On the 17th - 18th of October we held the trials for the 2016-2019 intake for the New Zealand Alpine Team. Nine candidates are competing for three-year mentored positions in the NZAT, and eight of them came from all over New Zealand to meet in Queenstown for a weekend of cardio, climbing and mental assessments. It was the first time we've held trials, having selected the 2013-2016 team based on mountaineering CV and interview alone. We think that the trials were a great way to objectively analyse the applicants, all of whom are climbing at a high level already - and we reckon in a few years the standard for the trials will be even higher!
15 months ago I was recovering from surgery repairing my shattered ankle. Painkillers caused insomnia and vivid dreams featuring movie like action sequences with a touch of mythology and other absurdity. I would wake, sweaty, shaken, thinking 'that was a bit weird'.
Currently there are two established dry tooling crags in Queenstown. Both of these are located at the Kelvin Heights end of the Kelvin Heights - Jacks Point Trail. When walking from Kelvin Heights the first crag you come across is the Den of Iniquity. It is on the right hand side of the trail as you walk towards Jacks Point overlooking the lake. The top of this crag can be seen when your standing at the second of the green bench seats. As seen below. It takes arounds ten minutes to reach the Den. Look for the climbers trail on the right hand side of the crag.
Highlights from the annual Darrans winter climbing meet which wrapped up over the weekend. Where some of the best ice conditions seen in recent years allowed for a number of great climbs to be completed.
Zodiac on El Capitan is a great route to introduce you to the mid grade clean aid climbing. At C3 the route is hard enough to be interesting but not so hard that you should have any major epics. In saying that there are approx 6-7 pitches graded C3 and many of the other pitches are C2 or C2+ so the route is fairly sustained for its grade.
An intermittently updated blog recounting Dan, Pete & friends' North America climbing mentoring trip to Yosemite, Squamish, and the Bugaboos
I’ll never forget that feeling of irrepressible euphoria I felt late one evening in the middle of May 2013, when I received an e-mail from Steven Fortune offering me a place on the New Zealand Alpine Team. I’d always been a bit of a fan boy for top climbers; avidly reading about their exploits in the Climber and Alpine Journals, dreaming that one day, in some parallel universe, I too might be able to do something like them. Needless to say, when Steve noted that the other Christchurch mentors were Jamie, Kester and Reg, I was beyond ecstatic.
As I sit in my 9 a.m. Biological Chemistry lecture on Monday morning, I can barely grip a pen due to eviscerated finger tips, nor can I focus due to being in the car for the 18 hours prior in order to make my first lecture of the semester. Nonetheless, I’m still beaming from ear to ear from the stunning, (if somewhat insane) three day trip down to the Darrans.
Some experiences are so much larger than those it precedes, it takes a time before they can be shared. For me, the two weeks I spent climbing in Chamonix with Daniel Joll in August 2014 were such an experience. Not only were the routes we climbed longer and harder than any I had previously climbed, they were also more committing and several were climbed in poor conditions with marginal forecasts. This is why it is only now, 6 months after the end of the trip, that I am finally putting a pen to paper.