THE MOUNTAINS & CLIMBING ROUTES
The mountain ranges of Arthur's Pass National Park have provided a climbing escape neighbouring the main centres of Christchurch and Greymouth since
1891. Numerous of the South Island's climbers have encountered their first mountaineering experience amongst the Park's sixty or so mountains and hills.
Within the Park the terrain varies from low hills capable of being climbed by almost anybody of modest fitness and experience, to heavily glaciated peaks
and steep face routes all of which require a certain mountaineering prowess developed through time and experience.
Climbing about Arthur's Pass National Park could be described as epitomising all that is mountaineering, with the "approach" forming a substantial
component of the actual climb ie. longish tramps up braided river valleys, bush bashes and topless screes.
This guide covers broadly an outline of standard routes on the peaks. It generally avoids detailed "blow by blow" accounts. Some routes covered by
tramping guides are not included. Detailed face and rock route descriptions are relatively few, however the "most obvious" routes have been described.
Arthur's Pass like the rest of the Southern Alps shares a true fickleness in weather and climbing conditions. It is hard to be too specific about the
difficulty of routes as these can change on a day to day, season to season basis.
The grading system applied to this Guide is a translation of the French system. This same system has been successfully used by Hugh Logan in his Mt Cook
Guidebook. The basic procedure involves allocating a numerical grade of the range 1 - 6, with a + or - indicating Hard or Mild. Grade 1- is typically very easy,
while Grade 6+ would be extremely difficult (ie. Hero Territory). Like similar grading systems, objective danger such as avalanche risk or rotten rock, do not feature in the grade.
Allocated grades in this Guide apply only to the best possible conditions, and season. Baseline routes used for comparison in this guide are the West Ridges of Malte Brun and
Aiguilles Rouges (Grade. 3+) in Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park.
Transport : The Tranz Scenic train (Ph.0800 802 802) runs daily to Arthur's Pass township and Otira, from Christchurch /
Greymouth. The COAST to COAST shuttle bus service (Ph.0800 800 847) travels to Arthur's Pass daily from Christchurch and Greymouth / Hokitika.