The West Face

(4 routes)

The West Face was initially descended by Paul Powell and Frank Cooper in 1954, and again by Tony Bowden and Graham Bishop in 1963. The first ascent was not until 1964 when Don Morrison and Peter Child climbed it from Shovel Flat.

Four variations are available on the face:

Face (Alpine)
Reference Title Grade Length Quality Bolts Gone Natural pro Link to edit content
1 West Face Variant III 2
Climb steep snow for three pitches, followed by three moderate pitches to a gap in the South West Ridge. Then cross to the top of a hanging glacier to meet the previous route
2 From Aspiring Hut III 2
From Aspiring Hut cross to the east bank of the Matukituki and from the head of the flats climb through the bush into the tussock and snow basins above. The ice cliffs of a small hanging glacier, visible from the hut, are turned on the east, before easy snow and finally slabby rock lead out to the South Ridge about one kilometre south of the High Peak.
Don Morrison & Peter Child. 1964.
3 From Shovel Flat. III 2
Use route A5 described in the access route section to access the face from Shovel Flat. The rib to the north is crossed at an easy col (1950m) and is then followed up on snowfields on the north side. Access to the steeper upper snowfield may be complicated by a short rock step. The rib eventually merges into the face, from which point steep but easy slabs lead out to the summit ridge about one kilometre south of the High Peak. Both this and the previous route are long climbs from the valley floor and would probably be more enjoyable from a camp above the bushline.
4 West Face Variant. III 2
A steep, broad gully splits the face offering eight to ten pitches of excellent snow climbing. Subject to mid-summer slab avalanches. It is a mixed climb in the late summer.
Allen Uren & John Cocks, Photo Geoff Wayatt/ Mountain Recreation.