Mount Aspiring / Tititea is New Zealand‘s highest mountain outside the Aoraki/Mount Cook region.
Set within Otago’s Mount Aspiring National Park, it has a height of 3,033 metres (9,950 feet). Māori named it Tititea, which translates as Glistening Peak. It is also often called ‘the Matterhorn of the South,’ for its pyramidal peak when seen from the Dart River. The first ascent was on 23 November 1909 by Major Bernard Head and guides Jack Clarke and Alec Graham. Head’s party climbed to the summit ridge by the west face from the Bonar Glacier, a route not repeated until 1965.
Mount Aspiring / Tititea sits slightly to the west of the main divide, 30 kilometres west of Lake Wanaka. It lies at the junction of three major glacial systems — the Bonar Glacier, which drains into the Waipara River, and the Volta and Therma Glaciers, which both drain into the Waitoto River. The Waipara is a tributary of the Arawhata River, and both the Arawhata and Waitoto Rivers flow out to the west coast in between Haast and Jackson Bay.
The most used route to Mount Aspiring is up the West Matukituki Valley, which is at the end of a 50-kilometre road from Wanaka at Raspberry Flat. From here a network of huts provide staging points for climbers. The first is Mount Aspiring Hut, which is 8 kilometres (or approximately two hours’ walk) from the end of the road. (source: Wikipedia)
An aerial view of Mt Aspiring, the North West ridge is the prominent ridge line on the left. Photo: Craig Potton
The Aspiring National Park. Our route shown in pink. Starting from Bevan Col where we were dropped off by chopper, crossing the Bonar glacier to Colin Todd Hut. The Ascent up the North West Ridge to the summit, before heading out up the Bonar glacier, crossing the quarterdeck to access the descent down French Ridge and following the river to Raspberry Flats road end
Saying goodbye to the helicopter as it drops us off at Bevan Col. The chopper trip saves a 2 day walk-in. We opted to fly in and walk out due to the fact the weather window looked like we needed to summit the next day after arriving and would have allowed time to get in and out again.
David Ellacott roping up to cross the Bonar glacier to Colin Todd Hutt.
David Ellacott on an early morning start works his way through the crevasses on the Bonar glacier
Caught with my pants down.
Onto the rock of the North West Ridge - there is an easy scramble up here which can be done solo, however it's very easy to loose the route and get into some real steep stuff. Once you feel like you need to rope up you are probably off route.
David Ellacott finds some of that steeper stuff.
The summit ridge - nice and clean, but hard ice so no place to slip as we solo'd the entire route to the summit.
David Ellacot picks his way carefully up the summit ridge.
On top of Mt Aspiring - beautiful day and the feeling all sweeter as this was my second attempt.
David Ellacot downclimbing hard ice on the summit cap of Aspiring, we maybe should have pitched this. This is a definite no slip zone.
David Ellacott prepares to rappel on the descent. We made 4 abseils with a 60m doubled up rope to get down the Northwest ridge rock buttress.
And off he goes.
On the walkout. Stopping off at a deserted French Ridge hut for a rest and a look at the view.
At the bottom of French Ridge - glad to be down from the steep ridge. Now just to cross the stream and the gentle stroll out following the river to Aspiring hut.
Boots off to cross the Matukituki river
Walking out from Aspiring hut to the road end at Raspberry Creek. The Matukituki valley is the most beautiful valley I have ever laid eyes on.