In 2018 I was standing around on top of El Capitan with Jon Seddon a fellow Kiwi and my climbing partner for that particular trip. It was my second attempt on Free Rider with Jon. Earlier in the year my first attempt ended with a dislocated shoulder in the offwidth above El Cap Spire. We were sorting our haul bags and having a quick chat with Adam Ondra who was doing a photo shoot. We had just finished our attempt on Free Rider which had gone well but ultimately we had both fallen a couple of times. Adam asked me dead pan: "Why didn’t you just try again?" I laughed, we did!
Imagine yourself jogging up the Matukituki Valley with a 3kg pack, cresting Bevan Col, donning light crampons on your running shoes across the Bonar Glacier, taking a late morning snack at Colin Todd, scrambling the Northwest ridge of Aspiring, and ripping it all the way back to the car in time for dinner in Wanaka. Welcome to the exciting world of Trailpinism: combining trail running gear, tactics and efficiency with mountain craft for a new way of tackling higher peaks.
The Macpac New Zealand Alpinist of the Year awards are judged over the 12-month period that follows the previous year’s Remarkables Ice and Mixed Festival. The awards recognise the best alpine climbs during a one year period, taking into account style, difficulty and creativity of the ascent. The award is open to all New Zealand citizens and Expedition Climbers Club members for climbs completed in New Zealand or overseas. This year's awards ceremony will take place in August at the Ice and Mixed Festival in Queenstown, NZ.
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.