Alpine Hut

Aspiring Glacier Hike

Trek Snow & Ice
mountain background mountain background
3 days
Trekking experience
Backcountry Experience

If you have ever wanted to hike on a glacier or safely walk amongst towering columns of an ice fall, then this is the NZ trekking trip for you.

This is your chance to experience a hiking adventure in one of New Zealand's most famous glacial areas. We supply all the technical gear; all you need is a good pair of boots and a spirit of adventure. New Zealand's glaciers are spectacular but very few people ever get to visit the catchments of these vast oceans of snow.

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Day One

We meet at our office in Wanaka where your guide will check your clothing and equipment and you can ask any last minute questions. It is a beautiful drive up the Matukituki Valley to the trail head. The helicopter will pick you up from cattle grazing meadows and transport you up to the snow and rock of Bevan Col on the edge of the Bonar Glacier. From here it is a few hours walk across the Bonar Glacier, the view dominated by the western aspects of Mt Aspiring. We arrive at Colin Todd hut, your home for the night. This leaves some time in the afternoon for exploring the area.
100m ascent, 2-4 hours

Day Two

An early start after breakfast and we descend to the Bonar Glacier and head up under Mt Aspiring to the summit of the trek, the Quarterdeck Pass. Nothing too tricky yet, just a steady climb in the cool of the morning. Soak up the views of the Glacier and Mt Aspiring before changing your perspective to the beautiful West Matukituki Valley. Here the snow is broken by crevasses and your guide will careful show you how to safely navigate your way. Depending on the time of year, the glacier can be either a smooth ramp leading down, or a jumbled icefall that you weave through. After leaving the snow we follow a narrow ridge down to French Ridge Hut.
500m ascent/ 780m descent. 4-7 hrs

Day Three

After leaving French Ridge Hut the track takes us back towards the valley floor. After down climbing the steep sections it’s magic to be back on flat ground again. We have a few more hours before reaching Aspiring Hut where we usually have lunch. Two hours of walking beside the Matukituki River brings us back to our vehicle and the ride back to base.
1000m descent, 6-8 hours

The magnificence of this region speaks for itself.

It is a demanding hiking trip and requires a high fitness level. Some experience with crampons and ice axes is useful for traversing the glacier and descending from Quarterdeck Pass. It is an opportunity to discover the grandeur of the alpine regions and develop an approach to the mountain environment.

The route passes directly below Mount Aspiring with amazing views. Mount Aspiring itself is a majestic peak and the only peak over 3000 metres outside Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park. The Mount Aspiring National Park is renowned for its wonderful mixture of remote wilderness, high mountains and beautiful river valleys. It is a walker's paradise and a must for mountaineers. The views are endless and unforgettable. The park is part of Te Wahipounamu - Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area. Mount Aspiring National Park straddles the southern end of the Southern Alps.

Pack 40 litre Weight 10-15kg


Trip Date Available
Get in touch for Spring/Summer 2023 dates Best time November to January


Client Ratio Price
1:1 - 1:2

What's included

  • all meals and snacks from Lunch Day 1 to Lunch Day 3.
  • hut accommodation and any tents/general camping equipment
  • satellite phone/ radio communications
  • national park, guide fees and 15% goods and service tax (GST)

What's not included

  • helicopter flight into the mountains


  • A flight out of the mountains may also be possible at additional cost (dependent on weather and conditions).
  • In the event of weather preventing you from flying into the mountains then the alternative trip of a Brewster Glacier Hike or Mt French Trekking Peak may be offered.

Frequently asked questions

All our treks are physically demanding though our small group size means that you can go at your own pace. The fitter you are, the more you will achieve, and the more you will be able to enjoy the experience. Some experience walking on rough terrain is also the key, the better you are at this, the more efficiently you can travel, and the less energy you will expend.

All treks will have some degree of up and downhill, but on those that cross alpine passes (such as guided tours in Gillespie and Rabbit Pass), you can expect steep sections of around 500m vertically up and down. The advantage of these trips is that, due to the stocked camps, your pack weight will be light. On our more remote treks without serviced huts or campsites you will be carrying food and overnight equipment, so specific training with heavier loads (around 15 Kg) will help.

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