NEW ZEALAND
ALPINE ROCK CLIMBING

The Darrans offer multi-pitch alpine rock routes and world class steep and exposed classic alpine rock ridge lines.

Darran Mountains multi-pitch New Zealand alpine rock climbing. Super classic alpine rock routes including the North Buttress of Sabre Peak. The Darrans offer multi-pitch alpine rock routes and world class steep and exposed classic alpine rock ridge lines. These alpine rock routes are sought after New Zealand rock climbing classics with climbers coming to from all over the world to experience the climbing in Fiordland.

There is something for every level of climbing ability and challenge. The North Buttress of Sabre (grade 16) is one of the Southern Alps most classic alpine rock routes. The Northeast face of Moirs Mate offers classic routes like the Bowen-Allan Corner (grade 17) or Lucky Strike (grade 21). The East Ridge of Talbot (grade 17) is a three star route (my personal favorite) that can be climbed in a single day from Homer Hut. The possibilities are endless!

The North Buttress of Sabre (grade 16) is one of the Southern Alps most classic alpine rock routes and described as “the best rock route for its grade in the country. 500m of seriously exposed climbing” (NZAC Darran Mountains an alpine and rock climbing guide by Craig Jefferies). On this 5 day trip we only guide the route at a 1:1 ratio.

The Macpherson-Talbot traverse is one of the best single day alpine trips in the country. Starting from the valley floor the route ascends to Homer Saddle with spectacular views of Fiordland and the Darran Mountains. From here the route then climbs the spectacular North Ridge of Macpherson. From the summit of Macpherson it is then possible to take in a second summit for the day, Mt Talbot, before descending to Gertrude Saddle. This is a great day out and a classic Darrans climb.

The Bowen Allan Corner is a Darrans classic situated on the West Face of Moirs Mate. The route is accessed from hiking to Homer Saddle and then following the very exposed ridgeline to the Moir area. The relatively close proximity to Homer hut means that it is possible to climb the Bowen Allan Corner within a single day from the hut.

The East Ridge of Talbot (grade 17) is a three star route (my personal favorite) that can be climbed in a single day from Homer Hut. The routes offers sustained ridge climbing on solid granite with incredible views topping out on the summit of Mt Talbot before descending back down into the Gertrude valley.

LOCATION

Darran Mountains, Fiordland

MEETING POINT & TIME

Your guide will meet with you at 8.30am on the first day of the trip at your accomodation. Alternatively, you are welcome to come to our office at Unit 403, 875 Frankton Rd in Queenstown.

ITINERARY

Note that this itinerary is a sample only. Your final itinerary is subject to weather and other conditions.

Day 1

On the first morning of the trip we will pick you up rom your accomodation in Queenstown before driving south towards Milford Sound. Early afternoon finds us in the Fiordland National Park, and after lunch if the weather is good there will be an opportunity to climb a multi-pitch route on the Shotwell Slabs to warm up. After climbing we head to the legendary Homer Hut, our base camp for the time that we are in the Darran Mountains.

Day 2

We are moving at first light towards Gertrude Saddle and the start of the Talbot Macpherson traverse.The traverse is one of the best single day alpine trips in the country. We ascend to Homer Saddle with spectacular views of Fiordland and the Darran Mountains. From here the route then climbs the spectacular North Ridge of Macpherson. This is a great day out and a classic Darrans climb.

Day 3

We awake to the sound of rain on the roof of Homer Hut. Today we have the option of climbing at the Chasm crag, a steep overhanging protects the Chasm from rain fall so it makes for a great wet weather climbing venue.

Day 4

The plan today is to climb Lucky Strike grade 20 on the west face of Moirs Mate. To get to the route we climb towards Homer saddle and then make the long and exposed ridge traverse to Moirs Mate. This is a big day out getting to the route, climbing the route, and then descending back accross the challenging ridge before the walk down to the valley floor.

Day 5

Once again the weather has come and the high and spectacular peaks above the Gertrude valley are obscured by cloud. After a leisurly breakfast we will start the drive back to Queenstown. If energy levels, fitness, enthusiam, & weather allows it may be possible to do some climbing on the way home or take in one of the many view points or hikes on the Milford road.

NEW ZEALAND ALPINE ROCK CLIMBING

1 to 2 people
5 to 10 days
From $2,645
January to April

PRIVATE TRIPS

People12
5 days$4,350$2,645
6 days$5,100$3,095
7 days$5,795$3,550
8 days$6,595$3,995
9 days$7,295$4,495
10 days$7,995$4,950

INCLUSIONS

  • Guide fees
  • Hut fees
  • Meals and snacks
  • Ground transport

EXCLUSIONS

  • Technical equipment hire
  • Personal equipment & clothing
  • Accomodation in Queenstown & Wanaka

TRIP NOTES

Experience required

You should have experience in outdoor rock climbing and a good level of fitness. There are a wide variety of climbs and grades available for different ability levels. For the multi-pitch routes on the west face of Moirs mate you should be comfortable seconding grade 19-20.

Clothing & equipment

Climbing in the New Zealand mountains requires that you have high quality equipment and clothing due to the extremes of weather we experience. Please ensure you look carefully at our equipment checklist. At the start of the trip your guide will go through your equipment and make sure that you have everything that you need for the trip. Please organise to have your extra equipment stored at your accomodation for the duration of the trip.

It is important that you keep as close as possible to the equipment checklist. The focus is on ensuring that you have the equipment you need, but also on keeping your pack as light as possible. If your guide is meeting you at your accomodation for the start of the trip it would be helpful if you have all your equipment and clothing organised and laid out in a logical fashion so they can check that everyone has the right equipment and clothing for the trip.

Accomodation during the trip

On Darran mountains climbing trips we use Homer Hut as our base camp, this dormitory style hut is owned and operated by the New Zealand Alpine Club. This hut is set in an incredibly beautiful area in the Fiordland mountains. Facilities at the hut are basic, the rooms are dormitory style and there is a large kitchen and communal area. There are no showers, electricity, or phone reception at the hut. 

As part of the trip you may spend some nights in tents or in natural rock bivouac shelters so as to be closer to the start of the climb. For example when climbing the North Buttress of Sabre we stay at Phils Bivvy, a spectacular natural rock shelter in the Marian valley. This rock shelter is located under the North Buttress of Sabre and overlooks Lake Marian.

Accomodation in Queenstown & Wanaka is not included in the trip costs. Staying in Queenstown or Wanaka may happen if you are delayed entering the mountains or exit early because of the weather. Being based in Queenstown during poor weather in the high mountains will enable us to use the Remarkables mountain range as often this is sheltered from the worst of the Southern Alps weather.

Accomodation in Queenstown  before or after the trip is not included in trip costs. To organise accomodation before and after the course we recommend www.booking.com here you will find a wide range of accomodation depending on your preferred style and budget.

Daily trip logistics

Every day in the mountains is different with changing weather and conditions. When you book your trip with Queenstown Mountain Guides we will discuss your goals for the trip and the general plan. When you meet with your guide on the first morning of your trip your guide will discuss with you the weather forecast and current conditions and make a final plan for the trip.

On each day of the trip your guide will make a plan based on the best use of time considering the current conditions. It is best to be flexible so we can ensure that you will make the most of your time with us.

Guide to participant ratios

The maximum guide to participant ratio that we guide at is 1 guide to 2 clients in the Darran Mountains. For more difficiult ascents we guide at a 1:1 guide/client ratio.

Multi-pitch alpine rock climbing above Homer tunnel in the Darran Mountains
Climbing Pipe Dreams, Alpine rock climbing New Zealand
Climbing on the west face of Moirs Mate
Climbing perfect granite in the Darran mountains, New Zealand