Ascent of Mount Ruapehu on 2014-12-30

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Petter Bjørstad
Adrian Rayner

Pål Bjørstad
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Ruapehu
    Location:New Zealand
    Elevation:9177 ft / 2797 m

Ascent Trip Report

After our Taranaki ascent we catch up with the Bjorstads' second bag, which got caught in customs at Auckland the previous day and eventually arrives at New Plymouth's little airport mid evening. Then after a couple of hours drive we find a room (inexpensive and quite good) at Riverside Motel in Whanganui.

Next morning a scenic drive takes us via Ohakune to the Turoa ski resort on the SW slopes of the mountain. In contrast to yesterday's farmland, today we pass through steep green mountains, the domain of livestock. Mid Wales with tree ferns!

It's a grey drizzly forecast but we're keen to escape the wild weather promised for tomorrow.

In Okahune we follow the signposted Okahune Mountain Road (S39.41796 E175.39852, paved all the way) which climbs through forest then crosses stark volcanic landscape to the Turoa ski resort, large parking lot empty today and almost in cloud, with no view up or down.

Walking up between the buildings we pick up the service road (S39.30446 E175.52754) and follow it, unpaved and increasingly bouldery, until it ends at Giant Cafe (S39.29798 E175.54760, 2048m, closed, as are all facilities). We fit crampons and ascend easy slopes, cloud thinning, the summit appearing, even some sunshine. At S39.29464 E175.55330 we cross a rock band with (in late December) a nice water source. Soon above the highest ski tow, we zigzag up a big snow field steepening to maybe 30 degrees. We stay on snow, climbing to Skyline Ridge a short distance south of the summit, with a couple of steep icy sections requiring ice pick placements but nothing difficult.

A short narrow snow ridge leads to the summit cairn (S39.28944 E175.56244, 2792m) and intermittently a great view, down to the crater lake, across to some impressive sub peaks. Nothing more distant but this is far better than the drizzly forecast.

We're up in 4 hours and after a short break we head down, carefully reversing down the icy section (rope taken but not needed) then romping down the easy snow, getting back to the trailhead in 2 hours.

It's very pleasing to have summitted the two North Island ultras in two days, both in nice conditions.

We decide Taungo with its lakeside setting will be a good place to spend the night (except there is no room anywhere: we end up in Napier). If the forecast stormy weather arrives, tomorrow's peak may be Taraponui which has a road to the top. As it turns out, the drive-up isn't really feasible, the road is unpaved and we don't really have time; also it's cattle/sheep station land. Our next summit is Manakau in a couple of days time.

Ruapehu photo album
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3928 ft / 1197 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6 mi / 9.6 km
    Route:sw face, skyline ridge
    Trailhead:Turoa ski resort  5249 ft / 1599 m
    Grade/Class:yds 3
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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