Ball Pass, Mt Cook National Park

Looking across the Hooker valley to the icy ridges which lead up to the Copland Pass. This photo (OK its a bit posed!) is taken from one of my favourite campsites on a spur above the glacier - on the way to the Ball Pass. Although very exposed to potential storms, retreat to the valley floor can be rapidly achieved (though I haven't had to try at 3AM).

The Copland Pass

The Copland Pass (2200m) gives access to the West Coast via the Copland valley. Midway down the Copland valley are the remarkable Welcome Flat hot pools. Last century a tourist hotel was planned but never eventuated. The attempted construction of a road means that the springs are an easy walk in from the coast. The steep sided valley is not far above sea level, but is flanked by impressive 3000m peaks. As can be seen from this view, the crossing of the Copland Pass and descent into the Hooker valley is more than a walk. Tourists regularly underestimate the alpine aspect of this crossing and many have payed a high price. Still, it's a great alpine tramp and offers one of the few "easy" crossings of the Alps south of Arthur's Pass.

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Copyright (c) 1996 Jonathan Carr