It was with some trepidation that I threw every single piece of gear I own, into duffel bags and packs, in preparation for heading down to Queenstown for a week of training with the Team prior to the Remarkables Ice and Mixed Festival. From the information which had been circulating, it was clearly going to be an initiation by fire, evidenced by the fact the whole Team had been warned that we were going to be ‘encouraged’ to set new routes around the Remarkables.
“To have this opportunity is both a privilege and a responsibility. A responsibility to keep the fundamental spirit of alpinism alive – the pursuit of the impossible and the unknown.”
- Jamie Vinton-Boot
As a preface to this piece, I would like to note that I had known Jamie for only a short period, but he made a huge impact on me in such time. My relationship with Jamie barely scratches the surface of an amazing man, and I wish to extend my sincerest condolences to those who knew Jamie best.
Several members of the NZAT made the most of average conditions at the recent Darrans Winter Meet, putting up three new routes in the Homer/Macpherson area. Saturday 13 July started clear and cold, promising a good start to the week.
However, finding only thin ice at lower altitudes, NZAT member Ben Dare (Queenstown) went searching for better material. With Danny Murphy and Steve Skelton, he put up a new ice route in the upper Macpherson Cirque 'The Elusive Leprechaun' (III, 5).
Camping in Yosemite can be a real nightmare. If you plan to arrive during the peak summer season and like most climbers have not reserved your camp site months in advance your maximum stay at Camp Four will likely be seven days. Park Rangers strictly enforce the 7 day rule. You can get around it if your lucky but this will envolve a constant game of cat and mouse with the Park Rangers. Freedom camping is basically not an option in the Valley.
The snow is lightly falling as we sit in the wardens quarters of Homer Hut with Al Uren, Al Walker, Jimmy, Shelagh and Keara. The fire is cranked up and our bags are packed for a 12.45 am wake up call. We have three bottles of wine open and they are going down nicely as we sit by the warm fire talking and soaking up the Darrans atmosphere. Shelagh is a university lecturer and is researching motivating factors for climbers and how those climbers socialise within the climbing community. Our discussion comes around to the bond between climbing partners.