Barron Saddle Ski Tour
Barron Saddle Tour is one of Mount Cook region's classic ski tours. It is a mission for fit, competent and experienced ski tourers. The trip includes professional guide, helicopter access and hut fees. We prefer guests to have some alpine climbing experience. Barron Saddle Tour is an achievable mission for competent, experienced ski tourers, preferably with some alpine climbing experience. 3 days allows for a relaxed pace and time to work around weather and snow conditions.
This tour is available from mid-August into spring, when snow conditions are generally at their best.
Barron Saddle Hut
Based at 1995 metres, Barron Saddle sits between the Mueller and Dobson Valleys. It sleeps 8 and is most often visited in early summer for climbing instruction.
High Traverse Route via Sladden Saddle
The trip from Barron Saddle to Mueller is easily achievable in a day for fit parties. With the right team, summiting Mt Sealy (2,557 m) on the way out is also possible.
The trip’s “crux” is the sidle between the Williams and Sladden Glaciers. In firm conditions this short section may have to be done on crampons, and your guide may belay you through. This is where cramponing/front-pointing experience is a must.
Strong parties may ski to the valley floor via Sawyers Stream, if snow and avalanche conditions allow.
In rare occasions with poor conditions/weather may require an exit via the low route, down the skiable length of the Mueller Glacier, then climb the moraine wall and skin up to Mueller. You need to be fit and strong for this ascent of 600+ metres.
Guide and National Park fees
All meals form lunch day 1 to lunch day 3
Free use of a range of technical equipment
Local accommodation for any nights necessary during the trip
Weather contingency day
The maximum guide to participant ratio is one guide to 2 participants.
Please contact for prices for parties of 3 or 4 (with 2 guides)
How to Book
Contact us with your proposed dates. We can provide a guide to work around your plans, subject to availability.
“Walk-in” and short-notice enquiries may not be possible to fill. We recommend making reservations well in advance.
A high level of aerobic fitness
Be at least a strong-intermediate to advanced downhill skier/snowboarder
Experienced ski tourer or split-boarder, comfortable in all conditions
Basic alpine climbing skills
Used to touring with a backpack
Barron Saddle Ski Tour Details
Every trip will be slightly different due to weather and snow conditions. This is a typical schedule.
Day 1: Meet your guide at Alpine Guides base at 08:30 on day one. Sort gear, pack, discuss weather and options. Fly in to Barron Saddle from Glentanner or Mt Cook Airport. Unload at the hut and head out for an afternoon tour.
Day 2: Leave early, touring via Sladden Saddle to Mueller
Day 3: Ski and walk down to Mt Cook Village.
A one day weather contingency is included at no cost in order to roll back the start date by a day at the trip start, if the weather is bad.
Possible Side Tours
If you have time, and weather/conditions allow, a side tour into the Mueller and Welshman Glaciers make a great afternoon diversion.
+ Mountain Hut Venues
Built in 1981, Barron Saddle sits at 1995m at the head of the head of Mueller Glacier, on the saddle looking into the Dobson Valley. It is the 3rd hut at (or close to) this location.
The hut sleeps 8 but is seldom visited through winter, making it a cozy barrel on the hill. Provisions include: blankets, cooking utensils, crockery, cutlery, pots, water tank, toilet, park radio, solar powered lights.
Built in 2003 (3rd hut) Muller, sitting at 1800 m is the busiest hut in the Park during summer, but much quieter in winter.
Mueller has 26 bunks and is provisioned with water tanks, toilets, park radio, solar powered lights and LPG stoves.
+ Aircraft Use
We use helicopter access to reach Barron Saddle to start the tour. If an exit flight is required due to injury, lack of fitness or ability, this will be an additional cost.
There are no permitted aircraft landing sites in this area of the National Park except at Barron Saddle hut.
+ Ski Touring and Snowboard Hire
If you need to hire gear please do this prior to arrival. We have a handful of sets of aging ski touring gear - for emergency hire only!
RECOMMENDED GEAR HIRE STORES
Wanaka - MT Outdoors
Queenstown - Small Planet
+ Equipment and Clothing
Please let us know what gear you need to rent - including any equipment supplied free of charge.
Our gear lists cater for all eventualities. Sometimes you may not require everything on the equipment list your guide will help you sort though your kit at the start of your trip. Weather and mountain conditions when your trip starts will help determine what is needed.
Temperatures, weather, and snow conditions will vary. The gear list is designed to work around these possibilities.