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Mount Cook National Park New Zealand
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Ryan Teale
(monstertruck) - F

Locale: Almost Yosemite
Mount Cook National Park New Zealand on 05/10/2010 19:27:34 MDT Print View

I took a 2 month trip to the South Island of New Zealand in February 2007. First on the itinerary was a 4 night Introductory Mountaineering Course with Alpine Recreation. My friend Jared and I were guided up to the Caroline Hut below Mt. Cook where we would spend the following days exploring and learning from our guide Ewan. All the while the imposing Caroline Face of Mt. Cook would loom over us.

A 4x4 took us on a bumpy ride along the Moraine Wall above the Tasman Glacier where we would begin the steep climb to the Caroline Hut owned by Alpine Recreation.

4x4 takes us to Ball Hut.

Spectacular light caught my eye as we began our trek along the moraine wall above the Tasman Glacier

Tasman Glacier

Off the moraine

We were following a very steep goat track to ascend straight up to the hut we could see perched above. We took a break for a snack and to take in the spectacular view.


After gaining the ridge near the hut the spectacular surroundings came into full view.

Tasman Glacier

Once at the hut it didn't take long for 8 curios Kea to arrive. They would provide endless entertainment during out stay.

Curious Kea

The most spectacular light show I have ever seen would soon begin.






The sunrise the following morning was pretty good too!


Cloud over Mt. Cook

Our days were spent learning safe travel and route finding techniques as well as roped glacier travel and some basic ice climbing. Our lunch stop was near Ball Pass which we would cross the final morning before descending into the Hooker Valley. This is the view out over Lake Pukaki.

View over Lake Pukaki

We were shown the route we would follow down into the Hooker Valley on last day of the course.

Down into the Hooker Valley

Back at the hut the evenings were filled with endless photographic opportunities!

Caroline Face

Taking a lunch break at the foot of the Ball Glacier after my first ice climbing experience. We had to dodge a few falling rocks!

Ball Glacier

The final day was our big climb across the Ball Glacier and then our descent from the pass. This was my first steep icy descent on crampons. Our discussion of a recent accident that killed 4 people on the route made it more exciting!

Looking back at Ball Pass

We paused for a rest at an area known as The Playground.


We soon set foot in the Hooker Valley and made our way back to the village.

Hooker Valley

With our course completed we enjoyed a few excellent Monteith's brews and some dinner in the village. The next day we would make the ascent to Mueller Hut on the opposite side of the Hooker Valley. The Mueller Hut is owned by NZ Park Service and is situated in a spectacular alpine amphitheater. One of the first peaks climbed by Edmund Hillary is just behind the hut. The deck provides an awesome viewing platform to take in the surrounding mountains!

Deck View

Mt Cook

Mueller Hut

After descending from the hut it was time to leave the park and head further south for some tramping in Fiordland! One final look back across Lake Pukaki to remember my experience!

Lake Pukaki

Edited by monstertruck on 05/10/2010 19:33:00 MDT.

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
Mount Cook National Park New Zealand on 05/10/2010 19:34:36 MDT Print View

These pictures are phenomenal! Simply amazing.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Mt Cook NP New Zealand on 05/10/2010 19:41:48 MDT Print View

AWESOME pictures Ryan--Were you able to watch a rugby game?
Just kidding/kinda---Excellent Photos...


Ryan Teale
(monstertruck) - F

Locale: Almost Yosemite
Mount Cook National Park New Zealand on 05/10/2010 21:36:47 MDT Print View

Thanks guys! Glad you enjoyed the photos.

Jay, I was just telling someone the other day what a shame it was that I never caught a rugby game in person while I was down there. I guess I better go back.


Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Mount Cook NP New Zealand on 05/10/2010 22:24:28 MDT Print View

Ryan,There is nothing like watching the All-Blacks do the HAKA before the game....Kiwis love there Rugby and there trekking..

Richard Gless
(rgless) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Mount Cook NP New Zealand on 05/10/2010 23:11:13 MDT Print View


Incredible pictures! I thought people might enjoy seeing the same area under winter conditions. I was in New Zealand for a week on business in October 2007 and managed to find time to do the helicopter tour (I know it's cheating...) around Mt Cook. I have to go back with a lot more time. You can see why Edmund Hillary could practice for Everest in New Zealand.

Tasman Glacier

Tasman Glacier

Hut below Mt Cook (far left middle of picture)

Hut below Mt Cook

Aerial View South from the Hut

Aerial View South from the Hut

Mt. Cook from the East

Mt Cook from the East

South of Mt. Cook

South of Mt Cook

Southwest of Mt Cook

Edited by rgless on 05/10/2010 23:19:31 MDT.

Philip Delvoie
(PhilipD) - MLife

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Mount Cook National Park New Zealand on 05/11/2010 06:44:55 MDT Print View

Ryan...just amazing. This is definitely on my to do list.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Mount Cook National Park New Zealand" on 05/11/2010 06:49:29 MDT Print View

The most spectacular light show I have ever seen would soon begin.

Wow! That was a stellar alpine trip.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: "Mount Cook National Park New Zealand" on 05/11/2010 08:17:24 MDT Print View

Nice trip reports....the pictures are crazy. Thanks for sharing!

Ryan Teale
(monstertruck) - F

Locale: Almost Yosemite
Mount Cook National Park New Zealand on 05/19/2010 01:08:53 MDT Print View

Thanks for the comments guys! Glad you enjoyed the pics!

Richard, thanks for sharing the aerial pics! I would love to go back and do the more advanced course which would include a flight out to the Tasman Saddle. Although the elevations seem quite modest the vertical relief of these peaks from base to summit is really quite spectacular.

I put up a report from the Dusky Track and am working one for the Milford Track as well.