Day 1: After an equipment check with Alpine Recreation in Lake Tekapo you travel to Mount Cook (about 1 hour), and the end of the Tasman Glacier. You hike up the old Ball Hut Road, parallel to the glacier. From Ball Shelter you climb 850m up the Ball Ridge to Caroline Hut at 1800m/6000ft, perched right opposite the awe-inspiring Caroline Face of Mount Cook. The panorama includes Aoraki Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, all the mountains adjoining the Tasman Glacier, and Lake Pukaki. The hut is fully stocked with food, firewood, sleeping bags, cooking and eating utensils, but some fresh items of food need to be carried, e.g. bread, fruit, vegetables, meat. 6 hours trekking.
Day 2: Learn basic mountaineering techniques. Climb Kaitiaki Peak (2222m/7290ft) south of Ball Pass and take in the dramatic views of the South Ridge of Aoraki. Maybe explore a crevasse on the Ball Glacier. Back at Caroline Hut take time to watch the sun set on Mt Tasman and the ice avalanches thunder down the Caroline Face. 6 hours return.
Day 3: This is the longest and toughest day, with exposed and steep slopes to negotiate. We cross Ball Pass at 2130m/7000ft. Now the view opens to the South Face of Aoraki, the Hooker and Mueller Glaciers, Mount Sefton and the Copland Pass. The steep descent from Ball Pass usually requires the use of crampons. When snow conditions are icy a fixed line rope method is used to ensure no-one can slide down the slope. The terrain is rugged and untracked and you rely on your professional mountain guide to find a safe route around gorges and bluffs down to the East Hooker Valley. Following old moraine terraces you hike through some of the lushest vegetation to be found in the National Park and return to Mount Cook Village. (8-10 hours). Return travel to Lake Tekapo.
Note: The crossing of Ball Pass on Day 3 is subject to safe snow and weather conditions. The professional judgement of your guide will take into account all factors, including client fitness for the conditions.
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Australia and Oceania New Zealand Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking Mountain/Rock Climbing
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