Mt Johnson

(7 routes)

There is some good rock climbing on this mountain, notably the red pillars of the lower North West Ridge above the Reay Valley. More routes could be climbed here.


Access to the Reay valley is currently straightforward (February 2015). Walk up the Tasman Glacier then ascend a prominent, rightwards-leaning moraine ledge on the true right of the valley entrance (the true left looks impenetrable). Once in the valley, sidle upwards on the true right to the confluence of the Reay and Walpole Streams where small campsites among snowgrass can be found. From Ball Shelter to the confluence of the Reay and Walpole Streams takes about 6 hours.
Above the Murchison valley, access to the terraces beneath Novara Peak and Mt Johnson can be found up the slopes beside the Burnett Glacier. Between the Burnett and Lecky glaciers lie tussock basins with good campsites, but there are steep walls leading from these terraces down to the river.

-43.603768000000, 170.262024000000
H36 890 301
BX16 790 685
Reference Title Grade Length Quality Bolts Gone Natural pro Link to edit content
A So Called Arthur King 15 ,16 ,18 ,11 ,15 ,11 245m
wire representing trad 1
Takes the skyline pillar (as viewed from the confluence of the Reay and Walpole Streams in the Reay Valley) via a series of corners and arĂȘtes to the lower North West Ridge of Mt Johnson. Six or seven pitches of generally good quality rock with some exposed climbing, good protection and a really nice topout ledge before an easy-angled scramble to point 2235m. Descend by heading south along the Northwest Ridge to a col and then dropping down scree and easy-angled snow to the upper Reay Valley. To access the route from the upper Reay valley, continue sidling on the true right of the Reay Stream until a crossing point is reached a short way above an impressive chasm.
#EwbankAlpine (Technical)Alpine (Commitment)Alpine (Mt Cook)AidWater IceMixedBoulder (Hueco)LengthBoltsTrad

Climb the right side of a pink column just left of an eroded grey streak to finish at a large belay ledge.


Trend left up slabby terrain to a shallow vertical corner. A couple of strenuous moves lead to a sloping ledge at the base of the main corner.


Up the main corner to a sitting belay ledge. Pitch could be split in two if climbing on 50m ropes.


Up a short face to an arĂȘte then follow a large crack diagonally up and right.


Climb the shallow and exposed rightward-trending corner.


Up a shallow, cracked groove then follow the prow to topout on a flat ledge with fantastic views of the valley and peaks above the Grand Plateau.

Nick Black & Nick Douglas, February 2015
North West Ridge 2-
From the Reay Valley head up couloirs onto the upper North West Ridge then on to the summit.
First ascent party unknown.
North East Ridge 3+ 13
Ascend to the saddle between Mts Johnson and Chudleigh either via the Lecky Glacier or the ridge on the left. From the saddle traverse a 2km ridge of jumbled rock with steps becoming increasingly harder. From a sharp notch just north of the summit, ascend final face of three pitches (crux 13) to the summit.
R Arbon, Lindsay Main, J B Waterhouse, Dec 1978
South Face 4
Commencing from the Burnett Glacier, ascend the prominent rock rib leading to the summit.
Rob Blackburne, Mike Brosnahan, Ross Cullen, Nick Shearer, Mar 1983
South West Ridge 2-
Climb to summit between Mts Malcher and Johnson, then climb along the undulating ridge to summit.
First ascent party unknown.
West Face 2
As for the Dorothy Glacier Route, but before the Dorothy Glacier is reached head straight up good, fairly easy rock to the summit.
Samuel Turner, Darby Thomson, Feb 1913.
Dorothy Glacier Route 2-
From the moraine hollow south of the Dorothy Stream, gain height, climbing past a waterfall, and traverse across onto the Dorothy Glacier. Ascend to col and up the North West Ridge.
First ascent unknown.
Alex Palman

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Just added "So Called Arthur King" on one of the red rock pillars of the lower Northwest Ridge of Johnson above the Reay Valley. Plenty more scope for new routes on the other pillars.