Plateau Hut, Mt Cook National Park
Plateau hut - one of the high altitude huts which serve climbers in the park.
Plateau hut sits on the edge of the Grand Plateau, beneath the East face of Mt Cook. Access is gained from the Tasman Glacier via the notorious Haast Ridge. The hut is sited precariously above the Hochstetter ice fall which plummets 1000m in to the Tasman Glacier below. (I think the hut was blown off twice during its construction). The hut is now the base for the majority of climbs on Mt Cook and Mt Tasman as well as their surrounding 3000m neighbours. Consequently, it is often crowded with climbers who have flown in with all the food and gear that flying allows. However, if you fly in, you haven't climbed the hill! The Eastern side of the Alps tend to be more accessible, while the West is more remote and exposed to the weather.
We elected to camp out on Glacier Rock. Not so much because of ethics, the weather nor the history (this was where many first attempts on Cook were staged last century) but rather, we didn't want to pay the $14NZ hut fees!
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Copyright (c) 1996 Jonathan Carr