The highest mountain in Otago, some 30 miles from the west coast, Mt. Aspiring is an impressive peak strongly resembling the Matterhorn in shape. It rises abruptly from ice fields of the Bonar, Volta, Therma, and Iso Glaciers, with two steep ice and rock ridges rising from the south-west and north-west, and a longer ridge (the Coxcomb Ridge) rising from the east to a summit 9,957 ft above sea level. The peak can be climbed only by properly equipped mountaineering parties, has two high-altitude mountain huts nearby (French Ridge and Colin Todd Memorial) and is most commonly reached from the west branch of the Matukituki Valley. It was first climbed on 23 November 1909 by Major Bernard Head and guides Jack Clarke and Alex Graham.
The name of the mountain was given by the surveyor-explorer, John Turnbull Thomson. It in turn has given its name to the newly formed Mount Aspiring National Park.
by Bryce Leslie Wood, M.SC., New Zealand Geological Survey, Dunedin.