Ruapehu Summit

Ruapehu Summit

Jim Beltram (@jmsubs) and friends took a winter hike to the Ruapehu summit with @adrifttongariro guides. If you choose a calm, fine day, the hike is relatively straightforward in summer. It only takes two hours from the top of the Sky Waka gondola to get to the Summit Plateau.

The hike is on the northern Whakapapa Ski Field side of the mountain and takes you to 2000 metres. The vertical climb is 600 metres to 2600 metres on volcanic rock and scree, so take care. Allow another 30 minutes to walk to the crater lake, almost due south.

In winter, the rock and scree are covered in ice and snow, and you must be even more careful. The payoff is the amazing snow-covered volcanic mountain views. Use a guided service if you lack alpine climbing experience in icy conditions. Take them seriously if they say the conditions are unsuitable!⁠ ⁠Even in summer, it can be cold at the top, so take sufficient clothing and plenty of water and snacks.

In any season, if the weather changes, head down immediately!⁠ Even by mountain standards, the weather on Ruapehu can change dramatically at any time of the year. Check out our Keeping Safe on Trips page for further backcountry hiking tips and resources.

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