Maukatua / Mount Sefton is a magnificent climb high on the main divide. Prominent from Mount Cook village, the standards ascents via the West Ridge or the long North Ridge are long and remote journeys.
It is possible to fly to Welcome Pass to start the climb. Otherwise it is a 1.5 to 2 day approach via the Copland Valley. Although it is possible to bivi lower when walking in, Welcome Pass itself is an excellent starting point for summit day.
For approaching from the Copland Valley via the, now standard, Bluewater Route, timing to cross the Tekano Glacier is critical. This is very steep and exposed snow and subject to serious avalanche hazard. Early in morning it will be firm and at awkward angle that will put you on your front points. Facing due north, snow conditions will deteriorate rapidly during the morning.
Mount Sefton Climb
From Welcome Pass, the ascend above the Douglas Névé onto the west face.
Later in the season, crevassing may force climbers onto the West Ridge prior to it steeping from where there are a number of steep snow pitches to the summit.
The summit ridge drops steeply down the 2000m to the Mueller Glacier and Mount Cook Village.
The Bluewater Route is currently the recommend exit route. Timing across the Tekano glacier is critical as the steep north facing slope will deteriorate quickly during the day. There are good bivi spots before the glacier and again around the bushline.
Once on the valley floor, it s a few more hours to Welcome Flat Hut and a fair distance down the Copland to the carpark.
The western side of the main divide is a remote area with no shelter until you reach the valley floor. This requires parties to move fast and light and have confidence in a stable weather forecast.
For guided ascents of Mount Sefton, other mountaineering objectives, four day ascents, or other classic peaks of New Zealand, visit wanakamountainguides.co.nz.