Place info

Copland Pass

(1 route)

Trans-apline crossing route

  • 2150m



Trans-apline crossing route

H36 756 241
BX15 657 625
Reference Name Grade Quality Length Comments Actions
1+ , ,
One or more images in route detail.
  1. Getting on to the Copland Ridge. The route immediately beyond Hooker Hut has deteriorated markedly. For current route information consult park staff at the visitor centre. Don’t go to Hooker Hut. A safer and more enjoyable route is to continue along the Hooker Glacier past the Copland Gully to the next moraine terrace. Use the gully beyond this terrace to access the slumped vegetated section of terrace and then the terrace itself. Climb onto the Copland Ridge directly, through pleasant vegetation. The original Copland track started with a zig zag at the base of the ridge before the gut became impassable. That track is still evident and usable in places.
  2. Copland Ridge. Once on the ridge follow it to where it narrows, and tends left across scree slopes (may involve snow in early summer). Above here negotiate some bluffs keeping just left of the crest of the ridge. The route alternates from left to right, before the ridge then narrows again and flattens before it reaches the Copland Shelter (1960m). [When descending it is possible to drop into the Copland Gully from the lower reaches of the ridge and follow it down to the Hooker Glacier – but keep in mind that this is an avalanche gully. Access into the gully from all directions has deteriorated significantly and so this route is not recommended.]
  3. Copland Shelter -’ Westland. Above the shelter climb to the right of the rock ridge, tending right on a steep diagonal until flat snow is reached. The Copland Pass is any one of a number of rock notches, but the best one to use is the leftmost notch. Late in the summer schrunds on the eastern slopes and adjacent to the rock can present difficulties. On the western side, descend a steep rock gully (50m) and follow a series of easy snow basins (marked occasionally with cairns) into a stream that gradually steepens. Keep to the left of the stream/gully until a zigzag track can be picked up. The Copland Pass is an alpine crossing requiring some alpine experience and the necessary equipment. It should not be taken lightly. At least some members of the party should be familiar with the use of ice axes, crampons and ropes. A good tactic is to travel from the village to Copland Shelter on the first day. This allows an early (and rested) start to the pass itself and it gets most of the uphill done on the first day. Village to Copland Shelter 6-8hrs. Copland Shelter to Pass ~1hr. Copland Shelter to Douglas Rock Hut 6-8hrs.

Edward FitzGerald and Mattias Zurbriggen used the pass to the south (‘FitzGerald’) of the Copland Pass in February 1895, whereas Arthur Harper crossed the Copland Pass in March 1895.

Alex Palman
This place appears in: 
Aoraki Mount Cook: a guide for mountaineers




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