The Grand Traverse, Aoraki Mt Cook – climbing route in 3D
In three weeks time the route that I hope to attempt in New Zealand is the ‘Grand Traverse’ (GT), together with Alan Silva. The GT crosses from the West coast of New Zealand to the East coast, via the summit and summit ridge of Aoraki Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain.
The Climb New Zealand database describes the route as:
“A ‘GT’ involves traversing Low, Middle and High Peaks (or vice versa) of Aoraki/Mt Cook. The section from Low Peak to Porter Col involves some rock, whereas the rest of the traverse is ice (and this can be hard, especially in winter). The ridge line from Low to High Peak is New Zealand’s highest and most exposed mile providing the most spectacular and famous traverse in the Southern Alps. In its day it was regarded as one of the most impressive achievements in world mountaineering.”
The GT is a HUGE route with 44km of horizontal distance, 3000m of ascent and 3000m of descent. We will need a very good three-day (at least) weather window. Hopefully we can make it with two overnight bivvies (Bivvy = Bivouac – sleeping in the open on the side of the mountain).
The GT has seen some interesting ‘events’ in its climbing history. One of the highest profile being the ordeal of the climbing party consisting of Mark Inglis and Philip Doole who got stuck high on the summit ridge in a snow cave 1982 for 13 days in a blizzard. Inglis lost both his legs to frostbite. He went onto become the 1st double amputee to summit Mt Everest in 2006.
Attached below is a 4 minute, 3D fly through of this beautiful route.