AGL Skill



1.5 days


1 : 1


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NZ$1,150 per person


“Guideless” Buttress

A trip for fit climbers looking for a challenge. We like to think of the Guideless Route as Mount Cook's answer to the Remarkables Traverse!

The rock buttresses on Mount Wakefield offer some of the best views in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. The Guideless Route delivers excellent rock mixed with scrambling, climbing gendarmes and numerous buttresses, with plenty of exposure. It's called "guideless", but we do, of course, provide a professional, experienced guide.

The 800+ m ascent on Mt Wakefield starts on the east side of Hooker Valley, just past the 2nd swing bridge. After a scrubby 100 m scree slope ascent, the buttress is reached. Rock eventually gives way to boulder and rubbly slopes and you ‘summit’ just below our radio repeater, at almost 2,000 metres. The exit is a 2-3 hour descent along Wakefield ridge or via the direct route down the scree fan adjacent the Village.


Experience Required

  • High level of fitness - expect an 8-12 hour day with an 800 m ascent.

  • Rock climbing comfortably to grade AU 16. The crux is Ewbank 8 - in mountaineering boots

  • A head for exposure

  • Comfortable on rough ground

Warm-up - First half-day

The Guideless Route involves a degree of exposed climbing and ridge travel. It is a committing assignment for both guide and participant.

We run the first half-day as a “warm up”, an opportunity to climb with your guide before a big day in the mountains.

Start and Finish

The trip starts at Alpine Guides office on 1:30 pm on day one and finishes at 17:00 day 2.


What's included:

Scheduling and Booking:

Price Includes:

  • Guide services for 1.5 days

  • Lunch day one, to lunch day 2

  • One nights accommodation at Unwin Lodge

  • Free use of a range of technical gear

  • Alpine Guides Technical Manual

The start date is privately arranged to suit your travel plans

  • Dates are subject to guide availability

  • Advance bookings are essential

+ Booking Terms and Conditions

Our standard booking terms and conditions apply. With the following additions:

  1. If, in your guide's opinion, you are not ready for the Guideless Route climb, another suitable full-day rock climbing objective will be provided.

  2. If weather or conditions prohibit a safe climb we reserve the right to alter itineraries to either: a. Offer another nearby suitable full-day climbing venue (at no extra cost),or b. Reschedule your trip to a later, mutally agreed date.