In recent years many routes once approached from the Hollyford valley have been accessed largely by choppering onto the Ngapunatoru Plateau.
Ngapunatoru Plateau to Donne Glacier
From the Plateau descend the western snow-slopes for 300m to pass a rock spur which drops down from Peak 2045m. Continue toward Tutoko to gain the South West Ridge before traversing to the toe of the North East Ridge. It is only a short drop to the col between the North East Ridge and Tutoko Knob which marks the start of the Donne Glacier. From the saddle, the descent to the Donne Glacier may require an abseil over a schrund.
Upper Harrison to Ngapunatoru Plateau
From Lake Never Never climb the right side of the face on a shoulder beside the creek descending from the Ngapunatoru Icefall. Trend right through bluffs to reach the snow in the centre of the face. Cross a broad rock ledge at two-thirds height and continue on snow to the pass, or traverse right to Tutoko Saddle. The crossing between Lake Never Never and the Kaipo River can be made from either direction.
Grave’s Couloir is a 1200m snow and ice couloir up to Tutoko Saddle. It is the best route out of the head of the valley to climb Mt Grave and provides access to the Ngapunatoru Plateau.
JR Don, William Don, AC Gifford, WG Grave, Dec 1897.
The Couloir is prone to rock-fall in rain and warm weather and may be very broken late in the season. If this is the case it may be possible to exit the Couloir at half height heading directly for the North Ridge of Grave, then traverse this back to the saddle.
Tutoko Saddle to the Ngapunatoru Plateau
From Tutoko Saddle descend on steep snow slopes, sidling around to the right crossing a rock rib from Paranui. Traverse ledges below the icefall and climb a snowfield 300m to the Ngapunatoru Pass.