Four large glaciers are crossed on the Sealy Range Traverse (photo: G. Geerling)
Crampons and ice are necessary tools for the traverse (photo: G. Geerling)
The Sealy Range Traverse has great views in all directions (photo: G. Geerling)
A mountaineer admires the view near Mt. Annette (photo: G. Geerling)
A mountaineer is silhoutted against the Main Divide (photo: G. Geerling)
Clouds over Mount Sefton
A great base for mountaineering adventures
Sealy Range Traverse
A stunning alpine trek amongst New Zealand's highest peaks
Experience the wonderful contrast from jagged ice covered peaks and vast glacial plateaus, to sub-alpine meadows and glacier lakes. Take in the stunning views of Aoraki Mount Cook and Mount Sefton at the southern end of Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Combine glacier trekking and some introductory level mountaineering for a great alpine adventure.
This 4-day trip has been developed for trekkers who have already done the Ball Pass Summit Trek or Ball Pass Crossing and seek something of a similar level of difficulty. The trip begins with a short flight in to Barron Saddle Hut. Two nights are spent at the hut, allowing for exploring the surrounding terrain and soaking in the spectacular views, as well as refreshing basic mountaineering skills. Trekkers continue on the traverse, crossing Sladden Saddle by Mt. Sealy to bivvy near Mount Annette, descending back down to Aoraki Mount Cook village via the Sealy Tarns Track. The route allows an up close experience of remote peaks around Barron Saddle, the upper Dobson Valley and Mount Sefton.
|returning client discount (on individual bookings), if you have been on an Alpine Recreation trip before.|
|Group Booking Discounts (NZ$ per person)|
|A per person surcharge of NZ will apply to all prices on.|
- IFMGA/NZMGA certified mountain guide
- National Park fees
- Hut accommodation
- Local accommodation for any nights required during the trip
- Local transport (Tekapo - Mount Cook Village return)
- ALL meals (including snacks & energy bars) for the duration of the trip
- ALL mountaineering and trekking equipment
Meals and accommodation before/after the trip are NOT included.
+Minimum & Maximum Numbers
A minimum number of 2 participants is required to run this trip. If you end up being the only person booked on the trip, you will be offered the choice of:
- paying an additional fee of NZ
- rescheduling to another trip/date
- a full refund
The maximum number of participants per guide is 4. The maximum group size is 8, with 2 guides.
Take advantage of our group booking discounts and get a group of family and friends together. The amount of discount you will be eligible for will depend on the group size - the more people you book, the more your discount will be! If our scheduled dates don't suit your group's travel plans, please contact us as we can reschedule a trip to suit (subject to guide availability).
Please note that group bookings are not private bookings - if you wish to keep your group closed (ie. you have a private guide just for your group), a surcharge will apply. Alterntatively you can book a group of 4 or 8 (which will ensure there are no others in your group).
+Aircraft Access - not included
Green : Minimum reached - guaranteed departure.
Orange : Only 4 or fewer places available.
Red : No availability.
*incur a surcharge of NZ per person per holiday.
Venue: Barron Saddle Hut, open bivvy
↑ Barron Saddle Hut
Barron Saddle Hut, the base for this alpine trek is a public hut that cannot be booked. The hut works on a first-come first-served basis.
The hut is located at 2000m at the head of the Sealy Range. It is a basic 8 bunk hut with a water supply, toilet, radio and an amazing view.
Mueller Hut is also an option, but is generally not used for this trip as it is very popular with backpackers and is often booked out months in advance.
Bivvy near Mount Annette:
During fine weather, it is common to spend a night in a bivvy. This is a unique experience sleeping under the stars surrounded by snowy peaks and is the best way to see the sunrise!
Participants must carry their own sleeping bags, personal gear and some of the group equipment, food, stove, fuel, and cooking utensils (all provided by us).
Previous Experience & Agility
↑ A significant amount of time is spent on crampons - prior experience is necessary
Endurance: Grade 4 - "Very Challenging"
A high level of fitness is expected. Fit people will still need to train prior to undertaking this adventure. Ascents of 1200+ vertical metres are likely. Expect 10-12 hour days or longer, carrying a 10-12kg backpack. Early alpine starts may be required. Expect some discomfort due to long days and exposure to elements. Must be dedicated and used to long days in rough, untracked terrain.
Agility: Grade 4 - "Advanced scrambling agility"
Committing and challenging for experienced trekkers. Sustained concentration and focus required for difficult sections. Exposure to heights or large drops likely. Confident footwork and scrambling over rough, loose and steep terrain required (eg. pulling yourself up on vegetation, clambering over boulders). Crampons and ice axes required for crossing moderate snow slopes (≤ 35°), alpine passes and/or glaciated terrain.
Technical: Grade 2 - "Introductory Mountaineer"
In-depth crampon, ice axe, self-arresting and climbing skills instructed by guide. Basic rope skills, knots, abseiling, anchor placement, belaying skills instructed if applicable. Ability to apply skills with coached practice and demonstrate proficiency required to progress to next grade. Prior rock climbing experience beneficial.
+Trip Difficulty Ratings explained
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Fitness & Endurance
Regular aerobic fitness training is a pre-requisite along with stamina to hike with a full pack (approximately 20kg) over uneven, rough ground for 9-10 hours.
Previous Experience & Agility
Previous mountaineering experience and good cramponing skills are essential. Your guide may elect to take snowshoes if conditions dictate. No prior experience of these is necessary and they are provided at no extra cost.
Route & Itinerary
↑ Aerial photo of the Sealy Range and Mount Sefton.
8am gear check at Alpine Recreation's Edelweiss Lodge, 8 Erebus Place, Lake Tekapo. Drive to Aoraki Mount Cook Village. Fly in to Barron Saddle Hut. Spend the afternoon refreshing basic mountaineering skills, including cramponing, ice axe use and self-arresting.
It is possible to meet your guide in Wanaka (on request) - this largely depends on how much equipment (if any) you may need to borrow from us.
Explore the terrain around Barron Saddle, soaking in the stunning views of the upper Dobson Valley, Mueller Glacier and surrounding peaks. Further refine mountaineering skills in preparation for the traverse. 5-6 hours.
An alpine start allows us to make good use of firm snow conditions to cross the Williams and Sladden Glaciers. A steep and exposed traverse brings us around the North Ridge of Mt. Darby, before a 400m climb takes us up to Sladden Saddle.
The northern side of Sladden Saddle is steep and descending it is dependant on safe snow conditions. The terrain mellows as you cross the Annette Plateau. In good weather you will spend the night bivvying near Mount Annette - savour the sunset across the Mount Cook Range to the north. The majority of this day is spent on crampons, so it is worthwhile improving your ankle strength in preparation for this! 8-10 hours.
Continue along the Sealy Range past Mt. Kitchener and Mt. Ollivier to Mueller Hut. The steep Sealy Tarns Track brings you back down to Aoraki Mount Cook Village. An alternative descent for more experienced mountaineers is via the Sebastopol Ridge to join the Red Tarns Track - your guide will provide protection with a rope over steeper rocky sections. 8-10 hours.
Bad weather options
There is some flexibility within this programme to work around unfavourable weather conditions (for example, the traverse can be started on Day 2, or the trip can be done in reverse). We recommend leaving 1-2 days free at the end of your trip in case you get held up due to weather. We usally run this trip during the months of December through to March, but it may still be possible outside of these times with an alternate itinerary/route to work around difficult snow/crevasse conditions. Please email us to request your dates.
All of your equipment will be checked during the gear check at our office at the start of your trip. Any equipment you need to borrow from us will be issued by your guide. Alpine Recreation provides packs, helmets, harnesses, crampons, ice-axes and any outdoor clothing, you may require at no extra cost. Please see the equipment list below for further details.