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.
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
Les Drus is the most impressive granite monolith overlooking the Chamonix Valley. Often you will catch a glance of the intimidating, dark rock peak from the opposite sunny side of the valley, and its a wonder that this face would be so alluring. This winter in Chamonix has been unusually dry, the mountains are devoid of ice, every new snow fall brings dry snow that fattens the ski-fields, but blows off the steep mountain faces. So instead of lamenting it, we embraced it, and set about blunting our tools and crampons on 850m of granite dry tooling up the North Face of the Petit Dru.
In mid-September 2018 I teamed up with Tim Elson, a member of the newly invigorated Alpine Climbing Group in the UK, for an expedition to the Brammah Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir, India. We'd identified two amazing looking objectives: the 1600m high North Spur of a 6100m peak called Flat Top, and the South Face of the Kishtwar Eiger, a peak various recorded as somewhere between 5600m and 6000m depending on the map.
It is with great sadness we report the passing of a member of our team, Caleb Jennings. Caleb was a great climbing partner & friend to the team, he was incredibly strong, fit and reliable on trips but also a gentle man who always exercised sound judgement in the mountains.
Born and raised in Canterbury, Caleb was introduced into the mountains at a young age where he spent most of his youth hunting and tramping in the Southern Alps.