is the highest mountain in New Zealand, and 37th most prominent peak
in the world, reaching a height of 3,754 metres (12,316 ft). It lies in the Southern Alps
, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island
. A popular tourist
destination, it is also a favourite challenge for mountain climbers
. Aoraki/Mount Cook consists of three summits lying slightly south and east of the main divide, the Low Peak, Middle Peak and High Peak, with the Tasman Glacier
to the east and the Hooker Glacier
to the west.
Aoraki means "Cloud Piercer" in the Ngāi Tahu dialect of the Māori language. Historically, the Māori name has been spelt Aorangi in the "canonical" Māori form. While the mountain was known to Māori centuries before, the first European known to see Aoraki/Mount Cook was Abel Tasman, on December 13, 1642 during his first Pacific voyage. The English name of Mount Cook was given to the mountain in 1851 by Captain John Lort Stokes to honour Captain James Cook who first surveyed and circumnavigated the islands of New Zealand in 1770. Captain Cook did not sight the mountain during his exploration. Following the settlement between Ngāi Tahu and the Crown in 1998, the name of the mountain was officially changed from Mount Cook to Aoraki/Mount Cook to incorporate its historic Māori name, Aoraki. Under the settlement the Crown agreed to return title to Aoraki/Mount Cook to Ngāi Tahu, who then formally gifted it back to the nation.
The first ascent was on 25 December 1894, when New Zealanders Tom Fyfe, James (Jack) Clarke and George Graham successfully reached the summit via the Hooker Valley and the north ridge. Ed Hillary made his first ascent in January 1947. In February 1948 with Ruth Adams, Harry Ayres and Mick Sullivan, Hillary made the first ascent of the South Ridge to the Low Peak.
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