Sefton Biv Overnight

On this challenging overnight guided trek at Mount Cook, you venture far off the beaten trail with your professional Alpine Guides' guide to the historic shelter of Sefton Bivouac.

Sefton Biv' rests at 1,660 metres directly below the dramatic ice-draped peak of The Footstool (2,764 m). The bivvy was built in 1917 and is the oldest standing structure in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. The hike offers stunning scenery throughout the entire ascent.

The total height gain is almost 1,000 metres and takes around 5 to 7 hours of walking to reach the hut. Some exposed scrambling sections will involve using your hands for balance.

This is a 'big' hike, with effort required on the uphill section.

Experience Required

  • High level of hiking fitness

  • Trekking/hiking experience on uneven and steeper terrain

  • Mountaineering experience not required

Route Description

After meeting your guide and sorting gear and the required formalities, you set off at mid-morning,

There is no marked track. The hike from the Hooker Valley follows a vague route, climbing across stream beds to a zigzagging approach. The route climbs up, over rocky outcrops, snowgrass, tussock and scree before reaching the rocky plateau around the hut site.

Sefton Biv' offers commanding views right into the icefall of the Tewaewae (Stocking) Glacier, down the Tasman Valley to Lake Pukaki and up to Mount Sefton and The Footstool, which towers over the shelter.

There may be snow on the route and around the biv' in the early (October to December) part of the season.

In November and December, Mount Cook Lilies can be spectacular on the climb. Several pairs of rare endemic Rock Wrens live around Sefton Biv' - a treat for birders.

The descent is by the same route after a relaxed breakfast. 

Sefton Bivouac - The Hut

Sefton Biv is a simple shelter with a drinking water tank, mountain hut radio, and toilet. There are no bunks. We will carry sleeping mats and sleeping bags.

Your guide will provide a cooker, stove, and utensils as required.

The hut is available on a first-come first-served basis - there is no booking system. With only four sleeping spaces the hut may fill if another party arrives. All Alpine Guides parties will carry bivouac bags in case the hut is not available. 

Fortunately the original Sefton Bivouac - a huge rock - is still on site. This can provide shelter for another 6 hikers. It is a wonderful experience to camp below the bivvy rock, watching the stars wheel overhead and listening to the rumbling ice of the Stocking Glacier.

Sefton Biv Route Guide

  • Departures: 08:30 daily, October - April by arrangement. Please talk to us about your preferred date.
  • Included: Professional guide services
    Meals and snacks - lunch on day one to lunch on day 2
    All technical gear required
  • Meet at: 08:30, Alpine Guides base, Mount Cook.
  • Gear provided:
    Download the Equipment List
  • Maximum guide ratio: Up to '3' people per guide
  • Age restriction: Minimum of '15' years old
  • Prices: One Person $1,290
    2 People $745 per-person
    3 People $575 per-person