Sheila Face

(9 routes)

Sheila or Northwest Face of Aoraki/ Mt Cook

Face (Alpine)
North West
Reference Title Grade Length Quality Bolts Gone Natural pro Link to edit content
LH Left Buttress 5 14
From the foot of Fyfe’s Gut ascend the rib to the left of a wide gully via a corner (crux 14). Ascend towards Fyfe’s Gut and then follow the west of the buttress until reaching a leftward traverse across a steep wall. Then follow red slabs and possible ice leads to the North Ridge 150m from the summit.
Bill Denz, Peter Gough, Aug 1973.
The Ministry of Silly Walks 5+ WI4 M4 650m
Continue up Fyfe Gut past the LH Buttress ( a further 100m from the start of Pilgrim). before breaking up R following a narrow smear of ice. This led to the crux of the route: a short section of steep climbing, before the ground opened up again. Another section of tiered ice led them to the rightward trending ramp they'd been aiming for. The route joins the LH Buttress at approx 3400m to finish as for that route.
Rose Pearson, Sam Waetford 9/9/18
CBS Central Buttress, Standard Route 5- 12
wire representing trad
The standard route begins close to the base of Fyfe’s Gut. Two grade 12 pitches take you onto the buttress which is followed on relatively easy, occasionally loose rock. The rib is wide and there are a number of alternatives. 200m below the summit, the rib meets a 50m flat ridge. Above here follow either the buttress of good rock, or if iced, move left into a couloir to reach the summit.
Austin Brookes, Ron Dickie, Ralph Miller, Jan 1967.
HV Hi Viz 5+
Gully line between the Central Buttress (original line) and the Sorensen/Allen line aka Grand Central Pillar. (CBV). Involved a bivy at the base of the headwall
Pete Cammell, Charlie Hornsby July 1988
Pilgrim 6 WI5 M6 750m
Gully line between LHB and Central gully.
Caleb Jennings, Kim Ladijes 6/9/18
CBV Central Buttress, Variation 5- 14
Variations exist at the base of the Central Buttress, starting further right from the standard route and joining it 300m higher. Some grade 14 and harder rock pitches have been reported. Tobin Sorenson and John Allen climbed a variation to the right of the Central Buttress in August 1979.
John Allen, Tobin Sorenson 1979
GR Gully Route 5
The major gully between the Central Buttress and Right Buttress/Earles Route. Is usually well iced in winter.
Adrian (Ardi) Riechlin, Jun 1994 (killed after falling from the summit ridge).
RHB Right Buttress 5- 16
Follow the left crest of the buttress with a final pitch of grade 16, before joining Earle’s Route. The first ascent tended out on the face on the right, with easier climbing.
Hugh Logan, David Pluth, Jan 1974. Bill Atkinson, Pascal Sprungli, Jan 1980 (via the crest).
Earle’s Route 4-
Gain the ridge via the icefall on the left side of the Upper Empress Shelf. An alternative route is through a gap at the head of the Sheila Glacier but it involves a pitch of steep climbing. Follow the ill-defined ridge on poor rock. At about 3200m the ridge flattens out before meeting the final headwall. Depending on how iced the rocks are, either climb up steep ice gullies directly above or traverse left and use the Sheila Face exits, or even further left to the top of the North Ridge. The route faces north-west and hence can often be iced, making it a more serious undertaking than if the rock is clean.
Jack Clarke, Alex Graham, Peter Graham, Laurence Earle, Mar 1909.
Photo: Steve Fortune Topo: Simon Middlemass

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