For my final outing in New Zealand, after a brief stay on the valley floor at Mt. Cook Village, I made the short but steep trek up to the Mueller Hut.
The hike up to the hut is steep. Very steep. After an hour long stroll along the valley floor, there’s an 1800 stair staircase straight up the mountain. Then, another hour of extremely steep loose rock scrambling, and then a turn to the rock flats.
The Mueller hut is simply stunning. A bit more from the NZ DOC:
Mueller Glacier was named by Julius Haast in 1862, after Ferdinand von Mueller. Mueller was a Danish-born scientist and explorer, who come to Australia in 1848. Mueller became a great botanical collector and writer.
The present Mueller Hut is the fifth hut to be built with that name. The first hut was built in 1914 just 500 feet
above the glacier and by 1947 was deteriorating. A second hut started in 1949 lasted just four months until it was swept
away by a wet-snow avalanche. Hut debris was hauled back up from the glacier and used to build temporary quarters erected at the same spot. The fourth Mueller Hut was built not far below the present site in 1953, and lasted until it was pulled down in 2003. This latest hut was opened in July 2003 by Sir Edmund Hillary, and is situated just below Mt Ollivier—the first mountain Sir Edmund climbed.
The hut can sleep 28 people on platform bunks complete with mattresses. There is a separate kitchen and living area and self-contained warden quarters. There are also solar-powered lights and gas-operated stoves (summer only). A toilet is sited a short distance away from the hut, but can be inaccessible in winter.
A few pics of the climb up, hut, and surroundings:
The steep rock scramble up to the top
At the top, the Mueller Hut. This is the reverse angle, showing the full view of mountains surrounding the hut. Quite spectacular.
Inside the Hut – the Hut Warden’s quarters:
The wraparound patio is really incredible. I got to the hut in the morning, and spent most of the afternoon reading on the patio.
Exploring the pile of rocks in front of the hut. That’s Mt. Cook behind me.
As sun set, a few of the people at the hut set up to view:
The next morning, on my way down.
Me, at the hut door