full trip report
Didnt take the chairlift, but ended up having quite a few people follow us up to the shelter where we carefully crossed the glacier with the beautiful steaming lake, nobody followed. Quite a hairy traverse with the sometimes loose volcanic rock. 2 class 4 sections at the time, though this volcanoe might change. It would be much more difficult with more snow though I think.
Two trips so far. First in December 2013, hiked up to the dome lookout in the crater, starting from Iwikau Village on the north side via Knoll Ridge. No chair lift going at the time so added an extra couple of hours. Awesome views at the top as weather only a little cloudy. Second trip in Oct 2015 from Turoa, heading up Tahurangi via Skyline Ridge. Ice aplenty, not too hard, not too soft. Super clear skies though the heavy windchill on top made for a short stay. Plenty more adventures to be had up top.
2012 - w/ Xenja Poljakowa, from Whakapapa Ski Area. Simply amazing and equally as memorable as the Tongariro Crossing, with far less people. The steaming crater lake and glacier calving into it were amazing.
6 hours round trip to the true summit from the Whakapapa Ski Area Parking lot. Loads of people rode the chairlift and hiked to the rim and on to the shelter overlooking the lake but only 2 other people made it beyond the shelter. When I hit the glacier I trended up and to the right going wide around the lake to hit the ridge. I followed the exposed ridge for several hundred meters over a lower summit finally to the highpoint. Then I downclimbed the face and cut straight across the glacier on the way back.
"Crampons aren't strictly necessary. Just put one foot in front of the other, try not to fall and Bob's your uncle!"
Notes: The crater lake is gorgeous and there are even a few crevasses. I felt a bit noxious from the volcanic fumes while crossing the dry crater just before the lake. The final summit block is a great finish to the climb, very steep but very solid volcanic formation.
Three of us climbed this from the Ski area parking lot. It took about 2.5 hours and the views were spectacular with views of surrounding mountains, glaicers, alpine lake with a waterfall, and the path of the recent lahar. There was a cold wind, but it was sunny until about 3pm, when it started to rain and sleet. This peak is well worth the effort.
climbed it not long before it erupted. There was essentially no view from the crater rim and I was never sure if I reached the absolute summit.
Perfect visibility, hard ice and gusty winds.