Black Peak, New Zealand


Skiing Black Peak near Treble Cone Ski Area on the South Island of New Zealand

Black Peak is a prominent peak in the Harris Mountains of New Zealand. If you’ve ever skied at Treble Cone Ski Area, you can see it from the ridge looking west. During the winter season of 2012, Scott Palmer and I made an overnight mission to ski Black Peak.


We left Wanaka bright and early and headed up the crazy New Zealand road to Treble Cone. In the TC parking lot, we realized we forgot a lighter for our stove. It was surprisingly hard to find fire at that place. After a bit of Kiwi begging, we scored a lighter and jumped on the chairlift. This eliminated a lot of uphill walking. At the top of the chair we did a quick bootpack and I clicked my Dynafit Titans into my Stokes to ski into the popular Treble Cone backcountry and towards Black Peak.

Most of the hike to Black Peak is a nice steep side-hill. The tour covers a good bit of distance, but not a whole lot of elevation gain. If my memory serves me correctly, the ski tour took about 5-6 hours. Scott and I made our way across the scenic Harris Mountains enjoying the views and covering distance. As we closed in on Black Peak, we realized that our cool, remote peak had been poached by one of the local Wanaka Heli Skiing operations. Bummer. Oh well. We made our way very close to the summit and made camp.

Camp for the night was an epic snow cave. It was a bit claustrophobic, but very warm. We enjoyed some tea and ate a freeze-dried meal while the sunset over Mount Aspiring captivated us. Looking down over the valley, we came to the conclusion that next time we come to Black Peak, we should probably stay at the Black Peak Hut.


Early in the AM, we woke up and ate some instant oatmeal. Then we hustled up to the summit of Black Peak at 7509 ft or 2289 m. The hardest part was putting on a pair of Titans when they are cold. Ouch! Dynafit Titans are great boots, but not a boot for winter camping – the plastic is too stiff.

From the summit the views looking into Mount Aspiring National Park were mind blowing. The vistas back toward Wanaka were jaw dropping. Is New Zealand the most beautiful country on Earth? Quite possibly. Very inspiring – even if Black Peak is a hot spot for heli-skiing.

After being blown away by  the views, we skied back to camp. It was an uneventful ski with classic NZ snow. At the cave, we grabbed our sleeping bags, left our snow cave for the next adventurers, and started the long ski back to Treble Cone and my beat up Subaru that Mia and I purchased at the Backpacker’s Car Market in Christchurch.

Skiing Black Peak in Otago was a blast. Not sure I’d do it again, just because there are so many other amazing options for skiing in New Zealand.

Destination: Black Peak
Summit Elevation: 7509 ft or 2289 m
NZ Topo: Aspiring Flats

Here’s a great photo gallery from our skiing adventure to Black Peak near Treble Cone Ski Area on the South Island of New Zealand:

Black Peak was skied in September 2012.