Queenstown is the ideal location to live as a climber in NZ. Close enough to all the major South Island alpine climbing destinations it is perfect for taking advantage of short weather windows and maximising your weekend adventures. Ben Dare and I left home at 6am on Saturday morning with high hopes of a climb on the South Face of Barrier Peak. We were expecting overnight showers to have cleared by the time we reached Homer Hut. Unfortunately this was not the case and light rain greeted us on our arrival.
The Climbing Space!
To succeed in Patagonia, you must take a chance,
you can’t just sit waiting, your head bowed and cast.
Don’t get in a twist, don’t walk down that path,
just go day by day, then climb hard, light and fast.
North-East Buttress, 700m, 15/16, first ascent.
Something really struck home with me while reading an article by Jane Morris in the recent 2013 New Zealand Alpine Journal. In particular her closing sentence – “Doorstep adventures: make the most of them wherever you live.”
The spring of 2013 will not be remembered for its sustained periods of settled weather. Instead much like the winter that preceded it, it was dominated by warmer than normal temperatures and frequent squally frontal systems. What few clear spells that did come through were short lived and often directly followed heavy snow falls. This all coupled together to make for less than ideal climbing conditions.
Last weekend the weather planet aligned and Jono Clarke, Graham Johnson and I made a trip to Cathedral Rocks (Matihao south face), Mt Ruapehu. I’d never been there before but had heard about it and was excited at the prospect. We left Wgtn at 2am Saturday bound for Whakapapa. After a rendezvous with Graham we strolled up to the summit plateau (+ 1000m) and meandered our way around to Cathy rocks. Despite being late spring with a high freezing level, we found ice with good hoon potential. Never mind that though - we had our eyes on the real prize i.e.
Rob Frost has provided me with some great inspiration in the last two months. Firstly at the Remarkables Ice and Mixed Climbing Festival with his talk on their expedition to White Wave and the unclimbed mountains surrounding the peak. Then again in the latest issue of Climber and all the info he shared on easy unclimbed alpine routes in NZ. So I thought that I would follow his lead it and share a bit of information on unclimbed lines we spotted last weekend.
"I'm here and I'm excited!" Steve's plane must have landed and he's txting me to remind me im running a bit late. I'm excited as well. I haven't really been climbing with Steve for almost three months. We have a few weekends set aside before our Patagonia expedition and are many plans for unclimbed lines we hope to try. Our first objective being the South Face of Marian. However some massive avalanches have cut the road off and its not looking like it will open until Saturday afternoon. That's too late for us, I have to be on a flight to Hawkes Bay for work 3.30pm Monday.
On July 30th 2013 my brother and I suffered a nasty accident while tramping. We both fell while descending from Zit Saddle on day two of a four day tramp inland of Hokitika. Our intended route was Cedar Flats to Adventure Biv to Zits Saddle to Top Kokatahi Hut to Top Crawford Hut to Lathrop Saddle to Browning Range Bivouac to Grassy Flat Hut to the Styx car park. We were left unable to perform a self rescue. This is an account of the accident, the ensuring 5 days and nights before we were rescued by SAR West Coast, our recovery and a quick analysis of how we got ourselves into such a nasty situation.
Firstly for those who are wondering just what is mixed climbing, dry tooling or for that matter ice and snow climbing is here is a short run down.