Mount Asperity, South Ridge. Dave Hesleden and I flew in by helicopter to the Tiedemann Glacier on August 3. The weather was unsettled when we arrived, so we kicked off with a two-day ascent of the Southeast Chimneys route on Mount Waddington. We then turned our attention to the unclimbed south ridge of Mount Asperity on the 1500-meter Combatant- Tiedemann-Asperity wall. The south ridge is made up of a series of towers divided by deep notches. We started on August 8 and reached the summit on the morning of the third day after some tricky route-finding and 65 pitches of varied climbing on good granite and mixed ground (VI 5.9 A1 WI3). The weather was superb, so rather than risk a descent down the dangerous southeast couloir, we decided to traverse the Serra Peaks to reach the Upper Tellot Glacier. The traverse began with the free-standing tower of Serra V (ca.3600m), reputed to be the hardest summit in the range. We climbed a new variation on the north face (III 5.9 WI4) and made the fourth ascent of the peak. Our route then followed the line of the 1985 traverse of the major peaks of the range (Waddington-Combatant-Tiedemann-Asperity-Serras V to I, Don Serl, Peter Croft and Greg Foweraker, 1985). As expected, the abseils down the overhanging loose diorite on the east face of the Serra V into the IV-V notch were the technical crux of the traverse. We bivouacked that night below the summit block of Serra IV, continued along the complex mixed ridge to Serra III the next morning, and descended the icy Serra II- III couloir to reach the Upper Tellot glacier by mid-afternoon. We reached the Plummer Hut early in the evening and were back down on the Tiedemann Glacier that night. Concerned that the weather was about to break, we flew out the next day.
Simon Richardson, Alpine Climbing Group