Barron Saddle Tour Details

Barron Saddle Tour is one of Mount Cook region's classic ski tours. It is a mission for fit, competent and experienced ski tourers. We prefer guests to have some alpine climbing experience.
The trip is 3 days, which allows for a relaxed pace and time to work around weather and snow conditions. A “weather contingency” day is included, to provide flexibility in case of bad weather at the start of your trip.  

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.

Image does not represent actual winter snow cover.

Alternative Exits

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.

View north, down the Mueller Glacier.

View north, down the Mueller Glacier.


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.

Your expert NZMGA/IFMGA guide will provide as much (or as little) instruction in technical skills as your team requires - making your trip both an adventure and unique alpine learning experience...

Prices and Inclusions

Prices | Winter 2019

All prices are per-person, in NZ Dollars.

The maximum guide to participant ratio is one guide to 2 participants. Please contact for prices for parties of 3 or 4.

Barron Saddle Tours are privately arranged. Please contact us to discuss your preferred dates.

Cost includes:

  • Guide and National Park fees

  • All meals (including snacks and energy bars)

  • Helicopter access

  • Hut fees

  • Local transport

  • Free use of a range of technical equipment

  • Local accommodation for any nights necessary during the trip

  • Weather contingency day

Experience Required

Minimum requirements:
  • 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

Approaching the crux…

Reporting Details

Unless otherwise arranged, the trip starts at 08:30 at Alpine Guides base in Mount Cook Village. It finishes 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.

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(s) will look after equipment , and other gear requirements at the start of your trip. This takes on average 2 hours.

Sawyer Stream, the alternate exit route.

Sawyer Stream, the alternate exit route.

Mountain Hut Venues

Barron Saddle

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.

Mueller Hut

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.

Read more about mountain hut living conditions here on the FAQ.

Barron Saddle Hut.

Barron Saddle Hut.

Touring Ski and Snowboard Hire

You should hire your ski touring or backcountry snowboard rig prior to arrival. We have a handful of sets of aging gear - for emergency hire only!

Recommended Gear Hire Stores

Equipment and Clothing | Barron Saddle Tour

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, and your guide will help fine-tune your choices at the start of the trip.

  • Always pack for cold conditions. A 4-season sleeping bag, down jacket, and heavy grade thermal layers are required.

  • Temperatures, weather, and snow conditions will vary. The program is designed to work around these changes. Read about Weather & Snow Conditions, Summer and Winter.

Make a Booking

The first step for booking is to contact us with your proposed dates. We can provide a guide to work around your travel plans (subject to availability).

“Walk-in” and short-notice enquiries may not be possible to fill. We recommend making reservations well in advance.

  • We require a deposit of NZ$1,000 and completed booking form for each person.