Place info

Pehi’s Bluff

(17 routes)

According to William Mead, Pehi Turoa was a Whanganui chief who knew the western side of Ruapehu well and had a whare between Ruapehu and Hauhangatahi, which he used on hunting trips early in the twentieth century.
Pehi’s Bluff is the dome of jointed, columnar lava that can be seen on the south-western skyline as you drive up towards the Top o’ the Bruce. The crag faces north-east, with expansive views out across the western volcanic plateau. But it is an alpine environment, sitting at around 1700m. Be prepared for changes in the weather.
The routes are at a relatively easy angle, well protected and with moderate grades; it is a good venue for climbers wishing to practise leading on natural gear.
Stu Allan, with OPC students, was the first to climb here in 1977. Other OPC and park staff followed, including Doug Wilson, Ann Louise Mitcalfe, Neil Clifton and Ray Button. At least 10 routes were done, including the brilliant Tawhitikuri. Pehi’s Bluff is now visited mostly for instruction by OPC, but deserves to be more widely known.
There are no fixed anchors at the crag: double ropes may be useful as belay anchors can be some distance back from the tops of the routes. Descent is by scrambling along the blocky crest of the ridge towards Ruapehu.

  • North East

    Aspect

  • 45 min

    Walk in

  • 1700m

    Altitude

Type: 
Crag
Aspect: 
North East
Altitude: 
1700m

According to William Mead, Pehi Turoa was a Whanganui chief who knew the western side of Ruapehu well and had a whare between Ruapehu and Hauhangatahi, which he used on hunting trips early in the twentieth century.
Pehi’s Bluff is the dome of jointed, columnar lava that can be seen on the south-western skyline as you drive up towards the Top o’ the Bruce. The crag faces north-east, with expansive views out across the western volcanic plateau. But it is an alpine environment, sitting at around 1700m. Be prepared for changes in the weather.
The routes are at a relatively easy angle, well protected and with moderate grades; it is a good venue for climbers wishing to practise leading on natural gear.
Stu Allan, with OPC students, was the first to climb here in 1977. Other OPC and park staff followed, including Doug Wilson, Ann Louise Mitcalfe, Neil Clifton and Ray Button. At least 10 routes were done, including the brilliant Tawhitikuri. Pehi’s Bluff is now visited mostly for instruction by OPC, but deserves to be more widely known.
There are no fixed anchors at the crag: double ropes may be useful as belay anchors can be some distance back from the tops of the routes. Descent is by scrambling along the blocky crest of the ridge towards Ruapehu.

Access: 

There are two ways to reach the crag. Best and easiest, though slightly longer, is to start from the Round-the-Mountain carpark at Scoria Flat on the Bruce Road. The crag can be seen as a prominent lava outcrop on the skyline to the south-west. Walk south along the track until it veers west to sidle up to the ridge separating the Whakapapaiti valley. Climb up on to the ridge and continue up this until the crag is reached at about 1700m.
Alternatively, walk directly west for about 2km from the Top o’ the Bruce carpark; this is reasonably rough travel over old lava flows and gullies.

Walk time: 
45 min
NZMS260: 
S20 294 147
Topo50: 
BJ34 193 530
Reference Name Grade Quality Length Comments Actions
1
0
 
2
0
 
3
0
 
4
0
 
5
0
 
6
0
 
7
14
0
22m
Natural gear required
  Start left of the left-most of two obvious semi-detached pillars. Leaving the deck is tricky, then climb the crack to easier moves before finishing up cracks in a short, steep wall.
8
15
0
22m
Natural gear required
  Climb up over the left-hand pillar, and continue to the top of the crag.
9
14
0
25m
Natural gear required
  The crack and groove immediately right of the first pillar.

Stu Allan, with OPC students, 1977

10
16
1.02
25m
Natural gear required
  Interesting and sometimes tenuous moves up the shallow corner. Protection is adequate, but quite hard to arrange.

Stu Allan, with OPC students, 1977

11
18
1.02
25m
Natural gear required
  Thin crack systems and face climbing up the wall.

Simon Middlemass

12
13
2.01
25m
Natural gear required
  One of the better routes around for its grade. But let’s not be modest, this gorgeous route stacks up well against climbs at any grade. Launch up a crack system just left of the second, larger pillar. Positive, sustained climbing all the way to the top, and good protection too.

Stu Allan, with OPC students, 1977

13
20
0
20m
Natural gear required
  The wide crack and face to the right of the pillar.

Dave Moore

14
11
0
20m
Natural gear required
  Climb cracks in the wall.

Mook

15
6
0
18m
Natural gear required
  Scramble up the gully. Some loose rock at the top.
16
14
0
25m
Natural gear required
  Climb the corner left of the main buttress, then either head right across the ledge system and up, or continue climbing straight up with a steep pull onto the upper wall.

Doug Wilson, late 1970s

17
18
0
20m
Natural gear required
  Climb the well-protected buttress in the centre of the right-hand wall (crux). Continue directly up the arête above and finish using cracks in the top wall.

Richard Thomson, 2001

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