Mueller HutIntermediate - Experienced
Submitted by Isaac Walker
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Front country - easily accessible
Out and Back
Native bushOpen ridges/tops
Intermediate - Experienced
This is a reasonably easy track to navigate through Spring to Autumn conditions. In winter conditions please check the track conditions at the DOC office/visitor center at the start of the track and register your intentions/sign in and out. I would not recommend this track in winter for runners as avalanche conditions can exist.
Follow the Kea Point track to the Sealy Tarns turnoff. This is where the fun begins. Stairs and plenty of them, steep too. 1.5km or so of lovely steep stairs and you will arrive at the halfway point of the ascent - Sealy Tarns. Keep heading up and make sure you keep and eye on the orange poles. These are now your guide all the way to Mueller Hut. Another 1.5km of climbing up some technical single track, some rock scrambling and a scree field (please note this area will be covered in snow at times during the year and harder to navigate), you will come out onto a ridge. Follow the markers around through a rocky section and Mueller Hut will soon come into view across another scree/snow area up a small incline. Descend the exact same way and keep an eye on the markers.
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Features of interest
Sealy Tarns - small naturally formed mountain lakes halfway up.
High chance of seeing a Kea or two.
Lots and lots of steep stairs - nicknamed the stairway to heaven.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 10%
Technical Single Track: 10%
Moderate Single Track: 30%
Easy Single Track: 50%
Driving towards Mt Cook turn right onto Hooker Valley Road before you reach the main village/hotels. The trail starts at the end of Hooker Valley Road, next to the DOC White Horse Hill Campsite. Well sign-posted.
Reasonable size car park at the start of the track. Be aware peak times there maybe limited parking. There is a public Intercity bus that drops off/picks up a couple of kms down the road at the Mt Cook YHA/Hermitage area.
Stay on the marked track until the track changes into technical rocky sections/scree fields. Then follow the orange poles/markers. The scree field on the final climb will be harder to navigate in snow so check conditions with the visitor center and be prepared. Avalanche conditions exist in winter so running this route would not be recommended.
Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions).
Since it is a short trail take all water with you. If need be I'm sure Mueller Hut would have water supplies.
From June to August I would not recommend running this trail due to the avalanche, navigation and weather concerns. In Spring and Autumn it can still be dangerous so check with the visitor center regarding track conditions and remember to sign in/sign out.
Steep stairs when descending. Rocky technical sections above Sealy Tarns. Rock scrambling and scree sections near the top of the ascent.
Post run indulgence
The Old Mountaineers Cafe Bar & Restaurant
Mt Cook Village
I didn't get the chance to go but I was recommended this from a friend. Organic options and stunning views. Beer as well!
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