Philistine Bluffs

(9 routes)

Difficult direct face routes or ice gully climbs are present from the Upper Otira Valley by way of the Philistine Bluffs. The most popular of these is the Philistine Ramp, which follows an avalanche chute to the southwest corner of the Rolleston Glacier. Most other routes top out under the East Ridge buttress or the Rolleston Glacier icefall. From the névé of the Rolleston Glacier, routes can also be chosen that follow steep snow slopes or loose rock ribs to join the Philistine-Rolleston ridge.
Use Warnock’s Bluff Route or the Philistine Ramp Route (to the left) for descent.

Face (Alpine)
-42.894339130000, 171.530620110000
K33 900115
BV20 800 499
Reference Title Grade Length Quality Bolts Gone Natural pro Link to edit content
A Philistine Ramp 1
Only in conditon late spring early summer due to build up of avalanche debris. Follwow obvious avalanche chute towards SW corner of Rolleston Gl. Some seasons the headwall can be vertical ice. An alternative rock route climbs through the gullies and slabs on the true right of the ravine.
Zero Gully 2
Ice only. 3rd avalanche gut upstream from the bridge.
B Waterfall Route 2
Rock or Ice. 2nd avalanche gully above the bridge
C Grade 2+ 2
Rock or Ice. Starts on slope betwwen the first two avalanche gullies above bridge.
D Grade 3+
Rock only. Start directly under a 60deg crack system that runs into the wall on to East Ridge of Philistine. Climb vertically to the left of the crack for 25m on poor pro to intersect parallel 60deg crack, avoiding moss & water. Continue climbing crack untila small terrace is reached. Break left onto a broad, less steep facemoving upwards to a gut theat tops out onto screes under the East Ridge.
E The Bone Collector 5-
(Rock or ice). Follow faint buttress line diagonally right through mixed ground for 5 pitches, traverse left at a short wall and up a short couloir to climb steep ice covered slabs and then head diagonally right over exposed mixed ground to a short 4m wall ( extremely loose rock), climb delicately over this to reach steep snow at first and then onto the main snowfield below Mt Philistine. Return via route H
Gerard Smith & Brian Alder
F Right Ramp 2
Ice Only. Climb Scree from bridge towards the massive boulder at its head. The route climbs the 45deg RH ramp for 50m, then up steep buttress rock to meet a sweeping RH couloir. After 40m this leads into a less steep gully for a further 150m climbing parallel to a wall on the true R. The head breaks out onto the avalanche slopes underneath the East Ridge of Philistine.
G Diagonal Gully 1
Ice Only. From bridge follow normal Warnock’s Bluff route, however stay in large scree gully. The obvious gully that runs across to the left as you look up is met at the head of the scree. 2 ½ easy pitches gain a small saddle followed by a traverse into a steeper snow field. The gully line is picked up, more steeply to join the broad ridge above.
Stu Robertson and
Double Blind Route WI3
Access as for Waterfall Route but veer left towards two obvious ice flows. Climb the right one and continue straight up on steep ice towards the slightly overhanging rock face. Follow good ice on the right hand side of the rock face to easing snow slopes. 3 pitches. Good climbing with easy access. Potential for other variations here exists.
Ben Ellis and Sarwan Chand, August 2016
Photo: Graeme Kates

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