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FATMAP difficulty grade
This is an interesting line off the broad west shoulder of Mt.
Cook that takes a considerable amount of time to completely fill in.
I've scoped it out a few times earlier season and both cruxes had rocks.
Waiting until late spring was the play and we found excellent chalky pow and decent coverage through the chokes. Start near obvious rocks on the ridge crest being extremely careful about cornices.
We spent quite a bit of time making sure we weren't walking out on one.
The big couloir just to the west is heavily guarded by huge cornices. The first pitch of skiing is low angle but over a large cliff.
Descend until it's possible to turn right onto a snowy rib.
Here you're protected from overhead hazard and it's a good spot to regroup. The first crux is turning over the rib.
We found a little notch in the rocks but still found ourselves scraping over slabs.
Any less snow and we would have had to use the rope here.
Luckily snow conditions were soft and forgiving so a bit of dry skiing and we were through it! It's possible to stack up again here against the rock wall, totally protected from overhead hazard. Next drop down the obvious gully to the choke where the angle turns up to ~46deg.
This is an ice or rock step in early season.
Through the choke, you enter the bigger main couloir that's much lower angle but now you're exposed to cornices from above and the snow may be a bit bombed out.
Ski fast onto the apron and the moraines below! Slog back up the glacier to the NE to return to the Cook-Weart Col and Wedgemount Lake.