Trip Date: September 1, 2016
Trip time: 8 hours
Distance: 32 kms
Elevation Gain: 1,950m
Route: Kane South Ridge
Difficulty: Climbers scramble (short sections requiring basic climbing moves)
Staring up at the imposing summit block of Mount Northover from the bottom of the south ridge on approach will test your nerve…especially if you’re soloing the route for the first time. Other trip reports online replete with horror stories of the exposure only make matters worse.
Thankfully the route on Mount Northover is one of the best you’ll find in the Kane book in terms of quality of rock and excellence of holds. There really is only one route, and that is to stick to the ridge top like glue until the summit block. The exposure is severe and gut wrenching in places and the ridge knife edges at a steep incline in one spot for about 4-5m…and it makes Lady Mac seem like a picnic. It looked tempting to attempt a bypass but steeling yourself and dealing with the exposure on the solid ridge crest is a far safer and better option in my opinion.
Where the ridge terminates at the summit block is one of the most intimidating spots I’ve ever encountered on a Kane scramble. As you get closer to the summit block the route is super obvious however, and the ‘friction move’ that everyone talks about is really just a basic climbing move that any climber will have already made hundreds of times. The holds are amazing at this point and anyone with experience will actually enjoy it. For this reason I would personally say that the crux was further down the ridge at the aforementioned steep knife edge section, but that’s just my opinion.