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Barron Saddle

Part of

Between Dobson Valley and the Mueller Glacier

POINT (169.9922281 -43.76096427)
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Reference Title Grade Length Pro Quality Operations
 Sealy Range Ski Touring, II II 0m

This range is south-west of Mount Cook Village, and has spectacular views across to Mount Cook and Mount Sefton, and across the Tasman Valley. Access is often by helicopter from Glentanner to Barron Saddle Hut, or by ski plane that lands at the head of the glacier. Barron Saddle Hut (DoC) is comfortable for up to 8 people but more have been known to squeeze in! A tent or snow cave could be established in the vicinity, although this area is exposed to very high winds. The hut that was the predecessor to the present hut was blown off the ridge in a particularly severe storm, killing its three occupants.
There are short slopes around the hut that can be skied. Below the hut sits the Mueller Glacier. A direct descent below the hut would take you over bluffs, but a 1 km traverse to the left (west) leads down onto the upper Mueller Glacier. In winter the Welchman and Bennie Glaciers on the true left of the Mueller could be skied.
In most winters and into spring the Mueller Glacier can be skied down valley on its right hand side until under Mt Ollivier, and a climbing traverse then taken up to the new Mueller Hut (DoC, 12 bunks) at 1780m. From Mueller Hut it’s a 2½-3 hour walk down a steep track past the Sealy Tarns to the road end. With a decent snow cover, half or more of this walk can be skied, e.g. as far as the Sealey Tarns. This is the best exit route from Barron Saddle Hut, and can be done in a day comfortably.
Mueller Hut itself is a good base for a weekend or long weekend in late spring. The ski tour to the upper Annette Plateau and Metelille Glacier and return is straightforward, and gives spectacular views and good turns.

  • P1
  • Alpine (Commitment) II

 Mueller Hut to Dobson River, 1+,II 1+,II 0m

From Mueller Hut
Head south and drop over the ridge down tussock and scree to the edge of the moraine wall and on to the moraine-covered glacier. A winter and spring option directly below the Metelille Glacier has also been used but it’s not as direct and not recommended without good snow cover. Once on the upper Mueller Glacier travel is relatively straightforward over moraine and ice up the centre until you are up against the north-east face of Scissors. Turn left and follow snow and scree benches to the easy-angled slopes near Barron Saddle. The actual saddle is the westernmost of two saddle. There is a precipitous drop into the Dobson from the eastern saddle. Barron Saddle Hut is on a shelf 400m to the north-east.
Descent to the Dobson
Head south-east form the saddle on easy slopes and descend a moderately steep rock gully to reach the stream draining the south-western slopes of Mt Darby and Mt Marie at about BY15 584 497. Sidle out on the true left on to a moraine ridge where where travel is easier into the upper valley.

  • P1
  • Alpine (Technical) 1+
  • Alpine (Commitment) II

Alex Palman