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Aoraki / Mt Cook East Face and down the Boys Glacier

Mount Cook

From Plateau hut to the summit of Aoraki/Mt Cook, unbroken ski decent down the East Face and back to Plateau Hut, sleep then ski down the Boys Glacier and walk out the Tasman Glacier to the Blue Lakes carpark

Ski Touring Extreme

22 km
2.1 km
3.6 km
1 day +
Low Point
722 m
High Point
3.7 km
Aoraki / Mt Cook East Face and down the Boys Glacier Map

The East Face of Aoraki/Mt Cook is rarely in such good condition and we were lucky and blessed to experience it at about as good as it can get. The steep crux to get onto/off the summit ridge is usually very icy and is often abseiled, downclimbed or skied/snowboarded with ice axe(s) in hand, so to ski it in soft conditions was something special. Not many people have skied this line from the summit (actually just below the summit to respect Maori custom) and to be privileged to climb and ride it on such a perfect day was the kind of thing you tell your grandkids about. Although we had flown in to Plateau Hut we skied and walked out down the Boys/Tasman glaciers instead of taking the heli out. Big ups to Ruari Macfarlane who walked in as well as out when he did the same mission on a snowboard! Think that was a first/second decent on a snowboard, you can read his take on it here: https://ruarimacfarlane.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/mt-cook-the-east-face-raw-beauty-and-tradgedy/



Extreme skiing terrain above 45 degrees. These routes are reserved for experienced experts.

High Exposure (E3)

3 out of 4

In case of a fall, death is highly likely.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between September and November


  • Face
  • Alpine
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area