Summit Struggles How hard is it to climb Mt Aspiring

Summit Struggles: How hard is it to climb Mt Aspiring? 

One of my favourite non-fiction books opens like this: “Straddling the top of the world, one foot in Tibet and the other in Nepal, I cleared the ice from my oxygen mask, hunched a shoulder against the wind, and stared absently at the vast sweep of earth below.”

Unfortunately, I am no Krakauer, nor do I think it ever likely to find myself at the summit of Mt Everest. That said, I can still say that I’ve climbed my own (much lower) Everest already. This was Mt Aspiring, which was surprisingly easy, all things considered!

How hard is it to climb Mt Aspiring? 

Mt Aspiring is not as difficult as some other mountaineering objectives in New Zealand such as Aoraki/Mount Cook. The most common route, the Northwest Ridge, is graded as a New Zealand 2, which is considered to be a moderate climb. 

However, the climb is still physically demanding, and climbers must be in good shape and have basic snow and ice climbing skills. 

Route Options and Difficulty Level

The difficulty level of a climb up Mt Aspiring generally depends on the route you choose. 

There are several popular routes to the summit of Mt Aspiring. The most common route is the Northwest Ridge, but there are also routes from the east, west, and south.

  • Northwest Ridge: This is the most popular route to the summit, and it is considered to be a moderate climb. The route passes over several glaciers and requires some snow and ice climbing skills.
  • East Ridge: This is a more challenging route than the Northwest Ridge, and it requires more experience in snow and ice climbing. The route passes over a more challenging glacier and has some exposed sections.
  • West Ridge: This is the least popular route to the summit, and it is considered to be the most challenging. The route requires a high level of snow and ice climbing skills, and it is also exposed to avalanche danger.
  • South Ridge: This route is similar to the Northwest Ridge, but it is longer and more challenging. The route passes over several glaciers and requires some snow and ice climbing skills.

Physical Preparation

To climb Mt Aspiring, you should be in good physical condition. You should be able to hike long distances with a heavy pack, and you should also be able to climb steep slopes in snow and ice.

I did body-conditioning practices just to prepare for this climb (although I’m not a complete novice in this regard). Here are some quick training tips for climbing Mt Aspiring:

  • Start your training several months in advance.
  • Include a mix of cardio, strength training, and endurance training in your workouts.
  • Hike long distances with a heavy pack to prepare for the carrying requirements of the climb.
  • Practice snow and ice climbing skills in a controlled environment.

Technical Skills and Equipment

Climbing Mt. Aspiring demands a repertoire of vital technical skills. Additionally, familiarity with crevasse rescue is imperative, ensuring climbers are equipped with the necessary gear and knowledgeable about rescue techniques in case of emergencies.

In tandem with honing technical skills, the right equipment is paramount. You must be equipped with suitable clothing to withstand varying weather conditions, encompassing rain, snow, and wind. 

The following essential equipment is needed for climbing Mt Aspiring:

  • Clothing: appropriate clothing for all types of weather conditions, including rain, snow, and wind.
  • Gear: crampons, ice axes, helmets, harnesses, ropes, belay devices, and other glacier travel gear.
  • Safety tools: first aid kit, headlamp, emergency shelter, and other safety items.

It’s important to properly select and maintain your gear before climbing Mt Aspiring. Make sure that your gear is in good condition and that you know how to use it properly.

Overall, climbing Mt Aspiring is a challenging but rewarding experience. Take it from someone who’s done it: as long as you’re properly prepared and have the necessary skills, you should be able to take on it too!