Mount Lendenfeld is one of the major peaks of the Fox Glacier region and is located just north of Mount Tasman along the Main Divide. It is most often ascended from Marcel Col by parties headed for the North Shoulder route on Mount Tasman. However, the mountain also offers a number of shorter, more technical rock and ice routes which are easily reached from Pioneer Hut. The peak is situated southwest of the hut and routes can be reached in 2-3 hours by crossing the Albert Glacier.
The popular routes to the summit of Mount Lendenfeld are summarized below. A photo showing the locations of these routes will be added shortly.
1) From Marcel Col (Grade 2)
-- After passing the icefall between Mounts Haast and Lendenfeld, the route to Marcel Col is straightforward. From the col, about 6 ropelengths on moderately steep snow slopes (45-50 degrees) lead to the summit. There is often a very large cornice on the ridge itself.
2) Aurora Australis (Grade 3)
-- A mixed route up the north-facing aspect of the peak from above the icefall. A short rock/mixed step to a snow shelf, followed by a mixed gully and the summit snow/ice slopes.
3) Hamilton-Berry Rib (Grade 3+)
-- About 200m of steep climbing on a rocky buttress, followed by easier ground to the summit.
4) NW Couloir (Grade 3)
-- An excellent snow/ice route with about 5 pitches of 45 degrees above the bergschrund, leading to the narrow part of the couloir. Afterwards, 5-6 pitches on steeper ground (50-60 degrees) lead to ice cliffs, which are passed to the right to gain the summit ridge.
5) NW Rib (Grade 3+)
-- A classic rock climb which is to the right of the NW Couloir and parallels the Hamilton-Berry Rib.
6) West Face (Grade 4)
-- Another classic climb on good rock (crux 16), starting on the right side of the face.,
7) From Engineer Col (Grade 2)
-- Straightforward , but with high objective danger before the col due to avalanches from Mount Tasman. This route is part of the traverse from Mount Lendenfeld to access the North Shoulder of Mount Tasman.
The base for all climbing routes on Mount Lendenfeld is the Pioneer Hut (2380 m), situated on Pioneer Ridge, between the Albert and Explorer Glaciers. This hut can be reached from Mount Cook Village by ski plane or helicopter, but the best approach is from the township of Fox Glacier, located on the West Coast. While it is possible to walk to the hut from Fox Glacier Road via Chancellor Hut, this is an arduous trip of 10-13 hours over a highly broken and complex glacier. As of January 2005, the route is considered highly dangerous due to dramatic changes in the lower glacier and is not recommended even for descent. Instead, the Pioneer Hut can be reached by helicopter by arranging transport with any of several tour agencies operating in Fox Glacier. A 3-seat machine can be hired for $380 each way or a 6-seat machine for $500. The helicopter lands about 50m from the hut.
To access climbing routes on Mount Lendenfeld, head due south from the hut towards Mount Humdinger (not named on the map, but indicated as Point 2796). This route prevents losing any altitude and avoids the most heavily cravassed area of the Albert Glacier. Before reaching Mount Humdinger, turn west to past below the rocky buttress of Mount Haast and reach the prominent icefall between Haast and Lendenfeld. For parties headed towards Marcel Col, it is sometime possible to find a route past the icefall by heading up steep snow slopes close to the rocky toe of Mount Haast (known as Haast Corner). The recommended route for reaching Marcel Col and all other routes, however, continues west below the icefall in the direction of the Heemskirk Glacier and then heads up easy slopes towards the rocky northern flank of Mount Lendenfeld. Upon reaching the base of the Northwest Couloir, steeper snow slopes (2-3 pitches, 55 degrees) lead up and left along the rocks, giving access to low-angled slopes below Marcel Col.
There are no permits required for climbing in the area around the Pioneet Hut.
When To Climb
Routes on Mount Lendenfeld are possible in any season, but most ascents are made during the summer season, from mid-November through February.
Pioneer Hut is always open, but there is no warden and there are no restrictions on the number of people permitted in the hut at a given time. It is best to inquire as to the number of parties already in the hut, or go prepared to camp or tolerate cramped conditions. The fee is $15 per night for Alpine Club Member or $30 for non-members. A day-use fee of $7 is charged for individuals camped in the vicinity of the hut to cover the use of toilet and cooking facilities.
Climbing conditions may sometimes be available from guides based in Fox Glacier. They can be reached at Alpine Guides Fox Glacier
Weather forecasts are available for the Mount Cook and Westland areas from the Department of Conservation