Sealy Tarns Track
ElevationAscent: 1,717' 523 m
Descent: -36' -11 m
High: 4,282' 1,305 m
Low: 2,596' 791 m
GradeAvg Grade: 28% (16°)
Max Grade: 71% (35°)
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“This climb is merciless. The good news is that you don’t even care because the views are out of this world.”— Kristen McGlynn
To access the track, start your hike on the Kea Point Track. Sealy Tarns Track branches off to the west and starts easily enough, although there are signs warning of the strenuous nature and potentially hazardous terrain that you are about to encounter.
Once the stairs start, they are unrelenting. The logistics and labor involved in the construction of this staircase is fairly staggering—the higher you climb, the more impressive it becomes as the stairs contour along the steep hillside, winding in and out of sections of trees and bush that become more and more sparse as you climb.
The good news is that the views are outstanding, so you'll have plenty of excuses to stop and catch your breath. The higher you climb, the better your vantage point for views of Mueller Lake, Hooker Valley, Hooker Lake, and the impressive summit of Mt. Cook / Aoraki. As Mt. Cook Village recedes to a small speck on the valley floor, expansive views open up to the south as well, as the braided Tasman River winds its way across the plain back toward the turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki.
The trail does eventually leave the stairs behind and levels out briefly to pass by the tarns themselves. The trail ends at a picnic table with another outstanding view, so bring a snack to enjoy before the punishing descent back down all those stairs.
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Need to Know, Dogs Allowed
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