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Aoraki Mt Cook Low Pk


Approx 1.5 km south of the high peak

POINT (170.13942719 -43.60910951)
BX15 692 676
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Type Name
Face South Face
Face Caroline Face


Reference Title Grade Length Pro Quality Operations
 North West Couloir, 3 3

  • P1
  • Alpine (Mt Cook) 3

This is a general term for a number of routes leading from the Lower Empress Shelf onto the West Ridge. The most regular routes are up either the narrow or the broad couloir in the NW Buttress, and then up a broad gully or the rocks further left to gain the West Ridge at about 3200m where it flattens out. A commonly used descent route – but beware of rockfall in the lower part of the couloir – scene of a number of fatalities.

3.85 3.85West Ridge, 3+,IV 3+,IV

A fantastic, extended rock scramble, but a very long climb. Commence either at the foot of the main west ridge above Pudding Rock, or climb further left on snow to gain the ridge at certain points on the northern side, then proceed up on good rock. Accessing the ridge from the large snow ‘tongue’ feeding the southern end of the Empress Glacier probably provides the fastest route up Low Peak from the west, but many parties will prefer not to bypass the more interesting lower ridge. The strata leads onto the south face, so tend left until the ridge flattens at 3200m.

  • P1
  • Alpine (Technical) 3+
  • Alpine (Commitment) IV

Commencing either at the foot of main West Ridge above Gardiner Hut, or gaining the ridge at certain points on the northern side, follow up on good rock. From Gardiner Hut the ridge is a long climb. The strata lead onto the South Face, so tend left until the ridge flattens at 3200m.

 South (Hillary) Ridge, 4- 4-

  • P1
  • Alpine (Mt Cook) 4-

Formerly known as the South Ridge, renamed in honour of Sir Ed (who was part of the first ascent party) in August 2011. From the Noeline Glacier ascend to Endeavour Col (beware of rockfall – an alternative approach lies over Nazomi). Then ascend both the first and second steps on the east side. The third, crux step can be climbed direct. The rock is generally very loose. Then follow a classic arête to the summit.

Alex Palamn