By: randosteve|Posted on: September 16, 2010|Posted in: International, New Zealand | 3 comments

The Linda Glacier ski descent route on Aoraki/Mount Cook follows the red line, but goes
into the “Gun Barrels” (blue line) instead of the Summit Rocks section.
Photo courtesy Alpinism and Ski.

In honor of heading to New Zealand in a couple weeks, I figured I’d post this video of Bruce Grant skiing Aoraki/Mount Cook (12,316′), the highest peak in New Zealand. The Maori name Aoraki, or “cloud piercer”, was added to the name of the peak in 1998 in honor of the original inhabitants of the island and as a sign of “props” to the Maoris, Aoraki/Mount Cook is the only peak in New Zealand where the Maori name precedes the English one.

Bruce Grant is a legendary pioneer of backcountry skiing in New Zealand, but the first descent of Aoraki/Mount Cook occurred in 1982 by Geoff Wayatt, who skied the Linda Glacier Route. While it would be nice to try to ski Mount Cook while I’m there, it seems like it is extremely rare for anyone to ski the peak (at least from the top…or near the top) these days and I’d rather shoot for smaller objectives as opposed to focusing on just one. Some say that the lack of ski descents on the peak can be attributed to global warming and the increased amounts of ice on the mountain. Kinda of one for the locals to decide, but that reasoning doesn’t seemed too far fetched to me.