Winter conditions are much more demanding than in summer, with short daylight hours and cold temperatures. We expect you to have considerable hiking or backpacking experience (including some 6-8 hour multiday hikes), before applying for this snowshoe trek. You need to have good tramping stamina and above average fitness. Previous snow trekking experience is recommended. Be prepared to wear crampons if necessary.
Day 1: 8:00 am gear check at our office, 30 Murray Place, Lake Tekapo. Travel to Mount Cook (about 1 hour), and the end of the Tasman Glacier. Hike up the old Ball Hut Road, parallel to the glacier. From Ball Shelter, climb 850 m up the Ball Ridge to Caroline Hut at 1800 m/6000 ft, 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. As the hut is fully stocked we only need to carry some fresh items of food (e.g. bread, fruit, vegetables, meat) and our personal clothing and equipment. 6 hours trekking.
Day 2: Ascend to Ball Pass and climb Kaitiaki Peak (2222 m/7290 ft) to take in the dramatic views of the South Ridge of Aoraki and across the Hooker Valley to Mount Sefton. Crampons as well as snowshoes may be required. 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: Return via the Ball Ridge and Tasman Valley, finishing at 5-6 pm back in Tekapo. Note that these snow shoe expeditions do not cross Ball Pass.
Why go with a guide? You can get into the mountains without having to bring a lot of gear. The snowshoes, ski poles, avalanche transceivers and shovels are provided, along with any other gear you may need to borrow, including boots.
- It's safer. Winter mountain travel does bring hazards such as avalanche potential and white-outs which are not present in summer. Guides know where avalanche danger is, how to avoid it and are equipped to deal with it. They have navigation skills with both compass and GPS.
- You're above the bushline all the time, so it is very easy to get lost when cloud comes in. The guides' local knowledge is a huge advantage.
- No heavy loads to carry because sleeping bags, stoves, fuel and non-perishable food are at the hut.
- You have a clean hut and a guaranteed bunk.
Equipment: we provide snowshoes, ski poles, transceivers, shovels, crampons and helmets. A detailed equipment list will be sent at time of booking. Outdoor clothing, packs and boots can also be provided at no extra cost if necessary.
Accommodation pre-/post- tour: As our equipment check takes place at 8 am on the morning of departure, you need to book accommodation in Tekapo the night before. After the tour, it is recommended to overnight in Tekapo again, or in Mount Cook. Accommodation options in Tekapo.
Insurance: In case of accident New Zealand's Accident Compensation scheme (ACC) will cover the majority of costs (about 80%) involved with evacuation and injury treatment, even for visitors to New Zealand. However you still need ordinary travel insurance to cover such things as your cancellation if an injury prevents you taking part on the trip, or a close relative suddenly becomes ill; and medical insurance in case you become ill. More information re Accident Compensation. The New Zealand Alpine Club provides a good mountaineering specific travel insurance.
How green are we? we reduce our carbon footprint and environmental impact through such things as:
- restricting group size
- using fuel efficient vehicles
- minimising use of vehicles and aircraft
- recycling, re-using, composting, avoiding "consumerism"
- minimal impact huts
- bulk buying of food supplies
- promoting conservation of native flora and fauna
- supporting community efforts to encourage appreciation of the natural environment.
- 2-4 participants per guide, up to 8 with 2 guides.
- Individual bookings welcome. 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.
- 5% returning client discount, if you have been on one of our trips before
- Price per person in NZ$ (valid until 30 April)
- Please note that on public holidays there will be a surcharge of NZ$80 per person per day. New Zealand public holidays: Labour Day 24/10, Christmas Day 25/12, Boxing Day 26/12, New Year 1/1 & 2/1, Waitangi Day 6/2, Good Friday 6/4, Easter Monday 9/4, Anzac Day 25/4.
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