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Best of 2007

(January 1st - December 28th, 2007)

Howard Wilkinson

The Sage, Gateshead

Simon Wheaton

View to Mount Cook, From Near Mueller Hut

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, Sealy Range, South Island, New Zealand

September 2, 2007 - (10:11am to 10:25am local time)

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© 2007 Simon Wheaton, All Rights Reserved.

View to Mount Cook, From Near Mueller Hut
Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, Sealy Range, South Island, New Zealand
This is the view to Mount Cook, across the terminal faces and glacial lakes of the Mueller and Hooker Glaciers, from a position near Mueller Hut on the Sealy Range, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, South Island, New Zealand.

Mount Sefton looms above Mueller Hut, with its dramatic vertical cliff faces with hanging glaciers and ice falls, sending regular avalanches of snow and ice thundering down the steep walls, echoing and booming across the deep valleys.

The Mueller Route is visible in this photo, a track that takes hikers and mountaineers up steep steps onto this mountain plateau, perched high above Mount Cook Village, where Mueller Hut protects them from the elements.

This area of New Zealand has a rich history of exploration and mountaineering, with Mount Ollivier, above and behind the position of this photo, being the first mountain that Sir Edmund Hillary climbed as a young boy, starting a long mountaineering career that included his famous first ascent of Mount Everest, among many other accomplishments.

I was on a 6 week holiday in New Zealand earlier this year, living in a campervan, chasing fresh snow to snowboard on. The snow season was not going too well, not much in the way of snowfalls for my holiday, so I decided to head for a New Zealand backcountry mountain hut to take some photos and maybe get some turns in on my snowboard.

The staff at the New Zealand Alpine Club, especially Mark at the associated Climber magazine, were invaluable in their help and advice. After contacting Mark to ask which locations would provide the best photographic locations for this sort of photo, Mark suggested that the Mueller Route up to Mueller Hut would provide great views, and the trip could be made on foot, as opposed to the other mountain huts in the region which would have required an expensive helicopter ride for access to them.

I spent a week in the area. After an initial attempt to climb up the Mueller Route, in which I was turned back half way due to high winds, I made it up onto the range a couple of days later and spent 6 days in Mueller Hut, waiting out bad weather for a sunny day to take these photos.

I met some great people in the hut while waiting for good weather, a couple of ski mountaineers up from Wanaka spent a couple of days and nights in the hut as well, waiting for the bad weather to break so they could venture up the valley behind the hut to climb and ski some of the peaks above Mueller Glacier. As it turned out, we only had half a day to enjoy these blue skies, before the weather came in again just after this photo was taken.


Australia - New Zealand / New Zealand

Lat: 44° 44' 21.04" S
Long: 170° 3' 58.08" E

Elevation: 1844 Metres

→ maps.google.com [EXT]

Precision is: High. Pinpoints the exact spot.


  • Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL (EOS Digital Rebel XT) Camera
  • Canon BG-E3 Battery Grip
  • Canon RS-60E3 Remote Switch
  • Canon EF-S 10-22 mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Zoom Lens
  • Canon EW-83E Lens Hood
  • Peace River Studios 3Sixty Panoramic Camera Mount
  • Manfrotto 338 Levelling Base
  • Acratech Universal Cork Top Quick Release Camera Plate
  • Acratech Ultimate Ballhead Tripod Head
  • Gitzo G1227MK2 Mountaineer Carbon Fiber Tripod
  • Inca Hotshoe-mount Dual Spirit Level
  • SanDisk Extreme III 1GB CompactFlash Memory Card
  • NextoDI Nexto-CF ND-2500 60GB Portable Storage Device
  • Garmin eTrex Vista C GPS Receiver
  • Burton Snowboards F-Stop Camera Backpack

  • Adobe Photoshop CS2 (RAW Image Conversion, Image Editing and Adjustments)
  • New House Internet Services B.V. PTGui (Panorama Stitching)
  • Helmut Dersch's Panotools (Panorama Stitching)
  • New House Internet Services B.V. PTGui (Panorama Blending)
  • Andrew Mihal's Enblend (Panorama Blending)
  • Thomas Rauscher's Pano2QTVR (Blended Panorama Image to QTVR Movie Conversion)

  • Panorama Type: Spherical
  • Number of Images: 45 (3 rows x 12 images, 1 x zenith image, 1 x nadir images, 7 x extra images)
  • Focal Length: 10mm (16mm at 35mm film equivalent)
  • Aperture: f/8
  • Shutter Speed: 1/800 second
  • Sensor Sensitivity: ISO 100

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