Sunday, April 03, 2005

Cooking With Ice

Mt. Cook juts toward the heavens like a knife thrust into the sky. As the tallest peak in New Zealand, it dominates the rugged glacial landscape around it. On clear days Mt. Cook stands as a beacon for much of the South Island, visible from hundreds of miles away. It is spectacular.

New Zealand has 27 mountains over 3,050 meters, and 22 of them can be found within Mt. Cook National Park. Despite the soaring rocky peaks, over two-thirds of the Park sits permanently buried under snow and ice. Hanging glaciers constantly creak and moan, and periodically let out a sharp crack as ice and snow flood down their frozen faces. Below, milky white lakes sit silently, waiting for icebergs to break free and replenish their icy stores. Chalky rivers flow with great force through the glacial debris, providing a raucous background for the high alpine fireworks above. It is a dynamic, lively place, where the earth speaks with great authority.

Climbers and trampers have explored this winter playground for over a century. Trails snake through the glacial moonscape, and climb the steep flanks of the high peaks. Swing bridges dangle precipitously over roaring rivers, giving their users a bird’s-eye view of the chaos below. Walk for ten minutes in any direction, and you will be stunned by the beauty before you.

What an introduction to the Southern Alps. It is going to be hard to top this.

Don’t worry, we will try….

Enjoy the Mt. Cook Photo Gallery.

Post a Comment