The Road to Changabang

Saturday 26 March 2022, 8:38pm -- daniel.joll


The North face and West Ridge of Changabang. Pic stolen from the internet.


The road to Changabang has been rather long and winding. It all began over 3 years ago and came to an abrupt end as the COVID pandemic closed international borders and stopping most plans for overseas climbing. However, the mountain was still waiting and we were still thinking of the unrepeated West Ridge. As part of our build up for this expedition our five strong expedition team has headed to Chamonix for one month prior to leaving for India.

Wild Dykes – Ground up adventure climbing on the Charismatic Wall Fiordland

Saturday 26 February 2022, 11:58am -- daniel.joll

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Llew sets off on a new pitch, blowing dust from a freshly drilled bolt hole.

Daniel Joll

Falling backwards head first. Never a good situation to find yourself in. My helmet splits as my head slams into solid granite. My shoulder and elbow softening the blow. A worried voice asks from the belay

“are you hurt ?”

“yes” I reply but “ill be ok, nothing broken”

Nine Mantras for the Mountain Life

Tuesday 22 February 2022, 1:07pm -- alastair.mcdowell

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H. Fleming

Mountains teach us powerful lessons. The practical way that I carry these lessons with me is by condensing them into short mottos and mantras that I can quickly pull out to deal with a situation or to re-wire my thinking. I’ve collected these over the last 10+ years of mountain travels, from books, people & conversations, and my own experiences. They deal with challenges of the ego, risk, uncertainty, and self-belief.

New Zealand 3000m Peaks Expedition

Wednesday 29 December 2021, 2:18pm -- alastair.mcdowell

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Hamish and Alastair on the summit of Tititea/Mt Aspiring, the final peak.

A. McDowell

Every mountainous region has its list of highest peaks. The British Munros. The 4000m peaks of the European Alps. The Himalayan 8000ers. In New Zealand, we have the 3000m peaks.

There are 24 named peaks over 3000m in New Zealand, considering only the highest point of each mountain. Although the 3000m mark is arbitrary, the list of resulting peaks represent the highest and most classical of our mountains, embedded in the history of the Southern Alps.

Transalpine Hacks

Thursday 23 December 2021, 2:49pm -- alastair.mcdowell

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Sheltering in a rock bivouac in Whitcombe Pass during a ski traverse across the Canterbury Alps

R. Pearson

Over years of travelling between the alpine and sub-alpine zones, from sea to summit, there are lots of little tricks, or “hacks”, that can make life easier or more efficient. In New Zealand, we have to contend with everything from raging rivers, dense jungle-like bush, steep snowgrass, glaciers and high alpine peaks, sometimes all in one day, and often in inclement weather. The best “hacks” are ones that involve carrying versatile lightweight gear that can be used for multiple applications.

Soulfly - the First Winter Ascent of the East Face of Flat Top Peak

Sunday 7 November 2021, 4:49pm -- bendare


The line of Soulfly, East Face Flat Top Peak, Fiordland

Ben Dare

I could sense rather than see the face above me as I stumbled through the snow-covered moraine. A presence that loomed out beyond the edge of my vision as a darker shade of black on black in the inky pre-dawn darkness. Flickering glimpses in the beam of my headtorch the only real hint of what lay ahead. Alpine starts can be both a blessing and a curse in that respect. You don’t have to deal with the intimidation of a large face hanging over you on the final approach. But the uncertainty can be equally as daunting. Not knowing what lies ahead and what the coming day will bring.

Showa TEMRES 282 glove review

Tuesday 19 October 2021, 9:50am -- alastair.mcdowell


Showa TEM-RES 282-02 gloves


The Showa TEMRES 282 gloves have recently gained something of a cult following. Designed for commercial fishing in Japan, it turns out that many of the demands of mountaineering & fishing cross over – warmth, dexterity & waterproofness. I recently bought a pair and used them for a few alpine routes on 3000m peaks around the Fox Glacier and can confirm: the Showa TEMRES 282s deliver all three. Too good to be true?


Douglas Peak - South Face - Beta

Tuesday 5 October 2021, 11:49am -- alastair.mcdowell

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South Face of Douglas

Pat Gray

The guidebook raves that the South Face of Douglas Peak is one of New Zealand’s great ice climbs. We too can attest this is a classic ice route on a beautiful peak. Based out of Pioneer Hut, you'll see that Douglas Peak is the second most commanding peak in the Fox Glacier area besides the mighty Tasman-Horokoau. As you approach the face the structure of the mountain emerges and it is clear this is a perfect peak for alpine climbing.



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