Best time to visit New Zealand

Climbing Mount Cook in New Zealand

When you reach the summit of Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest peak, you will feel like a conqueror of the world

Best time: November–early January

Climbing Mount Cook
Climbing Mount Cook

Those who do not choose simple ways in their lives and crave new achievements, will not choose a helicopter tour, but would rather challenge themselves with the ascent to the summit of the highest mountain in New Zealand called Mount Cook, also known as Aoraki, which is its Maori name meaning "cloud piercer".

It towers 3,724 meters into the sky. The mountain is located within Mount Cook National Park on the west coast of the South Island and belongs to the World's Heritage of Unesco owing to its stunning alpine landscapes. Mount Cook was climbed for the first time in late 1894 on the Christmas Day, whereas the first female mountaineer ascended the glaciated peak in 1910.

Needless to say, one has to be prepared for this kind of journey, both physically and mentally. The best time to overcome the giant is summertime, to be more precise this is the time from November through early January ​when the crevasses are smaller than usual, and thus climbing is considerably safer.

Practical info

What is the difficulty level of climbing Mount Cook?

Climbing Mount Cook is a technical climb with mixed terrain, requiring extensive use of crampons, ice axes, and ropes for safety purposes. It is recommended for experienced mountaineers or those with extensive alpine climbing background. Successful climbers need to be physically and mentally prepared, overcoming challenges on the climb which may take some hours. Show more

When is the best time to visit Mount Cook National Park?

From November to early January, the weather is most appropriate for climbing Mount Cook. This time also has the least amount of crevasses, reducing any associated risks. Mount Cook National Park is best visited in summer when the weather is favorable for outdoor activities and tourists may engage in tours, hiking, kayaking, fishing and other activities.However, it is still important to prepare for abrupt weather changes and to remain mindful of the hazards on the mountain. Show more

How long does it take to climb Mount Cook?

To scale Mount Cook's summit takes approximately 8 hours if starting from Plateau Hut. The length of time may differ depending on the weather, trail conditions and individuals' climbing expertise. Plateau hut serves as the acclimatization point to prepare climbers physically and mentally before the climb. Climbers on average require 1-5 days to complete the ascent, including the approach and the descent, depending on their preferred route and experience. Show more

What are the equipment and gears required for the climb?

To ensure the safety of climbers, appropriate equipment such as crampons, ice axes, harnesses, warm waterproof clothing, gloves, sleeping bag, and other necessary gear are required for the climb and are available for rent or purchase. It is advisable to engage the services of an experienced mountain guide to provide climbers with the essential equipment to prevent accidents and to guarantee that appropriate clothing and gear are used. Show more

Are there any restrictions on the number of climbers allowed per day?

There is no specific limit placed on climbers per day ascending Mount Cook. However, pre-booking is advisable regardless of the absence of specific regulations. Climbers are requested to notify the DOC office in the area and avoid overcrowding which could cause incidents as some trails could prove not wide enough for multiple parties. Climbers must keep a reasonable distance from one another and prevent hindering the approach of other climbers. Show more

Ask a question

Find hotels and airbnbs near Climbing Mount Cook (Map)

Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin