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.
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
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.
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.
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.
While there may be a lacking of high mountains or ice and mixed climbing, with some imagination, there is no shortage of opportunities to train the mind and body for alpine climbing in Australia. I will recount three recent training missions in Australia - an 850m climbing link-up in the Grose Valley, alpine rock climbing in the Warrumbungles, and a 90km run traversing three of the highest and most remote peaks in the Blue Mountains.
Pierces Pass Triple
A trip up the Hooker Glacier to Empress Hut is one of the must do Kiwi alpine experiences for any visiting or local mountaineer.