The lead up to the Remarkables Ice and Mixed Festival is always an intensely satisfying, full on week for the NZAT. Day after day we head up the mountain, getting in a wide variety of different climbing partners and climbing styles. By virtue of being up there every day, as the weather changes through the week we also often climb in a wide range of conditions.
First ascent of the South Face of Pyramid Peak (2295m) – Ben Dare (solo), July 2020.
'Frost Flower', Grade 6- (M5, WI4), VI, (1200m).
A couple of days of high pressure were forecast; the weather window looked like it was wide enough to sneak through on Tuesday. Gavin sent out a call – could anyone make it down for a climb? As the forecast updated however, the incoming cold front looked set to sweep through sooner than we’d thought. Early on Saturday morning we decided to shift the climb a day sooner to match. I had to get down to Wanaka! I cancelled my Saturday plans and quickly rolled out of bed, threw an assortment of gear in my overworked car and hit the road. Objective: the South Face of Tititea/Aspiring.
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.
Team member Jaz Morris along with Ruari Macfarlane and Maddy Whittaker recently made the first recorded ascent of an often-looked-at line on the south face of Joffre Peak in the West Matukituki Valley.
Going at grade 5, III (WI4 crux) and seven 60-70 m pitches (450 m total) in length, the route “Antics” makes a great direct approach to Colin Todd Hut! The route name references the annual journal of the Otago University Tramping Club (of which Maddy and Jaz have both been President) and the long connection of the OUTC to the valley.
The faces were looking dry as Alastair and I made the journey up the Hooker Valley – as we picked our way through the rocky moraine we were quietly hoping that there would be some ice on the South Face of Hicks for us to climb. We weren’t disappointed with what we found!
When Al suggested a trip into Empress Hut, I jumped at the idea, keen to use the ice climbing skills I had picked up during the team trip to Canada in February.
Over two trips to Copper Point in Fiordland Merry and Daniel established a great new crack climb. Straight out of lock down is 175m long and has some excellent overhanging crack climbing on solid rock.
If you enjoy trad climbing this is something worth checking out.
Click the link below for a full topo and route beta pdf.
The New Zealand Alpine Team is spending three weeks ice climbing in the Canadian Rockies around Canmore, Alberta this February.
Follow this blog to see what we get up to!
An interesting transition is taking place in New Zealand alpine climbing currently. We are in the process of a generational change.
Like a small wave lapping at your ankles, the next generation often arrives relatively unnoticed. As the years pass, the wave grows stronger, before you know it a large breaker simply pushes past you and there you have it, here they are.
Papatūānuku shifts imperceptibly in her sleep. Far above, a man stumbles. He is strong, but on this occasion he falls. The snow beneath him begins its slow slide. It gathers pace. Oblivion. She notices not; but for those close to him, their lives change forever. They wander grieving on this earth, alone, and in groups, seeking out his scent that lingers in the places he frequented.