Mount Ruapehu (Tahurangi)

  • Mount Ruapehu (Tahurangi)
  • 2797 m
  • Primary factor 2797 m
  • New Zealand, North island HP.
  • Location: South 39.28944, East 175.56244 (GPS on the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 3
  • Climbed December 30. 2014.


How to get there:
This mountain is the highest on the North island. Locate the north-south Hwy. 4. One should follow this road to the intersection with Hwy. 49, running west. The first town is Ohakune, here one should follow signs for the Ohakune Mountain Road serving the Turoa ski resort. Drive all the way up to a very large parking lot, location S39.30492, E175.52715, elevation about 1640 meter.
This is a quick summary and reference to climbs made on this trip.
Route description:
Walk up the steps to the resort, follow on between buildings to your left and locate a rocky service road that heads uphill. Continue uphill along skilifts. The service road becomes very rough, there are a few alternatives. One should proceed up to the top station of a chairlift at location S39.29798, E175.54761, elevation about 2050 meter. This is the top of the second highest skilift in the area.
Continue uphill from here, possibly on snow. Higher up, traverse more right and aim for a best possible point to access the south ridge forming the horizon ridge (on the right hand side). Depending on conditions, this may most likely, require crampons and active use of your ice axe. Once on the south ridge, the short stretch up to the summit is straightforward.
We drove from Whanganui and were ready to walk around 0845. The ascent was fairly straightforward and the weather improved beyond the forecast. We did have mostly clouds, but patches of blue sky and even a bit of sunshine. The only (short) section that required care and focus was the ascent from the main slope to the south ridge. Pål Jørgen went first and picked a very good line. His main concern was ascending the steeper part in such a way that there would be no rocks below in the fall line. This turned out to be a very good strategy as Adrian actually slipped and fell in the steepish part. He slid downslope, then managed to self-arrest with his axe. The final, short ridge up to the summit was an easy walk. We all arrived at the summit around 1235-1245, so slightly less than 4 hours.
The summit was quite nice and we had variable views. The crater lake down below, definitely catches your attention. We spent some time at the summit, no hurry - and our second and final ultra on the North island successfully climbed. We descended back down to the parking in 2 hours. Care was needed when reversing the icy section connecting the ridge to the large face.
We drive via the west part of the island to Napier, where we spend the night. The next day, New Years Eve, we first explore a possible drive to the P600 mountain Taraponui, however, we run out of time and need to head for the airport in Wellington. New Years Eve is celebrated (12 hours ahead of Norway!) in Christchurch - not a huge success as the centre of town was wiped out by an earthquake and it has not been rebuilt.