Mount Dixon South East Ridge

Mount Cook

A classic and popular mountaineering peak, this is the easiest of the big peaks to ski from the Plateau Hut.

Ski Touring Severe

Distance
5.1 km
Ascent
832 m
Descent
832 m
Duration
3-4 hrs
Low Point
2.2 km
High Point
3 km
Gradient
54˚
Mount Dixon South East Ridge Map

One of the most classic peaks in New Zealand’s Southern Alps, Mt. Dixon is a very popular mountaineering peak and one of the easier summits to reach from the superbly positioned Plateau hut. The fact that it is somewhat overshadowed by its grander neighbors Aoraki/Mt. Cook and Mt. Tasmin does not in any way detract from it being a worthwhile endeavor. At just over 3000 meters elevation Mt. Dixon commands incredible views over the surrounding area and back down towards the Tasmin Glacier. Despite being a relatively easy mountaineering objective Mt. Dixon is a demanding ski descent reserved for steep skiers competent in 50-degree terrain.

Description

The most popular way to climb and ski the peak is via the south-east ridge starting from the Plateau Hut. Start up a steep south facing couloir. This is no place to linger as the initial slopes are exposed to an active hanging serac on the south face. This 50-degree couloir leads to an airy ridgeline. Follow the ridge up onto broader and less steep slopes until the summit is gained. The summit slopes are very exposed to the wind and can often be icy so take care on the way down. The couloir leading down from the ridge can often hold good cold powder on skier’s right side or transformed spring snow on skier’s left. This is the steepest section of the descent, but it is not very exposed.

An alternative way to ski the peak is to take the aesthetic hanging ramp above the serac directly on the south face. This is more exposed and serious although less steep.

Difficulty

Severe

Steep skiing at 38-45 degrees. This requires very good technique and the risk of falling has serious consequences.

High Exposure (E3)

3 out of 4

In case of a fall, death is highly likely.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

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

Best time to visit

September, October, November

Features

  • Face
  • Alpine
  • Cliffs
  • Couloir
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

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

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area