Pehi’s Bluff

(17 routes)

According to William Mead, Pehi Turoa was a Whanganui chief who knew the western side of Ruapehu well and had a whare between Ruapehu and Hauhangatahi, which he used on hunting trips early in the twentieth century.
Pehi’s Bluff is the dome of jointed, columnar lava that can be seen on the south-western skyline as you drive up towards the Top o’ the Bruce. The crag faces north-east, with expansive views out across the western volcanic plateau. But it is an alpine environment, sitting at around 1700m. Be prepared for changes in the weather.
The routes are at a relatively easy angle, well protected and with moderate grades; it is a good venue for climbers wishing to practise leading on natural gear.
Stu Allan, with OPC students, was the first to climb here in 1977. Other OPC and park staff followed, including Doug Wilson, Ann Louise Mitcalfe, Neil Clifton and Ray Button. At least 10 routes were done, including the brilliant Tawhitikuri. Pehi’s Bluff is now visited mostly for instruction by OPC, but deserves to be more widely known.
There are no fixed anchors at the crag: double ropes may be useful as belay anchors can be some distance back from the tops of the routes. Descent is by scrambling along the blocky crest of the ridge towards Ruapehu.

Type: 
Crag
Altitude: 
1700m
Aspect: 
North East
Walk time: 
45 min
Access: 

There are two ways to reach the crag. Best and easiest, though slightly longer, is to start from the Round-the-Mountain carpark at Scoria Flat on the Bruce Road. The crag can be seen as a prominent lava outcrop on the skyline to the south-west. Walk south along the track until it veers west to sidle up to the ridge separating the Whakapapaiti valley. Climb up on to the ridge and continue up this until the crag is reached at about 1700m.
Alternatively, walk directly west for about 2km from the Top o’ the Bruce carpark; this is reasonably rough travel over old lava flows and gullies.

Lat/Lon: 
-39.244285620000, 175.541696550000
NZMS260: 
S20 294 147
Topo50: 
BJ34 193 530
Reference Title Grade Length Quality Bolts Gone Natural pro Edit link
1 Cornered
0
2 Cracked
0
3 Grooved
0
4 Sharpened
0
5 Shallow
0
6 Deep
0
7 Kaiserin’s Inspiration 14 22m
0
wire representing trad
Start left of the left-most of two obvious semi-detached pillars. Leaving the deck is tricky, then climb the crack to easier moves before finishing up cracks in a short, steep wall.
8 Pillar of the Community 15 22m
0
wire representing trad
Climb up over the left-hand pillar, and continue to the top of the crag.
9 Acid Rock 14 25m
0
wire representing trad
The crack and groove immediately right of the first pillar.
Stu Allan, with OPC students, 1977
10 Acid Drop 16 25m
1.02
wire representing trad
Interesting and sometimes tenuous moves up the shallow corner. Protection is adequate, but quite hard to arrange.
Stu Allan, with OPC students, 1977
11 Acid Casualty 18 25m
1.02
wire representing trad
Thin crack systems and face climbing up the wall.
Simon Middlemass
12 Tawhitikuri 13 25m
2.01
wire representing trad
One of the better routes around for its grade. But let’s not be modest, this gorgeous route stacks up well against climbs at any grade. Launch up a crack system just left of the second, larger pillar. Positive, sustained climbing all the way to the top, and good protection too.
Stu Allan, with OPC students, 1977
13 Back to Reality 20 20m
0
wire representing trad
The wide crack and face to the right of the pillar.
Dave Moore
14 Kumara Patch 11 20m
0
wire representing trad
Climb cracks in the wall.
Mook
15 Garbage Gully 6 18m
0
wire representing trad
Scramble up the gully. Some loose rock at the top.
16 Doug’s Corner 14 25m
0
wire representing trad
Climb the corner left of the main buttress, then either head right across the ledge system and up, or continue climbing straight up with a steep pull onto the upper wall.
Doug Wilson, late 1970s
17 Digital Monsters 18 20m
0
wire representing trad
Climb the well-protected buttress in the centre of the right-hand wall (crux). Continue directly up the arête above and finish using cracks in the top wall.
Richard Thomson, 2001