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Although tantalising glimpses of the East Ridge can be seen from the West Matukituki it was not until January 10, 1963, that the ridge was climbed, when Tony Bowden and Graham Bishop traversed the mountain from a bivvy at the head of Rob Roy Stream.
The ridge rises from the Homestead-Rob Roy Col in two prominent steps. The lower one forms a triangular face with the snow shelf beneath giving access to the Avalanche Glacier. The route traverses this shelf to a point from which the north edge of the triangular face can be gained. This edge provides enjoyable climbing on steep rock, but it could be avoided by traversing the ledge further towards the Avalanche Glacier, where a snow route allows a return to the ridge above the first step.
There is a variation on the left side of the first rock step up an ill defined gully involving grade 15 rockclimbing on sound rock. The second step, although loose and exposed, is straightforward, as is the rest of the mixed rock and snow ridge to the Low Peak, about five hours from the col. The traverse to the High Peak commences with a gentle descent on an easy snow arête until the ridge is blocked by a large gendarme. This is turned on the west side and beyond it 100-200 metres of exposed but technically straightforward rock lead to the snow cone of the high peak, two to three hours from the low peak. Slings and pitons would be the protection of choice for the traverse.
The traverse from the foot of the East Ridge to Aspiring Hut via the High Peak and route 8 has been completed in 13 hours.
The East Ridge
Tony Bowden & Graham Bishop, Jan 1963.