Advice for 3,000m summit (Cook National Park)
Hello, Recently arrived in NZ and keen to start ascending mountains. I have a life goal of climbing 25 3,000m mountains with 4 under my belt so far. At a glance most of your south island mountains are snow covered. Is this year round or do they melt off or become easier in the summer ( I know some if not all are glaciers) ? I am NOT a technical climber, just someone who enjoys a nice hard 2 day uphill hike. Can anyone suggest something in the 3,000 meter range that is accessible without ropes or any extra gear other than standard bag and good tent. I've visited the park website and haven't found a way to get in contact with a ranger to help set my itinerary. Also what is the best way to get from Christchurch to the park. Or should I fly in somewhere else?
all NZ's 3000m summits are steep, technical alpine climbing ascents , requiring alpine climbing experience with the appropriate alpine climbing equipment and knowledge of their usem such as ice axes and crampons , harness, ropes. if you don't have the experience, then hire a guide or join an alpine club to gain the experience otherwise it will be too dangerous and you shouldnt attempt it this is not an alpine climbing group, its a tramping or hiking group. at present there is avalanche danger at mt cook park , it isnt the climbing season there on the 3000m peaks because of the avalanche danger , its a summer climbing area
Hey mate, unfortunately the answer is no. None of the 3000m peaks in NZ are achievable without solid mountaineering skills. All involve year round snow and ice, and/or technical rock climbing. Mt Cook National Park in general features peaks that mostly require mountaineering equipment and knowledge. Don't let that put you off going to Mt Cook National Park as it is amazing and has some amazing spots for hikers (Mueller Hut, or you could consider getting a guided trip over ball pass). You can bus from Christchurch to Mt Cook. I myself set the goal of climbing a 3000m peak before I turned 30 and managed to pull it off last week in Italy (where it is considerably easier!). Are you wanting to learn to climb on snow and ice? I did a Technical Mountaineering Course at the Top of the Tasman glacier a couple of years ago which was absolutely magic. NZ alpine club or Canterbury mountaineering club are also great places to learn and they run beginner-advanced courses. There are plenty of other mountains that are lower (<3000m) and more achievable for hikers in NZ (i'm sure you will get plenty of suggestions in this thread). Bear in mind that climbing a 2000-2500m mountain in NZ will probably be a lot more taxing and probably just as rewarding as a 3000m mountain overseas as you are most likely starting at a lower elevation and on much rougher tracks (if there is a track at all) than you would in Europe for example. The 3000m peak I climbed last week was significantly less taxing than most of the 2000m-2300m peaks I'm used to climbing in Arthurs Pass! How long are you planning on going to Mt Cook for? If you put some more info up i'm sure others will help itinerary wise. But I would definitely lower your sights elevation wise in Mt Cook National Park in order to find something achievable (e.g. Mt Kitchener behind mueller hut). Plenty of big hiking mountains in the inland kaikouras that are fun (e.g. Mt Tapuae-o-Uenuku 2885m). Hope this helps
Good advice above. All summits over 2,900 m are within a 10-mile radius of Aoraki / Mount Cook. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mountains_of_New_Zealand_by_height Check out the Topo Map to get an idea of the contour lines and permanent ice fields at these altitudes. http://www.topomap.co.nz/NZTopoMap/nz26258/Aoraki%2fMount-Cook/Canterbury In summer it's possible to gain the tops of a number of 2000m peaks without the need of climbing/alpine equipment (but a helmet would be handy). Good luck with your life goal and take care in the NZ mountains, they are often underestimated.
I would second that Mt Tapuae-o-Uenuku is a great tramping summit that requires no technical skills in summer. Not sure how much snow — if any — is on it at the moment. However, in summer it is just a long rock scramble. Mt Alarm is right next door and only a few meters shorter. Both can be climbed in the same day from the Hodder huts. Alarm is steeper and has a short near vertical climb, however, you can achieve it without a rope if you are confident and dont mind a little exposure.
I'll second all the very sound comments above. You don't say how long you have in NZ; but if you do have some months available I'd suggest basing yourself in Christchurch and targeting the Arthurs Pass area. Definitely link up with one of the clubs like CTC, or similar, and find out what trips are available in that area. Arthurs is relatively accessible for people staring out and will give a good sense of what you're up against. The 3000m peaks here really are technical climbs for people with substantial skill and experience. Reading your OP it seems like you'll have a great time tackling many of the classic Southern Alp tramps, plenty of challenge and very enjoyable. It's an excellent goal, but may need some fine tuning for the Southern Alps. :-)
Of course, if you really want to tick off a 3000 m peak in the Mt Cook area, you could just throw lots of money at the situation and call up one of the alpine guiding companies in the area. Fly into one of the high huts with a guide or two, climb something, fly out the day after. Still a serious enough undertaking, they might want to schedule a couple of extra days to teach you / evaluate your competence before doing a real climb, but still a possibility. Talent, Time, Effort, Money, Luck If you're short on the first two, you'll need to maximise the next two. You could rely on dumb luck and get away with it, but then again you might not, consequences of not getting away with it in the big mountains are usually fairly serious.
@JETNZ >All summits over 2,900 m are within a 10-mile radius of Aoraki / Mount Cook. Except Mt Aspiring :smile:
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