Departing on the 27th May, the Expedition Climbers’ Club (ECC) 2016 Peru Expedition will be the largest international climbing trip to leave New Zealand in the last 40 years. The expedition will be based in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca mountain range, with members of the 12 person group attempting to climb a variety of unclimbed routes on the many 5000 and 6000m peaks in the area. The expedition is also the pinnacle of the ECC’s 3-year elite youth development program; the New Zealand Alpine Team.
We're stoked to be able to announce the newest members of the New Zealand Alpine Team!
Recently, we requested applications for the NZAT mentoring program from climbers aged 18-25. A number of candidates stood out and 9 were selected for trials held in Queenstown (and Australia). From those, 6 were selected for the team.
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.
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.
First ascent of the South Face of Mt Suter (2094m).
Darrans winter grade VI, 6 (WI5), Ben Dare, Stephen Skelton 19th July 2014.
The man who lives in the mountains is free.
He must be, if he is to go beyond the reaches of the forest, and find his path to the summit.
The man who lives in the mountains is determined.
He pushes through with gritted teeth and an icy beard, because he knows what richness will reward him at the top.
The man who lives in the mountains is patient.
He has to retrace his steps a thousand times over, taking two forward and one back.
The man who lives in the mountains is honest.
They say a climbing partnership is like a relationship, and it’s fairly well established that opposites attract: perhaps that’s why Ari and I worked.