"One of the classic climbs in the Alps,” says Allan Uren in the Mt Aspiring Guidebook of the South West Ridge of Mt Aspiring. It has been on my ‘top-priority list’ of climbs for an embarrassingly long time, one to do at the first available opportunity. I don’t know why 5 years has gone by since I last went up Mt Aspiring, but it might be that we have so much good climbing in New Zealand and every time a high pressure system comes along, there is too much to choose from.
I feel warmth as it leaves my body. Cold plastic, warmed by a steady stream of 40 degree fluid. On a cold night there is mild relief for my frozen fingers as they firmly wrap around a 1.5L Nelgine come piss bottle. Brett Gilmore a friend from Hawkes Bay first introduced me to the guilty pleasures of the piss bottle in a tent on Mt Ruapehu. At the time I was less than convinced, especially as he was trying to negotiate the confines of a narrow coke bottle mouth, which for anyone who has tried knows, extra care and attention is required.
For a climb which the guidebook describes as “A classic ice climb, perhaps the finest in New Zealand…” there’s remarkably little information about the East Ridge of Aoraki/Mt Cook. While there can be something alluring about a little enigma surrounding a climb, there’s also something to be said for some beta on such a route, which hopefully encourages more people to get out there and climb such a stunning line.
We're stoked to be able to announce the newest members of the New Zealand Alpine Team!
Recently, we requested applications for the NZAT mentoring program from climbers aged 18-25. A number of candidates stood out and 9 were selected for trials held in Queenstown (and Australia). From those, 6 were selected for the team.
On the 17th - 18th of October we held the trials for the 2016-2019 intake for the New Zealand Alpine Team. Nine candidates are competing for three-year mentored positions in the NZAT, and eight of them came from all over New Zealand to meet in Queenstown for a weekend of cardio, climbing and mental assessments. It was the first time we've held trials, having selected the 2013-2016 team based on mountaineering CV and interview alone. We think that the trials were a great way to objectively analyse the applicants, all of whom are climbing at a high level already - and we reckon in a few years the standard for the trials will be even higher!
15 months ago I was recovering from surgery repairing my shattered ankle. Painkillers caused insomnia and vivid dreams featuring movie like action sequences with a touch of mythology and other absurdity. I would wake, sweaty, shaken, thinking 'that was a bit weird'.
Currently there are two established dry tooling crags in Queenstown. Both of these are located at the Kelvin Heights end of the Kelvin Heights - Jacks Point Trail. When walking from Kelvin Heights the first crag you come across is the Den of Iniquity. It is on the right hand side of the trail as you walk towards Jacks Point overlooking the lake. The top of this crag can be seen when your standing at the second of the green bench seats. As seen below. It takes arounds ten minutes to reach the Den. Look for the climbers trail on the right hand side of the crag.
Highlights from the annual Darrans winter climbing meet which wrapped up over the weekend. Where some of the best ice conditions seen in recent years allowed for a number of great climbs to be completed.
Zodiac on El Capitan is a great route to introduce you to the mid grade clean aid climbing. At C3 the route is hard enough to be interesting but not so hard that you should have any major epics. In saying that there are approx 6-7 pitches graded C3 and many of the other pitches are C2 or C2+ so the route is fairly sustained for its grade.