The Footstool is a mountain located in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, just outside Mt Cook Village. Footstool’s summit sits at 2764m and is on the main divide overlooking the confluence of the Mueller and Hooker valleys, with exceptional views of Mt Cook’s South Face. From the summit there are views to the Copland valley and the West Coast. In 28th and 29th November 2009, together with David Ellacott we attempted to climb the Footstool via the main divide route from Sefton Bivvy. This route is graded as a 2+. The route starts at Mt Cook Village. We walked in via the hooker track, turned off and scrambled up steep scree, tussock and rock ledges to access Sefton Bivy nestled below Mt Footstool and Mt Sefton. We stayed here overnight then the next morning made a late start at 7:20AM (due to some other climbers turning up and crowding the hut so much we couldn’t get out until they left!). It was a clear day but as we crossed onto the main divide became very windy. It was our first time on a mountain in over a year, and we made a mistake by leaving the rope at the top of the Eugenie glacier and attempting to solo the final slopes to the summit. These were really hard ice and collectively we made a decision to turn back, 170m from the top. If we had our rope we could have pitched it safely as there was only one steepish bulge to get over which we felt uncomfortable on. I partly regret the decision however the mountain will always be there.
This was my second attempt at the Footstool, I turned back at the bottom of the Eugenie glacier due to terrible weather back in 2007. It’s still on my list to be ticked off! It’s a nice peak to do as it has easy access to Mt Cook Village, with no need for aircraft access.
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