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Pioneer to Chancellor hut

Mount Cook

A spectacular glacier journey

Alpine Climbing Easy

7.6 km
6 m
1.2 km
Low Point
1.2 km
High Point
2.4 km
Pioneer to Chancellor hut Map

A full descent of the upper Fox and Explorer glacier between two spectacularly positioned huts. Best done in early season before the glaciers begin to open up and after a good overnight freeze. Snow shoes may be advisable and an early start certainly is! Both huts are alpine hut with spaces available on a first come, first served basis. Helicopter pick up to Fox Glacier is cheaper from the Chancellor than the Pioneer hut. Weather forecasts are radioed in to each hut every evening so tune in to listen to the broadcast and respond with numbers staying in the huts.


Descend the steep snow slope just east of the Pioneer hut to the low angled glacier. Follow the glacier with relative ease down in a north-westerly direction aiming to the north of Chancellor Dome to avoid the most heavily crevassed section of glacier. Follow this line for further than you think, it's much easier and safer than walking into the maze of crevasses below despite the extra few hundred metres walking! Loop back south to where the east ridge of Chancellor Dome meets the glacier.

From the slight saddle to the east of Chancellor Dome, follow snow slopes the the south of the mountain down and alongside the edge of the glacier until you begin to drop more steeply to reach the dry ice and a flattening. Follow the flat dry ice to its end and look out for marker poles and a short section of rope dropping to the glacier, leading to a marked footpath to the Chancellor hut.



The ascent involves simple glacier hiking and/or short, straightforward rock scrambles. Equivalent to Alpine F, F+

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The route is well protected or easy enough that protection is not required.


3 out of 4

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

Best time to visit

between November and January

Equipment required

  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area