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Mt Ngauruhoe, Tongariro National Park

Photo: Zhi Yap Yuen
7.5km one way
Total Ascent
3-5hr to summit
Via Mangatepopo Rd off SH47
BH35, BH36
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Mt Ngauruhoe (gpx, yo 21 KB)
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Take the popular Tongariro Alpine Crossing Track to South Crater, from where you can begin the climb of Ngauruhoe. In summer, is a rather straightforward scramble up the loose scoria. Scores of people attempt it to earn the bragging rights of summiting ‘Mt Doom’. But in winter, the mountain becomes a more serious undertaking.

Its 30-degree slope is not terribly steep. Under most conditions, with good route selection, rope and snow anchors are not required. However, good crampon technique and the ability to self-arrest is essential.

The most common, and straightforward ascent is via its northern flank, branching off from the Tongariro Alpine Crossing at South Crater. This side of the mountain tends to have more snow than ice, and with no major bluffs or gullies like the southern flank, it is more forgiving for novice climbers.

The ascent is physically exhausting, but it’s the descent that is psychologically challenging. It’s certainly a long way down if you start sliding.