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Aoraki/Mt Cook Climbing

July 2023 Update
Due to radical glacial recession Mountain Recreation is not currently offering guided Aoraki ascents. The information below is retained for general knowledge based on Geoff's past 27 ascents.

Aoraki/Mt. Cook is the largest and highest peak in NZ and a formidable climb by any route. To reach the summit at 3754m (remeasured by Otago Uni w/Geoff to 3724mtrs) requires a day climb of over 1500m from the Grand Plateau Hut. Using the Linda Glacier route is the least technical and fastest.

A high level of fitness is required and because the peak is 600 metres higher than surrounding ridges, it is exposed to high winds and rapid changing weather conditions.

The Climb: Meet in Wanaka or Mt Cook. Fly by chartered ski plane or helicopter flight to Grand Plateau. Plateau hut is situated at 2200m. The ascent from the Grand Plateau hut involves an initial descent across the Gnd. Plateau to 2100m. Then follows 1,645m of climbing. It includes 5hrs of glacier/crevasse crossing access, steep ice and rock through the Summit Rocks. Finally, a gruelling 250m follows in the thin air and energy sapping cramponing on the the wind-hardened Ice-cap. And then the return culminating in an arduous day of 17 - 20 hours.

The descent to the Mt Cook village from the Grand Plateau is steep and a moderate to long day including considerable moraine crossing with heavy packs. Currently, most parties use a return flight from Plateau to Mt. Cook Village at additional cost.

2013 Timing/Glacier recession/crevasse hazards:
We attempt the peak 1-2 times a year in Nov/Dec/early January. Access through the Linda glacier can be very difficult due to large and complex crevasses.
For this reason we do not routinely conduct ascents after early January.
Note: Clients require prior proven mtn skills and fitness w/MtnRec

MountainRec. Director Geoff Wayatt was the 1st person to ski Mt. Cook and last person to climb to old high peak -12349ft, before it avalanched in Dec 1991. He has 27 ascents to his credit (1968-Nov.2013) plus 92 ascents/Mt Aspiring.

BOOKING: A completed registration form
ACCESS: Travel via Intercity  from Christchurch daily arriving early afternoon. Chartered ski plane flight to Grand Plateau. (Travel & Location Notes)
ACCOMMODATION: NZ Alpine Club's Unwin Hut, 3klms from Mt Cook Village or YHA, Mt. Cook. 
FITNESS: Strong mtn fitness is vital to the successful enjoyment of the climb along with competence with Ice Axe and Crampons. Details are required with booking.
(See Previous expeditions - Mt. Cook GT article)

EQUIPMENT:Separate list supplied . see Equipment List  

Map: Mt Cook Nat. Park 1:50,000 ($14.50 from MtnRec)
History: Aoraki/Mt Cook has a long and interesting geological and cultural history including the beliefs of the indigenous people, the Nga Tahu tribe. This was recognised with a status change in 1998. For more information visit their
Nga Tahu web site.

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