3
days

The Ball Pass Hike - Mount Cook National Park

The challenging but rewarding Ball Pass hike is a 3-day alpine crossing from the Mount Cook Range in the Tasman Valley to the Hooker Valley. Ball Pass is just to the south of the South Ridge of Mount Cook. The route allows close views of New Zealand's highest mountains and most spectacular alpine scenery.

Fitness: To enjoy this expedition you need to be fit! You will be hiking/climbing on steep, rugged untracked alpine terrain with snow slopes using ice axed and crampons.

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Itinerary

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1
Lake Tekapo to Mt Cook Village and up to the Caroline Hut (6 Hours)

After an equipment check in the beautiful Lakeside town of Tekapo we travel to Mount Cook Village (about 1 hour), transfer to 4WD vehicle for the old Ball Hut Road (about 45 minutes) then commence walking. From the Tasman Glacier you climb 850 m/2800 ft up the Ball Ridge to the iconic Caroline Hut at 1800 m/6000 ft, perched right opposite the awe-inspiring Caroline Face of the mighty Mount Cook. The 360 panorama includes Aoraki Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, all the mountains adjoining the Tasman Glacier, and Lake Pukaki. The hut is fully stocked with food, firewood, sleeping bags, cooking and eating utensils, but some fresh items of food need to be carried, e.g. bread, fruit, vegetables, meat. 6 hours trekking.

2
CLIMBING SKILLS NEAR CAROLINE HUT (5-6 Hours Walking)

Learn the basic but vital skills on how to use crampons and an ice axe, how to self-arrest so you can be confident and safely cross the many snow slopes while climbing Peak (2222) south of the Ball Pass with dramatic views of the South Ridge of Aoraki/Mount Cook.There maybe time to explore a crevasse on the Ball Glacier. While back at Caroline Hut we take time to watch the sun set on Mt Tasman and observe ice avalanches as they thunder down the Caroline Face - you are out amongst it!

3
CROSSING THE BALL PASS (8-12 HOURS)

Cross the famous Ball Pass, 2130 m/7000 ft. Now the view opens to the South Face of Aoraki/Mt Cook and the mighty Hooker and Mueller Glaciers, Mount Sefton and the Copeland Pass. The descent from the Ball Pass is very steep and snow conditions will require the use of your crampons. If the conditions get icy, we will require a fixed rope tactic to manage the climb more safely. The terrain is very rugged and there is no track but this is where the skills of your professional mountain guide come into play to find us a safe route around the huge gorges and bluffs all the way down to the East Hooker Valley. Following old moraine terraces we move through some of the most lush vegetation found in the National Park. We make our way back down to Mount Cook Village, before returning to Lake Tekapo to enjoy a well earned proper cafe coffee!

                                                         ITINERARY ENDS

INTERESTED IN AN OVERNIGHT GLACIER HIKE

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The Chancellor Dome Overnight Hike on the Fox Glacier is a cracker. This is one of the most stunning glaciers and natural wonders in the country, At 13 km (8 miles) The mighty Fox Glacier (Te Moeka o Tuawe) is the longest West Coast glaciers, and its massive 36 square km (22 Mile) neve is bigger than the size of the whole of Christchurch city! Read further details in our blog on the:
Chancellor Dome Overnight Glacier Hike.