Training from Mueller Hut – Mount Cook National Park

by Kelly on November 19, 2009

Climbing up to the Annette Plateau AND Standing in front of Aoraki Mount Cook at Sunset.

I arrived in at Mount Cook Village and met my Mountain Guide, Dave McKinley who will be guiding me up Mount Cook next weekend. I went and hired some plastic boots from Alpine Guides and then we hiked up to Mueller Hut at about 1800m on the first day. It was perfect weather, very hot and those plastic boots just make it hotter!  Anyway we went up just underneath Mount Ollivier (The first alpine peak that Sir Edmund Hilary summited) and Dave taught me all about snow anchors… Upper top-clips, mid-clips, T and how to stop yourself when you’ve fallen down a slope, with and without the ice axe.

The following day we were up with the sunrise and Dave was teaching me the ropes – how to tie up for glacier travel.  We tied up and with our crampons on, we set off in ‘glacier travel’ mode up to the Annette Plateau at about 2235m.  It took about 3 hrs to get there and the snow was quite soft but still good training ground, with a couple of drop offs to keep you on your toes!

Once we reached the Annette Plateau Dave proceeded to teach me how to do a glacier rescue.  For an amateur that meant learning lots of knots, at this stage I was a master at getting it in a tangle!  We spent a couple of hours here learning this and doing a bit of abseiling and belaying then it was back to the hut.  Buy now the snow was quite slushy and it was quite a trudge back to the hut, but awesome views all round.  Back at the hut I spent a few more hours going over the knots, finally starting to get it.  There were only another couple of Kiwis staying in the hut that night, which is strange considering the hut is usually choca with tourists.  The weather came in that night and with the space in the hut we opted to do some more rope work indoors the next day.  We hiked out that afternoon back to Mount Cook village.

All in all a great learning experience! Bring on next weekend where we will give Mount Cook a good crack.  I am climbing Mount Cook for Arthritis NZ, the TImaru Herald and The Press ran a great story on it the other day you can check out the article at  If you would like to support this cause by making a donation to Arthritis NZ you can do by clicking on this link  When donating, please select ‘Event’ under ‘Appeal’ and put ‘Mount Cook- Kelly’ here.  Thanks!

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