The Ball Pass Alpine Crossing is a challenging 3-day alpine trek which crosses the Mount Cook Range from the Tasman Valley to the Hooker Valley. Ball Pass is just to the south of the South Ridge of Mount Cook. The route allows close views of New Zealand’s highest mountains and most spectacular alpine scenery.Book Now Ask a Question
The Ball Pass Alpine Crossing is a challenging 3-day alpine trek which crosses the Mount Cook Range from the Tasman Valley to the Hooker Valley. Ball Pass is just to the south of the South Ridge of Mount Cook. The route allows close views of New Zealand’s highest mountains and most spectacular alpine scenery.
After an equipment check with Alpine Recreation in Lake Tekapo you travel to Mount Cook (about 1 hour), and the end of the Tasman Glacier. You hike up the old Ball Hut Road, parallel to the glacier. From Ball Shelter you climb 850m up the Ball Ridge to Caroline Hut at 1800m/6000ft, perched right opposite the awe-inspiring Caroline Face of Mount Cook. The panorama includes Aoraki Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, all the mountains adjoining the Tasman Glacier, and Lake Pukaki. The hut is fully stocked with food, firewood, sleeping bags, cooking and eating utensils, but some fresh items of food need to be carried, e.g. bread, fruit, vegetables, meat. 6 hours trekking.
Learn basic mountaineering techniques. Climb Kaitiaki Peak (2222m/7290ft) south of Ball Pass and take in the dramatic views of the South Ridge of Aoraki. Maybe explore a crevasse on the Ball Glacier. Back at Caroline Hut take time to watch the sun set on Mt Tasman and the ice avalanches thunder down the Caroline Face. 6 hours return.
Cross Ball Pass, 2130m/7000ft. Now the view opens to the South Face of Aoraki, the Hooker and Mueller Glaciers, Mount Sefton and the Copland Pass. The steep descent from Ball Pass usually requires the use of crampons. When snow conditions are icy a fixed line method is used to ensure no-one can slide down the slope. The terrain is rugged and untracked and you rely on your professional mountain guide to find a safe route around gorges and bluffs down to the East Hooker Valley. Following old moraine terraces you hike through some of the lushest vegetation to be found in the National Park and return to Mount Cook Village. (8-10 hours). Return travel to Lake Tekapo.
The crossing of Ball Pass on Day 3 is subject to safe snow and weather conditions. The professional judgement of your guide will take into account all factors, including client fitness for the conditions.
The guided Ball Pass is suitable for experienced trampers capable of sustained hiking, at times over steep, rugged, untracked and very exposed terrain. It is beginner mountaineering and is definitely not “a walk in the park”. Besides personal clothing you’ll need to carry some items of fresh food to the hut. Your pack on Day 1 should weigh no more than 10-12 kg. Several walks of at least 6 hours’ duration are recommended as preparation for Ball Pass. You do not need prior mountaineering experience.
Participants of a Ball Pass crossing need to:
be of above average fitness
have extensive hiking, tramping or bushwalking experience
be capable of sustained walking over steep, rugged, untracked and very exposed terrain - be able to hike or climb at least 6 hours in a day without difficulty
be sure-footed, well-coordinated and have good balance
have no fear of heights
Caroline Hut is a privately owned mountain hut for the exclusive use of our guided parties. It is the only guide/operator-owned mountain hut in the Mount Cook National Park. The hut affords a commanding view of the entire length of the Tasman Glacier and of New Zealand’s highest peaks. The hut can be heated.
Alpine Recreation provides crampons and ice-axes. A detailed equipment list will be sent at time of booking. Outdoor clothing, packs and boots can also be provided at no extra cost if necessary.
We recommend to settle guiding dates well in advance since peak season times are often booked up. Please allow extra time in case you are held up in the mountains due to weather.
As our equipment check takes place at 8am on the morning of departure, you need to book accommodation in Tekapo the night before. After the tour, it is recommended to overnight in Tekapo again, or in Mount Cook.
This tour is graded 7/8 Challenging.