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Category: Mt Cook

Mt Wakefield powder turns..

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By , September 26, 2016 1:35 am
Mt Wakefield

Mt Wakefield

Situated at the corner of the Tasman and Hooker valleys, Mt. Wakefield is visible from almost anywhere in the valley. After a good southerly dump, it can provide some pretty nice skiing, given the snow line is low – around the 700m mark or below.

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Mt Edgar Thomson

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By , September 15, 2015 9:34 pm
Skiing Mt Edgar Thomson, lake Pukaki in background

Skiing Mt Edgar Thomson, lake Pukaki in background

A solid day trip from Mt Cook, this route ascends the 2379m Mt Edgar Thomson. The lower section of the route ascends up the Hoophorn Valley. There are incipient animal tracks to follow interspersed with some river bashing and tussock slopes. Take a watershed on the true right of the Hoophorn to point 1488. Hopefully skis should be on by here for the skin up to the summit. There are some steeper slopes to ascend and so crampons and an axe might be considered. I would estimate around 7-10 hours return. A good level of fitness and some mountaineering skills would be required. Continue reading 'Mt Edgar Thomson'»

Cass Valley – Liebig Range

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By , October 25, 2014 7:45 am
Skiing down the western faces of the Liebig range, Murchison Gl in background

Skiing down the western faces of the Liebig range, Murchison Gl in background

A ski tour loop with stunning views down into the Murchison Glacier.

The Cass River lies on the western side of Lake Tekapo. Access is solely through Glenmore Station and booking ahead is necessary as the run-holders rent out the huts on a nightly basis to ski tourers, hunters etc. For bookings call Will Murray on 03 6806 752 or 0211869087.

The access road is generally pretty sweet as Will runs a grader up there to keep the access easy. Most cars can make it up to just shy of Waterfall hut. After that a little clearance is required but any street SUV should be able to manage the track until to a tributary about 2.5 ks south of Memorial hut. The final 2 ks might take a nudge more but is nothing too strenuous. Continue reading 'Cass Valley – Liebig Range'»

Mt Sibbald

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By , September 1, 2014 6:17 am
Skiing Mt Sibbald, Mt DÁrchaic in background

Skiing Mt Sibbald, Mt DÁrchaic in background


A classic ski mountain, Mt Sibbald has 1800m vertical from the base to summit. Situated up the Macauley River it takes just under 3 hours of 4wd action to get there from Tekapo. The initial section of  road to Lilybank station is straight forward, but from  Lilybank to Macauley Hut it is 4wd country. The 4wd section starts with a marked crossing of the Macauley river which is pretty straight forward, but if there has been any rain or moderate snow-melt it would be best in a unimog. In spring this river is also popular with jet-boaters, to give you an indication of possible flow. If in doubt have a look at the website for Environment Canterbury – Check out the Ahuriri river which is monitored. If the flow is around 30 cumecs or below the Macauley should be ok.

After the crossing the route is rutted for the initial section, then improves vastly until the last half hour which is riverbed travel, incipient tracks, lots of bumping around and river crossings. You will need a low range gearbox and some clearance (read: Landcruiser not RAV 4).

Macaulay hut is possibly the nicest hut in the NZ back country. There is electricity, running water, gas stoves, kitchen utensils, double beds even!. Pure luxury. Continue reading 'Mt Sibbald'»

Mt Mannering via Whataroa and Classen Saddles

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By , May 26, 2014 8:09 am
SW spur of Mt Mannering

SW spur of Mt Mannering

A great adventure ski tour crossing the main divide with a spectacular summit. From Murchison hut ascend the glacier on the opposite side of the valley heading towards point 2178. The glacier steepens at around the 1900m mark to 2000m mark and for us required cramponing. We did this in November with a low snow pack and warmish temperatures.


Once above 2000m easy benches lead  northwards over Classen Saddle. Easy skinning leads up a large basin towards Whataroa Saddle which is incorrectly marked on the map. To cross the divide look for a small saddle about 20m West of point 2442. There are stupendous views from here down the Whymper Glacier, and over to the East face of Elie De Beaumont. Continue reading 'Mt Mannering via Whataroa and Classen Saddles'»

Joie de Vivre Glacier ski tour, Mt Cook N.P.

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By , December 11, 2013 10:15 am
The col at top Joie de Vivre Gl., Mt Mannering in background

The col at top Joie de Vivre Gl., Mt Mannering in background


A great ski tour requiring a good level of fitness and glacier skills. We skied this late season in mid November in a low snow year.

The Murchison is a good staging point for several good ski tours. The Murchison hut is good and tidy with fuel and blankets and sleeps about 8. It sits high on the shoulder of Mt Cooper and is quite a slog up from the glacier, and the access is subject to potential rock fall and avalanche activity. Hence another good alternative is to camp on the glacier if your access in is via helicopter. However many tourers access this area after hitching a flight to Tasman Saddle which can be cheaper and more frequent; then ski the Murchison Headwall down to the Hut and base out of there in order to not have to carry too much gear. The Headwall to the hut is a straightforward ski after negotiating the bergshrund at the start. The route down tends to the true left of the glacier. Continue reading 'Joie de Vivre Glacier ski tour, Mt Cook N.P.'»

Mt Cook – East Face & Mt Tasman ski descent

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By , October 16, 2012 9:29 am

Quite a bit has been written already about these two ski descents by Fredrico Varengo, however I wanted to put them in here for the record as they are milestones in NZ ski mountaineering history.

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Twin Stream – Kai Tarau

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By , October 9, 2012 5:48 am

more turns Twin Stream

Twin Stream is well known for its rock climbing walls but in winter it has some good and steep lines to be skied.
You can either walk in or fly in; about 4 hours walking vs 5 minutes flying: $0 vs $350 a load. Contact Heliline Glentanner at 0800 650 651 and make sure you ask for a quote including GST, landing fees and whatever else fees apply, they tend to forget to mention it in the quote.

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Ski descent Mt La Perouse – ski mountaineering

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By , October 8, 2012 3:40 am

Freddy Varengo skied this line from Mt La Perouse’s summit this winter 2012. Its an aesthetic line on a big face, and really quite bold. The earlier part of the route put him under the hanging glacier which threatens pretty much the first half of the route. As Freddy points out it doesn’t look big in the photo but actually the ice cliff is huge. He said it had him worried, but he was travelling so fast that it didn’t matter. There were also several large slots that gave him trouble on the way up.

Ski descent Mt La Perouse


Once he got to the traverse across the bench 2/3 of the way up he put his skis on to glide across , before ascending the couloir to the summit. Once again Freddy had great conditions and enjoyable skiing. He skied the bench traverse with a glide (no boot-packing), and had several large jumps to clear crevasses. Nice line.


Also whilst in the area Freddy skied Sturdee Peak – for which I can’t find a photo.

Mt Elie De Beaumont

By , June 14, 2012 9:07 am

Ascending to col between Mt Walter and Elie De Beaumont

Elie De Beaumont is a classic ski tour at the head of the Tasman Glacier. It offers quality fall line skiing from a 3000m, heavily glaciated peak, right on the main divide of the Southern Alps. Views from the summit extend to the West coast, as well as down the Tasman glacier to the MacKenzie country in the east. Continue reading 'Mt Elie De Beaumont'»

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