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.
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.
Departing on the 27th May, the Expedition Climbers’ Club (ECC) 2016 Peru Expedition will be the largest international climbing trip to leave New Zealand in the last 40 years. The expedition will be based in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca mountain range, with members of the 12 person group attempting to climb a variety of unclimbed routes on the many 5000 and 6000m peaks in the area. The expedition is also the pinnacle of the ECC’s 3-year elite youth development program; the New Zealand Alpine Team.
It all started at the 'Death Stairs', a flight of 250 steps above Coogee beach, Sydney. The endorphins were obviously running rampant after those sweaty laps, because when I asked Michael Mate whether he wanted to join me for an ascent of the infamous big wall aid climb Ozymandias at Mt Buffalo, he said yes straight away. A wise decision on his part? Time would tell. But I was stoked.
Climbing the Super Couloir on Mt Blanc du Tacul via its classic direct start is a must do climb for many alpinists visiting the Chamonix valley.
“You should have a crack at Sabre if you want something tough. By god, there’s a mountain for you!” G Hall-Jones to M Gill, c.a. 1958