Hooker Valley Track, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

The Hooker Valley Walk passes by the Mueller Terminal Lake and then wends its way up the Hooker Valley, crossing three swing bridges to finally reach the Hooker Terminal Lake.  These terminal lakes have been formed by the ice retreating back from the terminal moraines. The ice has actually been retreating for more than 100 years but the lakes have only been forming in the last 50 years.  The return walk from the Whitehorse Hill carpark takes about three hours. Click on photos once to enlarge.

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Mt Sefton and the Mueller Terminal Lake

 

First swing bridge over outflow from Mueller Glacier Lake

First swing bridge over the Hooker River from below the Mueller Glacier Terminal Lake

 

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Mt Sefton (left) and The Footstool

In the photo above, the Stocking Glacier is the small glacier on the right directly under The Footstool.  One hundred years ago this glacier descended to the valley.  At that time the Mueller Glacier, coming from the left of the picture, filled the valley to the top of the moraine beneath the Stocking Glacier.  The glaciers started to retreat about 1900 as the world emerged from the Little Ice Age which began about AD 1350.

 

Hooker Bluff Bridge (second bridge) across the Hooker River

Hooker Bluff Bridge (second bridge) across the Hooker River looking down valley towards Lake Pukaki

In the photo above, the moraines that we are looking at are from the Little Ice Age deposited within the last few hundred years.  In the last major ice age, going back 20,000 years, the combined Hooker and Mueller Glaciers extended out into the Tasman Valley and then down another 45 km to the bottom of Lake Pukaki.

 

Crossing the Hooker Bluff Bridge with

Crossing the Hooker Bluff Bridge with The Footstool behind

 

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The Hooker River and Aoraki Mt Cook

These photos of Aoraki Mt Cook are actually of the Low Peak with the Middle Peak showing as the snowy bump just to the right.  The High Peak of Aoraki Mt Cook is further behind and not visible from the Hooker Valley. The main climbing route to the Low Peak is up the West Ridge on the left of the photo above.  The South Ridge from the right is a more difficult route and has recently been renamed the Hillary Ridge.

 

Stocking Stream Shelter

Stocking Stream Shelter

 

New boardwalk beyond the second bridge, construction completed in summer of 2013

New boardwalk beyond the second bridge, construction completed in summer of 2013

 

New constructed Upper Hooker Bridge (third swing bridge)

Newly constructed Upper Hooker Bridge (third swing bridge)

 

Hooker Glacier Terminal Lake overlooked by Aoraki Mt Cook

Hooker Glacier Terminal Lake with the rock-covered Hooker Glacier ice behind

The icebergs calve off the Hooker Glacier and are blown down the lake by the prevailing northwest winds. Eventually they ground on the bed of the lake.

 

Grounded icebergs at the outlet of the Hooker Terminal Lake

Grounded icebergs at the outlet of the Hooker Terminal Lake

 

Aoraki Mt Cook Tracks

Aoraki Mt Cook Tracks

Here is a map of the Mt Cook Region (including the Hooker Valley Track) that I have copied from the NZ Frenzy website. There is further information about the Mt Cook Region at the NZ Frenzy website.

 

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