A fun, moderate tour of the West Face, this alpine route follows a distinct weakness which ramps diagonally across the face in a north to south direction. It’s a good introduction to the west faces of both Double and Single Cone, providing easy access to the upper pitches of any of the routes on the faces. The route traverses almost 1 kilometre across the face and ascends about 250m of vertical. There is significant exposure above some moves, especially above Double Cone’s lower rock band. Roped simul-climbing technique is ideal to cover the moderate ground in relative safety.
Conditions on the face will dictate its difficulty. If snow is well consolidated the climbing can be moderate, with lots of 45 -70 degree snow slope traversing and few easy (M1) moves through rock bands (aside from the Martyr exit). However in some conditions, such as powder snow on rock, the traverse may be a little more difficult.
The route starts at the southern end of the main rock band which guards the base of the west face. The base of the angling ramp should be obvious, and can be seen from Queenstown. The ramp traverses right (south) above the lower rock band, traversing across the gullies and ridgelines of Double Cone’s West Face. When in doubt, usually go low. At the far end of Double Cone’s southwest ridge (Chasing Shadows) the west face of Singe Cone and its broad snow fields comes into view. From here, (see alternative finish) drop down approximately 20m in elevation and continue south, just under the steeper terrain of the face’s upper rock band. The ramp continues to the ridge which separates Single Cone’s west and south face, and just before this ridge is a legible right tending corner which is the last pitch of Martyr. This pitch is a fun, well protected, 60m pitch with a couple of M3 moves. Descent may require a single rap off Singe Cone’s east face.
Alternative Finish: A perhaps easier finish and shortened version of the route would be to not continue the traverse across the west face of Singe Cone and instead, ascend the snow slopes to the grand col, which is reportedly less technical than Martyr exit.
- Alpine (Technical) 3
- Mixed M3