It is with great sadness that we report the passing of two team members Conor Smith and Sarwan Chand. Over the long weekend Conor and Sarwan were climbing in the Darran Mountains (Fiordland). They had been attempting a route on the South Face of Marian Peak. While details of the accident are not yet fully known, we believe, that while climbing, the leader fell before being able to place gear after the belay. This resulted in a factor 2 lead fall, pulling the team off the wall.
The Expedition Climbers Club (ECC) recently organised a rock climbing trip to Cloudy Peak in late February this year with the intention of encouraging alpine rock climbing on new and existing routes. With a reasonable but less than ideal weather forecast, Steve Fortune along with Arthur Lachat and Coco of the French Alpine team headed up to Erewhon late on the evening of the 23rd, armed with a rack, a savage looking machete and several rolls of pink tape.
Within our team, we want to standardise the calls we use, so you always know what to expect when you climb with someone from the NZAT. It is good to reduce the calls you use to a bare minimum and not say unnecessary things as these can add more confusion than clarity. A belayer/climber does not need a running commentary and you don't want a shouting match at the end of a pitch. It is also a good principle to acknowledge any calls heard, as often the caller does not know if they are heard. This is normally a simple 'OK' or 'Thank You'. This article describes the standard climbing calls and procedures used when climbing. Sticking to these and only these, will help reduce misunderstandings when climbing.
After two months of fantastic ice & mixed climbing in the Canadian Rockies, finally the seasons were beginning to signal a change, with warm temperatures melting off ice pillars and sending avalanche ratings up to extreme. Colours of Instagram were also transforming, from the white, blue and grey of the alpine to the rich orange and red of the desert. Canadians were flocking southwards to the sandstone splitters of Moab, and I felt compelled to join them.
There are many alpine rock routes including technical rock climbing, that you want to change into rock shoes for, that you need to carry the shoes you approach in. This is the category this shoe works brilliantly in, that I call approach shoes. Low weight is key here, you don't want to lug your old heavy leather tramping boots up a hard pitch, but they also need to be robust enough to handle a scrambling approach or scree descent that might rip a pair of light fabric trainers to shreds. The Firetail is my favourite shoe in this category. They were light enough to carry up a hard pitch of a new route at Cloudy Peak, robust enough to handle the long scree descent.
Man Spooning – Verb , two men locked in the spoon position during an alpine bivy. Depending on the participants, usually a function of age and or temperature, man spooning may take several seconds, minutes or even hours to begin. Once both parties have accepted the terms on their situation, man spooning usually continues until it’s time to start climbing. It is not common to hear the expression “Lets manspoon” this is usually a silent agreement.
Scroll to the bottom of this story for a video from this and other previous attempts on the Ragni Route
We are propagating accidents, injuries and deaths. In almost all commercial industries, when multiple near misses or similar accidents occur, they are analysed and methods are instigated to eliminate the causal factors. Even rats in a maze learn not to make the same mistakes multiple times. But it seems the climbing community hasn’t yet learned. All too often I hear of people either dying, being seriously injured, or narrowly avoiding catastrophe due to the same preventable errors.
The Nose, El Capitan, Yosemite. Beta for climbing the "Nose In A Day" (NIAD)
The Nose on El Capitan has to be one of the world’s most popular big wall climbs. Climbing the route in traditional big wall style and in particular, climbing the Nose in a day (NIAD) is a popular rite of passage for climbers from around the world.
North of Kathmandu, bordering Tibet, is the picturesque and highly diverse Lantang Valley. For any outdoor enthusiast this is the ideal location for moderate-challenging trekking, easy peak climbing or hard high altitude climbing all situated in the abundance of Tibetan culture, huge Himalayan peaks, roaring rivers and small villages where you will always feel welcome.
The New Zealand Alpine Team is spending three weeks ice climbing in the Canadian Rockies around Canmore, Alberta this January. Follow this blog for day-to-day updates and all the latest photos from the trip.