From Hooker valley to Tasman valley

Type: 
Alpine
Description: 
White Horse Hill carpark to Eastern Hooker valley From the White Horse Hill carpark, follow the Hooker valley track across three swingbridges until almost at the lake. Veer right on a faint ground trail to pick up the original East Hooker route, and follow this along a series of lateral moraine terraces for three to four hours to reach the large shingle and tussock fan, beneath Mabel. Several side streams are creating very large incisions into the moraines terraces, so a few strenuous detours are required. These incisions will only worsen with time — eventually this route will go the way of the old Hooker Hut track, which is now impassable. Check with DOC for the latest information on the condition of the East Hooker track. White Horse Hill to East Hooker shingle fan: 4–5 hours Eastern Hooker valley to the Playing Fields From the large shingle and tussock fan, climb up the distinct gully north-east, which leads to a prominent shoulder below Mt Mabel known as the Playing Fields. Water or snow melt is often available at the top of the gully. The Playing Fields are usually the best place to camp as they put you within striking distance of the pass in the morning. The shingle fan on the East Hooker terraces also provides good camping but results in a big second day. East Hooker shingle fan to the Playing Fields: 1.5 hours Playing Fields to Ball Pass From the Playing Fields, climb up scree slopes to the north-east, which lead to scree shelves forming a large Z through the bluffs. Climb the shelves (don’t climb too high), then follow an exposed ledge to the north to a small shoulder on the ridge running down between Mt Mabel and Mt Rosa. This is an important point to pick up when travelling in the reverse direction, as it provides the safest way through the bluffs. Take your time finding the right spot. A clear foot track runs through the traverse when clear of snow. After the bluffs, travel north across slabs and scree, descending slightly around the base of a spur from Mt Rosa, and then make a long, gently rising traverse on 30 degree slopes to Ball Pass. (When descending from the pass in the opposite direction, make sure you head left beneath Mt Rosa. If you head straight down you’ll find yourself in a small steep gorge.) Playing Fields to Ball Pass: 2–3 hours Ball Pass to Ball Hut On the east side of Ball Pass, descend the shrinking Ball Glacier north-east to about 2060m (some decent campsites here), then turn right (south-east) to pick up Ball Ridge — the ridge leading down to Pt1936m and Caroline Hut. Follow the ridge past the hut, avoiding two difficult sections below the hut by traversing on the eastern side if the ridge. The lower part of the ridge near the Ball-Tasman confluence, where the old track went, has eroded away. The newer route currently leaves the ridge at a level section of track on the narrow ridge crest. Look for cairns. The route descends a boulder scree field and then through scrub to reach the remnants of the Ball Hut road. Ball Hut (BX16 733 658) is a tiny shelter with a radio, water, and sleeping benches for three people, but no kitchen equipment. There are good campsites and a toilet nearby. Ball Pass to Ball Hut: 4-5 hours Ball Hut to the Tasman valley road The route between Ball Hut and the Blue Lakes carpark at the end of the Tasman valley road is well marked with poles and cairns. 2WD Access is currently practical for about one kilometre beyond the Blue Lakes carpark, and 4WDs can reach Celmisia Flat, but this is subject to change without warning due to frequent erosion damage. Check with the Aoraki Mt Cook Visitor Centre for up-to-date information. Between Blue Lakes carpark and Ball Hut: 2 hours
Pitch(es): 
#EwbankAlpine (Technical)Alpine (Commitment)Alpine (Mt Cook)AidWater IceMixedBoulder (Hueco)LengthBoltsTrad
11+I0mNo
Grade: 
I 1+
Quality: 
1.02
Gone: 
0
Length: 
0m
Bolts: 
0
Natural pro: 
0
Ascent: 
George Mannering, Arthur Harper, January 1890
UUID: 
9ed30a25-8987-44a3-86a6-674eb310ed33