Ski touring along Ball Ridge
Enthusiastic guides will take good care of you
The Caroline Face of Aoraki / Mt. Cook
A warm and cosy mountain retreat
Expedition to Caroline Hut
A backcountry ski touring adventure on the Mount Cook Range
For those with limited time or budget a trip to our Caroline Hut is an option for expert skiers, subject to safe snow conditions. No aircraft access needed. Steep skiing, great views of Mount Cook.
Warm and cosy, Caroline Hut provides a spectacular location to admire stunning mountain panoramas - Mount Cook, Mount Tasman, Minarets, Elie de Beaumont, Malte Brun Range... and many more!
Option of climbing Kaitiaki Peak (2222m/7290ft) near Ball Pass on the middle day.
"I felt that Gottlieb rated my abilities and pushed me to a new level. Everything very professional and safe." - M. Lui, USA.
|returning client discount (on individual bookings), if you have been on an Alpine Recreation trip before.|
|Group Booking Discounts (NZ$ per person)|
|Group booking of 3|
|Group booking of 4|
|A per person surcharge of NZ will apply to all prices on.|
- IFMGA/NZMGA certified mountain and ski guide
- National Park fees
- Heated PRIVATE hut accommodation
- Local accommodation for any nights required during the trip
- Free transport (Tekapo - Mt. Cook return)
- ALL meals (including snacks & energy bars) for the duration of the trip
- ALL avalanche safety and ski mountaineering equipment (with the exception of ski boots)
Meals and accommodation before/after the trip are NOT included.
+Minimum & Maximum Numbers
A minimum number of 2 participants is required to run this trip. If you end up being the only person booked on the trip, you will be offered the choice of:
- paying an additional fee of NZ
- rescheduling to another trip/date
- a full refund
The maximum number of participants per guide is 4. The maximum group size is 8, with 2 guides.
Take advantage of our group booking discounts and get a group of family and friends together. The amount of discount you will be eligible for will depend on the group size - the more people you book, the more your discount will be! If our scheduled dates don't suit your group's travel plans, please contact us as we can reschedule a trip to suit (subject to guide availability).
Please note that group bookings are not private bookings - if you wish to keep your group closed (ie. you have a private guide just for your group), a surcharge will apply. Alterntatively you can book a group of 4 or 8 (which will ensure there are no others in your group).
Caroline Hut Ski Expedition dates are scheduled on a case by case basis - please contact us with the dates you would like. We recommend that you settle guiding dates well in advance as guide availability during peak season is limited. Please allow extra time in case you are held up in the mountains due to weather.
Venue: Caroline Hut
↑ Caroline Hut is warm and cosy and a great base for backcountry ski touring adventures.
Caroline Hut is the only guide/operator-owned mountain hut in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park and is available for the exclusive use of Alpine Recreation parties. As we are not using public huts there is no risk of overcrowding, facilities are clean and you have a guaranteed bunk.
Located at 1820m on Ball Ridge, directly opposite the Caroline Face of Aoraki Mount Cook, Caroline Hut is a great location to experience the mountain views in comfort.
The hut is equipped with firewood, gas, solar lighting, satellite phone, Department of Conservation radio, sleeping bags and nonperishable food. A wood-fired stove means there are good heating and drying facilities.
The hut consists of two rooms, sleeping up to 10 participants and 2 guides in total. There are no showers, but warm water and a basin can be provided for washing. The two traditional longdrop toilets have one of the most spectacular views in the country!
Endurance, Agility & Technical Difficulty
FEBRUARY 2020 UPDATE - BALL HUT & CAROLINE HUT ROUTE CHANGES
The intense and prolonged rainfall of 1-8 December 2019 caused significant damage to the traditional route to Ball Hut and Caroline Hut across Husky Flat. An alternative foot access route to Ball Ridge has been successfully established, and Alpine Recreation guides are familiar with the changes to the route. The current foot access to Caroline Hut takes approximately 2 hours longer than traditional route up Ball Ridge and is through rough and challenging terrain. If you are unsure whether your fitness and agility are sufficient, please contact us before booking your trip.
Endurance: Grade 3 - "Challenging"
A solid level of fitness with aerobic training prior to the trip is expected. Ability to carry moderate to heavy backpacks (8-10kg) for 6-9 hours if required. Expect ascents of 800-1200 vertical meters. Some discomfort expected due to long days and exposure to elements. Prior multi-day hiking/trekking/tramping trips through rough untracked terrain are recommended.
Agility: Grade 3.5 - "Moderate scrambling agility"
Scrambling over rough ground with hand placement needed. Good foot placement required across a variety of terrain, including steep grass, alpine scrub, scree, boulder-fields and snow. Must be competent and efficient at moving over uneven and untracked terrain carrying a moderate backpack. Sections of steep and/or exposed terrain at times. May involve crossing snow slopes and/or glaciers, requiring the use of crampons and ice axe if conditions are firm.
Technical: Grade 1.5 - "Beginner Mountaineer"
No prior rope skills or experience with crampons/ice axe required. Basic 10-point crampon, ice axe, self-arresting and glacier travel skills will be introduced by the guide if applicable.
+Trip Difficulty Ratings explained
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Participants need to carry a pack of about 10-12kg plus their skis for 6+ hours to the hut. Winter conditions can be tough - a high level of fitness is required.
Participants need to be expert skiers and be able to ski competently in all terrain and snow conditions with a pack. Previous backcountry ski touring experience is required.
↑ Aerial photo of Ball Pass and Caroline Hut.
6-8 hours trekking/ski-touring, ascent 1200m.
8:30am gear check at Alpine Recreation's Edelweiss Lodge, 8 Erebus Place, Lake Tekapo.
Travel to Mount Cook (about 1 hour), and the end of the Tasman Glacier. Climb 850m steeply up to Ball Ridge and to Caroline Hut at 1800m, 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.
As the hut is fully stocked we only need to carry some fresh items of food (e.g. bread, fruit, vegetables, meat) and our personal clothing and equipment.
6-8 hours return from Caroline Hut.
Ascend to Ball Pass and climb Kaitiaki Peak (2222m/7290ft) to take in the dramatic views of the South Ridge of Aoraki and across the Hooker Valley to Mount Sefton. Crampons may be required.
Back at Caroline Hut take time to watch the sun set on Mt Tasman and the ice avalanches thunder down the Caroline Face.
Return via the Ball Ridge and Tasman Valley, finishing at 5-6pm back in Tekapo.
Ball Hut Road → Caroline Hut: Elevation profile
Alpine Recreation provides alpine touring skis, poles, skins, avalanche transceivers, shovels and crampons. You need to bring your own alpine ski touring boots. A detailed equipment list will be sent at time of booking. Outdoor clothing and packs can also be provided at no extra cost if necessary.