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Hooker Glacier (New Zealand)

Hooker Glacier is one of several glaciers close to the slopes of Aoraki / Mount Cook in the Southern Alps of New Zealand.[4] It is not as large as its neighbour, the Tasman Glacier, measuring 11 kilometres (roughly 6–7 miles) in length.

Hooker Glacier
Icebergs in Hooker Glacier Lake in front of Aoraki Mount Cook.jpg
View across glacier lake to Hooker Glacier terminus in front of Aoraki / Mount Cook
Type Mountain glacier
Location New Zealand
Coordinates 43°40′0″S 170°7′0″E / 43.66667°S 170.11667°E / -43.66667; 170.11667Coordinates: 43°40′0″S 170°7′0″E / 43.66667°S 170.11667°E / -43.66667; 170.11667
Length 11 km (6.8 mi)
Thickness 150 m (490 ft)[1]
Terminus Hooker Lake[2]
Status Retreating[3]

The glacier starts on the south-western slopes of Aoraki/Mt Cook, with its tributaries Sheila Glacier, Empress Glacier, and Noeline Glacier. Hooker Glacier runs south from there until its terminus at Hooker Lake. The glacial water from the lake is the source of the Hooker River, a small tributary of the Tasman River, which flows into Lake Pukaki.

Hooker Glacier in winter, behind frozen Hooker Lake

One of New Zealand's more accessible glaciers, the glacier and its terminus can be seen clearly from the end of the Hooker Valley Track.[5] This easy walk to the glacier lake is the most popular in the region.[6]

For serious trampers and mountaineers, there are three huts along the glacier further up the valley: Hooker Hut, Gardiner Hut, and Empress Hut.

The current glacier lake only started to form in the 1970s, left behind as Hooker Glacier retreated. Like many of the glaciers in the Southern Alps, Hooker Glacier is rapidly melting, with the glacier lake projected to grow as the terminus retreats until it reaches the glacier bed about 4 kilometres upstream from the current terminus.[3]

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