Mt Sefton

(13 routes)

Southern Alps Ka Tiritiri O Te Moana

-43.683095090000, 170.042490490000
H36 716 207
BX15 616 591
Reference Title Grade Length Quality Bolts Gone Natural pro Link to edit content
Frind Route 3+
From the Frind Glacier, head up a gully onto a rock rib north of the Ngaroimata Falls, gaining height to reach the Donne Glacier. From here ascend northwards across the glacier under Sharks Teeth to reach Brunner Col. Cross the Col and drop onto the west side. Exposed and avalanche prone slopes under Brunner then give access to the Douglas Névé. From here ascend either the upper South Ridge or cross the névé to the West Ridge.
Otto Frind, Conrad Kain, Dick Young, Mar 1914.
South Ridge 4
From Brunner Col traverse Mt Brunner onto the ridge. Ascend a prominent step and head on up a blocky rock ridge to a snow peak. Descend to a small col, then climb a steep rock buttress (traversable on the west), follow a snow arête and up a final step to the South Summit.
Stu Allan, Olly McCahon, Rob Rowlands, Brin Williman, Jan 1971.
East Ridge 4
From Sefton Bivvy climb up and along under the Footstool Ridge. Crevasses may give trouble here. Then either climb directly or up the arête to Tuckett Col. From the Col ascend three prominent steps in the ridge to the summit. The rock is appallingly loose in the lower sections, but improves towards the top. Used on the first ascent of Sefton. In 1924 Frank Milne and Harold Porter ascended and descended the ridge in four hours. Now rarely climbed because of the poor rock.
Edward FitzGerald, Mattias Zurbriggen, Feb 1895.
North Ridge 3+ 13,4 13 2200m
13 7
Long route (2200m of ascent), with rotten rock at the beginning and improving along the way, with sustained steep scrambling until circa 2500m of altitude. Pitching of crux moves in places might be necessary even for good climbers. Steep until the glacier start (2500m), crux moves at about grade 12-13. It is a steep route with few opportunities for good anchors to rap off if you need to retreat, making it a committing route (NZ Alpine 4) with sustained steep downclimbing on greasy ground in places. Approach: The route starts around 700m 15-20mins after the Douglas Rock Hut climbing left (East) of a fairly obvious ice gully (see picture), which requires a bit of bush bashing to be reached from the track. The ascent is about 2200m going all the way to the summit through steep (rock) slopes until flattening at around 2500m of altitude where the glacier starts. The route: Route finding is OK in good weather but requires careful navigation in places, in foggy condition could require a GPS . Follow the stream from 700m to 1500m then begin an ascending traverse leftwards to acquire the left side (N-East) of the buttress at 1700m. The ridge is well defined by a sheer drop on the whole of the left (N-east) side all the way to the summit. This obvious line could be used as a guide in case of tricky navigation conditions, the scramble alongside it, is regular and fairly good rock overall. Bear left (northwards) until about 2200m, then going more rightwards (SW) towards flatter ground on approaching the glacier start (2500m). Note: The first part of the scramble is fairly greasy and grassy with lots of loose rocks, not the most pleasant, then above 1700m it really improves while it still gets even steeper but the rock quality dramatically increases and giving you good grip, making for a much safer and faster scramble. Bivvy can be required, for the route is long even in good conditions, even for a fairly fast party, especially since the glacier can turn out to be really broken with huge crevasses (it was the case for us, our attempt was early April). Gears snow stakes, 2-4 ice screws, 50m rope, 2 axes, bivvy gears. Photos: 1) The route seen from the Valley 700m 2) Route from circa 1500m 3) Route from 1650m 4) Scrambling steep but good rock circa 2000m 5) Scrambling steep but good rock circa 2070m rope required in places 6) Scrambling steep but good rock circa 2100m 7) Scrambling steep but good rock circa 2200m rope requires in places 8) The Glacier from the top of the rock ridge circa 2400m 9) onto the glacier circa 2700m, with the top of the ridge on the left, mount cook in the back 9) Traverse around 3000m toward Douglas Neve 10) Descent towards Douglas Neve circa 2850m 11) Douglas Neve well broken
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Starting 15 minutes up the Copland Track from Douglas Rock Hut, this magnificent 2000m climb leads directly to the summit. Climb slabs on northern side of the Jasper Glacier Stream. The ridge then rises up a number of rock buttresses before flattening out and merging into a glacial bulge. Then ascend a vague snow rib to reach a shelf just below the summit. Above this either climb direct to the summit, or traverse south onto the West Ridge.


Starting 15 minutes up the Copland Track from Douglas Rock Hut, this magnificent 2000m climb leads directly to the summit. Climb slabs on northern side of the Jasper Glacier Stream. The ridge then rises up a number of rock buttresses before flattening out and merging into a glacial bulge. Then ascend a vague snow rib to reach a shelf just below the summit. Above this either climb direct to the summit, or traverse south onto the West Ridge.

Bruce Harrison, Nick Von Tunzelmann, Aat Vervoorn, Dec 1964.
Scott Creek/West Ridge 2+
The West Ridge of Mt Sefton from the Douglas Névé is a relatively straight forward 500m climb and is commonly used as a descent route. To reach the névé from the Copland Valley, the best route lies up Scott Creek. Surmount the waterfall on the western side (true L) using vegetated ledges and follow the creek, up and up, trending left. Beyond the bushline a rounded spur on the left can be gained (there are cairn-marked bivvy rocks and a stream in a small vegetated valley just north of the rounded spur) which ascends to a steeper craggy section followed by snowbasins. These in turn lead onto the ridge separating the Scott and Tekano Glaciers. Cross the Tekano Névé (watch for wet snow!) and ascend to Welcome Pass (2390m). From here follow the Sierra Range to where the West Ridge begins. Alternatively, from Welcome Pass use the Douglas Névé to access the West Ridge where it steepens. Beware of mist. Bivvying on Welcome Pass makes the summit day easier.
Jack Clarke, Laurence Earle, Alex Graham, Bernard Head, Mar 1912.
Bluewater Route to Welcome Pass
This is currently the recommended route to Welcome Pass, as it avoids the waterfalls of the Scott Creek Route and involves a pleasant variety of bush, tussock, rock, and snow travel. A route has been cut and marked all the way from Scott Creek to the bushline. It was easy to follow in early 2016, but vegetation grows fast in Westland and regular use and cutting of this track will be required for travel to remain easy. (Perhaps consider donating an old pair of loppers to the cause – they’re more useful than a saw.) Care should be taken to find the beginning of the route. It begins on a bush-covered terrace 20m above Scott Creek on the true right bank, at about 580m, where a small stream (shown on the topomap) flows across the terrace. This is referred to here as ‘Point A’ and is roughly located at about BX15 563 631. Access to Point A from the Scott Creek bed varies seasonally due to massive avalanches in winter and spring that modify the shape of the creek bed and its high, steep bank. Currently, the best access begins from a small open terrace 200m further upstream at about 600m – pink flagging tape has been used to mark the short route from here to Point A. From Point A, on the true right of the side stream, the route climbs steeply, veering away from the stream with increasing height. Stick to the marked route. Good travel up through rata/podocarp forest, and then mountain neinei/dracophyllum forest leads to the bushline at 1080m. At 1140m, there’s a two-minute detour to a spectacular viewpoint over the Bluewater basin. The marked route continues to the top of the scrub at 1260m [BX15 574 623]. From the top of the marked route, head on a bearing towards Splinter Peak for 200m to reach a large boulder at 1300m [BX15 573 622]. From the boulder, climb south-east up through tussock then follow animal trails along the base of the prominent cliffs. This leads to the final basin below the saddle between Pt 1800m and Pt 1784m (Bluewater Saddle), which is reached via gravel slopes and rock ledges. From Bluewater Saddle, drop 20m on the Tekano side, and then traverse and climb back onto the ridge south of Pt 1800m. Follow this ridge south for about one kilometre, and then ascend on a rising traverse across the Tekano névé – watch for crevasses and soft afternoon snow – to Welcome Pass. In the reverse direction: when descending below the bluffs, if you overshoot the large boulder at 1300m [BX15 573 622], you should encounter an old slip with regenerating scrub which leads into the stream marked on the map beginning at about BX15 572 624. This can be followed down to about 860m, where there is a short section of pink tape that leads away from the stream back to the main Bluewater Route. There is a small flat in this stream at about 900m which is large enough for one tent. The Bluewater Route through the bush has been used by hunters for some time. The first recorded use of the full route as a descent from Welcome Pass was by Danilo Hegg and George O’Sullivan, Jan 2010. The first recorded climb of Mt Sefton using this route was by Nina Dickerhof and James Thornton in Nov 2015
Alex Palman


Type Title Link to edit content
Face (Alpine) East Face (6 routes)
Face (Alpine) North Face (1 route)