Aoraki / Mount Cook


Aoraki-Mt Cook Linda Glacier - click on image above to view map

Aoraki - Mt Cook

Chris Stead

"Igor and Ervin were amazing, they are both very talented, their rope skills and general ingenuity, was most impressive!  I think they were the difference between us being successful (or not)."

More Information

All routes have significant objective hazard requiring climbers to be fast and efficient. This is not the mountain for your first alpine summit.  If you would like to climb Mount Cook, but are unsure of your experience level, contact us, or complete our skills form and we can advise. Tim Steward, our chief guide, has put together a suggested programme of climbing as a progression to attaining your goal of climbing Mount Cook - read his advice here : Progression to Mt Cook.

Route information:

Linda Glacier (grade 3) from Plateau hut (late Oct - mid Dec)

This is the most common route due to its relatively high success rate. Access is by flight into Plateau Hut situated at 2210m. This route can take 14-18 hours, the route starts by ascending the lower Linda Glacier and traversing the Linda Shelf.  The Linda Shelf is exposed to the "Gun Barrels" of the glacier above.  Here we are moving together so speed and good foot work are important.  From here 2-3 pitches of moderate (35°- 45°) snow ice take us to the Summit Rocks. 3-4 pitches of mixed climbing follow through the rocks to the summit ice cap, this can be hard ice or all rock depending on the season. The summit ice cap is exposed but generally only short sections need to be pitched. The summit ice cap can be hard water ice or soft snow depending on the temperatures.  It is usually climbed moving together with some short sections of pitching.

Available Dates

Dates 2019 Status
7 - 11 Nov FULL
13 - 17 Nov FULL
18 - 22 Nov 1 place available
20 - 24  Nov Open
25 - 29 Nov FULL
4 - 8 Dec FULL
11 - 15 Dec 1 place available
18 - 22 Dec Open
26 - 30 Dec Open

Mt Cook usually goes out of condition around the end of December.  

Dates don't work for you?

No problem.  Let us know your preferred dates and we'll see what we can do.


Technical Difficulty

Mt Cook via either the Linda or the Hooker is grade 3 on the Mt Cook Grading System (AD European) .  The Linda Glacier and the Linda Shelf in particular are exposed to ice fall and avalanche and while in modern times there has not been a major accident due to this objective hazard, there have been close calls.  Parties need to be able to move quickly and securely. There is mixed ice and rock climbing up to 50°.

Physical Difficulty

Summit day is usually between 14-18 hours.  Unless you have some experience with this sort of endurance the sheer length of time you need to exert yourself can be the biggest barrier.  Pack weights are usually under 10kg.  When snow conditions are firm you spend extended periods front pointing and will need to have very good strength in your calves and legs for this sort of sustained effort.  Very good balance and crampon technique are required for the Linda Shelf where the route is very exposed and you and your guide will need to move quickly and confidently.

Price Details

Guide Ratio Price
Linda Glacier 1:1 $5,950

Air access and egress is additional.  Often the price can be shared with other climbers depending on aircraft loadings at the time.

What's Included
  • meals and energy snacks
  • alpine hut / tent accommodation
  • national park, landing & guide fees
  • 15% goods and services tax.
  • technical equipment - see equipment section below for details 
  • 1 day weather contingency

See FAQ for complete details

Itinerary / Trip Options (multi)

Day One

We usually meet at 8:30 at our in Wanaka.  Here you will meet  your guide and do a complete gear check and go over the weather forecast.   Any last minute items of equipment are assembled and loaded into our vehicle for the drive to Mount Cook Airport (2hrs).  You can leave any gear or valuables at our office.  Mount Cook Airport is a small air strip within Mount Cook Park located on the eastern side of the mountain.  Here we load the helicopter for the 15 minute flight to Plateau Hut (2,200m). Usually there is time for a walk to the dome next to hut to get  shake down of your equipment and to begin to settle into this amazing location.  The helicopter lands near the hut so we are able to provide excellent food and can cater for individual tastes.



Day Two & Three

To give the best possible chance of success we need the biggest possible weather window.  To ascend Mt Cook you need favorable weather and snow conditions and we find that a five day option provides a high level of success.  Some trips are lucky enough to have long periods of fine weather and to have a choice of summit days while other trips need to take advantage of a narrow period of opportunity.  If you have not worked with your guide before this can be a chance to get to know each other and work on your climbing team work.  There is the opportunity to climb some of the smaller peaks in the area while you wait for the weather to clear on the higher mountain.  The Anzacs (2520m) are and excellent day out and a chance to get used to climbing in the magnificent area.



Day Four

Summit day usually starts with a 1 am wakeup call.  It can be difficult to eat at that  hour but your guide will provide a hot drink and breakafast before you start out.  With hard snow conditions progress is fast across the lower part of the glacier and as the valley narrows into the Linda Glacier you will start to enounter more crevasses to navigate around.  Early in the season this can be straight forward but as the season wears on progress can be slow.  Sunrise should see you at the top of the Linda Shelf where you will begin to encounter your first rock on the route.  The summit rocks are generally easy climbing but after this you begin to feel the effects of the altitude and effort.  While the summit ice cap is easy climbing with short periods of pitching it can seem like a long way to the summit.  The summit of Mount Cook is like no other, here you stand on a small island in the South Pacific at an elevation that puts you higher than anything from Asia to South America.


Day Five

You will be tired after your ascent so a late sleep and big breakfast are the first business of the day.  The helicopter lands bringing in a new load of climbers and you wish them luck before you pack your gear and fly back to Mount Cook Airport and then drive back to Wanaka.


Equipment Details

This video provides practical demonstration of the common equipment and clothing required for mountaineering.

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