Approaching summit of Mt Cook on guided Climb

Mt Cook Climbing Expedition

6 day guided climbing expedition to Mt Cook 3724m, New Zealand's highest mountain. Mt Cook is a prized international summit and world class mountaineering objective with many climbers coming from all over the world to attempt the climb. Despite the modest altitude compared to many other mountains around the world, Mt Cook is a steep heavily glaciated mountain, technical climb, and a formidable challenge. 

Climbing Mt Cook by the Linda Glacier requires previous mountaineering experience and a high level of fitness. The Mount Cook climb can be attempted by climbers with experience on New Zealand 3000m peaks or the overseas equivalent. A typical climbing day on Mt Cook is between 13 and 18 hours, with a vertical height gain of 1800m. 

The typical climbing route is the Linda Glacier New Zealand alpine grade 3 but other route options are possible for more experienced clients including Zurbriggins Ridge, the East Ridge, and a Grand Traverse across Low Peak, Middle Peak, and High Peak.

Most clients will have completed a New Zealand Alpine Mountaineering Course or equivalent technical mountaineering course and have previous experience on other 3000m peaks to New Zealand alpine grade 2 before attempting the climb.

The 6 day trip is based from Plateau Hut at 2200m. The length of the trip allows enough time for access and egress from the mountains, skills training, possibly climbing a training peak, and weather contingency days.

Mt Cook is a very serious climb that should not be underestimated. Mt Cook is a heavily glaciated peak with objective danger that can only be managed safely when the conditions and weather are good on the mountain. The minimum length of a Mt Cook trip is 6 days, this gives us enough time to maximise the chance of success and pick safe weather & conditions on this expedition style mountain.

Why climb Mt Cook with Queenstown Mountain Guides?

  • Queenstown Mountain Guides are Queenstown's only professionally qualified IFMGA Mountain & Ski Guiding operation. We have years of experience working on Mt Cook and an impressive history of safety and successful guided ascents on the mountain. 

Other related trips 

Climb Mount Aspiring

Climb Mitre Peak

Client review

"Mike is a great man who is a pleasure to hang out with.  He is relaxed but uber professional and has a good understanding of people so as to know how hard he can push.  He definitely helped make this trip one of the most memorable of my life." K Brophy, Auckland NZ


Sample Itinerary

Day 1

We will meet you at your accomodation on the first day at 8.30am for introductions and a gear check before we drive to Mt Cook airport. The drive to Mt Cook airport is about 2.5 hours from Queenstown.  Make sure you have your camera ready for the flight as the Grand Plateau is one of the most spectacular alpine vistas in the world! After taking in the incredible scenery we will get ourselves set up in the hut. This will be followed by the opportunity to work on some skills training for the climb or the chance to go for a short walk on the glacier to take in the surroundings.

Day 2

Training and acclimatisation day. This is a good day to work on some skills or do a training climb to acclimatise for the Mt Cook climb (Plateau hut is at 2200m and Mt Cook summit is 3754m above sea level).

Days 3-5

Summit Days! Normally we depart the hut at 1.00am under the cover of darkness. The goal is to reach the summit by 9.00am. A typical summit day on Mt Cook is between 13 and 18 hours in length. If we are back in good time it is possible to fly out to Mt Cook village for a celebratory meal and beer!

Final Day

Flight out of the mountains. Drive back to  Queenstown where we sort out our gear and have a trip debrief. We we also have an opportunity to discuss future mountaineering goals.


Map 2014

1 person

Map 2014

6 days



Map 2014

Flight in included


Late October - Mid January*

We recommend that clients book their Mt Cook climb before the middle of January. In recent seasons the route on the lower Linda Glacier has become unsafe to pass after mid January.

*Season may extend beyond mid January through to April in a good season on Mt Cook.


Experience Required

  • Previous mountaineering experience on moderate to steep terrain to New Zealand alpine grade 2
  • Rock climbing
  • Experience climbing with two tools on snow and ice
  • Belaying/rope skills

Whats Included

The price of the program includes

  • Guide fees
  • Aircraft access fees
  • Hut fees
  • Meals and snacks
  • Ground transport

The price of the program excludes

  • Aircraft egress fees
  • Technical equipment hire
  • Personal equipment & clothing
  • Accomodation in Queenstown & Wanaka

More Information

detailed trip notesequipment listFAQ