21.01.2013 - 23.01.2013
In order not to lose time and, of course, because only hiking for 3 hours does not move in line with our standard, the present-day tour is a combination of two popular tours in the Mt Cook area. First, a trip to the Hooker Valley, then the climb to Mueller Hut to the Sealy Tarns.
Already the journey to Mt Cook area, along the Lake Pukaki whets the appetite for more. If you then get off at White Horse Hill Campground and start your walk on such a gorgeous day with bright blue skies as we do, you will be confronted with lots of great impressions.
A mountain which stands in the spotlight almost the whole day is Mount Sefton, with snow and ice avalanches thundering down at the southern flank. Some smaller we have heard and one larger seen. The cascading levels and volumes are impressive.
The popular way through the Hooker Valley goes first to Mueller Lake, where we cross a suspension bridge before later after another suspension bridge it follows the Hooker River to Lake Hooker’s, located right at the foot of Mount Cook. This very nice easy tour takes about 3 hours there and back.
Who leaves the White Horse Hill Campground in the other direction can ascend approximately 1000 meters to Mueller Hut, a recommended day trip. However, since we have already explored the Hooker Valley, we are only doing half of the height op to the Sealy Tarns, two small ponds 500 m above the valley. Already this climb provides a whole new perspective on the Mueller Lake, the Hooker Lake and the entire area. Especially having done the the Hooker Valley Tour before you can understand from here, where the path leads along. One last short trip to Kea Point and it’s back to our base camp the Glentanner Campground.
From there the next day brings us to the valley of New Zealand’s largest glacier, the Tasman Glacier. Here we first go for the short walks to the Blue Lakes and at the entrance to the Tasman Glacier Lake. The view from the glacial moraine is impressive, even if only small “icebergs” in the lake are bobbing around.
Afterwards we start the trek along the glacier towards the Old Ball Shelter. At the beginning of which the old gravel road between the glacial moraine and the hillside is still well preserved. But then it turns into a large debris field of small boulders and gravel and after a brief further piece of old road you have to scramble over the crest of the moraine and then some old rock avalanches with large chunks. Our vertex of the walk is then about 20 minutes before actually reaching the hut, as a relatively new rock fall had spilled the path even further. In addition, it constitutes not only steep, but still very unstable and slippery obstacle, whose crossing could trigger further rockfalls.
After all, this day with a good six hours in the barren glacier area of the Mt Cook region has driven us again to round off the evening with steak and red wine.
As always you can read this and many more articles with additional pictures on my travel blog.