I’ll never forget that feeling of irrepressible euphoria I felt late one evening in the middle of May 2013, when I received an e-mail from Steven Fortune offering me a place on the New Zealand Alpine Team. I’d always been a bit of a fan boy for top climbers; avidly reading about their exploits in the Climber and Alpine Journals, dreaming that one day, in some parallel universe, I too might be able to do something like them. Needless to say, when Steve noted that the other Christchurch mentors were Jamie, Kester and Reg, I was beyond ecstatic.
As I sit in my 9 a.m. Biological Chemistry lecture on Monday morning, I can barely grip a pen due to eviscerated finger tips, nor can I focus due to being in the car for the 18 hours prior in order to make my first lecture of the semester. Nonetheless, I’m still beaming from ear to ear from the stunning, (if somewhat insane) three day trip down to the Darrans.
Some experiences are so much larger than those it precedes, it takes a time before they can be shared. For me, the two weeks I spent climbing in Chamonix with Daniel Joll in August 2014 were such an experience. Not only were the routes we climbed longer and harder than any I had previously climbed, they were also more committing and several were climbed in poor conditions with marginal forecasts. This is why it is only now, 6 months after the end of the trip, that I am finally putting a pen to paper.
Canada Ice Climbing Blog - by Jaz Morris and Frazer Attrill
We have included a link to the best photos of the trip below. Even if you are not a Facebook user you can click on the photo selection and see all the photos. Scoll down the page to see both the FB album and a short video of 10 classic Canadian ice climbs. Scroll down to the bottom of the page if you want to see our tips for staying in the Rockies and a gear list we used for the trip.
First ascent of the South Face of Mt Suter (2094m).
Darrans winter grade VI, 6 (WI5), Ben Dare, Stephen Skelton 19th July 2014.
The man who lives in the mountains is free.
He must be, if he is to go beyond the reaches of the forest, and find his path to the summit.
The man who lives in the mountains is determined.
He pushes through with gritted teeth and an icy beard, because he knows what richness will reward him at the top.
The man who lives in the mountains is patient.
He has to retrace his steps a thousand times over, taking two forward and one back.
The man who lives in the mountains is honest.
As we walked towards the South Face of Aspiring early on Saturday morning I watched several shooting stars dash across the night sky. Two weeks before our friends Ari & Frazer had climbed the South Face of Aspiring. On the descent Ari slipped, falling to his death near the base of the North West Ridge. At Ari's service in Golden Bay the Pastor described his short life like a shooting star, burning brightly, touching many but only lasting a short time. This analogy stuck with me over the last two weeks and as I approached the South Face I watched the shooting stars remembering all th
They say a climbing partnership is like a relationship, and it’s fairly well established that opposites attract: perhaps that’s why Ari and I worked.
Unfortunately it is with great sadness that we announce that the climber reported killed on Mt Aspiring yesterday was NZ Alpine Team member Ari Kingan, age 21 of Golden Bay. Ari was our good mate, and our thoughts are with his friends and family; our sincere condolences to his family Lea, Ross and Dan.