A tramper's photos have captured the polar extremes experienced by one of New Zealand's most recognisable huts.
Late spring snow and stormy weather turned Mount Cook into a winter wonderland, almost freezing trampers out of alpine huts, last week.
Hikers had to dig through two metres of snow to get into their accommodation at the Mueller Hut on the Sealy Range.
"We had anticipated the hut might be quite deep in snow given it had been similarly buried earlier in the season," said Jared Vautier from Christchurch, who had been planning the hike with a friend.
Picking the time was a careful consideration. Although both hikers knew the terrain they hadn't attempted a trip under so much snow.
"We essentially were waiting both for a reasonable weather window and the avalanche advisory rating to drop to Moderate," said Jared.
Since Sunday a further 176mm of snow has fallen at Mt Cook Village and the avalanche warning between High and Considerable.
It took the two hikers "a good hour or so" to dig out the main door and windows. The outhouse was also buried, which was an inconvenience.
The party had left plenty of time to hike back down the mountain, should they not be able to dig in.
"Worst case scenario, we had sleeping mats with high R values and could have made a snow cave," said Jared. "But that would have been pretty unpleasant, I imagine."
The Mueller Hut track from Mt Cook Village is popular with hikers of all abilities, but for much of the year it is affected by snow and ice.
While during summer months DOC advises the three hour trail can be attempted by "anyone with moderate tramping experience", winter conditions require avalanche knowledge and mountaineering equipment.
The familiar, red, 28-bunk shelter is often booked out over summer but at 1800 metres is subject to extreme seasonal changes. Pictures of the snowbound hut are a great illustration of just how wild the weather gets.
"The NZ Mountain Safety Council advise to wait until December before tramping in the Mt Cook/Aoraki National Park due to the potential for deep snow and avalanche danger," said a spokesperson for the MSC.
Avalanches cause 37 incidents and an average of 1.35 deaths per year in New Zealand.
The MSC has recently launched a new advisory app called Plan My Walk, to help hikers of all abilities quickly check track conditions on trails.
"Plan My Walk contains alerts for the New Zealand Avalanche Advisory (NZAA), DOC tracks, and weather warnings and watches. Additionally, the weather forecast and gear list for each walk is also included."
Bringing multiple advisories into one place, it's a great place to start planning a hike or check before heading on a walk.
"It would certainly be helpful to have them all in one place for sure," says Jared who often uses online tools to check routes and weather conditions. "I like to use multiple sources."
For more information see mountainsafety.org.nz