The spring of 2013 will not be remembered for its sustained periods of settled weather. Instead much like the winter that preceded it, it was dominated by warmer than normal temperatures and frequent squally frontal systems. What few clear spells that did come through were short lived and often directly followed heavy snow falls. This all coupled together to make for less than ideal climbing conditions.
Recovering from a big injury takes time, but with some patience and a bit of good old fashioned 'hard work' it can be a heartening and rewarding process. This catalogues my recovery from four breaks to my pelvis and my return to the mountains.
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I looked down, for the thousandth time, at the crampon points kicked in as far as I could tolerate, my toes aching and bruising with every step. It seemed funny at the time, wondering if Scarpa had this in mind when they designed the ‘Manta,’ a pair of boots usually sold for tramping and transalpine.
Last weekend the weather planet aligned and Jono Clarke, Graham Johnson and I made a trip to Cathedral Rocks (Matihao south face), Mt Ruapehu. I’d never been there before but had heard about it and was excited at the prospect. We left Wgtn at 2am Saturday bound for Whakapapa. After a rendezvous with Graham we strolled up to the summit plateau (+ 1000m) and meandered our way around to Cathy rocks. Despite being late spring with a high freezing level, we found ice with good hoon potential. Never mind that though - we had our eyes on the real prize i.e.
The term “For the LOLs” and its variations speak to the deeper reasons of what motivates us to climb. It is not infrequently that a climber’s asked “Why do you climb?” by one of the uninitiated.
The forecast was for one of those weak westerly flows that come in right after a clearing SW storm. Although the weather for the weekend itself was supposed to be alright, as we all made our plans to meet at Mt Cook it became increasingly apparent that the weather would be puking hard on Friday, increasing the avalanche risk to unacceptable levels. After a hasty change of plans, the Dasler Pinnacles became the logical destination for our various groups to meet, with cars coming from Queenstown, Dunedin, Greymouth and Christchurch.
Rob Frost has provided me with some great inspiration in the last two months. Firstly at the Remarkables Ice and Mixed Climbing Festival with his talk on their expedition to White Wave and the unclimbed mountains surrounding the peak. Then again in the latest issue of Climber and all the info he shared on easy unclimbed alpine routes in NZ. So I thought that I would follow his lead it and share a bit of information on unclimbed lines we spotted last weekend.