Cyclone Luci was making her way south across the Pacific, bearing down on the north island and due to hit land on Saturday. I too was making my way south, in the back seat of a car sitting next to Lucy, my friend. We had a narrow window of good weather before the cyclone was due to give the country a wash and we wanted to make the most of our weekend. We met the rest of the team in Te Anau for some fish and chips and the seven of us headed into the Fiordland, arriving at Homer Hut around 10pm.
I'd been wanting to go into the Central Darrans for years. Ever since I stood on the top of Barrier Knob - a Darrans neophyte on my way to climb Sabre - and looked over and past Lake Adelaide to the south sides of Taiaroa and Tuhawaiki. Those faces looked far away and inacessible. They seemed to represent the unknown, and I felt the associated mix of apprehension and lure that comes with being a climber unversed in the vagueries of Darrans rock climbing.
One night, sitting around the fire in the Warden's Quarters at Homer Hut and listening to the heavy rain that signalled the end of the Darrans Winter Climbing Meet, my thoughts turned to the following summer. By then, I would be one year into my PhD - time to get some writing done. Homer Hut - what better place to settle down and get away from the distractions of the internet, General Joll and the monotony of Dunedin life? So I talked with Al Walker, 'Hut Bastard,' about wardening over the summer.
Mater Dei, 1000m, 20, first ascent. Trip report and video from the ascent.
Youtube Videos & Expedition Report
I looked down, for the thousandth time, at the crampon points kicked in as far as I could tolerate, my toes aching and bruising with every step. It seemed funny at the time, wondering if Scarpa had this in mind when they designed the ‘Manta,’ a pair of boots usually sold for tramping and transalpine.
The term “For the LOLs” and its variations speak to the deeper reasons of what motivates us to climb. It is not infrequently that a climber’s asked “Why do you climb?” by one of the uninitiated.
The forecast was for one of those weak westerly flows that come in right after a clearing SW storm. Although the weather for the weekend itself was supposed to be alright, as we all made our plans to meet at Mt Cook it became increasingly apparent that the weather would be puking hard on Friday, increasing the avalanche risk to unacceptable levels. After a hasty change of plans, the Dasler Pinnacles became the logical destination for our various groups to meet, with cars coming from Queenstown, Dunedin, Greymouth and Christchurch.