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Darwin Ridge

Mount Cook

A great and non-technical ski tour on the Tasman Glacier

Ski Touring Moderate

9.9 km
905 m
907 m
4-5 hrs
Low Point
1.9 km
High Point
2.5 km
Darwin Ridge Map

If you are up on the Tasman Glacier and looking for options than Darwin ridge ticks all the boxes. Not only is this a fun ski but it also offers great views of both the upper and lower sections of the Tasman Glacier. While this is an enjoyable trip on its own it really shines as a last ski tour to break up the long ski down to were the helicopter or airplane picks you up.


Like all ski tours in this area you need to decide wether to hike up or use a plane, I will make it easy for you and let you know that the plane is always the way to go. Not only is it relatively cheap by international standards but it also saves a lot of time and gives incredible views. Heading up the glacier you need to chose between the Tasman Saddle Hut or the Kelman hut which both are nice. Once you’ve flown up the glacier make your way to either hut and if you have time to spare this is one of those tours that doesn’t take the whole day. For this writeup I will explain via the Kelman Hut but it is quite similar to the Tasman Saddle.

Dropping in from the Kelman Hut you can ski down the Tasman Glacier to around 2100 meters before you can start ascending the slopes to the South. The route itself is quite straightforeword. What starts semi steep mellows out on the upper slopes. Follow the main bowl and before long you will spot the upper ridge where at around 2,300 meters you will find a nice rock on the ridge to transition from.

Riding down you have a wide open face where you can choose a few different lines but in my opinion the best is by riding down the skiers left side where you get the most vert. Fortunately there aren’t many crevasses here at the height of winter so you can just enjoy wide open turns before being on the lower flats of the Tasman Glacier. Once it is time to turn back just follow your old ski tracks back up the Tasman Glacier before once again arriving at the Kelman Hut.

If you are doing this ski tour on your way out to be picked up by the helicopter make sure to add a few hours to your plans but it turns a low angled ski into something a bit more exciting.

For more pictures and the full story check out this link https://www.whereiskylemiller.com/new-zealand/back-ski-touring-tasman-glacier/



Slopes become slightly steeper at around 25-30 degrees.

Medium Exposure (E2)

2 out of 4

As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between August and October


  • Single Descent
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

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

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area