A possible new route … to the summit of Mt Ngauruhoe

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John C Bidwell, an arrogant British trader, made the first ascent of Ngauruhoe in March 1839 against the express wishes of Te Huehue the Tuwharetoa chief. Then after his climb Bidwell proclaimed to an angry Te Huehue that he was greater than the mountain god because he alone had stood on the top.

Bidwell used a route up the north-west slopes which is now regarded as the standard ascent and which has been followed by thousands of other climbers. This route in summer is a straightforward, if frustrating, scramble up the loose scoria slopes but with the inherent dangers of falling rocks especially those dislodged by any others above.

Ngauruhoe - just up there
Ngauruhoe – just up there

I recently spent several lovely days wandering through some of the less-trodden places in the Tongariro National Park and in one of the more remote areas I unexpectedly came across a route up Ngauruhoe that has never been reported but which appeared to be the simplest and easiest imaginable way to the summit (refer to the picture). All that is involved is a short sandy slope and then a final step right on to the top.

I passed by the opportunity to try the route as I had other places to go but if you like the look of it and would be interested in a probable first ascent then, to get more information, send a self-addressed return envelope to the journal editor, not forgetting to include your bank account number and password.

But now that I have your attention perhaps you also have made a recent discovery in the hills somewhere like the one above that you could let others know about it. Or maybe you have made a trip that was a bit special, or was just a nice outing and you could write a story that could be included in this year’s club journal. Because at the moment the journal consists of the title and contents pages and one story about someone called Arthur Range whoever he was and that’s it.

You don’t have to be a gifted writer because the editor’s job is to help you get rid of those pesky speeling mistakes and grammatical error’s.

So how about getting to and writing between 1,000 and 2,500 words. Add a few nice photos and send the lot to journal@wtmc.org.nz. Become famous in the WTMC – you will be popular and people will like you and want to go tramping with you. And the journal editor won’t be so bored.

2 thoughts on “A possible new route … to the summit of Mt Ngauruhoe

  1. Hello Dan
    Well it took a while to find again the reference to Bidwell’s claim but here we go:

    ‘He was admonished by Te Heuheu for climbing Tongariro and Bidwell was to reply:

    “I said that a Pakiha(Pakeha) could do not harm in going up, as no place was taboo to a Pakiha: that the tapu only applied to Mowries (Maori); and finally if the mountain was a atua, I must be a greater atua, or I could not have got to the top of it, and that it was nonsense to put himself in a passion with me, as I did not care for it”…[1]’

    From https://sites.google.com/site/ngamaunga/map/kopukairua/tongariro


  2. Hi, really curious about this – what is your source for Bidwell saying this? I know his ‘Rambles in New Zealand’ are mentioned by Dieffenbach, but would be really interested to see the primary source, especially re him claiming he was greater than the mountain god!


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