Mt Sefton

(13 routes)

-43.683095090000, 170.042490490000
H36 716 207
BX15 616 591
Reference Title Grade Length Quality Bolts Gone Natural pro Link to edit content
Frind Route 3+
From the Frind Glacier, head up a gully onto a rock rib north of the Ngaroimata Falls, gaining height to reach the Donne Glacier. From here ascend northwards across the glacier under Sharks Teeth to reach Brunner Col. Cross the Col and drop onto the west side. Exposed and avalanche prone slopes under Brunner then give access to the Douglas Névé. From here ascend either the upper South Ridge or cross the névé to the West Ridge.
Otto Frind, Conrad Kain, Dick Young, Mar 1914.
South Ridge 4
From Brunner Col traverse Mt Brunner onto the ridge. Ascend a prominent step and head on up a blocky rock ridge to a snow peak. Descend to a small col, then climb a steep rock buttress (traversable on the west), follow a snow arête and up a final step to the South Summit.
Stu Allan, Olly McCahon, Rob Rowlands, Brin Williman, Jan 1971.
East Ridge 4
From Sefton Bivvy climb up and along under the Footstool Ridge. Crevasses may give trouble here. Then either climb directly or up the arête to Tuckett Col. From the Col ascend three prominent steps in the ridge to the summit. The rock is appallingly loose in the lower sections, but improves towards the top. Used on the first ascent of Sefton. In 1924 Frank Milne and Harold Porter ascended and descended the ridge in four hours. Now rarely climbed because of the poor rock.
Edward FitzGerald, Mattias Zurbriggen, Feb 1895.
North Ridge V 3+ 14,
2 7
A magnificent climb involving 2400m of height gain from Douglas Rock Hut. From the hut, travel 20-30min up the Copland track, then climb scree and avalanche debris nest to the Jasper Glacier Stream. Ascend the slabs true right of the stream (don't drift true left on the slabs or you'll get dizzy), which merge into easier angled scree at about 1600m (bivy sites possible before the ridge proper), and then gain the crest of the north ridge. Above here are three prominent rock buttresses, which are generally broad, with several route possibilities. The rock 'isn't bad'. The climbing mostly involves exposed scrambling with some short steps. The true ridge offers the easiest climbing through the buttresses with difficulties often overcome on the east side. Most parties appreciate using a rope, in at least one location. (An alpine rack of 5 nuts and 3-4 cams is often sufficient with good route finding). Above the buttress, the ridge flattens out (another good bivy site) before merging into a glacial bulge. There is sometimes an icecliff here. Above the icecliffs, ascend a vague snow rib to reach a shelf just below the summit. Follow your nose to the top. Confidence in climbing un-roped on exposed ground for the majority of this route is required. It is too long to pitch the whole route. The FA party completed the route within a day return to Douglas rock. It has more recently been completed in two days from the road end. Beware - tales of epic retreats abound, including rapping off the leashes of ice-axes when getting low on gear to leave behind. Descent is usually via Welcome Pass to Scott Creek or Bluewater route. (Scott Creek may be a preferable descent if you can find the single bolt rappels).
Bruce Harrison, Nick Von Tunzelmann, Aat Vervoorn, Dec 1964.
Scott Creek/West Ridge 2+
The West Ridge of Mt Sefton from the Douglas Névé is a relatively straight forward 500m climb and is commonly used as a descent route. To reach the névé from the Copland Valley, the best route lies up Scott Creek. Surmount the waterfall on the western side (true L) using vegetated ledges and follow the creek, up and up, trending left. Beyond the bushline a rounded spur on the left can be gained (there are cairn-marked bivvy rocks and a stream in a small vegetated valley just north of the rounded spur) which ascends to a steeper craggy section followed by snowbasins. These in turn lead onto the ridge separating the Scott and Tekano Glaciers. Cross the Tekano Névé (watch for wet snow!) and ascend to Welcome Pass (2390m). From here follow the Sierra Range to where the West Ridge begins. Alternatively, from Welcome Pass use the Douglas Névé to access the West Ridge where it steepens. Beware of mist. Bivvying on Welcome Pass makes the summit day easier.
Jack Clarke, Laurence Earle, Alex Graham, Bernard Head, Mar 1912.
Bluewater Route to Welcome Pass
3 2
This is currently the recommended route to Welcome Pass, as it avoids the waterfalls of the Scott Creek Route and involves a pleasant variety of bush, tussock, rock, and snow travel. A route has been cut and marked all the way from Scott Creek to the bushline. It was easy to follow in early 2016, and has been newly recut and marked with white permalat markers with a red strip in the summer of 2022/23. (A pair of loppers is left in the bush at the top end if more bush cutting is required). Care should be taken to find the beginning of the route. It begins on a bush-covered terrace 20m above Scott Creek on the true right bank, at about 580m, where a small stream (shown on the topomap) flows across the terrace. This is referred to here as ‘Point A’ and is roughly located at about BX15 563 631. The stream enters Scott Creek on the true right below a massive, moss-covered boulder. Depending on conditions, it might be possible to follow the creek up to Point A. Access to Point A from the Scott Creek bed varies seasonally due to massive avalanches in winter and spring that modify the shape of the creek bed and its high, steep bank. The marked route begins from a small open terrace 20m further upstream at about 600m – two cairns mark the route out of Scott Creek and onto the terrace. Permalat markers start on the upper end of the terrace, and a large white permalat X marks the start of the track at the top of the terrace. From there the track loops back on itself and goes back down to Point A. In summer 2022 the track is very well marked in both directions, freshly cut, and easily identifiable. From Point A, on the true right of the side stream, the route climbs steeply, veering away from the stream with increasing height. Stick to the marked route. Good travel up through rata/podocarp forest, and then mountain neinei/dracophyllum forest leads to the bushline at 1080m. At 1140m, there’s a two-minute detour to a spectacular viewpoint over the Bluewater basin. The marked route continues to the top of the scrub at 1300m with warratahs, and then cairns that follow up the obvious slide that goes straight to the bottom of the cliffs of point 1800. Follow animal trails along the base of the prominent cliffs. This leads to the final basin below the saddle between Pt 1800m and Pt 1784m (Bluewater Saddle), which is reached via gravel slopes and rock ledges. From Bluewater Saddle, drop 20m on the Tekano side, and then traverse and climb back onto the ridge south of Pt 1800m. Follow this ridge south for about one kilometre, and then ascend on a rising traverse across the Tekano névé – watch for crevasses and soft afternoon snow – to Welcome Pass. In the reverse direction: when descending below the bluffs, if you overshoot the large boulder at 1300m [BX15 573 622], you should encounter an old slip with regenerating scrub which leads into the stream marked on the map beginning at about BX15 572 624. This can be followed down to about 860m, where there is a short section of pink tape that leads away from the stream back to the main Bluewater Route. There is a small flat in this stream at about 900m which is large enough for one tent. The Bluewater Route through the bush has been used by hunters for some time. The first recorded use of the full route as a descent from Welcome Pass was by Danilo Hegg and George O’Sullivan, Jan 2010. The first recorded climb of Mt Sefton using this route was by Nina Dickerhof and James Thornton in Nov 2015
Alex Palman


Type Title Link to edit content
Face (Alpine) East Face (6 routes)
Face (Alpine) North Face (1 route)