NEW ZEALAND CLIMBING
Aoraki Mount Cook Trek
Mount Cook National Park offers New Zealand's most spectacular alpine scenery. With all but one of it's 29 peaks over 3000m, it is New Zealand's climbing mecca. Most peaks are accessible only to experienced mountaineers. However, hiking or trekking is possible close to Mount Cook on both the guided Mount Cook Trek and Ball Pass Trek.
On this guided alpine hike you will go as close as it's possible to get to Mount Cook on foot without actually being on the mountain. The Aoraki Mount Cook Trek is an easier 2 day option compared to the Ball Pass Crossing. It is designed for people who want to enjoy a high alpine experience without the strenuous and long crossing of Ball Pass on Day 3. Day 1 remains the same as for the Ball Pass Crossing, while on day 2 you will descend back into the Tasman Valley. Maximum walking time will be 4-6 hrs on any one day, instead of the challenging 8-12 hours on Day 3 of the standard Ball Pass Crossing.
You will still experience this beautiful area and spend one night at the private Caroline Hut, which in its stunning location is straight opposite the awesome Caroline Face; of Aoraki.
This alpine adventure is suitable for those who are sure-footed, have good balance and have previous hiking, tramping or bushwalking experience. Crampons and ice-axe are not required.
FITNESS: The Mount Cook Trek is suitable for fit hikers & backpackers, able to climb 850m over rugged, untracked terrain in up to 6 hours. Participants need to be secure-footed and have a good balance. No mountaineering experience is required.
GROUP SIZE: Minimum 2 participants, maximum 8 participants; 4 participants per guide. If you end up being the only person on a trip you will have the option of changing to another date or a full refund.
DATES: November - April, ex Lake Tekapo. Limited departures only. Check availability.
ITINERARY: Climb up the Ball Ridge and confront the mighty Caroline Face of Aoraki Mount Cook. On this guided hike you will go as close as it's possible to get to Mount Cook on foot without actually being on the mountain. The Aoraki Mount Cook Trek is an easier 2 day option compared to our Ball Pass Crossing. It is designed for people who want to enjoy a high alpine experience without the strenuous and long crossing of Ball Pass on Day 3. Day 1 remains the same as for the Ball Pass Crossing, while on day 2 you will descend back into the Tasman Valley. Maximum walking time will be 4-6 hrs on any one day, instead of the challenging 8-12 hours on Day 3 of the standard Ball Pass Crossing. You will still experience this beautiful area and spend one night at our Caroline Hut in its stunning location, straight opposite the awesome Caroline Face of Aoraki. This alpine adventure is suitable for those who are sure-footed, have good balance and have previous hiking, tramping or bushwalking experience. Crampons and ice-axe are not required.
2016/2017 Price - (effective 01 May 2016)
Included in prices: Guide, hut accommodation, all food, transport ex Lake Tekapo, climbing equipment and boots if required, National Park concession fees, 15% GST. Meals and accommodation before / after tour not included.
Guide Client Ratio: 1:4, minimum 2 participants, maximum 8 participants.
Fitness / Skills: The guided Ball Pass is suitable for experienced hikers capable of sustained walking, at times over steep, rugged, untracked and very exposed terrain. Participants need to be of at least average fitness, need to be secure footed and need to have good balance. No mountaineering experience is required. Qualified mountain guides will accompany you. Besides personal clothing you'll need to carry some items of fresh food to the hut. Your pack on Day 1 should weigh no more than 10kg. Several walks of at least 6 hours' duration are recommended as preparation for Ball Pass.
Caroline Hut is a privately owned mountain hut for the exclusive use of our guided parties. It is the only guide/operator-owned mountain hut in the Mount Cook National Park. The hut affords a commanding view of the entire length of the Tasman Glacier and of New Zealand's highest peaks. The hut can be heated.
Equipment: A detailed equipment list will be sent at time of booking. Most outdoor clothing, packs and boots can be provided at no extra cost if necessary.
(1) A non-refundable deposit NZ$350.00 (per person) is payable to secure a booking. Full payment is due 60 days prior to the departure date.
3. Fitness Failure: If a client needs extra services due to lack of fitness to continue with the group, additional fees may apply. E.g. In the case of the Aoraki Mt Cook Trek if a client overestimates his/her fitness to the extent that on Day 1 he/she is not able to reach Caroline Hut, then he/she may need to pay an extra fee of NZ$450, to cover the cost of an additional guide to evacuate him/her. Client will be liable for his/her own accommodation/meal expenses outside the tour in such a case.
4. Changes: The operators reserve the right to alter, amend or cancel any tour, should weather or any other situation demand this.
5. Liability: Alpine Recreation Canterbury Ltd, New Zealand Adventure Specialists Ltd and its agents finalise all arrangements for these tours upon the express condition that they shall not be liable for loss of life, injury, illness, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of weather or any defect in any vehicle or aircraft or through the acts of default of any company or persons engaged in conveying the passengers or carrying out of arrangements of the tours. The New Zealand Accident Compensation scheme applies. All clients have to complete our waiver form before starting their tour. These conditions are subject to any rights or remedies you may have under the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993.
Bad Weather Policy: Caroline Hut is located on the Ball Ridge, in the lee of Mt. Cook (for the prevailing westerlies and nor'westerlies), so it is seldom that we cannot walk in to the hut, even if the weather is marginal. There is a wood-fired pot belly stove in the hut and a good drying rack. However, this is a high alpine environment and it could happen that the walk in to the hut may have to be deferred by a day. If all participants in the group have the flexibility to postpone the trip by a day and if guide(s) and hut are available, then we postpone the entire trip by one day. Otherwise the trip is reduced to a two day crossing and the group is being accommodated in Lake Tekapo for the first day. During the last few seasons we only had to take up this option once per season. Alternatively we can offer the "Mackenzie High Country Walk", a 2 to 3-day mountain walk in the Two Thumb Range to the east of Lake Tekapo, based at the Rex Simpson Hut. This would only be an option if the weather looked as though it was going to be bad for all 3 days or if a climb to Caroline Hut is still not possible on day two. Since the Ball Pass operation started this contingency plan has only been carried out once.
If the group is at Caroline Hut and the weather or snow conditions do not permit a crossing of the Pass then the group will descend to the Tasman Valley.
When you book a trip you book the guide and all the organisation that goes with it, you cannot book the weather. Our guides are trained and instructed to always make the best possible decision for all the participants. On rare occasions this could mean having to return or not to go to Caroline Hut on day one for reasons of safety. On such occasions we do not give a refund.
Comments: "Exceeded expectations. Excellent guide who was extremely competent and considerate. Instruction was thorough, clear and effective, giving us greater self-confidence. Great facilities." R & L Brooks, England.
Anybody attempting a Ball Pass Crossing without a guide needs to be an experienced mountaineer with good judgement for snow and ice conditions, and safe route selection in an high alpine environment. The Ball Pass is a route only, NOT an established or marked track. Caroline Hut is not available to unguided parties.
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