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The North East Ridge separates the Volta from the Therma Glacier. It was first climbed independently by two parties, Lindsay Bruce, Ian Bagley, Brian Wilkins, and Reg Scott, from Otago; and Dick Tornquist, Ivan Pickens, Jack Rattenbury, and J D Rockell, from Auckland, on January 4, 1955. The Otago party spent four nights out, two in a snow cave where the ridge meets the Coxcomb. To add to their discomfort they received shocks during an electrical storm.
The whole epic makes absorbing reading and may have deterred subsequent attempts. However the third party on the climb found the route to be both practicable and enjoyable. It should be noted that the ridge merges with the upper part of the Coxcomb and that the most difficult pitches occur on the latter.
Access from the top of Shipowner Ridge is by traversing the basin of the upper Therma and then up easy crevassed slopes to where the ridge is gained, either by the highest continuous snow tongue on to the ridge or by slabby pitches above a large rock tower, two to three hours from the hut. The ridge is exposed and generally of shattered rock; however, a long sidle on the eastern (Volta) side, about 15 metres below the ridge crest, allows many of the steeper pitches of the lower part of the ridge to be avoided. A more difficult section occurs higher up, before 200 metres of steep snow lead on to the Coxcomb Ridge. The remaining part of the Coxcomb appears to require at least as much time as the North East Ridge. The climb, including a descent by the North West Ridge has been done in 12 hours.