Areas North of Giant's Castle

The following routes are seldom in condition and therefore not often climbed. Not very much is known of what they are actually like.  That said they probably give very good climbing for a few weeks every year.  Good snowfalls would be essential.  All are normally rock routes.


Cleft Peak:  Frontal Route (Godbold’s Route)

Grade: III WI 3 F3 not confirmed.

First ascent: B. Godbold, A. Millard and N. Millard (née Bokenham). July 1946.

Time:   A full day.

This route may be approached in various ways - none of them easy. Route finding is simplest if you follow the crest of the ridge leading up from near Tseke Hut. This approach has a lot of thick bush in the lower stages and requires bypassing rocky knolls higher up - not recommended. The easiest approach is to cut across the spurs starting near the stream at the sharp bend in the contour path between junctions C7 and C8.  One can also traverse from Camel Pass along  below the main wall.  Whichever approach you use ends up near the base of the huge rock wall to the left (east) of the massive cleft. Walk to the right and scramble up a couple of short grassy/icy gullies to reach a large nose of rock some 100m left of a point directly below the start of the cleft. Climb up on broken rock and grass/snow on the right of the nose. This involves about 60m of exposed, unpleasant scrambling which leads to a chimney on the right. From the top, walk across a good ledge leading to the right. There is a small bivvy cave midway along this ledge. Follow the ledge further to the right and around into the cleft.  The cleft itself is then climbed. This simply involves a series of icy chimneys, separated by easy snow slopes.  The final chimney is short and overhanging with two good cracks. It is at least F3 but may be bypassed by making a few moves out of the main cleft on the right wall and then around and up an easy gully, parallel to the main cleft, to reach the top.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1946, pg 35.


Champagne Castle South Gully Route

Grade III   2   E

First ascent: D. Watkins, P. Richards, J. B. Anderson and R. Denny.  July 1955.

Time: About 3 hours to the top.

From Keith Bush Camp walk upstream for about one hour to a major fork. The gully on the left leads up to the Monk's Cowl - Champagne Castle nek and the gully on the right leads straight up the north west face of Champagne Castle.  Climb the snow gully, with a couple of E grade rock pitches, to reach the top of the escarpment about 500m from the highest point of Champagne Castle. 

Descend via Grey's Pass.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1955, pg 39.


Cathkin South Gully (Standard Route)

Grade: III   2    E

First ascent: G.T. Amphlett, W.C. West, Father A.D. Kelly, T. Casement, Tobias and Melatu. 12 September 1912.

Time: 7 hours from Keith Bush Camp.

From Keith Bush, walk up to the nek between Cowl and Cathkin and descend some 150m on the Injasuti side. Traverse into the gully just above the large wash away. Do not try to take a shortcut on the small higher ledge.

The first rock band on the left of the gully is broken by a grass gully, which is followed up and right to the next main ledge.  Snow and ice could be encountered from top to bottom on this entire route.  Where grass or rock is mentioned, it could in fact be covered by ice at times.

A narrow grass ramp then leads up and left to open grass slopes, until a small rock band forces one into the gully itself via an exposed traverse. Continue up avoiding the waterfalls until a large recess is reached. Scramble up the centre, past a small cave on your left hand side, and then traverse 15m leftwards above the cave (C+) to reach a knife edge or arête. This can be very tricky in winter. Follow this to the base of a chimney. Climb this chimney to a small grassy stance (crux, E if dry). This pitch could prove very difficult in icy conditions. Climb another short crack and traverse left across sloping rocks until a steep but easy face is reached. Climb to the top. Note: The following variation is often used when the chimney is wet or iced up. (Opened by Mervyn Gans 1977).  Start at the same level as the foot of the chimney and 10m to the right.

(1) F1 10m. There is a short crack with a block sticking out of it about 2m above the ground. Climb the crack to a cubbyhole; move left, then up, using high handholds. Scramble up to the foot of the next sheer face.

(2) F1 40m. Traverse right for about 3m, moving around a delicate corner. Climb straight up a recessed face (open book), continue to the top.

Descend via the same route, with the number of abseils depending on conditions. An alternative descent is via the south east ridge.

Ref.: MCSA Journal 1913, pg 79; 1937, pg 77; 1986, pg 51.