Time  5 hours 20 minutes

Coordinates 306

Uploaded December 7, 2015

Recorded November 2015

2,042 f
673 f
6.83 mi

Viewed 2081 times, downloaded 118 times

near Franz Josef, West Coast (New Zealand)

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Link to the blog post - Link to the blog page

Track Description / Characteristics of the Route:

Distance / Distance: 11km
Elevation Gain / Ascent: 598m
Max / Min Altitude: 622m / 205m
Difficulty / Difficulty: Medium / Medium
Alpine Grade: SD (Without difficulty)
Activity: Advanced Hiking / Advanced Hiking
Recommended Cartography / Recommended Cartography:

The Franz Josef Glacier is one of the most accessible in New Zealand. The accumulation zone where the glacier is born lies in the Southern Alps, in the same massif that is Mount Cook (highest peak in New Zealand), at almost 3000m high, descending for 12km to 300m above sea level .

The DOC, conservation department of the government of New Zealand, suggests several routes to visit the glacier, the best being the Alex Knob track, and Robert Point.

The route of Alex Knob is probably the most interesting, but it is long (it reserves 6-7 hours for round trip) and on covered days the visibility is very limited. That's why we decided to do the Robert's Point route, a little shorter in distance and duration, but also a physically demanding activity.

Starting in the parking lot of Lake Wombat (quite small, come soon), we follow the marked path. After a few hundred meters, we come across this small lake, on sunny days we can see the reflection of the surrounding mountains in a beautiful image. The lake is actually a vestige of the glacier that in the past reached the bottom of the valley.

After a few meters we reach the Douglas Bridge, which allows us to safely cross the Waiho River.

Once we cross the other side of the river, the path climbs up the valley into a dense forest. We have to cross another three impressive and wobbly suspension bridges.

The views of the Glacier Valley are impressive. On the sides of the U-valley, there are several waterfalls that descend almost vertically from the top of the rock walls.

The river bed is quite wide, although normally the flow occupies only a small part. Be careful, the river can have momentary floods, there have been several fatal accidents of people trying to cross the river on foot.

The track enters a dense forest, we stop seeing the valley. It is the most difficult part of the activity, the wet red becomes very slippery.

Upon reaching Robert's Point, there is a small wooden platform overlooking the glacier and the valley. On a cloudy day like today, we can see only the tip of the glacier, a small tongue of ice embedded between two rock walls.

The descent is done using the same path. When it's raining or wet, the road is dangerous, much more than the climb, so you have to be careful. While we walk through the forest it seems that at any moment we can get a hobbit or an elf ...


- Interesting track, and shorter than that of Alex Knob. The views are much better than the standard ride that everyone does, and the effort is worth it.
- On a cloudy day, we can only see a small part of the glacier tongue, in any case, it is seen more than the other two suggestions (Alex Knob and the usual walk to the glacier).
- On rainy or wet days, the terrain is muddy, and the rock slippery, although a fall is not deadly, if we can get back with a good ankle sprain.
- There is a small shelter hut halfway, La Cabaña Hende, but it is not in a position to do vibac, although it can be used as a shelter against the rain.

Alex Knob Summit


Douglas Bridge


Hende Hut


Lookout platform


Parking and toilets


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