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.
The words “Arthurs Pass” and “ice” are two words most climbers never use in the same sentence. The fact of the matter is, ice routes do exist in the Arthurs Pass area. These routes are often not in the form of semi- transparent blue pillars with easy approaches but instead may be mixed with rock, turf and may be difficult to access. Some climbers often slag off climbing around Arthurs Pass, but the benefits gained from a backyard of Arthurs climbing can quickly silence the staunchest climbing folk.
After doing the maths on my trusty old Macpac Paclite jacket and realizing there were more patches than actual jacket, I knew the time had come for a new one. I’ve always had good performance out of Macpac jackets in the past and the Macpac Lightweight Prophet AP Rain Jacket didn’t disappoint. A jacket is one of the most important pieces of clothing for any climber or mountaineer so it’s important to get a reliable one which performs well.
Last summer, David Chen and Tony Burnell headed into the South Temple and climbed a 480-metre long new route on the SW buttress of the impressive Bruce Peak, involving rock climbing up to grade 17 on long run-out slabs that had barely dried from a storm.
I’d done several of the classic rock routes up on Moir’s and on the back of Barrier Knob over the past summer months but I’m ashamed to say I’ve done none of the winter routes at all in the Darrans. I was eager to see what it was all about. So with a fairly dry and dismal start to winter, Steven Fortune, Kieran Parsons and myself remained optimistic and headed to Fiordland to catch the last few days of the annual Darrans Winter Meet based out of Homer Hut.
If I had to describe the Mac Pac Fitzroy soft shell pants in one word it would be AWESOME. The Fitzroy is Macpac's premier soft shell pant which combines breathable stretch and high water resistant materials that make a well-rounded performing mountaineering and rock climbing pant in cooler conditions. The Fitzroy pants are made of 50D stretch fabric with DWR treatment for water resistance which means they wick water extremely well for a soft shell pant.
Now in its fifth year running, the Remarkables Ice & Mixed Festival is becoming a must-attend event on the NZ climbing calendar! Climbers from all around the country and overseas gather in Queenstown for a long weekend to learn and practice basic mountaineering, ice climbing, mixed climbing and ski touring.
There's an immense satisfaction in seeing the fruition of many years of hard work, perseverance and the continual acquisition of skills garnered from climbing in New Zealand and abroad. Nothing demonstrates this tremendous New Zealand climbing ability better than the four first ascents on Taulliraju (5830m) over the past two weeks.