/ Tongariro alpine crossing
I've done it in winter before (Early June). You can hire crampons (although bizarrely they don't do ice axes) easily around the start. I can't remember the name but I was at a youth hostel with a climbing wall that hired the crampons and gave us lifts at both ends. It's lovely in the snow, although you miss out on the famous colours a bit. It's a long walk, but there's absolutely no technical difficulty.
Did you know that Tongarriro was erupting in 2012? Might be best to check the situation before you set your heart on the crossing.
i did the crossing in winter and didn't use an axe or any crampons, it was fine. Some crampons might be useful if you can get them but not essential.
I went in August and was told "the mountain is shut" you can't go up today. In the end I paid for a guide because it was cheaper than hiring all the kit that I didn't have and I got to meet some interesting people, got transport included etc...
When I did it it was full on white out / blizzard for a lot of it and crampons were essential (not ice axe) It cleared for about 20 minutes whilst we were on top and I sat on a hot rock eating my sarnies.
we did it as children and had to cut stepsheading up toward Ngaruahoe, so crampon's will be needed and a walking axe. We stayed overnight on the traill and went from the village to Mangatepopo hut then over to Ketatahi hut which had hot pools( these may have been closed I think)
In April it was all dry so you could get any conditions
I live very close to Tongariro - you can borrow an ice axe from me if you need to - and make sure you return it!
May is the beginning of winter - you will likely be happy to have both an ice axe and crampons. It is a rather long, un-sheltered walk with a reputation for shitty weather. I've done it in summer (running- won't do that again) and have skied Ngarahoe in winter(the Mt.Fuji-looking peak that you walk by) several times (which requires walking about half of the tongariro crossing before walking up Ngarahoe). Conditions can vary from absolutely miserable to rather mundane.
Right now, the 7km road from the highway to the trailhead is closed to private vehicles - you have to get on a expensive bus to be shuttled. Who knows if it'll open back up before you arrive.
Minimum kit - good walking boots with crampons to fit, warm and waterproof clothing.
send me an email at graham dot b dot johnson at hotmail. if you want more info/an ice axe/a place to crash for a few nights. I live in taumaranui - about an hour from the start of the crossing.
Nothing significant to add to the discussion, but you did ask who had been there.
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