A Week in Mt. Cook National Park Turns into a 18 Day Traverse

With a resupply of food in Twizel and a night in Mt. Cook Village Shannon and I met up with Chloe and Dan from Christchurch and my friends Christina and Peter from home in the states. We played our cards right and were able to get take a ski plane up the Tasman Valley.

Goodbye Mount Sefton, The Tasman Valley and comfort food

And past the Caroline Face of Mount Cook.

Um....Don't think I will be trying to ride that this season.

Waterfalls of Ice at the Grand Plateau

Looking up the Upper Tasman at Ellie De Beaumont

Looking down at the Tasman Saddle Hut

Flying over the Tasman Saddle with Ebens ski tracks heading down

And then we found ourselves at The Murchison Glacier.

Home for the first week

For the rest of the day we put in a bootpack up to the Murchison Hut and dug it out as we were going to be there for a week. It wasn’t until the second day that we started looking around our backyard.

Heading up the Ada Glacier

Looking down into the Godley Valley

We made our way over to the summit of a peak called Sydney King and noticed another group of two up there. We chatted and quickly found out it was Eben and his friend Jaimie from Seattle/AK this would be the only random group I ran into all season. We joined forces and made a loop heading down to the Classen glacier and up and back over to the Murchison.

Dropping into the Classen

Skirting above the Ice Cliff

Then down the Murchison glacier with our hut in the distance

The next day we decided to head up and check out the Tasman Saddle.

Climbing the Murchison Headwall

And get a view of the Main Divide.

What a view!!

Then we found excellent corn on riding back down the headwall.

Great conditions

Shannon, Dan and Chloe rode around on the glacier while Peter, Christina and i decided to make a detour and check out the Mannering Glacier.

Peter about to huck the Shrund

It was quite the quiet place.

For our final run we went back up to Starvation Saddle then summit a side peak and in the end making a huge descent back to the valley floor.

Not a bad view, eh?

I could ride lines like this everyday for the rest of my life.

The next day we decided to head towards the Divide and attempt to ride Mt. Mannering.

Heading up and over Classen Saddle

But the weather clung to the Divide and we didn’t feel like navigating through a White out.

Clouds on the Divide

So we rode back down to the Murchison and came up with another plan.

Hanging out with Mount Cooper in the background

We decided to head to the summit of Mount Cooper.

Another Summit

And make a descent down the Eastern Faces.

Dropping Cooper to the Murchison Glacier

That afternoon we watched the weather changing and relived we were going to be in the hut for a few days.

Starting to look bad

The next morning there was a small weather window and Dan, Chloe and Shannon decided to get a heli out. I originally planned on leaving with them but figured out a way to stretch my 7 days of food out and stay as on the glaciers as long as the skiing was still good.

I can make this last

The next two days we would get a small weather window but they were just teases as the clouds would come back in as we made it into the high country.

The suns out

Run!!! The clouds are coming in

The next two days the storm raged but what started as rain turned to snow in the end.

My board is plastered with maripow

We were getting stir crazy so decided to move base up to the Kelman hut after heading back for a lap on the Mannering.

Powder in Late October

Don't touch my tracks

Then up and over the Tasman Saddle to our new zone for the week.

Welcome to the Tasman Glacier

That afternoon we waited for the Sunset Alpenglow before doing our final descent of the day.

Sunset Pow turns

and watched the darkness arrive knowing we were going to be hutbound for the next few days at the Kelman Hut.

Looking down the Tasman at De La Beche

Looking towards the Murchison Glacier

The next two days we were stormed in and hanging out on the Fridge on the Ridge.

Peter hanging out and all of us drying our boot liners.

Luckily it once again came down as snow so we decided that when the weather did clear we needed to start riding as soon as possible because the sun was going to destroy all the new.

The next clear morning I woke up early and watched the alpenglow.

De La Beche

Looking toward the Murchison

and the sun is out

We got our gear together and made sure to ride the Tasman before the sun hit it.

Hurry!! Before the sun hits it

It turned out to be awesome conditions.

Glacier Pow turns

Once we got to Darwins corner we changed direction and started heading towards The Hochstetter Dome.

Nothing better than breaking trail

Mount Cook and the Tasman Glacier in the distance

Making it to the top

From the summit we were looking directly down towards the West Coast and a true Tiger Country.

Tiger Country!!!

Ellie De Beaumont and NZ spines

Eh, just the Main Divide

and we dropped the Hochstetter in awesome powder conditions.

DROPPING!!!

What started as POW ended as slush

The next day we decided to head up the Darwin Glacier and see what that area had to offer.

Heading up the Darwin

And checked out the views around Hamilton Peak

Not a bad view

Looking down the Darwin Glacier where it connects with the Tasman

We found the skiing to be in perfect corn conditions.

Dropping!!!

Before taking a nice rest on the Tasman Glacier.

Not bad!

I’ve skinned in some amazing zones but I think the Tasman may take the cake.

Super quiet other than all the helicopters hovering above us

That afternoon we took one final lap off the Darwin Shoulder.

Looking up the Tasman towards Ellie De Beaumont

Than took in our final sunset from the Kelman hut.

Goodnight D Archiac

The next day we woke up super early and rode down the Tasman and started heading up and over the Rudolph Saddle towards the West Coast.

Heading down the Tasman to De La Beche corner

There's Glacier under there

Heading up the Rudolph Glacier

Finally getting back on the snow

Graham Saddle on the right side above the Ice cliffs

Then we had to get up and around the Ice cliffs which was by far the crux of the trip traversing bulletproof steep slopes where falling isn’t an option.

The route up is on the right hand side than onto the main glacier after the Ice cliff

And then we were up on the West Coast looking towards the Tasman Sea and heading to the Centennial Hut.

Skinning on the Franz Josef Glacier

The weather was calling to be miserable for the next few days but the next morning we were able to get out and stretch our legs.

This isn't a glacier it is a ice pleateu

Ellie De Beaumont looks crazy from every aspect

More Tiger Country

The next two days we were stormed in but once the weather cleared we got up early in the morning and made our way up and over to the Fox Glacier.

Is that blue sky? Run while we have a chance

Heading up and over West Hoe Pass

Then off to the Fox Glacier

We wanted to stay at the Pioneer hut and explore the Fox glacier for multiple days but the storm was once again coming in and Christina and Peter had a plane to catch so we explored the glacier for the rest of the day before heading down to the Chancellor hut.

Rad zone but those Crevasses are hiding everywhere

That afternoon it was time to descend off down the Fox glacier and make our way onto solid ground.

Heading down the Fox

Peter heading by the Seracs

When in doubt stay right

We were able to make it down to a spot where we climbed back onto solid ground. The thing that really surprised me was the happiness to see green, smell the vegetation and watch the Kea. That night we stayed in the Chancellor Hut and waited for a early morning back heli flight down to the town of Fox.

The view from a hut built in 1912

In the end the trip was 18 days traversing throught two National Parks and up and over the Divide. I had no intention of doing the traverse but in the end was very happy that I came along. While Peter and Christina took a plane back to the U.S. I was on a plane to experience the Volcanoes of the North Island.

Stoked to be back in civilization and for Peter to get his Soda

Thank you to Peter and Christina you were awesome company.

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