On July 30th 2013 my brother and I suffered a nasty accident while tramping. We both fell while descending from Zit Saddle on day two of a four day tramp inland of Hokitika. Our intended route was Cedar Flats to Adventure Biv to Zits Saddle to Top Kokatahi Hut to Top Crawford Hut to Lathrop Saddle to Browning Range Bivouac to Grassy Flat Hut to the Styx car park. We were left unable to perform a self rescue. This is an account of the accident, the ensuring 5 days and nights before we were rescued by SAR West Coast, our recovery and a quick analysis of how we got ourselves into such a nasty situation.
Firstly for those who are wondering just what is mixed climbing, dry tooling or for that matter ice and snow climbing is here is a short run down.
An Otago team have claimed what may be the first ascent of the south face of Glengyle Peak (2283m) in the West Matukituki valley, Mt Aspiring National Park. The route, Central Gully (MC 4-) follows an obvious snow gully in the centre of the face for about 5 pitches to reach the summit ridge about 100m from the summit of Glengyle. NZ Alpine Team member Jaz Morris and a Dunedin friend Alexis Belton climbed the route from a high camp at 2000m on the south ridge of Mt Rob Roy.
Several years ago the question was asked and debated by the New Zealand Alpine Club “the death of alpinism”. Many climbers of yesterday questioned if alpinism in NZ was simply a thing of the past.
It was with some trepidation that I threw every single piece of gear I own, into duffel bags and packs, in preparation for heading down to Queenstown for a week of training with the Team prior to the Remarkables Ice and Mixed Festival. From the information which had been circulating, it was clearly going to be an initiation by fire, evidenced by the fact the whole Team had been warned that we were going to be ‘encouraged’ to set new routes around the Remarkables.
“To have this opportunity is both a privilege and a responsibility. A responsibility to keep the fundamental spirit of alpinism alive – the pursuit of the impossible and the unknown.”
- Jamie Vinton-Boot
As a preface to this piece, I would like to note that I had known Jamie for only a short period, but he made a huge impact on me in such time. My relationship with Jamie barely scratches the surface of an amazing man, and I wish to extend my sincerest condolences to those who knew Jamie best.
Several members of the NZAT made the most of average conditions at the recent Darrans Winter Meet, putting up three new routes in the Homer/Macpherson area. Saturday 13 July started clear and cold, promising a good start to the week.
However, finding only thin ice at lower altitudes, NZAT member Ben Dare (Queenstown) went searching for better material. With Danny Murphy and Steve Skelton, he put up a new ice route in the upper Macpherson Cirque 'The Elusive Leprechaun' (III, 5).