Mount Aspiring Climb
Climb Mount Aspiring, our local mountain / maunga, with Wānaka Mountain Guides. Tititea / Mount Aspiring (3033m) is one of the Southern Alps / Kā Tiritiri o te Moana most aesthetic and classic peaks. The only 3000m peak outside of the Aoraki/Mount Cook and Westland National Parks, and its prominence makes it visible from many areas around Lake Wānaka. It offers multiple classic routes and is a popular alpine climb and many aspiring mountaineer’s first 3000m summit from a base at Colin Todd or French Ridge Huts.
Aspiring Ascent Routes
During the early summer season, the normal route up Mount Aspiring is the North West Ridge via The Ramp. This is accessed by a 1-2 hour walk up the glacier from Colin Todd Hut. The crux involves 8 – 9 pitches of 45 to 50 degree snow climbing. Above this the easier upper ridge gains the summit in around 2 hours.
South West Ridge
During the early season, and for those with previous snow or ice experience, the classic South West Ridge route offers a direct and aesthetic route to the summit. The lower ridge, depending on the snow conditions, involves sustained snow climbing with a short technical crux high on the mountain up the ice couloir. This route is best enjoyed from a bivi at the bottom of the ridge. The usual descent is via the Ramp from where it is possible to continue to French Ridge Hut.
Full North West Ridge
From New Year onward, access to the mountain from the Bonar glacier becomes more difficult and the Full North West Ridge is followed the whole way from Colin Todd Hut. The majority of this route provides a fun and exposed rock scramble requiring climbers to have good balance and footwork and recent rock climbing experience up to Aus/NZ grade 12 or British ‘Severe’.
Mount Aspiring Climb Itinerary
The most common Mount Aspiring climb involves flying from the Matukituki Valley to Bevan Col. From here it is 1.5 to 2 hours travel across the Bonar Glacier to Colin Todd Hut deep in the Mount Aspiring National Park Wilderness area. For the South West ridge, a bivi can be made closer to the start of the route or, early in the season and with good conditions, accessed directly from French Ridge Hut.
From Colin Todd Hut, most routes take between 9 to 15 hours return and involve 1200m of ascent and descent.
The full Mount Aspiring climb experience includes the walk-out via the Matukituki valley. Early in the season, the route ascends over Quarterdeck Pass and down French Ridge, breaking the journey at French Ridge or Aspiring Huts. Later, when this route becomes unfeasible, the Bevan Col route is taken. This highly recommended journey provides a more transitioned return to reality as you descend from the alpine zone, through sub-alpine scrub and beech forest to the grazing cattle of the Matukituki valley and Aspiring station.
Difficulty and Fitness Requirements
A guided ascent of Mount Aspiring is achievable for most people with some experience off-track trekking and moderate level of fitness. For those wishing to gain more mountaineering experience, the trip can be extended for a few days to include further instruction in preparation for the ascent.
Good fitness is required to climb Mount Aspiring. This includes being able to ascend 1000m in 3 hours and trek up to 20km in a day over rough ground with a 15kg pack. After the summit day, the walk-out involves another 1000m+ of descent down technical terrain.
Off-track trekking experience over rough ground is required. Training in all the technical skills required to safely undertake an ascent via the Ramp can be covered prior to the ascent.
For climbs of the South West Ridge, climbers should have ice climbing experience up to Water Ice grade 3. We recommend doing some ice climbing during the prior winter for preparation.
For the mid to late-season ascents of the Full North West Ridge, recent rock climbing experience up to Aus/NZ grade 12 or British ‘Severe’ is recommended.
Mount Aspiring Ascent Cost and Details
|Maximum ratio: 1:1|
|20th – 24th October: FULL|
13th – 17th November: FULL
20th – 24th November: FULL
27th November – 1st December: FULL
11th – 15th December: FULL
15th – 19th January 2024: 2 spaces
22nd – 26th January 2024: 2 spaces
12th – 16th February 2024: 1 space
26th February – 1st March: FULL
4th – 8th March 2024: 2 spaces
25th – 29th March 2024: 2 spaces
Get in touch for more details and to arrange other dates from November to April
Get in touch for Summer 2024/24 dates. Book before 31st March 2024 to receive this season’s price.
|Includes: GST, guide fees, compliance, mountain food and accommodation during the trip, and technical equipment.|
Excludes: Helicopter flights.
The helicopter price into Bevan Col is $1170 with Aspiring Helicopters. This is subject to change by the helicopter company. It may also be possible to share with other parties to reduce this cost.
|Our trips start and finish in Wānaka. Accommodation is required the night before and after the trip. Get in touch for guidance if required. Your guide will pick you up from your accommodation on the first day of the trip.|
‘First class guide with excellent skills with safety being the priority. However, even his cooking was good! :-)… overall had an amazing adventure! Tim managed all aspects of our safety efficiently and professionally. It was a truly great experience! Tim did a first-class job guiding us with his in-depth knowledge of the mountain. He was efficient, professional, and helpful with all aspects of the trip. Very safety conscious and very patient given I was a bit slow at times! It was a really fun and memorable adventure. I would thoroughly recommend having Tim as your mountain guide.’
— Murray, Mount Aspiring Climb
‘[My guide] was extremely professional at all times. He had a quiet confidence that was admirable yet he wasn’t arrogant. He was quick to correctly judge my abilities and let me be challenged just beyond my comfort zone enough to feel accomplishment. I quickly felt that I could trust him… I couldn’t have asked more from a guide – I know that I was perhaps more energetic than some of his clients but he rose to the challenge of keeping me entertained and kept me busy! He also was a really good cook on the Mountain – his meals were nutritious and filling… just what I needed!’
— Anna, Mount Aspiring Climb
‘Great team at Wanaka Mountain Guides. A well organised, professional team of experienced guides who make each mountain adventure exciting and rewarding. Looking forward to the next adventure in the hills! Highly recommend.’
— Arthur, Private Guiding