Hopkins Valley region summary. Exceeding the Aoraki Mt. Cook area for new routes, this accessible area continues to receive attention from a handful of motivated climbers. In the 2004 New Zealand Alpine Journal (NZAJ) Ross Cullen (guidebook author, and one of the area’s leading first ascentionists) reported 20-plus new climbs in 12 months.
In May Paul Hersey and Mat Woods climbed the 500-meter rock route Tenderfoot, Grade 3, rock crux 13 (5.6), on Mt. Glen Lyon (2,050m) at the toe of the Neumann Range. The wall features some nice climbing with sections of good rock broken by ledges.
Later in the year a second route was added. Late Bloomer, by Mat Woods and Dave Morgan tackles more difficult ground, with a crux of 17 (5.9) and an overall grade of 4-.
In the Dobson Valley, Kynan Bazley and Yew-jin Tan made the first ascent of the east face of Mt. Glencairn (2,499m) via Hidden Treasures, Grade 15 (5.8), overall 3-. The route started from Sutherland Stream.
Ross Cullen and Bill McLeod once again teamed up for some new route exploration and after fishing around in the South Branch of the South Temple Valley the duo discoved and named the Salmon Slabs. This salmon-hued stretch of greywacke now has four multi-pitch routes up to grade 17.
The most notable first ascent of the winter was a new line on the southeast face of Mt. Ward (2,645m), North Elcho Valley, climbed in late August by Kynan Bazely and Paul Hersey. The route, named Great Dane, is a 12-pitch ice climb with an overall grade of 5-. Prior to this ascent the face had not seen a pair of ice tools for 23 years!
A handful of new ice routes were climbed at Bush Stream and a few other areas were explored for ice climbing potential.
This summer saw the Cullen-McLeod team active again on the Grasshopper Wall, Peak 2,070m, with the first ascent of Knees Up—grade 16 (5.8/5.9), nine pitches.
In the North Branch of the Huxley River James Edwards and Oliver Metherell made the first recorded ascent of Peak 2,072m, the 500-meter route is called Matinee.
A number of other climbers were active, completing new routes and repeating existing climbs.