Glacier Peak

Mount Cook

A rightly popular New Zealand 3,000er

Also in Canterbury, New Zealand

Alpine Climbing Moderate

Distance
5.4 km
Ascent
680 m
Descent
680 m
Low Point
2.3 km
High Point
2.9 km
Gradient
28˚
Glacier Peak Map

This popular itinerary is the easiest 3,000m peak accessible from the Pioneer hut. It rises up to the spectacular dividing ridge line of the Southern Alps and in good conditions is a relatively fast journey. Whilst not technically difficult, its ascent does involve sustained steep snow slopes and good route choice to negotiate crevasses and bergschrunds. It's recommended that you get a view of the route the previous day as much of the ascent might be made in the early morning. Two snow pickets will be found to be useful for some teams. An early start is advised to climb the mountain whilst its snow slopes are frozen.

Description

From the Pioneer hut, drop down the short but steep slope to the Explorer Glacier and follow this, rising gently, up to the left hand side of the glaciated face beneath Glacier Peak. Negotiate the bergschrund, which is often the crux of the route, and ascend sustained snow slopes for some 200m above to an often icy final section leading up to the summit ridge. The ridge is much easier in angle and a fantastic place to get the camera out for sunrise pictures. Follow this ridge easily to the summit. The ridge to the south is also the ordinary route for Douglas Peak and so take the opportunity to plan for future adventures!

Return via the same route. Many teams will choose to use snow pickets to protect some sections of the descent. In a hot summer it's also prudent to leave snow shoes at the foot of the face in case the surface of the snow has softened in the time it has taken you to climb Glacier Peak.

Difficulty

Moderate

May involve slightly more complex glacier hikes, easy but possibly long rock ridges and steep snow up to 45 degrees. Equivalent to PD, PD+

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The route features some exposed and/or difficult to protect sections.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

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

Best time to visit

January, November, December

Equipment required

  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit
  • 2 Ice Axes

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area