Mount Footstool

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.

Looking up the Hooker valley track at the start of the walk-in. Mt Cook the prominent peak.

View of the Footstool with the summit partly obscured in the clouds. Sefton Bivvy is perched on the rock outcrop on centre left. The route crosses over the prominent Tewaewae glacier centre photo to the right side. Onto the main divide and up the Eugenie glacier

Scrambling up the ridge to Sefton Bivvy - it's a little exposed and quite steep in places, so you need to take care

My favourite hut in New Zealand - Sefton Bivvy. Great view and if you have it all to yourself is just an absolute treat!

Taking a break in Sefton Bivvy

Sunrise out the door of Sefton Bivvy

David Ellacott coming up the Tewaewae Glacier. Mueller Lake seen below and Mt Cook Village to the bottom right of photo

David Ellacott takes a photo of me while I take a photo of him perched on the Eugenie glacier

On the main divide and heading up harder and harder ice to the summit of the Footstool

View up the main divide to the final summit slopes of the Footstool. David Ellacot just visible down climbing the hard ice. We turned around at the rock band top centre of photo.

David Ellacott down climbs hard ice on the main divide from the Footstool's summit in windy conditions.

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