It is an area where snow-capped mountains, rivers of ice, deep lakes, unbroken forests and tussock grasslands produce a landscape of exceptional beauty including the internationally renowned Milford Sound.
Based at the historic NZAC Homer Hut, this location offers an amazing array of mountaineering and alpine rock climbing objectives. Even the approaches to these climbs are well rewarded by amazing views of the Darrans Range and beautiful steep vistas of the fiords out to the Tasman Sea.book now from $2650 Skills required
Sue, Australia, Darrans Climbing
We can meet at the start of your trip in either Wanaka or Queenstown. If you are on a tight schedule and flying into Queenstown, then it may be more convenient for your guide to meet you in Queenstown. If you have overnighted in Queenstown then your guide will pick you up at your accommodation around 9am. You will need to be organised with equipment, but we can help you with this beforehand. After introductions and a gear check we are off on the drive to Fiordland. It is an exceptionally scenic drive (4 hours) passing through Te Anau and the Eglinton Valley. On arrival at Homer Hut we have time for a quick reconnaissance of the route for the the next day
Climb one of the stunning routes on offer in this area, perhaps choosing to bivi or camp out to make this most of the remoteness of this wilderness area.
After a leisurely breakfast we pack up and wind our way back to Queenstown or Wanaka. We have time to stop off and sample the many viewpoints and hikes along the Milford Road or stop in at Te Anau for a well deserved beverage.
The approach to the North Ridge of Moir's Mate starts from the Homer Tunnel and traverses the fantastically exposed ridge from Homer Saddle. The rock, typical of the Darrans, is perfect and amazingly grippy, so the climbing is never too difficult. The summit commands fantastic views down onto the Hollyford and Cleddau valleys where minute tourist buses wind down to Milford Sound. Stronger parties can commit to a significantly longer day and continue along to the summit of Mt Moir.
The classic skyline traverse of the massif affords panoramic views of the whole region. This technically easy route requires a range of alpine skills as you travel over the full breadth of Darrans terrain. It starts from Homer Saddle and the first section climbs the exposed ‘Talbot’s Ladder’ with typical Darrans rock and enormous exposure before ascending the snow slopes to the summit of Mt Macpherson. The route then traverses the glacier over to Traverse Pass before an optional side trip along the ridge to the summit of Mt Talbot before descending to Gertrude Saddle. From here you follow the valley track back to Homer Hut and you can grab a quick swim in Black Lake ...if you are game.
Perhaps the most aspired to summit in Fiordland, Mitre Peak stands iconically overlooking the World Heritage Milford Sound and is the most photographed mountain in New Zealand. The classic ascent of the east ridge from sea level is long and has all the ingredients of a Darrans adventure! An approach by boat or helicopter, bush, tussock culminating in the mega-exposed but fantastic rock of the upper ridge. There is the possibility of spending a night out on the ridge on one of the few areas wide enough to pitch a tent where you can watch the sunset from a unique vantage point high above the Sound.
Mt Madeline is the second highest summit in the Darrans and an extremely satisfying mountaineering objective. The remote area is accessed by a short scenic flight from Milford Sound to a base at the historic Turner’s Bivi rock. There are many options to warm up or wind down after the ascent with a number of buttresses for rock climbing near the bivi. We access the glacier only a short distance from the bivi and climb steadily to the snow slopes of the west face or the mixed climbing offered by the south west ridge. From the summit you look straight across at the massive Mt Tutoko, the remote Fiordland coast and north to Mt Earnslaw and Mt Aspiring.
For those with previous experience rock climbing, the Darrans provides one of the best areas for alpine rock climbing in New Zealand.
Shotwell Slabs, The Chasm and Babylon Shotwell Slabs offers roadside multi-pitch slab climbing up to grade 20. The Chasm and Babylon crags offer world class sport climbing maining in the harder grades that stay dry in the rain (handy for Fiordland) and only a short approach from the road.
Moir's Mate The approach to the West face of Moir's mate is a mountaineering objective in it's own right along the ridge from Homer Saddle. Once there, the crag offers such classics as 'Bowen Allen Corner' (18) and modern addition 'Lucky Strike' (20).
Sabre Peak Perhaps one of the most well know routes in the Darrans, the North Buttress of Sabre (18) is a much aspired to trip. Getting there is a classic transalpine trip in it's own right traversing Barrier Knob from Gertrude Valley and down the infamous Giffords Crack to a base at the accommodating and weather proof Phil's Biv bivi rock.
Sentinel Peak The South Face of Sentinel Peak (15) offers one of the more technically easier technical rock climbs in the Darrans. Combined with another typical Darrans approach up Gertrude valley, up and over Barrier Knob and a bivi on Adelaide Saddle with views all the way down to Milford Sound.