Climb Mt. Wakefield

Hooker Corner

Mt. Wakefield is an epic day hike in the Mt. Cook area that unforgivingly cuts along scree ridgelines on the peaks between the Tasman and Hooker valleys. Not for the inexperienced or those afraid of heights, navigate these craggy ridges with the Tasman, Mueller, and Hooker glaciers below, the azure waters of Pukaki twinkling in the distance, and the peak of Mt. Cook always soaring elusively above. This route is a must-do for experienced adventurers.

The route begins on Tasman Valley Road right after it crosses over the Hooker River heading towards the Tasman Valley. Right after the bridge at Hooker corner there will be a small cutoff on the left side (as you head towards the Tasman). This gravel cutoff is where the trail starts up Mt. Wakefield and you can park your car (no camping allowed).

The first hour or so is a battle up through thick scrub which is made even tougher if the ground is wet. Afterwards, you emerge to your first views of the Tasman and a scrubby trail marked by cairns will lead you up to the ridge. Here, it narrows off to become a rocky, scree ridge undulating and twisting all the way to the summit. While in most places the rock is fairly stable, the ridge is very exposed so you must have fair weather and good scrambling skills to do this.

There are two possible summits on this route depending on your time/experience. The shortest and easiest option is to reach the cairned, unnamed summit at 1,717m which is straight south from the main peak with a basin opening up before you. From here you have the option of following the ridge or cutting across the basin below to reach the peak of Wakefield (2058m). Most people stop at the first summit, and for those short on time or who lack experience this is probably a good option (the hike up to this point alone is quite challenging and you need to be comfortable with route finding and heights – inexperienced people have gone off route and become “bluffed” here before).

If you don’t want to do an out-and-back there is also a route heading down from the peak into the Hooker valley for experts. Head to the Mt. Cook DOC to gather more information about this option. This is a map of the route.

Pack List

  • Wind breaker
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Durable gloves
  • Hiking pole
  • Camera
Show More
RT Distance 3 Miles
Elevation Gain 4593.2 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Advanced
Season Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Scenic

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Overnight Bivvy On Wakefield

We bivvied overnight just below the first unmarked summit and came down the following morning. Made for a great sunset. There are definitely some exposed sections of ridge and lots of loose rock so you need to be comfortable with that. The good thing is this climb/hike gradually gets harder and if you find yourself getting out of your comfort zone, just turn back!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Rock Climb at Unwin Crag

Getting to the Unwin Crag can be more of an adventure than the rock climb itself. You can park at the Unwin Lodge or at the car park at the bottom of the crag.

10 Saves

Catch the Sunrise at Kea Point

Wake before the sun rises and make the short half hour hike from the White Horse Hill Campground to Kea Point. This easy to follow trail leads to a beautiful overlook with views of Mt.

84 Saves

Climb Mt. Ollivier

Start on the track from the White Horse Hill campground. Follow the track up almost 2,000 steps until you reach Sealy Tarns.

47 Saves