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Arthur’s Pass, 6th edition

12 May 2010

A guide for mountaineers

Published by the New Zealand Alpine Club

Arthur's Pass guidebook, 4th edition (Left) and 6th edition (Right)

The current edition of the Arthur’s Pass guidebook follows five previous publications: 1985, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2000 – all by Graeme Kates.

Graeme’s knowledge of the Arthur’s Pass mountains is impressive. In the preface to the 4th edition he stated that, of 150 routes described in the guidebook, he had climbed ‘about 133’. This means that nearly every route described has been verified in person by the author. The result is a guidebook that is both highly consistent and reliable.

The Arthur’s Pass guidebook was born entirely from Graeme Kates’ initiative, and was not an Alpine Club publication to start with. For several years it was published on the internet. Paper copies were available and were reprinted annually – which explains the high frequency of ‘new editions’. The 6th edition was the first one to be published by the New Zealand Alpine Club; asides from the look (improved!), the guidebook retains its original character. Routes are rated according to the Mt Cook grading system, and recommended climbs are also indicated.

I am disappointed that the guidebook is no longer available online. I strongly believe that the web is where guidebooks belong nowadays. Any mistakes can be easily corrected, and prompt updates can be typed as required. A paper guidebook is ‘out of date’ on the very first day after publication.

A web update to this guidebook is available


Kates, G. (2004) Arthur’s Pass – A guide for mountaineers. 6th Edition. Published by the New Zealand Alpine Club. 120 pages.

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