Aoraki/Mount Cook

Elevation (feet): 12,316
Elevation (meters): 3,754
Continent: Australia/Oceania
Country: New Zealand
Range/Region: South Island
Latitude: -43.594934
Longitude: 170.141895
Difficulty: Basic Snow/Ice Climb
Best months for climbing: Feb, Mar
Year first climbed: 1894
First successful climber(s): Tom Fyfe, George Graham, Jack Clarke
Nearest major airport: Christchurch, New Zealand
Convenient Center: Mount Cook Village, New Zealand

Thanks to Terrill Thompson for contributing to these details. (View history)

Aoraki/Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Its mile-long summit crest towers over 8,000 feet above a vast network of glacier-filled valleys, and three main peaks rise from the crest. Its isolated location near the west coast makes it vulnerable for sudden storms, which are often long and severe. Violent weather, crevasses, and avalanches have all taken lives on the mountain.

The glaciers here are extensive, wrapping the entire mountain in ice. The most substantial of these is the Tasman Glacier, the longest glacier in New Zealand. The glacier flows along the eastern side of the mountain, where it is fed by several smaller glaciers, then continues south for over eighteen total miles. It starts in a large neve below Mt Elie de Beaumont and from there flows 18 miles to the south. it is replenished in its lower reaches by the spectacular hochstetter icefall which drains the Grand Plateau, an enourmous amphitheater of ice coming off the slopes of Mts Cook and Tasman (among others).

Aoraki/Mount Cook became the official name of the mountain in 1998, combining the Māori and English names.

Mount Cook Village is in a valley just south of the mountain. This is the hub for a tremendous variety of routes to the summit, including an increasingly popular Grand Traverse of all three summit peaks.

Huts are plentiful throughout the mountain, particularly on the east slopes, which is the normal route.

For the less technical mountain enthusiast, a popular trek is the Copland Track, a beautiful multi-day hike, with huts, from Mount Cook Village across the main divide of the Southern Alps, descending to rainforest on the western side and terminating on the main west coast highway near the Tasman Sea.

Aoraki/Mount Cook lost 10 meters (33 feet) in elevation following a large rock avalanche

on the East Face of the mountain on December 14, 1991. The avalanche left the summit undermined and unstable and further falls could reduce the height further.

Trip Reports

NOTE: Trip reports were previously called "Summit Logs" - same feature, new name

There are 20 trip reports for Aoraki/Mount Cook.

Select any entry from the list below:

  • Log #21416 - by Gunilla Jungqvist on Sep 04, 2008
    Was very lucky, had perfect weather for the climb. Went by helicopter to the Plateau Hut, started out immediatly from the hut and walked to the Bowie Bivy where we stayed over night. We were the only...
  • Log #20790 - by remus coman on May 26, 2007
    one of the best peak to climb. very challenging. lots of different routs to chouse from depends of the your skills and fitness. very nice and clean area.
  • Log #20705 - by Louis Kosztelny on Mar 23, 2007
    Std route from the Plateau hut via the Linda glacier. Warm conditions, the glacier was rather broken up. Perfect summit day, but got very hot during the descent. Recommend to attempt earlier in the...
  • Log #1316 - by Simon Houston on July 14, 2004
    Up Zubriggans ridge with Mark O'Sullivan (IRL), accompanied by our Aussie mates Mike and Noel. We brought Black Bush Whisky to drink on top..yum!
  • Log #1317 - by mike kendon and lizzie kennett on June 03, 2004
    Summited Mt Cook at 11am after leaving Plateau Hut at midnight - via the Linda Glacier Route. This was the same day that Mark Inglis climbed Cook. A perfect day in perfect weather, but physically...
  • Log #1318 - by alistair meikle on May 20, 2004
    soloed east ridge-beautiful
  • Log #1319 - by John Kazanas on Feb 04, 2004
    Summited Mt Cook via the Linda with Steve Hunt on December 22nd, 2003. Visit
  • Log #1320 - by Bruce on Nov 09, 2003
    Great climb going back this year for a different route, and some of the other mountains.
  • Log #1321 - by Armando Corvini on Nov 08, 2003
    I climbed the East Face of Mount Cook by the Linda Glacier and Linda Shelf to the summit. The weather was perfect with lots of fresh snow,wich made the ascent quite dangeroused.
  • Log #1322 - by Armando Corvini on Nov 08, 2003
    Ray and I, climbed the classic Zurbriggen Ridge, on the East face of Cook. We reached the Summit rocks, about 100m below the summit, when caught by bad weather we had to bivouac into a cravass, its...
  • Log #1323 - by Armando Corvini on June 14, 2003
    Climbed the West Face of Mt.Cook via the Linda Glacier and Linda Shelf to Summit, with Berhard and Lhinda, a German couple how I meet at Plateau Hut. Excellent snow and very beautiful weather, no...
  • Log #1324 - by Armando Corvini on June 13, 2003
    Steve and I summited Mt.Cook from the Linda Glacier, Linda Shelf to Summit. Started from Hut at 4.30am. Summited in high wind and very cold condition at 12noon.
  • Log #1325 - by Armando Corvini on June 13, 2003
    We climbed the Hooker Face of Mt.Cook. From Empress Hut, we started climbing at 4.45am. We reached the High Peak of Cook at 12noon. Wonderful and steep face.
  • Log #1326 - by Shelley and Alannah on May 25, 2003
    bring lots of chocolate good energy food
  • Log #1327 - by Richard & Christopher Harris on May 24, 2003
    THE YOUNGEST ASCENT BY 12 Year old CHRISTOPHER HARRIS Mt Cook Expedition Christopher and Richard boarded a porter ski plane on Sunday afternoon (1/12/02) to fly up to Plateau Hut (2210m) on the...
  • Log #1329 - by erlangga on May 24, 2003
    I reach the peak until 14 hrs summit attack from plateau hut where I stay for abaout 1 weeks waiting a horrible cyclon the scenery I realize "it's gorgeous" the mountain tops pierces the...
  • Log #1330 - by erlangga on May 24, 2003
    I reach the peak until 14 hrs summit attack the scenery I realize "it's gorgeous" the mountain tops pierces the cloud as the Maoris said : Aorangi (cloud pierced mts) was 12 years...
  • Log #1331 - by Gareth Dyer on May 01, 2000
    Did the Grand Traverse of Mt Cook with Nick Rose and Pete Gamble on 29 Dec 99.
  • Log #1332 - by David Lim on July 13, 1999
    Climbed it via Zurbriggen's Ridge, a terrifica climb - 900 vertical metres of 55degree hard grey ice ( at that time of year ), til the Linda Shelf and then the summit rocks to the summit...
  • Log #1333 - by Lee Gordon on May 06, 1999
    Do the grand traverse it is worth the extra time.