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Original North West Ridge

First ascent
Samuel Turner, Harold Hodgkinson, Jack Murrell and George Robertson, March 11, 1913,
Located on
Topo ref

  • P1
  • Alpine (Commitment) III
  • Alpine (Mt Cook) 2

The North West Ridge was first climbed by Samuel Turner, Harold Hodgkinson, Jack Murrell and George Robertson on March 11, 1913, during the second ascent of the mountain. After climbing French Ridge and the Quarterdeck, they then travelled down the Bonar to reach the ridge near its junction with Shipowner Ridge. The exposure and difficulties of the climb were subsequently greatly exaggerated by Turner, who concluded that ‘the first climb and probably the last of Mount Aspiring’s east precipices was finished’. Turner was geographically disoriented; his ‘east precipices’ were actually the northern slopes of the buttress, and their route, far from being avoided, has become instead the most popular on the mountain. Nevertheless, the achievement of this party, torn as it was by acrimonious bickering and with only one experienced mountaineer in its ranks, should not be underrated. Their climb involved more than 60 hours without sleep, including a bleak benightment in a storm above the buttress before continuing the descent in rain and wind the next day. For a short time in 2008 there were some protection bolts on the lower ridge, but due to loud opposition from a majority of mountaineers they were removed.