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From the carpark you can reach the vicinity of the NZAC Ruapehu Hut in about 90 minutes. Follow Tennents Valley to Hut Flat, and then a poled route climbs up Egmont Ridge behind (west of) the Ruapehu Ski Club lodges onto the western side of Delta Ridge. The hut is on the brow of this ridge at 2040m elevation (grid ref 310138). From here there are two main routes. Note that parts of both routes lie in paths followed by lahars on the three occasions they have been recorded on this side of the mountain. Two of these, in 1969 and 1975, occurred in ‘blue sky’ eruptions.
From Delta Corner climb to the south-west, through the ‘Cornice Bowl’ to reach the top of the Far West T-bar (300m climb, about 45 minutes). From here, continue up the wide valley to reach The Col between The Dome and Paretetaitonga (a further 300m, another 45 minutes). It is a short climb from the Col to the Dome, best made by continuing around underneath and then back up the eastern ridge. In poor visibility the Glacier Knob route is a better descent; when descending the Whakapapa Glacier care needs to be taken to head north-northeast so as to regain the skiﬁeld. Failure to do this will leave you amidst the exposed bluﬀs of the upper Whakapapaiti valley – a long long way from anywhere.
The Whakapapa Glacier formerly ﬁlled the upper reaches of the valley leading to The Col. Fifty years ago, on April 2, 1954, crevasses across the upper glacier forced Tom and Doris Barcham hard under Paretetaitonga, and then under the Dome to traverse Pyramid. Finally, on Tahurangi they met ‘very steep hard compacted ash. Cut many steps!’ Earlier that same year, New Zealand Canoeing Association members carried a rubber dingy up to explore Crater Lake. Although people have swum in the lake, with a fairly constant acidity of pH 1 this cannot be recommended. There is a story, possibly apocryphal, about a boat once kept near the crater for research purposes. Over time, the acidity ate away at the nails holding the craft together until on one fateful voyage . . .