdeck. Here we roped up, donned crampons and wove up past gapping crevasses to the final headwall. Suddenly, there it is - the Bonar Glacier. We had crossed the Main Divide into Westland. Thirty minutes later we topped out on the snow summit of Mt. French surrounded by the Southern Alps and within arms reach of one of it's jewels, the long glacial horn rising 1,000 metres above the Bonar Glacier - Mt. Aspiring / Tititea - Shining White, the Matterhorn of the South!
In the past, winter and spring months have been reserved for the intrepid. In July and August the snowline is low and soft and when sunlight is short the valley is cold. However in clear weather, the Matukituki Valley is enchanting in it's winter snow-cloak, which seldom reaches the valley floor.
TRAVEL TIMES: Raspberry Flat roadhead to Aspiring Hut - 2 hours; to Shovel Flat 3 1/2 hours; to Pearl Flat 4 hrs.Pearl Flat:- To French Ridge Hut-2 1/2hrs+; to Liverpool Hut-2 hrs; to the Joffre Cliffs cirque - 1 1/2hrs; to Colin Todd Hut-7hrs. French Ridge Hut to Colin Todd Hut - 5 hrs (walking)
Whether summer or winter, the Mt Aspiring region provides a unique open valley, forest, snow and glacier contrast. Beyond the snowline on the glaciers surrounding Aspiring is a world of stark expansive vistas for energetic people with a Mountain Guide on a private expedition with alpine skills. Email, write, phone, see our Mt Aspiring Guided Treks page or booking form.
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