It is part of the Southern Alps Mountain Range and is flanked by the Hooker Glacier to the southwest and the Tasman Glacier to the east. The mountain has three peaks: The south peak being the lowest at 3,593m/11,788 ft., The middle peak at 3,717m/12,195 ft. and the North peak being the highest at 3,724m/12,218 ft. This is the height of the north peak after the landslide of December 1991 which took 30 meters off the top and also turned the summit into a knife-edge ridge.
The mountain was named by Captain John Lort Stokes in honour of Captain James Cook who travelled around the islands of New Zealand in 1770 however the first Europeans to see Mount Cook were probably members of Abel Tasman's crew.
It was first climbed by Tom Fyre, George Graham and Jack Clarke. Mount Cook is a favourite destination for climbers and was used by Sir Edmund Hillary as training for his historic climb of Mount Everest.