Aoraki / Mount Cook Climb
An ascent of Aoraki / Mount Cook is an aspired to prize for many mountaineers. The highest peak in New Zealand at 3424m is not as high as other peaks around the world but offers technical difficulties requiring excellent preparation. The Linda Glacier route is a long and serious outing exposing climbers to significant objective hazards demanding high movement skills and fitness and experience on other significant ascents.
Mount Cook Climb Itinerary
Mount Cook climbs start in Wānaka from where it is a 2.5 hour drive to Mount Cook airport, the staging point for the flight into Plateau Hut on the Grand Plateau. Once settled in the hut, it is possible to do short training or acclimatisation climbs and skills training on Glacier Dome or the nearby ANZAC Peaks before resting up and preparing for the big summit day.
Summit days start between 11pm and 1am. It can take between 15 and 24 hours return from the hut. The route initially crosses the Grand Plateau before winding its way through house-size crevasses up the steep and complex Linda Glacier to the Linda Shelf. The Shelf is a steep snow traverse under ice cliffs that leads to the technical crux of the route. This involves 6-9 pitches of mixed climbing through the Summit Rocks. Above this the Summit Ice Cap winds up towards the High Peak. The Ice Cap may be hard ice or soft snow and provides amazing exposure and views of the entire Haupapa / Tasman Glacier all the way to the west coast of the South Island, almost 4 vertical kilometres beneath climbers’ feet.
On the descent, there are a series of abseils down through the Summit Rocks. After many hours on the go, there is still the long descent down the Linda Glacier is snow afternoon snow before the last stretch back to the hut.
Check out the latest weather on the Mount Cook Webcam.
Mount Cook Difficulty and Fitness Requirements
The summit day involves over 1500m of ascent and descent including a number of mixed climbing pitches. A good fitness benchmark is being able to ascend 1000m in 3 hours and trek up to 20km in a day over rough ground with a 15kg pack.
Climbing Aoraki / Mount Cook requires a proven track record of technical climbing, crampon and ice axe use.
The route is also subject to serious crevasse, avalanche, and icefall hazards. The exposure to objective hazards requires guides and clients to be able to move quickly and efficiently through steep and difficult terrain. The duration of the climb means that climbers need to have experience on long mountain days managing fatigue, sustenance, and maintaining focus.
With this in mind we only accept clients for to climb Aoraki / Mount Cook who have climbed with us before on other technical ascents or have significant transferable experience. Recommended ascents include the South West Ridge of Mount Aspiring or the South Ridge of Mount Dixon. The guide on these ascents would then be able to suggest what further training may be required before being ready to Aoraki / Mount Cook. Further specialist training in ice or mixed climbing is also useful in preparation for the Summit Rocks.
Mount Cook Pricing and Details
|Duration: 5 days|
|Ascents are scheduled during November and December.|
We have no more availability for Aoraki / Mount Cook ascents during the 2023/24 season.
Get in touch early to plan your pathway and secure dates for Aoraki / Mount Cook in 2024.
Includes: GST, guide fees, compliance costs, transport from Wānaka, technical equipment, food, and accommodation.
Excludes: Helicopter costs.
A climb of Aoraki / Mount Cook requires flights in and out from Plateau Hut. During the peak season, it is likely to be able to share flights with other climbing parties, and cost savings are passed on directly. Budget between $400 and $1000 for each direction.
|Maximum Ratio: 1:1|
‘[Out guide] was absolutely brilliant. I feel safe at all times with him, yet he doesn’t stifle me and gives me the freedom to go on my own when I feel comfortable doing so. He makes me feel relaxed and at ease both on and off the mountain. His local knowledge is incredible and seems to be able to pluck a great adventure out of the hat somewhere no matter what the weather is doing at the time. He’s the best guide I’ve had by far!’
— Marcus, Aoraki / Mount Cook Ascent
‘[Out guide] showed a high level of experience, knowledge, and professionalism in all areas of the course and were also able to convey their knowledge in a logical way that made it easy to progressively learn and practice all the skills. The skills were also taught at a rate that meant I was continually challenged to think about what I was learning and what to do next, but also in a way that made sense and gave us time to absorb all the information so everything came together at the end when we consolidated our learning on the final day on the mountain.’
—Katie, Summer Mountaineering Course
‘[Our guide] was very friendly and easy guy to get along with, yet he is always still very professional. He has an uncanny knack for seemingly being able to pull a rabbit out of the hat despite the odds stacked against such a feat. Even with the very average weather we encountered, we still got quite a lot done.’
— Mark, Private Guiding