What is the 100 Great Peaks Challenge?

In December 2015, I set myself a challenge that I knew would take years to complete. This challenge is the 100 great peaks challenge. It is essentially a list of 100 mountains created by the New Zealand Alpine club (NZAC) back in 1991. The list was made by the club as a way of celebrating the 100th anniversary of the NZAC.

The centennial celebration was a big deal for the club and many activities and events were arranged including a trip to climb Mt Clarke in old mountaineering attire. In addition to making the 100 Great peaks list, a list of 100 classic crag climbs was created. The club encouraged members to climb as many of these peaks or routes as they could during the centenary year. A list of who climbed what was to be printed in the club bulletin at the end of the year.

Beyond the centenary year, the '100 classic crag climbs' never became a popular challenge. This is probably because so many new routes go up each year that what is ‘classic’ often changes. However, mountaineering is different and the 100 great peaks has many popular and classic mountains on the list. It therefore remains a challenge that still has people chasing it today.

This is a long term challenge but one which I am enjoying. I love being in the alpine environment and this challenge has motivated me to improve my mountaineering skills to tackle some of the more technically demanding peaks on the list.

I created this website as a way of logging and sharing my progress along this journey. My hope is that it motivates anyone who is interested in the mountains to get and climb.

Are all the peaks in New Zealand?

Yes. The 100 peaks challenge is a New Zealand mountaineering challenge. 

​How were the Mountains chosen to be on the list?

A quote from the New Zealand Alpine Club's 1990 bulletin.

"We want to capture the imagination of NZAC members. Selection of the 100 peaks has aimed to provide a wide spread of peaks both geographically and in difficulty so that there is a challenge for every club member".

Additionally, many of the peaks on the list are popular mountaineering peaks. Kiwi mountaineers will be familiar with many of the peaks on the list.

Are there specific routes which you must take?

No. This challenge only requires that I summit the peak. I do not plan to climb each peak by the easiest route as I want to challenge myself. However, on some of the peaks such as Mt Hicks, every route is technically demanding. I am therefore building my skills to be able to climb some of these peaks.

Is there a time limit on the challenge?

No. I have previously completed a 52 peaks challenge in which I summited 52 peaks over 1000m in 52 weeks. However, the 100 great peaks challenge is a long term challenge without time constraints.​

Is there an official list of peaks for the 100 Peaks Challenge?

Yes. The list was created by the New Zealand Alpine club during the centenary year and to complete the challenge I will need to summit every peak on this list. I have ticked every peak I have summited on that list. See the list below.

How many peaks have you climbed so far?

So far I have successfully climbed 37 of the 100 peaks. I update this site regularly as well as my Facebook page. 

Do you climb mountains that are not on the list?

Yes. I am an active rock climber and mountaineer. I want to climb all the peaks on the list, however, there are many other mountains and routes I want to climb that are not on this list. Climbing other mountains also serves as great training for some of the more technically demanding peaks on the list.


Descriptions from the September/October 1990 bulletin

I have ticked (✔) every peak that I have successfully summited 

North Island


Raukumara Range – 1 Peak

  • Hikurangi (1752m) First point to see the sun in this hemisphere    ✔


Tongariro - 2 Peaks

  • Mt Ngauruhoe (2287m) Classic volcano cone and scree run. J.C. Bidwill, 1839    ✔

  • Tahurangi (highest point of Mt Ruapehu) (2787m) Climb out biggest volcano for something different


Taranaki – 1 Peak

  • Mt Taranaki (2518m) NZ’s most dangerous mountain? It’s certainly claimed the most lives    ✔


Tararuas – 1 Peak

  • Mt Hector (1529m) Check out the Wellington hills, try your navigation skills in the Tararuas

South Island


Travers Range and Spencer Mountains – 5 Peaks


  • Mt Hopeless (2278m) Can’t be as difficult as the name suggests    ✔

  • Mt Travers (2338m) Tackle this peak from the appropriately named Summit Creek    ✔

  • Mt Franklin (2340m) The dominant and highest peak of the Nelson Lakes peaks

  • Mt Paske (2216m) A quick scamper up the Rainbow River and Paske Creek to Paske Hut    ✔

  • Faerie Queene (2236m) An accessible Spencer mountain climb    ✔


Branch River – 1 Peak


  • ​Scotts Knob (2160m) Don’t miss the chance to climb when you are in Marlborough    ✔


Inland Kaikouras – 2 Peaks


  • Tapuae-o-Uenuku (2885m) Follow the rainbow to Sir Edmund Hillary’s first 9000 foot mountain    ✔

  • Mt Alarm (2877m) The south face is a mean proposition in winter. Amazing gully systems    ✔


Seaward Kaikouras – 2 Peaks


  • Manakau (2608m) Definitely some Mana to be gained here. A Wellington section speciality?    ✔

  • Tea ao Whekere (2590m) No octopus here, but watch for the cloud    ✔


Arthur’s Pass – 5 Peaks


  • Mt Franklin (2145m) A great viewpoint to watch the loonies run the coast to coast    ✔

  • Mt Rolleston (2275m) A very popular peak. Join the centennial ascent, December 26, 1991    ✔

  • Phipps Peak (1965m) A variety of routs for all seasons, including some good rock    ✔

  • Mt Murchison (2408m) Venture up the Waimakariri River to the highest point in the park    ✔

  • Avalanche Peak (1833m) A good first peak in winter conditions or a pleasant walk in summer    ✔


Rakaia Headwaters – 3 Peaks


  • Mt Whitcombe (2650m) A long way from the east side, or try it from the Whanganui River

  • Mt Evans (2620m) Eluded John Pascoe for years, can you crack it?

  • Malcolm Peak (2512m) Distinctive peak, widely visible. Ask John Nankervis about this one


Arrowsmiths – 3 Peaks


  • Mt Arrowsmith (2781m) A big brute with routes on all sides, but easiest from the Lawerence    ✔

  • Jagged Peak (2706m) As the name suggests, sharp stuff    ✔

  • North Peak (2628m) An excellent climb from the Lawrence valley


Rangitata Headwaters – 2 Peaks


  • The Warrior (2580m) The highest peak in the Armory range

  • Mt Tyndall (2517m) See the bulletin May 1990 on access to the Garden of Eden


Godley – 5 Peaks


  • Mt D’Archaic (2875m) View this peak from the plains. Ask some advice on how to approach it

  • Mt Sibbald (2811m) A winter ski ascent is worth considering

  • The Thumbs (2546m) Check its impressive appearance from the highway at Ashburton    ✔

  • Mt Loughnan (2590m) Very few ascents of this peak yet. Quite a challenge

  • Brodrick Peak (2669m) An aesthetic peak with great all round views from the summit

Liebig Range – 2 Peaks


  • Mt Tamaki (2444m) Avoid the crowds, stroll up the Murchison to the meadows at Liebig Hut

  • The Nuns Veil (2749m) A fast day trip with stunning views of Cook, Tasman and everything else


Malte Burn Range – 3 Peaks


  • Mt Hamilton (3025m) By the graceful arête on the Murchison side?

  • Malte Burn (3199m) Many types of routs to choose from, in all conditions    ✔

  • Mt Chudleigh (2966m) A traverse of all three peaks would be challenging, or try the east face


Upper Tasman – 5 Peaks


  • Mt Elie de Beaumont (3109m) How about a traverse from the West Coast

  • Hochstetter Dome (2827m) Start your Tasman ski run from here

  • Mt Green (2837m) Interesting ice climbs here in winter or rock in summer

  • Minarets (3040m) Add both on your list of 3000 meter peaks

  • Mt Haidinger (3070m) Seldom climbed from the east. Has been skied off on the west


Lower Tasman – 6 Peaks


  • Mt Haast (3114m) A traverse of the three peaks has to be a challenge

  • Mt Tasman (3497m) Superb ice mountain and finest viewpoint in the country!

  • Aoraki/Mt Cook (3724m) To the top of New Zealand. A must at least once in your climbing career    ✔

  • ANZAC Peaks (2528m) Samuel Turner soloed the mountain via the gully route in 1917

  • Nazomi (2925m) Some superb rock here

  • Pibrac (2514m) Check out the south ridge and Caroline Face of Cook while you are there    ✔


Hawea Region – 2 Peaks


  • Mt Brewster (2516m) A very popular peak in the Haast region. Ice on the face in winter    ✔

  • Mt Barth (2456m) Rapid access from the Ahuriri Valley and Canyon Creek

Aspiring Region – 7 Peaks


  • Mt Alba (2360m) A neglected mountain with some tremendous routes. Fly into the Siberia?

  • Mt Pollux (2536m) Jetboat up the Wilkin to this classically named peak

  • Stargazer (2352m) With a name like this you will have to climb it

  • Mt Aspiring/Tititea (3033m) A stunning mountain from all angles. There are alternatives to the ramp    ✔

  • Dragonfly Peak (2165m) Away from the hordes and super views onto the east face of popes nose    ✔

  • Mt Maori (2535m) Recieves few ascents and only recently climbed from the south fac

  • Mt Ionia (2266m) A long way away – enticing when viewed from Aspirin

Olivines – 2 peaks


  • Climax Peak (2446m) Even further away than Ionia on the remote Olivine Ice Pleatau

  • Somnus (2293m) Much more accessible and the tallest of the Humboldt mountains

Forbes Range – 3 Peaks


  • Mt Earnslaw West Peak (2820m) First climbed by the major gully on the northern side

  • Sir William Peak (2610m) Could be some ice routes round here in winter conditions

  • Mt Clarke (2285m) Climb it in period attire during the Rees climbing camp, January 1991    ✔

Remarkables - 1 Peak


  • Triple Cone (AKA Single & Double Cone) An easy scramble from the ski field in summer. First ascent 21/02/1891?    ✔

Eyre Mountains – 1 Peak


  • Eyre Peak (1969m) Check out the Mavora Lakes and Eyre Mountains instead of the Darrans    ✔

Darrans – 4 Peaks


  • Mt Christina (2474m) Close to the road but a long way up. See article 1989 NZAJ

  • Sabre peak (2162m) Spectacular fang with great rock routes. Test you technical skill here

  • Mt Talbot (2105m) A good climb to take beginners on. A reasonable view of Milford sound too    ✔

  • Mt Tutoko (2723m) A must in every climber’s career. Dick Price still schemes new lines here.

Fiordland – 4 Peaks


  • Mitre Peak (1683m) It’s one of the most photographed but least climbed peaks in NZ    ✔

  • Mt Pembroke (2015m) Add a bit of spice, approach it by fishing boat from Milford

  • Flat Top Peak (2282m) Last great unclimbed face….

  • Mt Irene (1859m) Deepest Fiordland explorers will tell you about this one

Franz Joseph Glacier – 2 Peaks


  • Mt Spencer (2788m) A ski mountaineering objective from Almer hut. Routes from grade 1 to 4

  • Mt Rudolf (2743m) A Hamish MacInnes route on the west but unclimbed from the Tasman

Fox Glacier – 4 Peaks

  • Mt Barnicoat (2800m) No record of ascent from the Franz neve but crux grade 17 from the Fox

  • Torres Peak (3160m) Ask club president Geoff Gabites about routes on Torres

  • Lendenfield Peak (3194m) A good objective from Pioneer Hut. Plenty of choice of routes

  • Douglas Peak (3077m) A must if you are at Pioneer. Back up all abseils

La Perouse Glacier – 3 Peaks


  • Mt Vancouver (3309m) Several routes on the west. Watch for rock fall on the east side

  • Mt Magellan (3049m) Spot the routes on this mountain by two former club presidents 

  • Drake (2960m) Scene of the hardest rock routes (?) completed thus far in the Alps

Hooker/Strauchon Glacier – 4 Peaks


  • Mt Hicks (3198m) A top playground on both north and south faces

  • La Perouse (3078m) Think about your routes on and off this peak

  • Unicorn (2557m) Outstanding quality alpine rock routes

  • Lean Peak (2360m) First ascent in 1912 by Freda du Faur and Peter Graham   ✔

Mueller Glacier – 5 Peaks


  • The Footstool (2764m) An enjoyable climb for an intermediate. Wear a hardhat

  • Mt Sefton (3151m) Ultimate viewpoint into the Tavern bar

  • Mt Burns (2746m) Interesting mountain. Accessible by ski plane to the head of the Muller

  • Mt Annette (2235m) Celebrate the first ascent by A.P. Harper and P.H. Johnson, January 1891    ✔

  • Mt Sealy (2627m) Popular both in summer and winter. Excellent views north and south    ✔

Ohau Region – 6 Peaks

  • Mt Hopkins (2678m) Dominating presence at the head of the valley. Some unclimbed ridges too!

  • Mt Percy Smith (2465m) Impressive. Has there been a second ascent or any from the west?

  • Mt Ward (2645m) Rock or ice, summer or winter, ridge or face: take your choice

  • Dasler Pinnacles (2315m) Finest viewpoint in the valley. Running shoe ascents in summer    ✔

  • Rabbiters Peak (2285m) Highest peak in the attractive North Temple Valley    ✔

  • Mauka Atua (called Peak 8320) (2557m) ‘Stand apart’ and take a fast day trip to the top of the Ben Ohau Range    ✔

Landsborough – 3 Peaks

  • Feetes Peak (2451m) Visible from as far away as Malte, a must for any landsborough trip

  • Mt Dechen (2643m) New Zealand’s only ice cap glacier. Ski off this one

  • Mt Hooker (2640m) Impressive West Coast massif. Cruisy from Mark’s Flat