INTRODUCTION (A Summer Activity!)
Adapting rock climbing for the alpine environment, introduces a whole new concept in what is, and what isn't, good for ones health. Further to put "Alpine Rock Climbing" onto the rock, and environment of Arthur's Pass creates some of the most challenging, and possibly rewarding ascents to be found in the Park. Of the four primary areas that lend themselves to this activity, each can be combined with the thrill of mountaineering (ie. actually ending the day standing on a peak, Mts Temple, Phipps, Philistine, Speight or Harper).
The style required to achieve such feats (within the realms of daylight hours) demands the ability to lead up discontinuous, contrived lines, on "spec", with "siege climbing" tactics being a luxury best left to the crags down on the flatlands. "Commitment" and "run out" are two terms that may spring to mind, more than once in the duration of the climb. A helmet is a compulsory item of equipment for climber, belayer and spectator! (a type of insurance really)
From Temple Basin car-park at Twin Creek, wander up the track to the main ski field. Follow the rope tow on the true-right to join the sidle track that goes to Page Shelter (true right). Cross the scree to the foot of the obvious buttresses under Mt Temple. Allow about 1¼ hours.
The buttress is in fact three buttresses, each about 150-170m high joining the North Ridge of Mt Temple. The routes are not marked in any way, but generally follow disjointed lines of weakness, and areas of "good" rock. In short, you jump on the rock at the bottom, and in a couple of hours you crawl and dig your way onto the ridge. The bit in the middle consists of about four pitches of contrived jug hauling, and slab ballet. Anchors and protection are quite sparse, even the belay stances can be barren, or provide only psychological comfort. Once the ridge is gained the further ascent of MT TEMPLE (1913m) is a breeze. Descend from Mount Temple by the narrow scree shoot then broad gully to the left of the buttresses, or back down along the ridge to Temple Col.
The left-hand buttress (triangular shaped rock tower) conceals some of the most desperate routes and moves, however the first two pitches are on bombproof rock (all being relative), quaintly followed by two pitches of absolute "yuk"! Take plenty of 2” camming devices.