Hooker Valley Track in winter 2018

The Hooker Valley Track is a spectacular walk among large and very scenic mountains, but in winter it has some special qualities.  Situated in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, it crosses the Hooker River three times as it wends its way to Hooker Lake.  At this time of the year there is sometimes snow on or beside the track.  It is an easy 12km (return) walk, which takes around three hours.  There is a gradual incline of  about 120m.  (Altitude at the carpark is 774m and by the end it is 896m.)

 

GPS-tracked walk (click to enlarge)

 

View back to Mt Sebastopol, The Hermitage and Aoraki Mt Cook Village from early on the track

 

Mueller Glacier Terminal Lake and Hooker River

 

 

First suspension bridge crossing the Hooker River (outlet from Mueller Glacier Lake)

 

 

Hooker River

 

Between first and second bridges

 

Mueller Terminal Lake

 

Lower slopes of Mt Sefton

 

Second suspension bridge

 

Second suspension bridge,  with The Footstool shrouded in cloud

 

Hooker River from on the second bridge

The big boulders in the river have fallen from high up on Mt Wakefield in an historic earthquake – possibly in 1717 or maybe earlier.

 

Mt Sefton

 

Heading towards third bridge

 

Third bridge

 

This rock has also come from high on Mt Wakefield

 

Hooker Lake, Low Peak of Aoraki Mt Cook behind

The terminal face of the Hooker Glacier is at the head of the lake.  This lake has formed over the last 40 years as the glacier has receded.  This recession has been going on for about 200 years, as New Zealand has emerged from the Little Ice Age.

 

Low peak of Aoraki Mt Cook from the lake

The Mid Peak of Aoraki Mt Cook is in cloud; the High Peak is never visible from here as it is hidden behind the Low Peak.

 

Icebergs at southern end of the terminal lake

The lake waters are held in place by the foreground moraine wall, pushed up by the glacier during the Little Ice Age.

 

Remnant icebergs

These remnant icebergs began life high on the glacier somewhere between 50 and some hundreds of years ago. New icebergs calve off each year and float down the lake, pushed by the norwest winds.

 

Snow-covered shingle slide (natural erosion) looking up to Mt Wakefield

 

The foreground is part of the moraine wall left behind by the receding glacier.

 

 

First few metres of the Hooker River exiting from the lake

 

On the return journey

 

Avalanche coming off Mt Sefton

The sound of avalanches is often heard on the track.  This avalanche has cascaded 2000m from near the top of Mt Sefton.

On short winter days the best time for this walk is between 10am and 3pm.

I have also walked the Hooker Valley Track in summer (click here) and spring (click here).

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