South Face

(13 routes)

Matihao can lay a solid claim to having the best ice routes on Ruapehu on its South Face. These climbs are long, steep and exposed – and being high on the mountain they can remain in condition late into spring.

Face (Alpine)
Reference Title Grade Length Quality Bolts Gone Natural pro Link to edit content
Left Couloir I 3
A great two-pitch route up the major couloir on the left end of the face, to top out on the col between the two southern summit outcrops.
Easy Gully
A pleasant introduction to the South Face.
Accidental Pleasure WI3
Start as for Lahar View, then head left. After first step follow left hand chimney and corner until you reach as small ledge/pinnacle then follow left trending ice bulges unto upper slopes. After easy grade runout surmount last step and follow easy grade slopes to belay at the top. We did it in three pitches. Possibly climbed before, but a great outing and worth a mention/ description.
Adam Power, Dion Fabbro 2020
Lahar View
“Three of us climbed the central gully in November 1977 up three pitches of ice and snow lightly covered with ash from the recent eruptions” – Harry Keys. The left-hand line on the main central face, with a fine last pitch on to the summit block.
Harry Keys, Tony Teeling, Tony Connell, November 1977
Piton Route
Climbs the left side of the flow, exiting on to the col between the two summit blocks.
Route Five
A little steeper than the Piton Route, moving into a nice gully near the top of the lower face. Finding a sound belay in soft snow on the middle ledge can be tricky; look for rock if possible. A second pitch is a two-move wonder through the rock band.
Straight Route
The best of the easier routes, consistently steep with nice bulges lower down. Drift right as you near the middle ledge and the difficulties ease.
Corner Route I 5
Climb mixed ground into a shallow corner. Climb this until forced right onto moderately steep ice that eases towards the belay.
Don French. Rob McBrearty, 1988
Mr Lava Lava M6 70m
wire representing trad
Takes one of the many steep cracks in central section of face. Started up left facing corner on left side of large pillar. Then climbs striking offwidth in center of pillar.
Steven Fortune, Matt Thom, August 2012
Like Your Mom M5, M3 60m
wire representing trad
Starts about 30 meters to the left of Goblin's Thrash up a steep crack system. Good hooks. Belay on small ledge at about 40m off the deck. Second pitch exited out right due to poor ice conditions, but would be good when ice is better. about 60m total, M5 for first pitch,M3/4 for second. Some loose rock. Walk off. Fun, but not amazing, route.
#EwbankAlpine (Technical)Alpine (Commitment)Alpine (Mt Cook)AidWater IceMixedBoulder (Hueco)LengthBoltsTrad

Start up steep crack system (10m) to more ramble-y terrain then up steep corner to belay


Exit/traverse up and right.

Graham Johnson, Anesh Narsai 10/11/13
Goblin’s Thrash 30m
A short line on the far right end of the wall.
Rob McBrearty, Don French, October 1993
Ultra Right
Shorter still and further right.
Don French, Mike Peat, July-August 1991
Strange Onions M5 60m
wire representing trad
A fun,moderate, two pitch mixed route on good rock. Pitch 1: M5- Start just right of Ultra Right up a short chimney. Continue straight up to an alcove at the base of a overhanging hand crack. #3 C4 fits well here. Pitch 2: M5 Duck down and right around the corner to the base of a left-facing chimney/corner. Climb up corner to the top and walk-off.
Graham Johnson
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Room for about 30 new routes on wall! Bring lots of cams, great protection.