Type: 
Alpine
Pitch: 
# Alpine
(Commitment)
Alpine
(Technical)
Alpine
(Mt Cook)
Ewbank Aid Water Ice Mixed Boulder
(Hueco)
Length Bolts Trad
1003+16000m0N
 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.
200416002200m0N
 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.
First ascent: 
Bruce Harrison, Nick Von Tunzelmann, Aat Vervoorn, Dec 1964.
First ascent: 
Nick Cradock, 1991.
Quality: 
1.02

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 Alpine UIAA grade V to VI- / French 5a to 5b (Ewbank 16).
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.

Then the glacier features on average 40 to 65 degrees slopes, but really we felt the difficulties were in the rock scramble/climb before reaching the glacier.

Bivvy likely 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

Route Image: 
Grade: 
3+ 16 , 4 16
Length: 
2200
Bolts: 
0
Natural pro: 
No
Attribution: 
Photos Copyrights Romain Sacchettini 2016, can be reproduced with permission. romatou18@hotmail.com
Gone: 
No

Comments

Comments

I suppose it could be up to grade 16 if you don't take the best route. If you take the best line and you're familiar with appropriate use of the lower grades (i.e. if you've climbed at Arapiles) it's about grade 6.

Great pictures. I am a little confused where the Gr 16 came from. 3 of us climbed it slowly one Easter in Alpine boots and we never used a rope ( that I recall) until we went from the ridge to the ice cap. You would not get me soloing anything that hard in plastics. Maybe 10?.
Simon

Hi cragat, We had to take the rope out on 2 or 3 pitches that defo felt at least 15 if we wanna be flexible 14 but really not below. I am not that experienced after all (6 years of climbing in the Alps) but my mate Willy which is a lot more experienced (9 years of climbing numerous 4000ders in the Alps, long rock routes and mixed routes) ascertained that feeling.

The max I climbed in boots (and roped up) is a technical variation of the super popular Cosmic Arete in Chamonix, small holds on granit, was french 5+ which is about 16. And it felt just a bit harder that the crux pitches on Sefton.
But mostly that north ridge isn't really a ridge it rather looks like a buttress so we might not have chosen the easiest way after all.

Looks amazing (great photos!).
If that were my type of climbing, I would so want to do it too.

Hey sbaclimber, If you wanna go for Mount Sefton through a much easier way, use the route that goes up from the Copland Track's Scott Creek, then up the Douglas Neve. Fairly straightforward if glacier well covered in snow and ice meaning preferably in the end of winter (late Oct early Nov).
You can bivvy at the Welcome Pass (not too cold) for a short first day and longer summit day or start early push it to the summit and sleep on top of the Douglas Neve and descend next day meaning sleeping high up meaning you need a very good bivvy/sleeping bag + good stable weather. But other than that, not very technical, just a bit long.

We got only one life and need to go for it sometimes ! Better to live with Remorse than regrets ;-)))

Friendly yours.

Romain

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