Crossing from the upper Linda glacier to the
Linda Shelf involves traversing the infamous 'Gun Barrels' both
quickly and carefully. The angle of the ice steepens, and can be
either short-roped or pitched leftwards on to the Shelf proper.
Usually Guide and climber can then move easily together across the
Shelf to the NE ridge, the first safe stopping point on the route,
reached around daylight. Then several short rope and pitched sections
of moderate mixed ice and frost-shattered rock lead up to and through
the 'summit rocks'
The so-called summit rocks are climbed via ice runnels through
rock, mostly of moderate angle, for three rope lengths to the ice
cap, still some distance from the true summit. Conditions on the
ice cap vary from easy snow-ice to fragile 'sastrugi' (heavily rimed)
ice. While the terrain is low-angled, it is exposed to wind, and
there can be no let up in concentration.
Techniques range from moving together to sometimes pitching sections
up to the summit chandelier, where the route joins the north ridge,
after 8-10 hours of nearly continuous climbing. (The last 30m of
overhanging summit ice is no longer climbed, since much of the East
Face fell off on December 14th 1991). A suitable safe peak is reached
at the Summit Chandelier. From here you can see both the Pacific
Ocean to the east and the Tasman Sea to the west, given clear conditions.
After high peak celebrations and rest, the descent follows the
cap can be reversed by short roping in good conditions, or by lowering
if not, and the summit rocks are best dealt with by quickly lowering
the top three pitches. Softening snow on the Shelf often helps getting
across and through the Gun Barrels, and then it's a matter of descending
the technically easy Linda glacier.
From the high peak return to Plateau hut usually takes 7-10 hours,
arriving back in the late afternoon or early evening.
The walk into Plateau hut via the Ball Shelter, Boys glacier and
Cinerama col access is a hard 1½-day ascent. We prefer to
maximize high climbing time by flying to Plateau hut at the first
opportunity, depending on weather and snow conditions. At your Guide's
discretion, you may then work up fitness and technique on a smaller
climb, (such as the Anzacs), before attempting Mt Cook.
We do try to fly out from Plateau Hut, if the weather and conditions
allow aircraft landings on the Plateau. The alternative is the Cinerama
Col route, a strenuous 6-8 hours to the road end.
There is no longer an 'easy' or 'safe' climbing route on Mount
Cook, due to major climatic and glacial changes over the last several
years. You must be familiar with glaciated terrain, and fast on
crampons, with the ability higher on the mountain to move quickly
on mixed ground with two ice tools. Our minimum requirement is a
high level of fitness, with the technical skills of a successful
Sunrockice Alpine Climbing course participant, or equivalent.
Mountaineering is a hazardous activity. The Guide's first priority
is always client safety. He or she is trained to decide whether
the Mt Cook Linda glacier route can be safely attempted in the prevailing
conditions, or if an alternative ascent should be considered.
Weather conditions, ice and rock fall danger, the extent of crevasses,
snow surface conditions, fitness and experience define the acceptable
margins for a Mt Cook climb. If Mt Cook is not a safe option, your
Guide will offer an alternative venue and ascent for your trip,
perhaps Elie de Beaumont or the Minarets from the Tasman glacier,
or Mts Tasman, the Minarets, Haidinger, Lendenfeld, or some other
challenging peak from the Franz or Fox glaciers.
- A period of 6 days Guided climbing is covered in the cost, even
though Mt Cook may take less in very good weather.
- The cost does not include rental equipment, or aircraft access.
- Equipment list sent on receipt of confirmed booking. These booking
- If your ability and the conditions in the mountains allow, you
may, at your Guide's discretion, undertake another climb, or return
early to Mt Cook Village. No refund is due in this eventuality.
- It may sometimes be possible to stay on for extra days, depending
on your Guide's schedule. This will cost an additional NZ$575
per day for Guide, food, and hut fees.
- Extensions due to poor weather or conditions, including your
fitness and ability, will cost an additional NZ$420 per day.
All Mt Cook climbs start 10.00am the first day, and finish at 5.00pm
the last day, at Mt Cook village, unless otherwise confirmed.
Your Mt Cook payment includes Guide(s) fees, National Park fees,
food, fuel, hut fees, and G.S.T tax, for the trip duration.
Skiplane access is included. We prefer to maximize high climbing
time by flying in at the first opportunity, depending on aircraft
We also strongly recommend flying out if the weather and conditions
allow aircraft landings. Flying out is an extra and variable
cost, depending on the aircraft type, location, loading, and
flight conditions. We are often able to negotiate a price for you
that's less than the standard charter rate on the day.