Aspiring Glacier Hike 3 day


French Ridge rises steeply out of the Matukituki Valley and reaches the Bonar Glacier at its summit.  

Perfect father and son experience

Alastair, Sydney, Australia

"We were after a memorable adventure, and we sure got it. It was the two of us with an experienced guide, Tony.  We trekked along the valley, crossed freezing rivers barefoot, battled gravity 1,000m with our packs up very steep NZ  mountains, stayed in a mountaineering hut amongst the mountains. And that was Day 1. Day 2 involved crampons, ice axes and ropes. We came very close to crevices, but stayed away. Another 900m straight up, before descending down to the hut. For anyone in need of a serious challenge, a memorable experience and a heap of fun - try this one.  The company is very experienced, the guides good and the pricing reasonable given the low ratio of clients per guide.”  

More Information

The magnificence of this region speaks for itself. It is a demanding hiking trip and requires a high fitness level. Some experience with crampons and ice axes is useful for traversing the glacier and descending from Quarterdek Pass. It is an opportunity to discover the grandeur of the alpine regions and develop an approach to the mountain environment.

The route passes directly below Mount Aspiring with amazing views. Mount Aspiring itself is a majestic peak and the only peak over 3000 metres outside Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park. The Mount Aspiring National Park is renowned for its wonderful mixture of remote wilderness, high mountains and beautiful river valleys. It is a walker's paradise and a must for mountaineers. The views are endless and unforgettable. The park is part of Te Wahipounamu - Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area. Mount Aspiring National Park straddles the southern end of the Southern Alps.

Pack 40 litre   Weight 10-15kg

Available Dates

Inquire about dates for 2019 and 2020
Best time November to January

C= confirmed to run

Join a scheduled departure or book a private or custom trip on dates to suit you.



Hikers should be used to walking on uneven ground and covering longer distances with larger packs. The French Ridge track is steep, descending 1800 vertical meters over 3km and requires short sections of down climbing on rocks and tree roots. This will give you a whole new appreciation of New Zealand hiking.  Some experience with crampons and ice axes is useful. You will need to carry your own gear, including technical gear as well as some food or other group gear.   Pack weight 10-15kg

Price Details

Guide : Client Ratio Price per person
1:1 NZ$3,450
1:2 NZ$1,900


What's Included
  • all meals and snacks from Lunch Day 1 to Lunch Day 3.
  • hut accommodation and any tents/general camping equipment
  • satellite phone/ radio communications
  • national park, guide fees and 15% goods and service tax (GST)
Not Included:
  • helicopter flight into the mountains 
  • A flight out of the mountains may also be possible at additional cost (dependent on weather and conditions).
  • In the event of weather preventing you from flying into the mountains then the alternative trip of a Brewster Glacier Hike or Mt French Trekking Peak may be offered.


Frequently Asked Questions About This Trip

Itinerary / Trip Options (multi)

Day One

 We meet at our office in Wanaka where your guide will check your clothing and equipment and you can ask any last minute questions.  It is a beautiful drive up the Matukituki Valley to the trail head.  The helicopter will pick you up from cattle grazing meadows and transport you up to the snow and rock of Bevan Col on the edge of the Bonar Glacier. From here it is a few hours walk across the Bonar Glacier, the view dominated by the western aspects of Mt Aspiring.  We arrive at Colin Todd hut, your home for the night. This leaves some time in the afternoon for exploring the area.        
100m ascent, 2-4 hours

Day Two

 An early start after breakfast and we descend to the Bonar Glacier and head up under Mt Aspiring to the summit of the trek, the Quarterdeck Pass. Nothing too tricky yet, just a steady climb in the cool of the morning. Soak up the views of the Glacier and Mt Aspiring before changing your perspective to the beautiful West Matukituki Valley.  Here the snow is broken by crevasses and your guide will careful show you how to safely navigate your way.  Depending on the time of year, the glacier can be either a smooth ramp leading down, or a jumbled icefall that you weave through.  After leaving the snow we follow a narrow ridge down to French Ridge Hut.
500m ascent/ 780m descent. 4-7 hrs  

Day Three

After leaving French Ridge Hut the track takes us back towards the valley floor. After down climbing the steep sections it’s magic to be back on flat ground again.  We have a few more hours before reaching Aspiring Hut where we usually have lunch. Two hours of walking beside the Matukituki River brings us back to our vehicle and the ride back to base.
1000m descent, 6-8 hours

Equipment Details

This video provides practical demonstration of the common equipment and clothing required for hiking in New Zealand.

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