Mt Dixon South East Ridge

Mount Cook

Exposed ridgelines and outstanding views

Alpine Climbing Moderate

Distance
5.1 km
Ascent
771 m
Descent
771 m
Low Point
2.2 km
High Point
3 km
Gradient
35˚
Mt Dixon South East Ridge Map

Mt Dixon is one of the most popular summits gained from the Plateau hut - it's a perfect training and acclimatisation peak for Aoraki whilst providing aesthetic and engaging climbing along a knife edge ridge and up steep snow slopes. Its ascent is dependent on the state of the bergschrund at the foot of the gully leading to the ridge line - this often thaws out by late season making access extremely difficult. It's well worth checking on the state of the bergschrund in advance of your trip.

Description

Follow the gently rising glacier up from the Plateau hut to the wide couloir leading up to the south east ridge. Cross the bergschrund wherever you can and pitch your way up the steep snow and ice slopes between rock bluffs. There are a number of fixed anchors of mixed quality about 60 metres apart (pegs, bolts, slings) to gain the exposed ridge. The first section of ridge is very narrow and requires careful rope management. Carefully follow the ridge until the angle eases and the ridge broadens.

The upper slopes are steep and sometimes icy so ice screws and snow pickets can be useful as protection for a short pitch or two until the angle eases once again. A final steepening toward the summit can provide some more calf burning front pointing before the small summit is reached at 3,004m. Take in the views, snap some photos and head back down the same way before the snow slopes begin to melt. Two 60m ropes will allow you to abseil the gully (you can leave a rope stashed on the way up).

Difficulty

Moderate

May involve slightly more complex glacier hikes, easy but possibly long rock ridges and steep snow up to 45 degrees. Equivalent to PD, PD+

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The route features some exposed and/or difficult to protect sections.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

January, November, December

Equipment required

  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit
  • 2 Ice Axes

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area