Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. Aspiring as my favorite New Zealand mountain. Flights into the mountains are not included in the trip price. But you still want to explore the wilderness regions that spread out below the peak that is Aoraki/Mt Cook? The content on this page was created by The Cool Climber - Tasman Glacier Ice Climbing Mount Cook This website helps visitors connect with providers of great New Zealand tourism experiences. “There is no easy way up. It’s almost like climbing Mt Aspiring and then having to do 500 m or so of harder climbing. The volatility of the weather and landscape is evident in literally earth-shattering events, such as in 1991 when the entire top of the east face of Mt Cook collapsed containing 10 million cubic metres of snow, ice and rock, turning the summit into an exposed ice ridge, and chipping more than 10m from its official height. “Aside from climbing Aoraki/Mt Cook, there are a variety of attractions for the adventurous traveller – ski touring and ice climbing in winter, rock climbing and trekking in the summer,” says Newton. The mountain is located within Mount Cook National Park on the west coast of the South Island and belongs to the World's Heritage of Unesco owing to its stunning alpine landscapes. Day 3 Weather or Summit. While shifting earth represents one danger, the shiftable weather remains ever threatening, too. Rising temperatures, shrinking glaciers, wildfires and droughts are now the biggest danger to Earth’s natural heritage sites including the Great Barrier Reef. Try a multiday alpine route by taking in the two-day Ball Pass Crossing, which traverses the Mt Cook Range between the Hooker and Tasman Valleys. Climbing Mount Cook is a serious undertaking. Summit day is usually between 14-18 hours. It lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island.A popular tourist destination, it is also a favourite challenge for mountain climbers.Aoraki / Mount Cook … At 1800m (nearly half as high as Aoraki/Mt Cook’s summit), Mueller Hut provides a 360-degree panorama encompassing glaciers, ice cliffs, vertical rock faces and New Zealand’s highest peaks, and is accessed via a 5.2km trail passing through alpine scrub, herb fields and scree slopes over a 1000m vertical ascent. Europeans first struck out to reach the summit, visiting Irishman William Green and Swiss mountaineers Emil Boss and Ulrich Kaufman making it to within 50m as early as 1882. Then we have to get across the Linda Shelf which can have anything from soft snow to blue ice and is up 40o in places. Distance ranges from 18-32km and the trails are located north of Lake Tekapo. You need to be strong and fit, quick enough and in good enough condition to get through the first three stages in good time. One free weather contingency day is included for the 5 day trip and 2 days for the 7 day walk in and out trip. I try to do some warm-up climbing, for example on the Glacier Dome. You will also require crampons and an ice ax. We set out anywhere between 11 pm and 2 am while things freeze. I offer a longer weather window for the ascent by offering up to two weather contingency days free of charge. Get great photography, travel tips and exclusive deals delivered to your inbox. Day 1 Meet in Wanaka, do equipment checks then travel to Mt Cook NP. This, despite it being less than half the height of the bigger, more famous peaks scattered across the Himalaya. Your Ice Climbing party will picked up from the glacier by Mount Cook Ski Planes and Helicopters for another captivating scenic flight and your safe return to the Mount Cook Airport. “Bill was one of the major first ascentionists at Cook,” says Thurlow who himself has climbed the peak “12 or so times.”, “When you look at the South Face from the village, it’s hard to believe that anyone could climb it, but Bill put up the first route straight up the face, solo, a long time before anyone else was climbing anything like that. Kea Point Hike. “In terms of the physical effort and technical skills required to summit, Mt Cook is extremely challenging – it’s quite a feather in your cap if you can climb in the kind of environment it presents,” says Thurlow. See www.avalanche.net.nz. Alpine Guides Mount Cook run a 5 Day winter 'Ice Climbing Experience' (ICE… We will also check whether your experience and fitness level are suitable for the objective and, if not, may be able to suggest other exciting alternatives. The Godley and Macaulay valley tracks are multi-use, meaning walkers, mountain bikers or horseriders can all explore. All mountain food is provided on your trip. A lot of people have never really seen that sort of big glacial view before. Stay at Unwin lodge. Trips cost NZ$5050. It’s definitely not a first summit. Weather forecast, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. A dump of fresh snow can be a problem. We guide Aoraki Mount Cook all year as conditions allow. It is this concentration of climbing targets that drew the world’s most famous mountaineer, Sir Edmund Hillary. See ‘personal gear requirements’ for the gear you need to have. PLUS receive a gift. More recently, Gardiner Hut – oft used on summit attempts – was almost swallowed by a rock fall off the South Ridge. Snow and ice, mixed, and alpine rock peaks to test your mettle. Here’s a top list of tramps from short to multiday, but all achievable by non-mountaineering adventurers: There are numerous short walks from 10 minute to four hour-long rambles that emanate from the Aoraki/Mt Cook Village, exploring the surrounding native alpine bush. Here are four of our favourites. Usually, there … The Grand Plateau is a lovely spot with many climbing options on a number of 3000+m peaks, and the climbing … The ice conditions were bad too with broken icefall / wide slots, but the weather was beaut! After that there’s some steep climbing up to the summit rocks, usually 6 to 8 belayed pitches. But 1700 m vertical is a big summit day anywhere in the world. Sefton ties Mt. A thrilling scenic helicopter flight takes you up the Tasman Valley to the best ice climbing … These can be rented in the park from Alpine Guides for $25 NZD. I’m 60-years old now and it’s all the fault of the Mt Cook National Park and what I saw of it from Mt Dixon.”. Ancient deep sea monsters called radiodonts had incredible vision that likely drove an evolutionary arms race. The summit icecap is at 3500 m so it’s hard going and there’s no way really to acclimatise well for that. Will try again in late spring. Cook Rock Climbing. Price: $5500 Season: Oct – Apr Technical difficulty: hard Fitness level: high to very high Duration: 6 days Guiding: 1:1. Experience climbing snow and ice with two ice tools to 50′, easy mixed climbing, belayed climbing and rappelling, glacier travel experience. Not looking to make a summit attempt? “The Aoraki/Mt Cook area is the historical heartland of mountaineering in NZ,” says Sam Newton, General Manager of the New Zealand Alpine Club. Difficulty: Easy. In November and December we can expect more snow cover on the routes, and as temperatures warm up into the summer months of January and February, we traditionally experience more settled weather and mixed climbing conditions (snow, ice … A mecca for hikers and climbers, it’s one of the most popular tourist spots in New Zealand. Where possible I like to eat my own home-grown organic vegetables as well as healthy, quality local products. In some years the conditions allow ascents at anytime during the summer months, not just the typically window of Nov to early Jan. We usually use Unwin Hut and Plateau Hut. If it’s cooler we can leave later. Stamina to climb or tour for up to 18 hours. It is called the Guardian … It is our pleasure to guide you on a thrilling experience and be part of your alpine adventure in one of the most visually stunning parts of New Zealand. Ice Climbing Courses. Hike a tropical island, dive a natural wonder, ride an epic MTB trail network or paddle a unique marine trail. Mt. Mt Cook glacier hiking and ice climbing directory. Mt Tasman (3497m) lies within both Aoraki/ Mt Cook National Park and Westland /Tai Poutini National Park, sitting just north of Aoraki/ Mt Cook on the main divide of the Southern Alps. We provide group equipment such as ropes, rack, and cooking equipment. Not a first summit. These are intensive 7-10-day mountaineering courses with comprehensive instruction in all facets of mountaineering and alpine climbing. Hillary summited Cook itself in 1948. Climbing times on Mount Cook depend largely on snow conditions and the crevasse situation of the Linda Glacier. “If you picture what would happen to you if you were not experienced in the bull ring, it’s not a pretty thing. Distance: 2 miles. Emmeline Freda Du Faur (16 September 1882 – 13 September 1935) was an Australian mountaineer, credited as the first woman to climb New Zealand's tallest mountain, Aoraki / Mount Cook.Du Faur … ... can explore the museum and read about how Sir Edmund Hillary used Mount Cook National Park to prepare and train for the Mt Everest summit climb… Assemble build it-yourself friends and learn programming principles through fun gameplay with these great toys and games! Like most of the Mt Cook guides I usually start us off at some ungodly hour in the morning. Vegan, vegetarian, gluten- or lactose-free diets can easily be accommodated at no extra charge. That’s followed by the summit icecap which can be anything from blue ice to soft snow. The stronger the people are, the easier it is to manage that objective hazard, to move quickly through it and minimise the exposure time. Day 6 Return to Wanaka. “Aside from climbing Aoraki/Mt Cook, there are a variety of attractions for the adventurous traveller – ski touring and ice climbing in winter, rock climbing and trekking in the summer,” says Newton. Do not underestimate the difficulty because of the relatively low summit elevation. Who doesn't want a cute robotic friend to help them out and have fun with? and put my alpine climbing … If you’re after something a little further afield, there are two day-long walks that can be undertaken: to Ball Hut in the Tasman Valley or the Sealy Trans Track. See www.aspiringguides.com, Avalanches: All park visitors should consider carefully the class of avalanche terrain they are going into, and check the avalanche-danger advisory prior to undertaking any trip. It’s important to have enough time left to deal with any difficult conditions on the summit icecap and still get back down safely. Little wonder, then, that the mountain sitting head and shoulders above all others on New Zealand’s South Island attracts not only iconic labels, but also iconic alpinists eyeing off her tempestuous crown. Access is via helicopter or walk-in, with walk-out on both options. It requires at least three climbing days – here’s a breakdown of how a typical trip might unfold. Please contact us by email or WhatsApp if you are interested in booking a trip with us. But it was a local Christmas Day triumph when New Zealanders Tom Fyfe, James Clarke and George Graham summited the peak for the first time, via the Hooker Valley, a traverse that was not repeated again for 60 years. Aoraki/Mt Cook's rugged peak stands 3724m tall, looming over Lake Tekapo. To the north-east and south-west all you see is mountains but for all the rest all you see is ocean. Combine that with the weather challenges and you always feel quite privileged to get to the summit. Queensland is the ultimate Choose Your Own Adventure destination. Price: $799.00 … A Decrease font size. Early in the season I use skis for access on the glacier. Warm air sweeps in from Australia and Indonesia to the north, while from the south, cold air pummels into the ranges, the meeting of the two over New Zealand making for unstable weather, no matter the season. Trailhead: White Horse Hill Campsite. Or don your pick axes on an adventure ice climb in Mt Cook. Ice climbing on the glacial seracs in summer. “There are literally dozens of other peaks – both harder and easier than Mount Cook itself – that can be climbed via hundreds of routes.”. Located in the Mount Cook National Park, roughly 10 minutes drive from the scenic Mount Cook village. The Aoraki/Mt Cook Alpine Village is a 105km drive from the Tekapo township. Some of the conditions can be challenging. Your guide will choose one of two routes … “On my first trip to New Zealand I didn’t know too much. Known as a ‘difficult’ mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook has played host to many legendary mountaineers the likes of Denz, each of them adding their own layer of climbing history atop the mountain’s reputation as one of the most dangerous but alluring on the planet. This is quite a dangerous place as the “Gun Barrels” are several hundred meters above you, ready to release an avalanche. Climbing Area Map. Ideally we want to be on the summit at about eight or nine in the morning. Despite the modest altitude compared to many other mountains around the world, Mt Cook is a steep heavily glaciated mountain, technical climb… There are no walk-up or non technical routes up the mountain. Aoraki/Mt dominates this little village. At its upper reaches, Mt Cook is not a playground for enthusiasts without considerable experience under their climbing harness. “Mueller Hut is one of those places that has started a lot of people off on their mountain climbing careers,” says Thurlow. I was 25-years old and I had no business being there at all, truth be told. Same goes for climbing Aoraki.”. It’s a really challenging climb so if you are not fit enough or fast enough you’ll run out of time. The hard climbing is on the top third of the route. Having a track to follow in the dark make life much easier. That’s the first challenge, to get through there safely, to find a safe line through there. We have to get up the Linda Glacier, which is quite broken and threatened by ice cliffs. The fact that it is impossible to visit Mt Cook village without looking at the South Face and being reminded of him makes him hard to beat as Mt Cook’s most iconic climber, even if he wasn’t the first.”. Scientists implore us to rethink the notion of a blackened landscape and embrace the positive qualities of contained fires. The 70,696ha park encompasses 19 peaks soaring more than 3000m. It is an impressive sight from every direction and offers a range of climbing … Despite its relatively modest 3724m peak, Aoraki/Mount Cook isn’t for the faint-hearted. Of course you need good weather and relatively manageable winds, and no fresh snow. While Aoraki/Mt Cook is the jewel in the parklands crown, it is far from the only lure. That’s how Aspiring Guides’ director and experienced mountaineer, Whitney Thurlow, contextualises the notion of attempting to summit New Zealand’s 3724m Aoraki/Mount Cook. A huge day, 1700 m vertical. Sefton. Mt Cook Village is 55km off the Christchurch-Queenstown highway, about three hours north of Queenstown and 3.5 hours south of Christchurch. People often underestimate the difficulty if they come from the Alps, because it’s not a 4000 m peak. Western Australian adventures: Three of the best, South Australian adventures: Four of the best. The summit ice fields are an awkward angle: a bit steep to stand up and walk, but with an angle that’s too low to be “facing in” comfortably. Aoraki Mount Cook National Park offers: Some of NZ's highest peaks (some over 3,000 metres) from NZ Alpine Grade 1 through 3 and beyond. The conditions are mixed. Cook. Ice Climbing on Glentanner Station. It’s so close to the ocean. General information: www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/national-parks/aoraki-mount-cook/, Climbing: Aspiring Guides offers numerous departures via two different routes each year, from October-December, that attempt to summit Aoraki/Mt Cook. “And while it doesn’t have the challenges of a thin atmosphere, it still has all the challenging aspects of significant height gain, steep terrain, crevassed glaciers and fast-moving weather systems.”, “In a word, Aoraki is still big,” says Thurlow. Either fly into the mountain or do activities. The most common way to ascend Aoraki/Mt Cook is via the Linda Glacier. The fact that there are very few or no other climbers on the mountain enhances the experience. Time warp back to Mount Cook Village on a particular day in 1972, and witness from the foothills a fearless matador of the mountaineering kind attacking Aoraki’s flanks, rising to the summit like an angry bull to a raging red rag. More settled weather than the neighbouring West Coast + Mountain … So it’s important to get the right conditions before an attempt to climb Aoraki Mount Cook. Mt Cook glacier hiking and ice climbing adventures offer a unique experience, with levels to suit everyone. There you usually have a fixed line or a big packed track and you know what conditions will be like. In New Zealand you tend not to be acclimatised. Transport from Wanaka to MtCook Village by car included by car. The weather challenge is why it’s such a classic ascent compared to peaks in Europe or America or the Himalayas. I wasn’t experienced enough to do it, but I was lucky enough to make it to the top. That’s where the experience of the Aoraki Mount Cook guides really comes into play. By John Kazanas (All photos courtesy Steve Hunt) After completing a TMC in Dec ’02 with Alpine Guides, spending a week ice climbing at Blue Lake in August and a weekend here and there snow playing in the Vic Alps, it was time to get back to N.Z. You can get long periods of great conditions while at other times it’s really tough. Day 4 Weather or Summit. “As well as having the requisite technical mountaineering skills, climbers need to have a high degree of fitness, self-reliance and the ability to read the weather,” adds Newton. Explore the remnants of the ice age on a glacier hike in Mt Cook. It’s one of the toughest climbs on Earth. Glaciers cover 40 per cent of the region and there are five major valley systems: Godley, Murchison, Tasman, Hooker and Mueller. Endurance as well, we need to be able to cope with a 14 hour day, at least. Aoraki Mount Cook is a demanding climb, a real challenge. Mt Cook is a prized international summit and world class mountaineering objective with many climbers coming from all over the world to attempt the climb. A thrilling scenic helicopter flight takes you up the Tasman Valley to the best ice climbing location. You don’t always get to the top and when you do it’s a pretty special occasion.”. Day 5 Weather or Summit Day and /or Walk/Ski/Fly out. Very few places in the world have as high a vertical drop, or a bigger view, than that.”. Please allow for these in your traveling planning. For example, climbing on dry rock with crampons, or small vertical steps of ice. That’s very unusual, to be on a big glaciated mountain but on an island. Climb 850m steeply up onto Ball Ridge and to Caroline Hut at 1800m, perched right opposite New Zealand's highest ice face, the Caroline Face of Mount Cook. Highlight. It is not … Mount Cook was … It’s right next to where Hillary climbed his first big peak, and arguably that is what set him off on his career.”. Lucas swung his first ice tools in New Hampshire, and further developed his climbing skills on rock and ice in Ouray and the deserts of southeastern Utah. The Aoraki Mount Cook climb is typically a 12 to 16 hour day, although it’s common for parties taking 20 or 24 hours. Climbs take six days, with 1:1 guiding and all technical equipment provided. Climbing Season. “If you’ve never fought a bull before, and you’re going to be thrown in the ring with one, well, asking to climb Mount Cook is like saying I want the biggest, baddest bull you’ve got.”. Mt Cook … It was there that he developed a love for mountain life and climbing. For more details it is essential that you contact Ross or Helen Ivey on +64 3 4351843. Aoraki Mount Cook … On the way down we often do ‘lowers’ or rapelles down through the summit rocks. There is 1000 m vertical of relatively easy going before you reach the really serious climbing. Come ice climbing in New Zealand’s big alpine environment! International visitors should get flights into Christchurch or Queenstown. Flight out if we choose or have to fly out, accommodation costs when not in mountain huts. During winter and spring there is often little difficulty in finding a route through the Linda ice … The climber needs to be able to move efficiently on ground steeper than 40°, in crampons, and climbing with two ice-axes. The aspiring climber needs strong alpine climbing skills to make Mount Cook achievable, and we combine our climb with a 10 day Alpine Climbing Course which offers the solid grounding required to travel safely over snow, ice … The standard route on the mountain, Linda Glacier, is signifcantly more difficult than Liberty Ridge on Mount Rainier. Discover the magnificent Aoraki/Mount Cook region by experiencing heli-hiking, snowshoeing or ice climbing in and around the imposing Haupapa/Tasman Glacier.