Mt De La Beche, Mt Cook National Park

Beneath Mt De La Beche at the top of the Rudolph Glacier, looking South towards Mt Cook. The distinctive "flat" summit ridge (NZ's highest mile) and the East face of Mt Cook appear in the centre of the picture. The rounded ice summit of Mt Tasman (to the right) appears to be almost as high as Cook. The Main Divide forms a ridge of 3000m peaks extending northeast from Mt Dampier (just below the high peak of Mt Cook). It includes Mt Tasman and the Minarets right up to Elie de Beaumont. The Tasman glacier fills the valley on the Eastern side while the 2000m ice and rock wall of the Divide hides the neves of the Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers in the West. These can be accessed via Graham's saddle which is just out of the picture, to the right and below us. The Tasman Sea is only a few km away.

The skiis look good, but they had to be carried 20kms up the Tasman moraine. We set off from De La Beche corner - having to descend 200m down the moraine wall on to the Tasman Glacier before joining the Rudolph glacier was a bit annoying. Despite what the guide book says, I think De La Beche ridge might be the better way to go. We also discovered why it pays to avoid the ice fall midway up the Rudolph. The greatest problem on this trip was the extreme heat and UV.

Routes on Mt Cook

The East ridge of Cook - a popular technical route - leads from the Grand Plateau up the skyline ridge on the left, culminating at the middle peak. The shorter skyline ridge on the right, leading from the high peak, is the difficult North ridge by which Cook was first climbed on Christmas Day 1895. It ends at Green's Saddle which gives access to the Hooker valley. The little rocky pyramid peak to the right of the saddle is Mt Dampier which is on the Divide propper. Zurbriggen's Ridge descends directly towards the viewer from the high peak via a series of rocky steps. The "easy" Linda Glacier route ascends the Glacier between Zurbriggen's and the North ridge. It skirts beneath ice cliffs known as the "Gun barrels" (for unpleasant reasons) and joins Zurbriggen's ridge at the last band of rock known as the Summit rocks - the crux of the climb. As with many "easy" routes in NZ, the Linda Glacier has a high level of objective danger. The Linda Glacier is very active, and new crevasses or disappearing snow bridges can be expected on the descent in Summer.

Mt Cook overview | Back to Jonathan's gallery
Copyright (c) 1996 Jonathan Carr