Aoraki / Mt Cook

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Meet your guide in Mt Cook Village or in Wanaka for the drive to Mt Cook. Check gear and fly into the mountains to Plateau Hut in the early afternoon.


Acclimatisation day, consolidate skills or ascend a practice peak such as the Anzac Peaks.


Summit day, start 1am, and finish 7pm! OR climb part of the route then bivvy out overnight.


Second day of climb, rest day, contingency day (or optional flight out on back flight to Mt Cook Airport at extra cost).


Weather contingency day or commence walk out (or optional flight out on back flight to Mt Cook Airport at extra cost).


Weather contingency day, second day of walk out or alternative activity (such as rock climbing).


It is possible to walk into Plateau Hut (it is a solid days walk of approximately 12 - 16 hrs), but the benefit of flying in is that it alleviates the walk- in, and the usual necessary recovery day, allowing more time to be spent on actual climbing in the high mountains. Most importantly it can allow us to take advantage of ‘windows’ of fine weather which are typical of the maritime climate of New Zealand. An access flight is included in the trip price.


We guide Aoraki/Mt Cook on a 1:1 basis due to the technical nature of the terrain.

Our Aoraki/Mt Cook guided ascent operates over a six day period which enables us to fly in to Plateau Hut at the base of the mountain, from where the climb is staged. We aim to make the ascent during the most favourable period for weather and conditions, and on occasion will make a high bivvy, which puts us in close proximity to the summit the following day.

The usual route that we climb on Aoraki/Mt Cook is the Linda Glacier route. We must first weave through the crevasse field on the lower part of the glacier before turning to head into the upper Linda glacier. Progress is made to the head of the glacier and onto the sustained snow/ice face of the Linda Shelf where the ground becomes increasingly steep. From the Linda Shelf we climb a moderately steep (55º) snow and ice gulley and gain the ridge near the top of Zurbriggens Ridge. After this we must tackle the Summit Rocks for several pitches up rock that is often iced up. Having negotiated the pitches of mixed climbing through the summit rocks we revert to straight snow and ice climbing again to ascend the final summit ice cap through to the highest point in New Zealand!

We allow 16-22 hours for the return trip from Plateau Hut and hence an early morning alpine start is necessary on the day of the summit climb. Fitness and route conditions are the factors that determine the exact timing. Climbers attempting Aoraki/Mt Cook should come prepared for a very physical and demanding climb. It may only have the ultimate elevation of 3,754m/12,316ft, but it is still a challenging ascent. The Linda route is the most commonly climbed and is a classic mountaineering adventure, requiring good technical skills and stamina.

Other more technical routes are available on application to those with the necessary experience, such as the East Ridge or Zurbriggens Ridge.



Mt Cook at Dawn

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