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.
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.
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.
"I'm here and I'm excited!" Steve's plane must have landed and he's txting me to remind me im running a bit late. I'm excited as well. I haven't really been climbing with Steve for almost three months. We have a few weekends set aside before our Patagonia expedition and are many plans for unclimbed lines we hope to try. Our first objective being the South Face of Marian. However some massive avalanches have cut the road off and its not looking like it will open until Saturday afternoon. That's too late for us, I have to be on a flight to Hawkes Bay for work 3.30pm Monday.
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.