Peru and the Cordillera Blanca must have the most easily accessed 6000m peaks in the world. It’s possible to be at a base camp for a peak the same day you leave town. It’s also a cheap country to travel in and climbing requires no peak fees. The dry winter season also has stable weather giving us a good chance of getting up high.
Another serac rips from the summit ice cliffs of neighbouring Mount Dickey, and the familiar roar of avalanche thunders through the valley. My calves shake on crumbling footholds, the infamous “Cracker Jack Gravel” of the Ruth Gorge.
I’m balanced on an arete well above my last piece. I reach for a pecker piton and weld it into a thin crack with my free hand, tightening my crimp on the other. I launch into the corner above, loaded with tottering loose flakes.
This is a technique that when used right will speed up many alpine and multi pitch ascents. Why speed up your ascent? Personally I think speed is a key factor to moving safely in the mountains. If you climb slowly you are more likely to have unplanned bivvies, get stuck in storms or get caught out by rock fall or serac fall. Moving quickly over technical terrain is also good fun!
Starting with the basics: "simul climbing" is when two climbers move at the same time with a rope between them, placing and removing protection as they go.
SouthWest Pillar on Lobuche East and Cholatse North Face Nov 2017
Steven Fortune. Daniel Joll, Matt Scholes and Kim Ladiges
This is a trip report for an ascent of the Walker spur by Kim Ladiges & Daniel Joll on the 22/3/2019 (first day of spring so not quite a winter ascent but certainly “wintery”).
Temperature for 4000m max : -11C min : -17C light winds.
Major snowfall occurred 5 days previously, strong winds had stripped a fair bit of this snow off the ridge so that it mostly appeared rocky from a distance.
Spending a whole season in a place as dynamic as Chamonix in the heart of the French Alps is an interesting experience. Observing the conditions & season change through the months, and adapting to the most practical way to experience the mountains is a great learning process. From skiing, ice climbing, mountaineering, or rock climbing, all is possible in the Mont Blanc massif and surrounds, and is all a matter of patience. Here Alastair recalls the various trips made over the course of the winter by the NZAT contingent of himself, Daniel Joll, Lionel Clay and Kim Ladiges.
September 30, 2018, NZAT members Kim Ladiges and Matthew Scholes flew into Nepal for a 6 week expedition with the primary objective being the south face of Gangapurna, 7455m. Here Matt Scholes recounts his and Kim's journey to attempt this huge 1500 metre face in the Annapurna Massif.
The Manaslu Circuit - Acclimatisation Trek
A couple of years ago, I sold my business in NZ and more or less became a full time climbing bum. This coincided with becoming a father, and the two combined led me to examine some of my climbing choices and the statistical risks associated with them. I was keen to make sure that I had good habits in place to avoid those once in a lifetime accidents that over a long climbing career might happen.
In the saturated and expensive market of high-tech sneakers for climbers, called ‘approach shoes,’ one model has for several years stood out in terms of durability and utility. In partnership with Bobo Products, the New Zealand importer of Salewa, I recently got my hands (or feet) on some new Salewa Mountain Trainer IIs. Not that I needed to: my 5 year old pair still looks almost new, despite considerable abuse. Nevertheless, the new model has received a few upgrades and improvements, and at the outset of this review I’ll simply say that they are great (you can stop reading now if you wish).
In search of a lightweight set of half ropes, I have recently been testing out the Tendon Master 7.8mm ropes. I have used them on recent climbs in the European Alps such as the long north faces of Dent Blanche, Aiguille du Jardin, and water-ice climbing in the Haute-Maurienne, and I found them to perform excellently on these particular climbs. If you are looking for a new light, compact double rope setup, read on.