FATMAP by Strava

The Mannering Glacier

Mount Cook

Exploring the seldom visited corners of Mount Cook National Park

Ski Touring Moderate

8.4 km
1 km
1 km
4-5 hrs
Low Point
1.9 km
High Point
2.5 km
The Mannering Glacier Map

The Mannering Glacier is a nice ski tour which gets you out of the Tasman Glacier area and allows you to explore a few new zones in a single ski trip. Not only do you get to see the terrain within the Murchison Glacier but you also go into another zone that is rarely skied. Just be warned that you are traveling on Glaciated terrain so make sure to bring a rope and have good climbing skills as you will have to ascend the Murchison Glacier Headwall to get back to your shelter.


The question of wether to fly in our hike is an easy one, just pay the money and make your life easier as I have never heard anyone say that they were happy hiking up. The flight is relatively cheap, scenic and saves you hours if not days of misery with your head full of regret while numerous helicopters fly over your head. Once on the Upper Tasman Glacier it is time to decided wether to stay at the Tasman Saddle hut or the Kelman Hut, both are nice but you just can’t beat the view of Kelman. This ski tour will take a full day so make sure to get the forecast ahead of time as you will have to navigate and it is not a place where you want to be during a storm.

Starting off the trip ride a hundred meters down the Tasman Glacier before arriving on the upper flats where you need to head Northeast over to Tasman Saddle. Once on top it is time for your first run of the day down the Murchison Headwall which can be intimidating as you can’t see the slopes under you. Starting your descent traverse a few meters to the skiers right before dropping in and riding down to 2100 meters on the Murchison Glacier where it is time to transition.

Looking to the Southeast you will notice another high peak with a low col to the west which is known as Starvation Saddle, this is what you are aiming for. Following the semi mellow terrain it is an easy climb up to the col and before long you are there and looking south at the Mannering Glacier. This ski starts a bit steep before mellowing out but you need to proceed with caution as there is usually an easily passable bergshrund under you. After making a few careful turns you can see the terrain below you and ride down for a few hundred meters before it is time to head back up. When we did this trip we turned back at around 1,900 meters as the glacier started to break up.

By now you just need to follow your ski tracks back up to the col before taking a small descent back to the main lobe of the Murchison Glacier. For the final climb of the day you need to make your way back up the Murchison Headwall which is best climbed with crampons and is quite straightforeword. It should be known that there can be a crevasse just below the saddle that you need to go over so proceed with caution. Once back on the saddle enjoy the last 30 minute skin back to the Kelman Hut where if it is still clear there are few better places to watch the sunset.

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



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.


3 out of 4

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

Best time to visit

between August and October


  • Alpine
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

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

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area