Skiing the Pacific Ring of Fire and Beyond
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OCEANIA MAP
  Mauna Kea
  Mauna Loa
  Haleakala
  Puncak Jaya (Mt Carstensz)
  Tongariro
  Ngauruhoe
  Ruapehu
  Taranaki (Mount Egmont)
  Aoraki (Mount Cook)


ANTARCTICA MAP





| Mount Cook from the pastoral valleys to the east,
with the neighboring Mount Tasman at right
(photo by Philip Temple)   <click to enlarge>

Aoraki   (Mount Cook)
    12316 ft (3754 m)     12349 ft (3764 m) before 1991 avalanche
        Highest point in New Zealand
.
Location: Southern Alps, South Island of New Zealand
Lat / Long: 43.6° S, 170.2° E
Volcanic Type: Non-volcanic
First Ascent: T. Fyfe, G. Graham, and J. Clarke, 1894
First Ski Descent: Geoff Wayatt, 1982
Skiable Vertical: up to 10000 ft (3000 m)
Administration:   Aoraki Mount Cook National Park



The Southern Alps are a large and heavily glaciated range which runs the length of the South Island of New Zealand. The moist maritime climate and extremely heavy precipitation sustain over 3000 glaciers in the range, the largest of which is the 18 mile (29 km) long Tasman Glacier which flows down the south side of the range to a terminus at 2300 ft (700 m). Located just to its west is New Zealand's highest peak, Aoraki (Maori for "the cloud piercer"), also known as Mount Cook. This is a steep and spectacular pyramid of rock and ice, a difficult climb by any route and a dangerous extreme ski descent from the knife-like ice-covered arete which leads to the summit. The summit block collapsed in December 1991, producing a large rock avalanche which ran down the East Face onto the Tasman Glacier over 9000 ft (2700 m) below and reduced the height of Aoraki by 33 ft (10 m), leaving the summit undermined and unstable. Much safer than the summit area and more popular with ski mountaineers are the neighboring glaciers (including the Tasman and Fox Glaciers), which can be accessed by ski-plane to provide superb runs of many miles in length. Numerous alpine huts through the region provide opportunities for multi-day ski traverses and tours. This is an exceptional area for ski mountaineering, although there is often foul weather at any time of the year.

Some useful links:  

    Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (official site)
    New Zealand Topo Online
    Satellite Image Atlas of Glaciers of the World:
        Irian Jaya, Indonesia, and New Zealand

   
   
Topographic map of the Mount Cook region (1:100,000 scale)
    from NZMS 180 Mount Cook & Westland National Parks
    <click to enlarge>



      More photos and info about routes, access, etc. may be added in the future ...


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Amar Andalkar   Seattle, WA, USA   <About the Author / Contact Me>
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