Skip to main content

Icefall Lookout


In 1935 Pascoe's party camped near pt 1636m, not far from the Arethusa Glacier and called it Icefall Lookout. The present position marked at pt 1763m on map I35 first appeared in the 1970s with contoured inch to mile NZMS1 maps. There is now a large tarn near pt 1763m later in summer, a result of glacial recession. A knob of reasonable rock west of the currently marked Icefall Lookout offers a short rock climb from the south. From the north, (Lower Adams Glacier) it is quite an impressive horn of reasonable rock 400m high, and probably unclimbed

POINT (170.688572 -43.313063)
BW17 126 018
Add Place Add Route


Reference Title Grade Length Pro Quality Operations
 Adams Col to Icefall Lookout

  • P1

A small tongue of ice from the Garden of Eden flows through the col and peters out in a small basin. Below here, at about the 1860m contour, a series of rocky knolls lead to small bluffs with a series of gullies draining between them. The easiest route down doesnt follow the gully on the far true left (which normally requires confined rock moves if there isnt continuous snow) but instead goes down the gully to the immediate right of it. This gully is more open and all that is required is easy scrambling between the bluffs leading down to gentler scree slopes. From Adams Col, head down the snow basin and as it starts to drop off keep left under rockwalls on Guardian Peak. Near where it actually drops off, switch over the first rocky rib to the right and scramble down to an easy gully of scree and snowslopes below. You're down. In the reverse direction going up from near Icefall Lookout follow snowslopes towards the col then sidle slightly left (looking up) onto scree. Follow the scree up a gully through a break in the bluffs to the basin above and the col. Continuing to the Garden of Allah From the gentler snow slopes north of Adams Col at about the 1800m contour, follow down under bluffs swinging east across a snow and gravel basin past I35 226632. It is normal to descend to about the 1740m contour before gaining height again. Travel varies from snowslopes to gravel and a bit of easy bedrock, depending on conditions. Thirty years ago continuous gentle snowslopes filled this basin. Steeper snow leads up again to the snow shoulder south of pt 1874m. Watch for changing snow texture climbing up to this shoulder, as snow frequently thins here over summer to expose old ice. A good route sidles up to the left through the middle of the snowbank between two small rock bluffs onto the gentler slopes above. Alternatively stay over near the John Pascoe Ridge side. Continuing to the glacier draining Angel Col This is easily accessed from the snowslopes under (north of) Adams Col too. Much of this route in late summer crosses recently exposed rock ground smooth by past ice. The descent to the glacier itself is steeper but not normally difficult. It may be necessary to sidle south a little to find a gully down.

Yvonne Cook and Geoff Spearpoint,
in association with the Canterbury Mountaineering Club