The best alternative to the Tongariro Crossing crowding?
TRM has had so many inquiries about climbing Ruapehu, as a shorter more challenging alternative option and from those who have already done the ‘Crossing’ to avoid the crowding that for the TRM Daily Report today we have copied DOC’s website info for those interested.
Please note: now that Summer has gone, the use of a mountain guide is very advisable. Someone younger and fitter and trained with first aid medical experience etc. who has been up there numerous times is TRM’s sassy tour guide, Hannah. The ‘hook’ is that Hannah’s skills are restricted to TRM inmates only. SWMBO calls it “Rent-a-friend”. A wise investment to ensure an enjoyable climb. But you need to book – ph. (07) 386 8555)
Above is the fabulously fit A team from the GNZT (Great New Zealand Trek) in training, by climbing Mt. Ruapehu for their next South Island stage. We did not really climb quite that far at all – see below. The road above Whakapapa Village to Iwikau and chairlifts beyond that (rise to Knoll Ridge 2020m) took us up most of the way. I wish we had Hannah guiding us as there is always one in every group – who wandered off the route…
(Photos are from TRM’s team trip in January)
Be prepared for any conditions, as the weather can change without warning
The crater climb is only suitable for fit, experienced, and well equipped people who can make effective judgments about alpine and volcanic hazards.
If you are unsure, travel with a guided party.
(OK? Contact TRM to join one of Hannah’s memorable treks)
The terrain is rugged volcanic rock in summer, and snow and ice in winter. You must be confident finding your own safe route up and down the mountain.
The following descriptions are simplified route guides from Whakapapa Ski Area up to Dome Ridge, from where you can view the crater area.
Option 1: Walk the whole way
Begin at Iwikau Village, Whakapapa Ski Area at the top of Bruce Road, 6 km up from Whakapapa Village on SH48. Walk up through the ski area to the top of the Waterfall Express chairlift at Knoll Ridge. Return via the same route.
Option 2: Take the chairlifts part-way
Take the chairlifts from Iwikau Village to Knoll Ridge (2020m above sea level). Begin the walk from there.
The chairlifts on Whakapapa ski area are open in summer from mid-December to late April, and during winter from late June to late October. (Note, the chairlifts are closed in autumn from May to late June, and in spring from late October to mid-December.) For more information, see Whakapapa Ski Area (external site) on the Ruapehu Alpine Lifts website.
(Just in case you missed it that is only 7 km in 5 hours!!!)
Routes to the crater
There are two standard unmarked routes from Knoll Ridge. The valleys between the ridges on these routes are lahar paths. If a siren sounds when you are in a valley, head for higher ground.
Via Knoll Ridge
The most commonly used early summer route, when there is snow still present in the valleys, follows up the left-hand side of the Knoll Ridge T-bar line, and continues up the valley above the last T-bar pylon. At the head of the valley climb up onto the ridge behind Glacier Knob. From this point follow the narrow foot track zigzagging up the side of and long Dome Ridge.
Via Restful Ridge
The second route is recommended when most of the snow has disappeared in summer. From the top of the Waterfall Express chairlift travel to your right past the Knoll Ridge T-bar pylons and over to Restful Ridge. Stay on Restful Ridge as you climb towards the crater area. You will go up a series of rises. At the top of Restful Ridge there is a more open face. From this point follow the narrow foot track zigzagging up the side of and along Dome Ridge.
In winter either route can be taken relative to current snow conditions and avalanche risk.
The area of Mt Ruapehu around the crater is a high risk zone.
Dome Ridge caution
Venturing down into the crater area off of Dome Ridge is not recommended, as there is increased risk from both volcanic and alpine hazards.
Dome Shed houses seismic equipment used to monitor the volcano. It is NOT a hut or shelter for people to overnight in.
Returning down the mountain
If you are taking the chairlifts back down from Knoll Ridge, remember that they close at 4.00 pm daily – and earlier if weather conditions deteriorate during the day.
Sports Fly Fishing New Zealand would like to inform you as a matter of courtesy that we will be holding the 2016 National Rivers Fly Fishing Championships on the Whanganui River around Taumaranui on the 1-3 of April with competition waters between the confluence of the Ongarue River extending upstream to just above the Piriaka Powerstation.
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
If you are in the area or would like to see the best competition y shermen in the country in ac- tion, then spectating is welcome, just please respect the angler and stay back from the river bank.
Session times will be:
Friday 1st April: 2pm-5pm
Saturday 2nd April: 9AM- 12PM, 2PM – 5PM. Sunday 3rd April: 9AM- 12PM.
Any further information required please contact: