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Exploring Mount Cook, the Cloud-Piercer

"Το the memory of mountaineers and guides lost to the hills."

By: Nikos Taskos + Save to a List

That's what the plaque reads in Mt. Cook National Park, New Zealand. Aoraki/ Mt.Cook, the cloud-piercer, as it is being called by the local Maori, has claimed more than 200 lives since it was first conquered back in 1894.

Numerous alpinist names were permanently fixed on the cold stone; the alpine memorial was persistently staring at the bold peak. Looking at all those names and stories of loss, I couldn’t help but wonder whether reaching the summit really outweighs the risks. What makes this iconic peak so special?

Hooker Lake & The Hooker Glacier Terminus

Mt. Cook is long known as a technically difficult climb. It’s no wonder that a New Zealander, Sir Edmund Hillary, perfected his mountaineering skills here to the first to summit Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world.

Hooker Valley Track Hike

The picturesque tramp takes your right to the foot of Mt. Cook. Swing bridges, fast-flowing rivers, a surreal glacial lake, and playful icebergs are only some of the features this half-day hike has to offer. It is a 10 km (out and back) easy hike with a recommended time of three to four hours. Make sure to visit the walk early in the morning or late in the afternoon when it will less crowded and always keep an eye to the weather info.

Mt. Sefton, the guardian of Mt. Cook

The opal waters of Hooker RiverThe Lower Hooker Swing Bridge

Reigning the Southern Alps from its throne at 3,724, Aoraki does not always emerge from his cloak of mist to grant you an audience; you need to be patient. Follow Hooker Valley Track Hike and always keep an eye to the great chief watching you from above!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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