Humphries Castle East Face

(9 routes)

The crag was named after the Chief Surveyor, Thomas Humphries, and his son Larwill, by Surveyor ON O’Donahoo in 1885. It is the most accessible of all the crags in this guide; being approximately 50 minutes walk from North Egmont. Given its accessibility, and the fine views from the crag it is surprising that more climbing has not been done here.


To get there from North Egmont take the summit track, past the Tahurangi trig point. Proceed directly up the ridge known as The Razorback. Humphries Castle is to the right of the track at around 1600m. From Tahurangi Lodge follow the Around the Mountain Circuit west for about 20 minutes; at a junction with an old track turn off and follow this upwards to the upper tier of Humphries Castle.
All climbs commence on the mossy terrace ringing the upper tier. The rock is rather blocky and care should be taken near the top of climbs. The recommended method of descent from the top is by abseiling; while it is possible to walk along the spine of the Castle to the lower end this requires very great care due to loose rocks and slippery grasses.

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Reference Title Grade Length Quality Bolts Gone Natural pro Link to edit content
1 Nose 15 22m
wire representing trad
Begins with a mantleshelf onto a small ledge 4m back from the end of the castle. Then a crack is followed onto the arête. The arête is climbed to the top passing a peg beneath the final block. This is the best climb on the crag. There is also a variation start: Mr Ski Off (16): Start about 2m from the end of the Castle below a V-shaped notch, the bottom of which is at head height. Stretch high to protect the first rather physical move.
Vic Rhodes, Doug Ball, 1957.
2 Cats Can Sing Too 15 20m
wire representing trad
Climb to mossy ledge between Nose and Loosehead and then ascend off-width crack to easy ground above.
Pete Swanson, Christine Brownson, Kevin Robinson 20/03/85
3 Fungus’s Snotty, Mossy, Field Day 19 20m
wire representing trad
Start from the same ledge as Cats Can Sing Too, then ascend crack on the right hand side of the ledge to the top. Unclimbable at present due to vegetation.
Pete Swanson, B Horne.
4 Loosehead 15 18m
wire representing trad
The climb starts about 8m down from the Nose and runs up an obvious cleft below the highest point of the Castle. Climb mossy ledges for 5m, lay back or jam past the flake, and climb the crack in the wall to the top. Double bolt and chain for belay.
Unknown, pre 1982.
5 Humphries Rib 15 18m
wire representing trad
Just right of Loosehead, climb the arête and then the crack to gain the top of the rib. Continue to the belay chain.
Dave Bolger, Glen Aspin, 14/12/97.
6 Minolta Muncher 15 16m
wire representing trad
This is the next groove to the right of Loosehead. Climb the large groove and out over the overhang exiting right or out left on the top moves of Loosehead. Geoff Blake kicked a large rock off this climb which bounced on his camera.
Unknown, pre 1982.
7 Stuck 16 24m
wire representing trad
Start 10m down from Minolta Muncher. Climb the overhang to gain a narrow groove to the right which is followed to the top.
Kevin Conaglen, Geoff Blake, 14/02/82.
8 Mossack 16 26m
wire representing trad
Starts another 5m down from Stuck. Climb a short wall through a short awkward chimney to a corner; up the corner to the base of the crack in the upper block. Traverse left round the corner and up the wide crack
(15) or finish direct up the block (17). Stuart Skene, Pete Swanson, 01/81. Direct finish: Stuart Skene, Andy Harris.
9 Candy Pants 17 26m
wire representing trad
Mossy start right of Mossack. Move over blocky crest to corner and crack. Move left over fractured ground, finishing up fist crack. Crux at the the top. Mossy start right of Mossack. Move over blocky crest to corner and crack. Move left over fractured ground, finishing up fist crack. Crux at the the top.
Dave Bolger, Chris Prudden, Glen Aspin, 14/12/00.