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The Joie De Vivre Loop

Mount Cook

A technical but great loop within the Murchison Glacier area

Ski Touring Difficult

19 km
2.2 km
2.2 km
1 day +
Low Point
1.6 km
High Point
2.5 km
The Joie De Vivre Loop Map

The Joie De Vivre ski tour is one of those trips for people who are used to big ski tours in serious terrain. Being that the Murchison Hut is closed this trip borders on the edge of a day tour, saying that make sure to start this trip at first light as it is always better to be early compared to being too late.


Making your way up the Tasman Glacier you have the option of wether to hike or get a flight, choose the flight for the sake of your gear as well as energy. Flying in you will have the option of the Kelman Hut or the Tasman Saddle Hut. This trip will be explained from Kelman but it isn’t much different than the other shelter.

Leaving from the Kelman hut drop 100 meters before skinning over to Tasman Saddle. Dropping to the west is the Murchison Headwall where after a 3 meter traverse to the skiers right you can now ride over 700 meters to the Aida Glacier Valley but before getting there make sure to snap a photo of the terrain on the skiers left as you will need it for later. Once reaching the lower lobe of the Aida Glacier start skinning up where you can follow the obvious slopes until the upper bowl. Once around 2000 meters look off to the left where you will see a ramp that makes its way to Mount Sydney King, follow this until arriving on its summit.

From the summit of Mount Sydney King make your way along the southwest ridge until arriving on your first col. Looking down to the north is the Joie de Vivre Glacier where you need to drop in. Skiing down it is important that you make your way to the skiers left edge where there is a ramp onto the Classen Glacier. If you are fortunate you will be able to easily skin back up to the Classen Saddle before heading East towards point 2118. Once on the your high point it is time to check out the photo you took early and plan your route down. This can be challenging from above but in the past we were able to find a semi technical route via the Southwest ridge back down to the Murchison Glacier.

Being back on the flats it is time to get back to the shelter by skinning back up the Murchison Glacier. Once at the base of the headwall switch over to crampons for the last crux of the trip. Finally making it back up to the Tasman Saddle enjoy the mellow skin back over to the Kelman Hut.

For more pictures and the full story check out this link https://www.whereiskylemiller.com/new-zealand/symphony-on-skis/



Serious gradient of 30-38 degrees where a real risk of slipping exists.

High Exposure (E3)

3 out of 4

In case of a fall, death is highly likely.


3 out of 4

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

Best time to visit

between August and October


  • Face
  • Ski Safari
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

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

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area