Mt. Aspiring region summary. In terms of new route activity it has been a relatively quiet year for the Aspiring region. However, the fact that new route potential still exists was clearly illustrated when on the same day this summer two parties climbed new terrain on the south face of the classic “Matterhorn of the South”: Mt. Aspiring (3,033m).
Howie McGhie and Chris Fox, believing they were on an entirely new line due to a mistake in the Aspiring Region guidebook, climbed the Whiston-Hyslop line (5+) for two thirds of its length and then took on new ground directly up to the upper Coxcomb Ridge. They have named their alternative finish Perspiring.
Forcing a direct line through the overhanging schist band at the base of the face, the U.K. team of James Edwards, Kevin Neal, and Oliver Metherell climbed up the center of the south face to join McGhie and Fox’s finish, shortly after they had climbed it themselves. 24 Hour Party People is given 5+ and is possibly the hardest route on the face. Edwards had tried the route the previous spring with another ex-pat Brit, Dave Alderson, but the pair had failed due to a two-day wade through deep snow and difficult conditions on the route. The crux overhanging rock band featured “very dubious rock and thin blobs of plastic ice.”
In March this year well-known guide Geoff Wayatt made his 80th ascent of Mt. Aspiring —a record for this mountain.
Sadly there were two deaths on Mt. Aspiring’s Ramp this season. NZAC members Marc Freeman and Niklas Werner both died in separate incidents descending the Ramp, after slipping whilst unroped.