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.