Winter conditions on Mount Taranaki
Image: Tim Weston | ©
6.3 km one way return via same track
Parking at North Egmont road end is limited during summer. We suggest you arrange a shuttle or start from the Stratford Plateau car park.
You need special skills and preparation to climb Mt Taranaki from May to November. There are increased risks from snow, ice, avalanche terrain, bad weather and sub-zero temperatures.
Track standard: Route
Track surface: Track is covered in snow and very icy in sections. Track is not marked.
Suitable for: People with mountaineering skills, equipment and experience. You must:
Allow 9 hours to complete the climb. There are between 9 and 11 hours of daylight in winter, so leave early enough to complete the trip before it gets dark. Always take a head torch.
Be prepared to turn back if conditions are no longer safe or if your progress is too slow.
On a fine day, the summit of Mt Taranaki can be at least 20°C colder than New Plymouth and 10° colder than the start of the track – subtract another 2°C for every 10 km/h of wind: eg, when it’s 15°C (50°F) in New Plymouth, a fine day at the summit will be about -5°C.
Conditions can change quickly. Layer your clothes to trap warm air in and keep cold wind out. Start with a base layer of polypropylene/merino, add an insulation layer of fleece/wool and finish with a waterproof shell layer.
Expect ice on the track between April and November. A helmet, crampons and ice axe are essential, as is competency using them. The main cause of death on Mount Taranaki is slipping on ice.
Avalanches are a hazard. Know the avalanche forecast. Take an avalanche transceiver, avalanche probe and snow shovel, and be competent using them.
Note, there is nowhere in Taranaki to hire alpine equipment - bring your own or hired alpine equipment.
Talk with someone at the Egmont National Park Visitor Centre who knows the current conditions.
Check the latest:
Know the route.
Know your limits. Have a memorable and safe experience with DOC-approved mountain guides.
Mt Taranaki in winter
Image: Tim Weston ©
Mt Taranaki in winter
Image: Tim Weston ©
Rising above the clouds, the 2518 m summit of this dormant volcano is a challenging 1.6 km vertical climb to the peak.
For non mountaineers, the best time to climb the mountain is during January to April when the mountain is often clear of snow and ice, other than in the crater.
Time: 1 hr 30 min - 2 hr
Distance: 4 km
From Taranaki / Egmont National Park Visitor Centre the Summit Track follows the boardwalk up to a locked gate. Cross the stile and continue up the gravel Translator Road (walking access only) to the privately owned Tahurangi Lodge. Sections of this track are very steep.
There is a public toilet 100 m below the lodge and a small day shelter room at the lodge.
Time: 3 - 4 hr
Distance: 2.3 km
The track passes in front of Tahurangi Lodge and continues upwards via the poled route through the rock-covered Hongi Valley. A series of steps leads out of the valley onto steep scoria (gravel) slopes. Be aware of rockfall through this area.
Continue uphill to the Lizard (2134m), a prominent rocky ridge which leads you to the crater’s summer entrance. A narrow rocky ledge leads down into the crater. It has a steep drop-off and can be icy at any time year - extreme caution required.
The route then crosses the crater ice to the final short climb up to the summit rock. There is ice in the crater all year round - crampons and/or an ice axe may be required to cross the crater at any time.
Respect the mountain: Do not stand directly on the summit peak, and do not camp, cook, toilet or litter in the summit area. Mounga Taranaki is a mauri, or life force and a spiritual tupuna or ancestor for Taranaki Māori.
Snow in the crater on Mt Taranaki
The track starts in North Egmont. From New Plymouth, follow SH3 for 13 km to Egmont Village. Turn onto Egmont Road and follow this up the mountain to North Egmont.
Transport to the start of the track can be arranged through several local transport providers. Contact Taranaki / Egmont National Park Visitor Centre. No scheduled transport service exists.
During summer we suggest arranging to be dropped off by a shuttle at North Egmont road end or starting the trail from the Stratford Plateau car park on Pembroke Road, Stratford. From there follow signs across the ski field toward Tahurangi Lodge to join the Summit Track.
Descending Mt Taranaki