The Full Wiki

Aoraki/Mount Cook: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aoraki/Mount Cook
Elevation 3,754 m (12,316 ft) [1]
Prominence 3,754 m (12,316 ft) 
Listing Country high point
1 in New Zealand
37 in world by prominence
Aoraki/Mount Cook is located in West Coast
Aoraki/Mount Cook
Range Southern Alps
Coordinates 43°35′44.69″S 170°8′27.75″E / 43.5957472°S 170.1410417°E / -43.5957472; 170.1410417Coordinates: 43°35′44.69″S 170°8′27.75″E / 43.5957472°S 170.1410417°E / -43.5957472; 170.1410417
First ascent 1894 by Tom Fyfe, George Graham, Jack Clarke
Easiest route glacier/snow/ice climb

Aoraki/Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand, reaching a height of 3,754 metres (12,316 ft).[1] It lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island. A popular tourist destination,[2] it is also a favourite challenge for mountain climbers. Aoraki/Mount Cook consists of three summits lying slightly south and east of the main divide, the Low Peak, Middle Peak and High Peak, with the Tasman Glacier to the east and the Hooker Glacier to the west.



The mountain is in the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, which was gazetted in 1953 and along with Westland National Park, Mount Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park forms one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The park contains more than 140 peaks standing over 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) and 72 named glaciers, which cover 40 percent of the park's 700 square kilometres (170,000 acres).

The settlement of Mount Cook Village (also known as The Hermitage) is a tourist centre and base camp for the mountain. It is 7 km from the end of the Tasman Glacier and 12 km south of Aoraki/Mount Cook's summit.

Naming and European discovery

Aoraki/Mount Cook seen from the south, taken from a glider flying at 4,000 metres (13,000 ft)

Aoraki means "Cloud Piercer" in the Ngāi Tahu dialect of the Māori language. Historically, the Māori name has been spelt Aorangi in the "canonical" Māori form.[3]

While the mountain was known to Māori centuries before, the first European known to see Aoraki/Mount Cook was Abel Tasman,[3] on December 13, 1642 during his first Pacific voyage. The English name of Mount Cook was given to the mountain in 1851 by Captain John Lort Stokes[1] to honour Captain James Cook who first surveyed and circumnavigated the islands of New Zealand in 1770. Captain Cook did not sight the mountain during his exploration.[4]

Following the settlement between Ngāi Tahu and the Crown in 1998, the name of the mountain was officially changed from Mount Cook to Aoraki/Mount Cook to incorporate its historic Māori name, Aoraki.[5] As part of the settlement, a number of South Island placenames were amended to incorporate their original Māori name. Signifying the importance of Aoraki/Mount Cook, it is the only one of these names where the Māori name precedes the English. Under the settlement the Crown agreed to return title to Aoraki/Mount Cook to Ngāi Tahu, who then formally gifted it back to the nation.[5]


Aoraki/Mount Cook from LandSat

The Southern Alps on the South Island were formed by tectonic uplifting and pressure as the Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates collided along the island's western coast. The uplifting continues, raising Aoraki/Mount Cook an average of 7 millimetres (0.28 in) each year. However, erosive forces are also powerful shapers of the mountains. The severe weather is due to the mountain's jutting into powerful westerly winds of the Roaring Forties which run around approximately 45°S latitude, south of both Africa and Australia. The Southern Alps are the first obstacle the winds encounter after South Africa and Australia, having moved east across the Southern Ocean.

The height of Aoraki/Mount Cook was established in 1881 by G. J. Roberts (from the west side) and in 1889 by T. N. Brodrick (from the Canterbury side). Their measurements agreed closely at 12,349 feet (3,764 m). The height was reduced by 10 metres (33 ft) when approximately 10 million cubic metres of rock and ice fell off the northern peak on 14 December 1991.[6][7]

Climbing history

The standard tourist view of Aoraki/Mount Cook from The Hermitage Hotel, Mount Cook Village

The first recorded European attempt on the summit was made by the Irishman Rev. William S. Green and the Swiss hotelier Emil Boss and the Swiss mountain guide Ulrich Kaufmann on 2 March 1882 via the Tasman and Linda Glaciers.[8] Mt Cook Guidebook author Hugh Logan considers they reached within 50 metres of the true summit.[9]

The first ascent was on 25 December 1894, when New Zealanders Tom Fyfe, James (Jack) Clarke and George Graham successfully reached the summit via the Hooker Valley and the north ridge.[10] Swiss guide Matthias Zurbriggen made the second ascent on 14 March 1895 from the Tasman Glacier side, via the ridge that now bears his name. This is credited as the first solo ascent, although Zurbriggen was accompanied part of the way up the ridge by J Adamson. After Zurbriggen's ascent it was another ten years before the mountain was climbed again. In February 1905 James Clarke with four others completed the third ascent following Zurbriggen's route. So Clarke therefore became the first person to do a repeat ascent.

The first woman to ascend the mountain was Freda du Faur, an Australian, on 3 December 1910. Local guide George Bannister, a descendant of Te Koeti Turanga of Ngāi Tahu, was the first Māori to successfully scale the peak in 1912.[11] A traverse of the three peaks was first accomplished in 1913 by Freda du Faur and guides Peter and Alex Graham.

Ed Hillary made his first ascent in January 1947. In February 1948 with Ruth Adams, Harry Ayres and Mick Sullivan, Hillary made the first ascent of the South Ridge to the Low Peak [12]

Forests and glaciers

The average annual rainfall in the surrounding lowlands is around 7.6 metres (300 in). This very high rainfall leads to temperate rain forests in the coastal lowlands and a reliable source of snow in the mountains to keep the glaciers flowing. These include the Tasman and Murchison Glaciers to the east of the mountain and the smaller Hooker and Mueller Glaciers to its south.

Area history

Aoraki/Mt Cook at Dusk viewed from the Tekapo Canal
  • 1642 - Aoraki sighted by Abel Tasman
  • 1770 - Captain Cook named the Southern Alps
  • 1851 - Captain Stokes of the survey ship HMS Acheron gave the name Mt Cook to Aoraki[1]
  • 1884 - First Hermitage built under the direction of Frank Huddleson
  • 1894 - First ascent of Aoraki/Mount Cook, on Christmas Day, by Jack Clarke, Tom Fyfe and George Graham
  • 1910 - Freda du Faur became the first woman to climb Aoraki/Mount Cook
  • 1911 - The vital swing bridge is built in the Hooker Valley
  • 1913 - First ascents of the footstool and Mt Sefton made by Freda du Faur's climbing party
  • 1913 - Hermitage first ravaged by floods in January, then destroyed beyond repair by floods two months later
  • 1914 - First fatal accident, when three men caught in avalanche on Linda Glacier
  • 1914 - Second Hermitage opened, on different site
  • 1957 - Second Hermitage razed to the ground
  • 1959 - First school opens, Aoraki Mt Cook School
  • 1981 - Passenger flights begin by Mount Cook Airline, now part of Air New Zealand Link
  • 1982 - Mark Inglis trapped in schrund
  • 1991 - Avalanche of 10 million cubic metres of snow and rock causes 10 metres to be lost off the top of Aoraki/Mount Cook[6][7]
  • 1998 - The Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act officially recognises the original name, renaming the mountain Aoraki/Mt Cook[5]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Aoraki/Mount Cook: Canterbury places to visit". Department of Conservation. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  2. ^ "Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park Management Plan 2004" (PDF). Department of Conservation. Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  3. ^ a b Te Maire Tau (2006-12-21). "Ngāi Tahu - Aoraki - Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand". Ministry for Culture and Heritage / Te Manatū Taonga. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  4. ^ James Cook (1728-1779). "Captain Cook's Journal During the First Voyage Round the World". pp. Sunday, March 18, 1770. Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  5. ^ a b c "NZ Government Executive Ngai Tahu Settlement". New Zealand Government Executive. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  6. ^ a b Michael J. Crozier. "Mt Cook landslide". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 2007-05-03. 
  7. ^ a b T. J. Chinn; M. J. McSaveney (1992). "Mount Aoraki (Mount Cook) rock avalanche". Tai Awatea - Knowledge Net (More of Te Papa online). Retrieved 2007-05-03. 
  8. ^ Green, Reverend William Spotswood (1883). The High Alps of New Zealand, or A Trip to the Glaciers of The Antipodes with an Ascent of Mount Cook. 
  9. ^ p 11, Logan, H. (1990) Great peaks of New Zealand, New Zealand Alpine Club, Wellington, and John McIndoe Limited, Dunedin, New Zealand, ISBN 0 86868 125 3.
  10. ^ Haynes, J. (1994) Piercing the Clouds. Tom Fyffe: First to climb Mt Cook. Hazard Press, New Zealand, ISBN 0-908790-64-3.
  11. ^ Mountaineering - Guided climbing - Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
  12. ^ Sir Edmund Hillary, View from the Summit, p. 62, Pocket Books, New York, 1999, ISBN 0-7434-0067-4

External links



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address