Mt. Abel, North Couloir

Mount Cook

A fantastic half day and accessible ski mountaineering loop

Ski Touring Severe

Distance
1.6 km
Ascent
254 m
Descent
257 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
2.4 km
High Point
2.6 km
Gradient
53˚
Mt. Abel, North Couloir Map

From the either the Tasmin Saddle Hut or the Kelman Hut, it is possible to make a very nice roundtrip by traversing Mt. Abel and skiing its attractive North Couloir. This is a good half day route and a quick hit from the Kelman Hut. The North Couloir provides 300 meters vertical of 40-45 degree skiing and can either be climbed or skied onsight in a round trip. Don’t forget since it’s in the Southern Hemisphere and faces north, this line gets a lot of direct sun and can be a good option for finding transformed spring snow if timed right.

Description

The best way to ski this line is via a loop and by skinning up the north-west side of Mt. Abel until under a very narrow 50 degree couloir. Change to crampons and climb up this couloir (two ice axes might be helpful for short and easy ice steps) and onto a beautiful ridgeline leading to the summit of Mt. Abel. While this ridgeline is not technical, it is quite exposed and it may be prudent to put on a rope briefly. Although its not a major peak in itself, this summit provides a fantastic panorama of the surrounding area. Down climb the easy ridge a short ways in a north-easterly direction until above the couloir which is more of a large ramp trending skier’s left.

After exiting the couloir it is necessary to skin back up around a 100 meters vertical to the scenic Tasmin Saddle col which separates two major glacial basins, the Tasmin and the Murchison.

Difficulty

Severe

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

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.

Remoteness

4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

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