The Eiger North Face is one of the classic alpine routes in the world. Long, steep, committing and a story made famous by books like The White Spider and Clint Eastwoods movie the Eiger Sanction, it is a must do climb for many alpinists. There is much written about the North Face of the Eiger and also some excellent topos available online. I thought however it might be good to share the climbing gear we took with us for a winter ascent.
"One of the classic climbs in the Alps,” says Allan Uren in the Mt Aspiring Guidebook of the South West Ridge of Mt Aspiring. It has been on my ‘top-priority list’ of climbs for an embarrassingly long time, one to do at the first available opportunity. I don’t know why 5 years has gone by since I last went up Mt Aspiring, but it might be that we have so much good climbing in New Zealand and every time a high pressure system comes along, there is too much to choose from.
I feel warmth as it leaves my body. Cold plastic, warmed by a steady stream of 40 degree fluid. On a cold night there is mild relief for my frozen fingers as they firmly wrap around a 1.5L Nelgine come piss bottle. Brett Gilmore a friend from Hawkes Bay first introduced me to the guilty pleasures of the piss bottle in a tent on Mt Ruapehu. At the time I was less than convinced, especially as he was trying to negotiate the confines of a narrow coke bottle mouth, which for anyone who has tried knows, extra care and attention is required.
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
Canada Ice Climbing Blog - by Jaz Morris and Frazer Attrill
We have included a link to the best photos of the trip below. Even if you are not a Facebook user you can click on the photo selection and see all the photos. Scoll down the page to see both the FB album and a short video of 10 classic Canadian ice climbs. Scroll down to the bottom of the page if you want to see our tips for staying in the Rockies and a gear list we used for the trip.
Unfortunately it is with great sadness that we announce that the climber reported killed on Mt Aspiring yesterday was NZ Alpine Team member Ari Kingan, age 21 of Golden Bay. Ari was our good mate, and our thoughts are with his friends and family; our sincere condolences to his family Lea, Ross and Dan.
The first twinkle of hoar frost came just at the entrance to the Eglinton. The full moon lit the peaks with a silvery glow of snow on the tops and ice on the valley floor. Winter had come to the mountains, and a well-timed high-pressure system coincided with the annual Darrans Winter Climbing Meet at Homer Hut. However, I’d only managed to scrape three days off work, had left town late, and I was driving late in the night and was desperate to get some sleep before the next day’s climb.