Read a description of the route to Mueller Hut.

The whole tramp is in alpine terrain - know what weather to expect and take the right gear.

Aoraki/Mount Cook Village to Sealy Tarns

Time: 2 hr

Start on the Kea Point Track either outside the Aoraki/ Mount Cook National Park Visitor Centre or at White Horse Hill car park, at the end of the Hooker Valley Road. Follow the Kea Point Track to the Sealy Tarns turnoff.

The Sealy Tarns Track begins gently until you reach the foot of the Mueller Range. The track zigzags steeply up to Sealy Tarns. The track is very steep and it narrows as it approaches Sealy tarns. It’s easy to slip especially when snow is present. Keep an eye on the weather – there is no shelter or alternative routes, so if you see bad weather approaching (generally from the North-West), we recommend turning back.

A climb to this spot will reward the walker with spectacular views of the Hooker Valley and the peaks in the area, including Aoraki/Mt Cook on a good day. A tarn is the name given to a small mountain lake or pond.

Assess  your fitness and ability at Sealy Tarns - the track gets harder from there on.

Sealy Tarns to Mueller Hut

Time: 2 hr

Use Sealy Tarns as a decision point – check the weather, ensure your group are all feeling comfortable with continuing on to Mueller Hut, and make sure you have enough time to get there before dark.

From Sealy Tarns follow the orange markers (every 200 metres) through the tussock. Keep a close eye on the orange marker poles, especially if there is low visibility. Make sure you can always see the next marker pole.

This is not a maintained track but an alpine route.  Parts of the route are quite rocky. It zig-zags through alpine scrub, herb fields and tussocks to a large rock field.

From here the route ascends a loose gravel slope (scree) of about 50 metres, to the skyline ridge. At certain times of the year this becomes a steep snow slope. If snow is present, we recommend only continuing if you have avalanche knowledge and equipment.

Once on the ridge relax and enjoy the magnificent view of the Mueller Glacier sweeping down the valley past smaller hanging glaciers and the stunning ice shelf on Mount Sefton.

The route from here turns south towards the hut. Follow the orange markers through the basin until you see Mueller Hut – about 20 minutes along the ridge.

Side trip: Mueller Hut to Mt Ollivier

Time: 30 min

This is a rock scramble along the obvious ridge from Mueller Hut to the top of the rocky outcrop immediately to the south of the hut. A big cairn marks the top. Don’t be tempted to go further along unless you have experience, as it can get dangerous. It is very steep and exposed beyond the top of Mount Ollivier. This was the first peak Sir Edmund Hillary climbed, beginning a climbing career culminating in the first ascent of Everest.

Mueller Hut to Aoraki/Mount Cook Village

Time:  3 hr

If you are leaving Mueller Hut in the morning, be aware that ice is common on the lower ridgeline. It’s best to wait for this to soften in the sun before starting the track.

Descend back to the village the same way as you came up. Do not be tempted to go straight down or veer off the route at any stage. Make sure you turn off the ridge down the scree slope at the orange marker. In bad weather it can be quite difficult finding your way. When descending the scree slope, go slowly and carefully – stay in control.


Understand if you are ready for the Mueller Hut Route

Watch the NZ Mountain Safety Council’s walk-through video which takes you through how to prepare for this track. Including facilities, key decision points, hazards and typical conditions for the area. 

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