At first, I wasn't sure if we'd get to climb Taranaki, due to the clouds covering the mountain. But when we woke up in the morning, the summit was clear, so we decided to give it a try.
First the track takes you up a steep road to an alpine club hut. Then it climbs through a little gorge to a series of stairs. From the stairs, you drop out onto the scoria slopes (steep slopes covered in gravel and sand). Last, you climb a steep, old lava flow nicknamed "The Lizard" in a long scramble to the top. At the top, you cross an ice- and snow-covered crater to get to the true summit. Except we didn't stand on the true summit, as it has religious significance for the Maori.
After getting my butt handed to me by Ruapeho, I was so happy that this day went well. The climb is steep and strenuous, but it's definitely "do-able" by mere mortals, like myself. The hike rises 1.6 km--one vertical mile--in about 5 km (~3 miles). I've now climbed the three major peaks on the North Island in the span of five days.
Here are the rest of the pictures from the day: