Malte Brun Guided Expedition | Summer 2016-17


Malte Brun (3,199 metres) is a fantastic alpine rock peak standing out high on the mountain range named after it, east of the Main Divide. Malte's warm red sandstone faces offer a great variety of lines on some of the best rock in Aoraki Mount Cook Region.

The peak offers stunning views of the Aoraki Mount Cook massif and the lakes of the Mackenzie Region. Malte' was first ascended by the legendary Tom Fyfe in 1894. It is one of the gems of the Southern Alps often overlooked by climbers focused on the snow and ice summits of the Main Divide.

Costs & Booking Conditions

6 Day Malte Brun Expedition
NZ$5,350 per person

Guide Ratio: strictly 1:1
Season: December - April


  • Guide fees on a one-to-one basis
  • All meals including snacks and energy bars 
  • Hut fees
  • Accommodation in Mt Cook village (if required) 
  • Local road transport 
  • Aircraft access to upper Tasman Glacier
  • Selection of technical equipment 


Booking Conditions | Malte Brun Expedition

These special conditions are in addition to our standard booking terms and conditions

  • A period of 6 days is covered in the cost, even though the climb may take only 4-5 days. You have the option of retaining your guide and completing another climb or returning to Aoraki Mount Cook village. This will be at the discretion of the guide, based on your ability and the prevailing conditions. No refund is due if you choose to finish early.
  • Extensions to the 6 days may be possible (depending on your guide’s work commitments) - this will be an additional cost of NZ$725 per day, which includes food and hut fees.
  • If the period is involuntarily extended, the cost is an additional NZ$690 per day.

Experience Level Required

Malte Brun is a true “mountaineers’ mountain” and well worth the effort involved.

A high level of fitness is required as well as competent rope-craft and the ability to self-manage abseils, assist in cleaning gear and anchors, and to second on rock to about grade AU15/16 in mountaineering boots.

For South Face routes, ice climbing ability to WI 3-4 (seconding) is required.

Basic knowledge of travel in crevassed areas is expected for the approaches and exit.

As there are no nearby huts, climbing Malte Brun requires a tent camp and/or bivouac for at least 2 nights, along with the heavier pack load carrying that this additional gear entails (loads of up to 15-20kg).

  • At least 10 days on rock within the past 2 years
  • Experience of several 12-15 hour days on alpine ascents (NZ Alpine 1+ to 2+)
  • Basic level of crampon and axe skills for approaches and egress (at least to the standard of ourMountain Experience Course)
  • Comfortably second on rock - to at least grade AU 15/16 (US 5.8) in mountaineering boots
  • A high level of aerobic fitness - able to carry an 8 kg backpack 1,000 vertical metres in 2.5 hours

If you have questions about experience please contact us. 

Guiding Season: December to April

Guiding the rock of Malte Brun by the North and NW approaches requires the faces to be clean of snow. Conditions vary each season, but we recommend booking to begin after the start of New Year.

Booking a Malte Brun Expedition

Camp on the Bonney Glacier.

We will provide a guide to work around your travel plans (subject to availability). The first step is tocontact us with your proposed dates ›

Due to the serious nature of guiding Malte Brun only senior guides are employed for this assignment. There are a limited number of senior guides and therefore a limited number of Malte Brun Expeditions available every season.

Early booking (sometimes 3 to 4 months in advance for high-season) is absolutely essential.

Reporting Details

Unless otherwise arranged, the Expedition will start at 08:30 at Alpine Guides office in Mount Cook Village, and finish at 17:00 on the last day of your trip.

A morning start makes most effective use of time, allowing you to fly into the mountains by lunch time.

Alternatively, we can arrange to start at 13:30, and finish at 12:00 noon on the last day.

If you choose a 13:30 start it is less likely that you will be able to fly into the mountains on the first day. Ensure you choose the right start time on your booking form.

If you arrive in Aoraki Mount Cook on the day before your trip begins, your guide will probably not be available. Our office staff will be happy to answer any questions you have. Your guide will look after equipment rental, and other gear requirements at the start of your trip. This takes on average 2 hours.

More information about transport to Mount Cook Village.


Mountaineering on Malte Brun in the summer months has a relatively low-moderate objective hazard.

The guide’s primary concern is always for safety. Your guides appraisal of your competence and route conditions will determine whether the climb can be attempted, or an alternative ascent considered.

Route Description: West Ridge, NZ Grade 3

The most commonly guided routes on Malte Brun peak are variations of the West Ridge and North to NW Face.

The ascent day is a long one, usually taking 10-14 hours return from your camp site. The height gain from the high bivouac (at 2,400 metres) is 800 metres (2,640 ft.). Total vertical climbed is around 1,600 metres.

Alpine Guides route variation on West Ridge of Malte Brun.

On arrival in the upper Tasman Glacier region by aircraft we either spend the first night in a hut or take our gear closer to the mountain, and establish a base camp. The first day will involve revising skills and reconnoitring the best approach with current conditions.

The day before the ascent we move into place for a high camp/bivouac near the base of the North Face, or at the top of the Bonney Glacier (around 2,400 metres) ready for an early start.

The most common approach is to take a route either up a buttress to the right hand side of the North Face, or a variation of the face. This will meet up with the West Ridge just below the iconic “Cheval” - a knife-edge ridge section, with amazing exposure and vistas.

From here there is about 200 metres more airy ridge climbing to the summit. The scene from the summit offer offers unsurpassed views of the Aoraki/Mount Cook massif, and the lakes, and grasslands of the Mackenzie Region.

The descent is by the same route, abseiling the buttress. The descent requires concentration and good rope-work.

Negotiating the Malte Brun cheval.

Access to the mountains

Aircraft access to a location high on the Tasman Glacier is built into the cost of the trip.

A walk/climb to a base camp for Malte Brun is is a strenuous exercise of up to 2 days on foot, that can only be attempted in good weather.

Flying in makes the best use of available time and good weather, and saves on heavy load carrying.

Egress from the mountains

Two means of egress are available at the end of the trip: walking or flying out. Flying out is the most common choice. Please - ALWAYS BUDGET FOR A FLIGHT OUT, even if you want to walk.

Option 1. Fly Out

It is possible to fly out from the lower Tasman Glacier (above De La Beche corner) by helicopter and ski plane (if landing condition permit). This costs approximately NZ$600 by cessna ski plane, or NZ$800 by helicopter. Costs will be significantly reduced if the aircraft is shared with other climbers.

Flying out is an extra cost that is not included in the fee. Please budget for this.

Read more about aircraft transport here.


Option 2. Walk Out

Walking out is a physically demanding trip - a big day with heavy packs across the glacial moraine of the Tasman to a 4WD pickup.

If you walk out this must be done inside trip time. In some situations (due to weather, conditions, and fitness) it may not always be possible to walk out.

Your guide is the final arbiter on whether a walk out will go ahead.

Read more about walking out here.

Alternative Climbing Options

Flexibility of goals is important. After you book we will keep you well informed if conditions change so that a climb may not be possible.

If snow conditions, weather, level of experience, or fitness preclude an ascent with an acceptable safety margin, your guide will recommend an alternative venue for your trip.

There are many other spectacular ascents to be made in the region. The following list names only a few:

  • West face of Rumdoodle
  • Langdale Buttress
  • North Buttress of Darwin and Annan
  • Aiguilles Rouges, via north Ridge
  • Mount Chudleigh, Mount Hamilton, etc.

It is not possible to cancel your booking for a refund due to changing route conditions.

Equipment and Clothing

Please let us know what gear you need to rent - including any equipment supplied free of charge.

Choosing your clothing | Seasonal Variation

Our gear lists cater for all eventualities. Sometimes you may not require everything on the equipment list. Weather and conditions when your trip starts will help determine what is needed.

Temperatures, weather, and snow conditions will vary. The program is designed to work around these changes. Read more about seasonality, weather, and snow conditions here.

Make a Booking

  • Please ensure you have talked to us about guide availability.
  • We require a deposit of NZ$1,000 and completed booking form for each person.