Pikirakatahi / Mount Earnslaw is the highest peak of the Whakatipu basin (2819m). This provides a big elevation gain from the Rees Valley. Nights can be spent at the Kea Basin bivi rock or Esquilant Bivi above Wright Col. From here it is a relatively short climb to the summit.
Kea Basin is a great spot to break up the journery and an excellent bivi rock exists just off the track. This is much more pleasant than the ‘historic’ Earnslaw hut just below the bushline.
Esquilant Bivi on Wrights Col.
Mount Earnslaw East Peak from Esquilant Bivi
From December onward, the north face of the east peak is generally snow free and gives a rocky scramble to the summit with a short crux. This is an awkward chimney where a rope may be used. There is a lot of loose rock so be careful if there are any parties below.
For guided ascents of Mount Earnslaw, other mountaineering objectives in the Aspiring National Park, four day ascents, or other classic peaks of New Zealand, visit wanakamountainguides.co.nz.