Ball Pass Crossing

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The Ball Pass Crossing is a demanding and unmarked route that takes you from the Hooker Valley to the Tasman Valley over Ball Pass, hence the name—or the other way around.

Assuming you start from the Blue Lakes car park, follow Ball Hut Route until the end. Then you will have to climb the Ball Pass ridge for most of the first day. This ridge is rocky. Expect parts of the climb to be along the edge of the ridge. This climb will put you up close and personal with the Caroline face of Aoraki Mount Cook. 

After climbing that ridge, you will be able to see Ball Pass on the horizon. At the start of the season, you may already find yourself surrounded by snow at this point of the climb, though it will have melted by January.  Once over the ridge, you should also be able to see Caroline Hut in the distance. Though the hut is privately owned, it is a good way to navigate over the ridge towards Ball Pass. 

The next step is crossing Ball Pass. This terrain is usually icy and requires the use of crampons and ice axes. As you climb the rest of the way over the ridge, you will be able to see Mount Sefton and, below, Hooker Valley. As you continue the crossing, you will view the south face of Aoraki Mount Cook. Once you begin your descent into the Hooker Valley, you will slowly leave the snow behind and find the lush vegetation of the valley below. If you’re lucky , you will also be able to see and drink from a waterfall along the way.

Make your way along the track towards the benches near the hooker lake. Follow the Hooker Valley Track to White Horse Hill campground.

As the track is unmarked, it is important to have a full understanding of the track before setting out. This is for your own safety. We highly recommend reading the detailed information available on the Department of Conservations website.

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Quick Facts about this walk

  • Location: Mt Cook, South Island, New Zealand
  • Time needed: 2 – 3 days
  • Distance: 35 km
  • Difficulty: Expert
  • Bikes allowed: No
  • Route: One way
  • Elevation: 1400m
  • Wet Feet: This is an alpine track and requires waterproof hiking boots.
  • Toilets: There are toilets at the start and end of the track: at White Horse Hill campground and Blue Lakes car park. There is also a toilet at Caroline Hut.
  • Dogs: No, dogs are not allowed in the Mount Cook National Park.
  • Mobile Coverage: Unknown
  • Last Updated: April, 2020

We’ve partnered with Macpac outdoor walking & hiking gear to bring you the very best products designed exclusively for our New Zealand climate. They’ll ship for FREE within NZ on orders over $100 (if under $100 it’s only $5). Worldwide international shipping is available except to the USA. Bulky orders will be $20.

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What sort of walking and hiking gear will you need

We’ve partnered with Macpac outdoor walking & hiking gear to bring you the very best products designed exclusively for our New Zealand climate. They’ll ship for FREE within NZ on orders over $100 (if under $100 it’s only $5). Worldwide international shipping is available except to the USA. Bulky orders will be $20.

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