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June 2014 Issue
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Don’t look down

A climber silhouetted on Sharks Tooth with Mt Ruapehu in the distance. Photo: Jakub Cejpek
8-10hr return
North Egmont Visitor Centre at the end of Egmont Road, 30km south of New Plymouth, then take North Egmont Summit Track and Northern Summit Route

Sharks Tooth, Egmont National Park

Forget loose scree and crowds of people on the popular summit route to the majestic Mt Egmont/Taranaki.

You get none of those if you decide on an off-season climb of this near-perfect symmetrical volcano.

An early start is required to catch the best weather conditions – clouds often gather late in the morning, not only preventing you from enjoying spectacular views but once immersed in them they can make route-finding difficult.

Night frost will turn the North Ridge into a perfect ascent line and your crampons will crunch reassuringly into the crust. The last metres along the ridge to the crater are a battle with time: blankets of clouds slowly rising.

From the crater, more experienced climbers can tackle Sharks Tooth, 2518m. Though the lower of Taranaki’s two peaks, its distinctive ice-covered shape makes it the more spectacular climb.

Only the huge bulk of Mt Ruapehu interrupts the perfect line of the horizon.

– Jakub Cejpek