Rhino Peak S route

Page Type Page Type: Route
Additional Information Route Type: Trad Climbing
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: F1****
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 6
Sign the Climber's Log


Aspect: Southeast, sunny

Best time: Any time of year, but the approach scramble below the first pitch can be wet and slippery in summer.

This is a great line up the Rhino and is only spoilt slightly due to the first two pitches being grassy and scrappy. It gets its name from the S shape the ridge takes coming down from the summit. The route is generally easy but be warned that a retreat off the ridge could be serious due to a lack of good natural abseil points. The S shape is best seen in the early morning from the Pillar Cave area.

Getting There

Starting at Pillar Cave Annex, walk upstream for 200m on the path to where it crosses the river. Then walk up the riverbed for 200m. From there turn right up the grass slopes heading for the Rhino. The huge south face of the peak is seen with the S route ridge to the left. At the bottom of the south face is a dark, broad band of rock in a drainage, which is often wet and is located right below the south face. Continue up till the dark band of rock is reached and pass it on its right and then turn left and walk over above it. Cross an eroded trench then traverse another 50m left. You are now at the bottom of the ridge that forms the "S". Scramble through a small broken rock band, which can be tricky, especially if wet or icy, and a rope may be needed.Walk up the steep grassy crest of the broad ridge for 130m, and then climb through another small rock band. This then brings you to the bottom of a small broken buttress of rock and grass and the first pitch starts in a bay on the right-hand side of it. (1.5 hrs from Pillar Cave annex).

Route Description

1. 45m (E3). From the recess on the right of the ridge, climb up and left and then straight up to a short open book at halfway. Pull through this awkwardly then finish heading up slightly right then left to the top of the buttress. At the top of this pitch, walk about 50m to the next buttress.

2. 45 m (F1). This pitch is climbed by starting just right of a slightly overhanging 5m crack with good positive holds. Climb up 5m then make an awkward move up left through notch to easy ground above. Then climb straight up the easy rock and grass above to the top of the buttress. Walk up the ridge to a small easy angled buttress.

3. 50m (C). Start in the middle of the ridge and climb to a short steep section where one moves to the left side and continue straight up over scrappy rock/grass to level ground and the start of a very narrow section of ridge.

4. 30m (D). The knife-edge ridge. This pitch starts by getting on top of a one metre high bollard of rock then onto the narrow ridge. Move along it and pass a block on it’s left side then up to a huge block at the highest point on the ridge. Good belays at the stance.

5. 50m (C). Scramble down on the left of the large block and walk along the easy ridge to where the "S" ridge butts onto the main mountain of the Rhino.

6.  20m (F1). Slightly left of where the ridge joins the main mountain, an old peg, at shoulder height can be found. Climb slightly right up the broken face to a small tongue of grass between two pieces of rock at 10m and a very welcome piton. Pull up onto a little platform above the grassy tongue (crux).  Move right 2m on good rock then up 2m, then back left 3m to belay below an overhanging, mushroom shaped rock.

From here one can just scramble up to the right and through 2 rock bands then left to gain the Rhino summit ridge and turn right to the top.

There is an easy C grade scramble variation instead of the final crux pitch, however the crux is worth doing. At the end of pitch 5
where the ridge abuts to the main mountain, turn left and walk 35m along a sloping grass shelf. Then turn up and follow a gully back upto the right to the mushroom shaped rock. Then follow the preceding description to the summit.

Descent is via Mashai Pass- 2 hrs to reach Pillar Cave annex.

Essential Gear

2 x 50m half ropes. Standard Berg rack

External Links



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