FATMAP by Strava

The Sky Piercer: East Face of Mt Cook.

Mount Cook

Riding the East Face of Mt. Cook with Sam Smoothy, Nadine Wallner & Fraser McDougall

Ski Touring Extreme

7.7 km
1.4 km
1.4 km
5-6 hrs
Low Point
2.1 km
High Point
3.4 km
The Sky Piercer: East Face of Mt Cook. Map

This face is rarely in condition and the weather in New Zealand makes it particularly tough to find a "window" in which to attempt the face. We thought we would have to turn back due to ice, but were incredibly lucky to have really good conditions nearly to the summit ridge.


We started from the Plateau hut, crossing the glacier on skins at 2am before putting on crampons to head over the Bergschrund and on up the face. The face was in better condition than we anticipated, but ice axes and crampons were still a requirement.

We arrived on the summit ridge at about 9am in the morning and had an amazing ride back down the face, patience paid off.

Featured in The Sky Piercer Movie - watch online at Red Bull.com here: https://www.redbull.com/int-en/tv/film/AP-1XCA8N5311W11



Extreme skiing terrain above 45 degrees. These routes are reserved for experienced experts.

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 September and October


  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area