The "Matterhorn of the South"
Climbers enjoying the summit of Mt. Aspiring
Climbers ascending alpine rock on the NW Ridge
Climbers ascending snow slopes above the "Ramp" route
Keas are regular visitors
Tititea/Mount Aspiring Guided Ascent
Known as the "Matterhorn of the South" due to its asthetic shape, Mount Aspiring stands alone as the only 3000m peak outside of Mount Cook National Park. The mountain offers a selection of routes on alpine rock, snow and ice and can be climbed with or without helicopter access - this is a rare opportunity to climb a 3000m peak purely under your own power. The foot approach to the mountain via the grassy flats of the Matukituki Valley, through beech forest then on rock up to Bevan Col and across the Bonar Glacier, is a rewarding adventure in itself!
"I thought the level of organization and planning at every level was excellent. The office staff was very quick to respond to emails from the beginning, the food was well proportioned and varied, and the guides organized the week well to take advantage of the weather. I also think my guides were exceptionally good. Compared to other trips Gernot and Elke were more knowledgeable about New Zealand routes and conditions than other guides who had perhaps been here fewer seasons. This meant that they chose awesome routes, and were very efficient setting up belays during the climbs which saved time." - G. Hall, Canada.
|Guide:client ratio||5 days||6 days||7 days|
|returning client discount, if you have been on an Alpine Recreation trip before.|
- IFMGA/NZMGA certified mountain guide
- National Park fees
- Hut accommodation
- Local accommodation for any nights required during the trip
- Free surface transport (Tekapo - Wanaka/Matukituki Valley return)
- ALL meals (including snacks & energy bars) for the duration of the trip
- ALL technical climbing equipment (with the exception of boots)
Meals and accommodation before/after the trip are NOT included.
+5 Days, 6 or 7 Days?
New Zealand's weather is notoriously fickle and the mirco-climate around Mount Aspiring is no exception. Being the only 3000m peak outside of Mount Cook National Park, it stands alone as the highest point for hundreds of kilometers. For this reason, it attracts any bad weather in the area and from all directions. It may not be possible to fly in or out as scheduled due to low cloud/poor visibility at Bevan Col and, to successfully summit the mountain, climbers need to be able to take advantage of any available weather window.
For this reason, we recommend the 6 or 7 day option. The ascent certainly can be done in 5 days, but your chances with the weather are greater with more days. This also allows for the option to walk out via either French Ridge or Bevan Col (a full one and a half day walk). If you are pushed for time and choose the 5 day option, you need to be prepared to pay for a flight both in and out for a realistic chance of summitting.
The 7 day option allows the most flexibility with the weather, but also enables you to climb several smaller peaks in the vicinity, as well as Mount Aspiring. This can be a good opportunity to improve your personal climbing skills. If you wish to walk in and out from Mount Aspiring, we recommend 7 days.
The peak climbing season for Mount Aspiring ascents is November to April, but it is sometimes possible to climb the mountain outside of these dates, depending on conditions. Please contact us with the dates you would like. We recommend that you settle guiding dates well in advance as guide availability during peak season is limited. Please allow extra time in case you are held up in the mountains due to weather.
Venue: Colin Todd & Aspiring Huts
Colin Todd Hut is located at 1800m below the NW ridge of Mt Aspiring. It is a basic 12 bunk hut with a water supply, toilet, radio and an amazing view. The hut is often crowded so it may be necessary to use a small tent. Aspiring Hut in the Matukituki Valley is situated at 470m. It is a 38 bunk fully serviced hut with solar lighting, heating and cooking facilities.
Colin Todd and Aspiring Huts are publics which cannot be booked in advance.
Mountaineering Fitness & Experience
You will be required to submit a list of previous outdoor experience and a schedule of your personal fitness training at the time of booking.
Previous mountaineering experience is essential for all routes on Mount Aspiring. For routes involving snow and ice climbing (eg. the "Ramp" on the Northwest Ridge), participants should be confident with the use of crampons and ice axe on steep terrain. If you do not have this experience, we strongly recommend that you participate in either our Introductory Mountaineering Course or Intensive Mountaineering Skills Course before booking this ascent.
Walk in/out option
While not as technically difficult as New Zealand's other 3000m peaks, long distances need to be travelled with heavy packs over rough and very steep ground. Participants need to be exceptionally fit to walk in, climb the peak and walk out again. Alternatively, unless you are used to carrying a heavy pack over challenging terrain, then we recommend you fly in to increase your chances of success.
You should be:
- exceptionally fit, e.g. long distance runners
- well coordinated and sure-footed
- mentally strong and well balanced to cope with an extreme environment and height exposure
- in very good health
Mountain Conditions & Weather
Early season (November - December) there can be deep snow to contend with. If necessary we will outfit you with snowshoes. Late in the season (mid February - April) snow has often completely disappeared, leaving crevasses wide open. However, even in the middle of the summer there can be new snowfall, and as we get to autumn (March - April) the chances of this increase.
The guide will give you a thorough gear check before departure to ensure you are adequately equipped for both the hot and cold of a mountain environment.
Meet at Alpine Recreation's Edelweiss Lodge, 8 Erebus Place, Lake Tekapo (on the way from Christchurch to Wanaka) at 8am. Gear check and outfitting with any gear you need before driving to Wanaka (2 hours). Fly in (weather permitting) or begin the walk up the Matukituki Valley to Aspiring Hut.
Your guide will spend time with you preparing for the ascent, using the best weather window for an attempt on the summit. Spare days will be used for rock climbing or refreshing mountaineering skills as necessary. The summit day typically takes 12-13 hours via the Northwest Ridge.
If flying out, cross the Bonar Glacier to meet the helicopter at Bevan Col. If walking out, descend to Aspiring Hut via Bevan Col or French Ridge and return to Lake Tekapo.
Walk in option
You will begin the walk in to Aspiring Hut (2 hours) on your first day and continue on to Colin Todd Hut via Bevan Col (10 hours) on day 2.
Fly in option
If opting to fly to Bevan Col, you walk from there across the Bonar Glacier to Colin Todd Hut (approximately 1.5 hours). You climb the North-West Ridge and descend the same way. You will spend the post ascent night at Colin Todd Hut and then descend to the West Matukituki Valley and return to Wanaka. It is possible to fly out from Bevan Col as well.
You are recommended to allow an extra day spare after your booked dates in case we need to postpone the start of the trip by a day due to weather (if guiding schedules allow). Any spare days can be used for rock climbing or refreshing mountaineering skills if necessary.
Depending on snow conditions there may be a choice of routes from Colin Todd to ascend and descend Aspiring (NW Ridge or Ramp) and also for the walk out (Quarter Deck to French Ridge Hut or Bevan Col).
All of your equipment will be checked during the gear check at our office at the start of your trip. Any equipment you need to borrow from us will be issued by your guide.
Alpine Recreation provides helmets, harnesses, crampons and ice-axes. Outdoor clothing, packs and boots can also be provided at no extra cost if necessary. Please see the equipment list for further details.