That pioneer stalwart of Ruapehu, William Mead, had his name given to the famous rock feature that seals the head of Happy Valley. This rock was the crucial signpost on Mead’s route up Ruapehu via Happy Valley and the Whakapapa gorge, which he worked out in 1912:
“I impressed on all parties asking for particulars of the route that the rock wall was their important landmark both going up and coming down, and after a while I found them calling it Mead’s Wall.”
— W M Mead, Memories of a Mountain and a River.
Because it is such an obvious target – and so close to the carpark – it’s a certainty that climbers have clambered all over Mead’s Wall. Probably since 1914, in fact, when Horace Holl first visited the area. Records are scarce – an unusual state of affairs for such an accessible crag – but the routes are of moderate grades, easy to spot, and often well protected. A perfect training ground for adventure climbing; so in that spirit no specific route descriptions are given here. Go forth and have some adventures!
An enjoyable traverse can be made by scrambling along the crest of the wall, though it is very exposed on the eastern side. It is also straightforward to set up top-ropes on the crest.