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Mt. Aspiring Climbs


Mt Aspiring-(3028 metres) - an icon amongst New Zealand's peaks.

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Mt. Aspiring/Tititea:: 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 mountain terrain. Most of the snow flows westward, hiding it's towering, awe-inspiring faces from general view....
Geoff Wayatt, Mountain Guide, 92 ascents
  (see GW profile)

Walking access is via the West Matukituki Valley. The valley floor tramping is easy and the views improve from spectacular to awe inspiring at the valley head. Mountain Recreation, School of Mountaineering provides accommodation from it's Shovel Flat base. Two new NZ Alpine Club huts, French Ridge (1465metres-20 persons) and Colin Todd Hut(1725metres-12 persons) provide alpine shelter and a climbing base. Accessing Colin Todd hut requires a crossing of the Bonar Glacier with rope, crampons and ice axe.

A steep, rough track leads to French Ridge Hut( elev. gain 900m - 2 1/2hrs+) The upper valley and access to Colin Todd Hut is a steady and arduous climb. 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. Rock slabs are climbed towards Hector Col and finally long snow slopes to Bevan Col and a fantastic view of Aspiring

TRAVEL TIMES: Raspberry Flat road-head to Aspiring Hut - 2 hours; to Shovel Flat 3 hours; to Pearl Flat 3 1/2 hrs. Pearl Flat:- To French Ridge Hut-2 1/2hrs+; to Colin Todd Hut-7hrs.French Ridge Hut to Colin Todd Hut - 5 hrs (alpine)

THE CLIMB: A 10 -13hr. climb from Colin Todd hut or a bivouac on the Bonar Glacier. A 16hr day from French Ridge Hut. It involves roped glacier travel to the base of the peak. A choice of routes includes: The 10 pitch, 50deg. snow ramp to the shoulder or the rock Buttress route. From the Shoulder the climb is less steep and follows the NW Ridge to the Summit. The South West Ridge - a serious but classic 14 pitch climb with a spectacular steep 4 pitch finish to the summit. For further details see: mountain essays

Aspiring Climb -Asp 013

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Training: Nothing beats a 3-5 day hill tramp with a 15-20kg pack. Long uphill mtn bikes are also recommended to build endurance for 1,000-1500m on Aspiring. Details of experience & fitness are required with booking.


Equipment is basically designed to enhance our experience and protect us from harsh climates. Too often people think that the quantity of gear and personal pleasure are directly proportional. Some have the notion that equipment buys safety. Safety has more to do with experience and risk taking. Over-equipping is like siege climbing and the cutting of "bucket" steps; boring, laborious and totally detracting from the freedom of the sport. Select your clothing and equipment carefully, according to personal experience. We have listed the essential items based on our experience. Lay your gear out 2 weeks before the trip and consider every item carefully for function and necessity.

USE THIS AS A GUIDELINE for a Mt Aspiring Climb:
                          REMEMBER:  "An implement shouldn't be an impediment."
Parka Wind and waterproof - Buy gortex w/ waterproof guarantee, its comfortable and expensive.
"First Layer" Top: Polypropylene or alt. A turtle neck with zip gives neck protection.
3 Socks: Seamless, sports, wool mix for warmth. Only 1pr w/Plastic boots for smaller fit.
Hat -Sunhat: for bright neves  Balaclava/Ski hat for blizzards. Reflective business shirt or blouse for glacier travel, heat reflection and sleeping (to avoid polyprop smell)
Gloves, Mitts,- 3 pairs - Polyprop./light wool gloves for mod. temps. & technical climbing. Pile Gauntlets for blizzards. Wrist elastics prevent loss Over-mitts Prevent wetting, increase warmth & snow-caving.
Overpants Zip sided (full-length) lightweight. For blizzards. Pref. micro-porous material. -Pullover Fleece/pile with high collar. We have 100 wt/wMtnRec logo & MtnRec Vests
Gaiters Knee-length. Zips or buckles for snow. Velcro/domes for mud. Avoid elastic at ankles.
Sunglasses Dark (Amber) In robust container. Goggles tend to fog. Glacier glasses with removable shields are best. Suncreme Strong; plus zinc creme, lip salve and moisturiser. Bandanas : Large & lightweight for cover-up of neck & face on the "sun bowl" glaciers. 1st Aid Kit: For cuts, burns, blisters, abrasions. Incl: Spenco blister kit Crepe bandage and "athletic" tape for feet/hot-spots.
Sleeping Bag Compact. Down w/water resistant outer. Silk liner for extra warmth.
Knife, fork, spoon, cup, bowl
Water-bottle: One litre, preferably with wide mouth Toilet Gear
Pack, Large enough for 20kgs. Must have straps for ice axe, crampons, and sleeping pad.
Headlamp: For early starts and late returns.
Access boots: To avoid blisters we wear light footwear in the valleys.
(Hut footwear alt: Lightweight Crocs.)
Repair Kit: S'driver, pliers, wire, wax etc (1 per group, Map, Compass Altimeter, GPS Optional
Ice Axe: Metal Shaft. Shorter axes are preferred by shorter climbers and on steep climbing. Average length:65cm /75cm. A tie on 20mm webbing wrist sling is rec. Crampons: Clip on versions suit plastic boots best. Long spikes are more versatile for NZ conditions. The fit must be secure with adequate toe point length.
Climbing Harness: Lightweight with adjustable leg loops.
Prusik Slings: 2 each (Full set of slings/10metres, 5mm rope)
Pulleys: min. 2 per rope
Karabiners Two locking, two lightweight.
Mountain Boots: High quality leather or Plastic. Toes should not quite touch the front. (Leather boots, rigid)
Sleeping Pad: Essential for bivouacs and snow-caving.
Hard Hat/lightweight: To protect No.1 (a neoprene brim helps Sun protection.
Bivouac Bag: For sleeping in snow-caves-Microporous material.
Belay Plate: Stitch plates & Air Traffic Controls are currently the best.

Maps: Mt Aspiring region NZMS 273 1:150000  & NZAC Mt. Aspiring Guidebook, 

Also see MtnRec's: Mt. Aspiring Expedition Photo Gallery

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