You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
A large rock avalanche has hit a climber's hut on Mount Cook Aoraki.
The avalanche was reported by a pilot yesterday and an aerial inspection revealed that Gardiner Hut, above the Hooker Glacier, was hit and moved off its foundations.
The Department of Conservation said there were no records of visitors to the area and aerial investigations did not indicate anyone was caught in the incident.
"We have carried out an initial inspection by helicopter," services manager Mike Davies said.
Staff we working with GNS Science to assess the stability of the area, allowing them to perform a closer investigation of the rock fall and the damage.
"Until that assessment is complete we are asking climbers and other visitors to keep out of the Noeline Glacier region of the upper Hooker valley."
Mike Davies says the area is a remote alpine location used only by experienced alpine climbers.
The Hooker Track is unaffected.