North Face

(8 routes)

All routes start from the Balfour Neve.

Face (Alpine)
Reference Title Grade Length Quality Bolts Gone Natural pro Link to edit content
Bonaventure I 19
The half-size outlier buttress on the left side of Drake. A superb quarter-day climb. From the névé climb the central weakness midway between the black rock band on the right and the left hand margin of the buttress. The route is comprised of deceptively good rock. A small roof 3/4 of the way up (crux 19), is probably avoidable. Four pitches equipped with double bolt belays – abseil off.
Alex Palman, James Wright, Feb 1998.
Shogun 5+ 16
This is the largest and most distinctive buttress on Mt Drake. The climbing is both superb and sustained, however after the Crows Nest Ledge it relents somewhat and becomes more broken. The toe of the buttress fell away in 1998 and so access onto the buttress now looks harder (was 14). A snow ramp to the left of the buttress might offer a way. A classic and sustained route (crux 16).
Paul Aubrey, Richard Pears, Jan 1981.
Samurai III 7- 23 400m
A wild ride. The thin buttress right of Shogun. An awesome line with a sting in the tail. Occasional bolt belays and runners (crux 23).
Peter Dickson, Alex Palman, Feb 1989
Pelican III 7 22 400m
Ascends the clean red rock of the Central Buttress all the way to the summit, never deviating more than six metres. A technical start is followed by an arête capped by an intimidating roof (crux 22). The Pelican takes the left side of the roof and continues up a series of towers to the summit. Occasional bolt belays and runners. Very sustained. There are two first pitch options: follow the obvious crack system to the wave and traverse to the edge of the buttress (20) or continue up the crack to join the buttress higher (22).
Peter Dickson, Alex Palman, Feb 1989.
Superconnected 27
A one pitch direct start to the Pelican. Desperate moves up the angular buttress lead to easier ground above.
Alex Palman, Feb 1996.
URGA Memorial Route III 19 200m
wire representing trad
This follows a classic corner, between the Pelican and the Right Hand Buttress, which sweeps up to the large roof, shared with the Pelican. Take the right hand side of the roof via a detached plate (crux 19). The climb finishes at the Crows Nest Ledge.
Alex Palman, Peter Dickson, Feb 1989.
Red Scorpion I 23 210m
Climb the centre of the Right Hand Buttress, taking the right pillar at the top. Start as for Astrolabe but traverse left along a break to gain the buttress proper. Continue up through great rock involving cracks, roofs, slabs and a headwall (crux 23). All pitches are equipped with double bolt belays and some have bolt runners. Mostly 17-20. Stunning.
Alex Palman, Peter Dickson, Mar 2000.
Astrolabe II 6- 17 350m
A classic route. An almost perfect buttress of red rock forming the junction of the North Face and the West Wall. Once on the Satellite Buttress, scramble up the next 30m rock step to the base of the buttress. Astrolabe starts in the obvious right facing corner at the toe of the buttress (there are two corners – the left one being easier). Superb climbing leads to the Crows Nest Ledge and continues directly up the arête to the top of the West Wall. Two easy pitches lead to the summit. The seventh pitch involves under-clinging a small roof (crux 17) however most of the climbing is 14-16. A third pitch variant involves climbing the arête directly rather than moving left, grade 18.
Carol McDermott, Mark Defourneaux, Peter Dickson, Mar 1988.
Alex Palman

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