What a week. Perfect weather for most of the week making great conditions for the TMC. After flying into Kelman hut on the 1st day we worked on skills to go and climb a peak. A East-West Traverse of Hochstetter Dome was the 1st objective.
Pitched climbing up the E ridge
Heading up the E ridge
Coming off the summit
Great day on out with calm, warm conditions on the summit. We climbed both peaks and returned back to Kelman on the track we had put in the day before.
Another climb the next day on Mt Alymer before an afternoon of self rescue in a cravasse.
How to get yourself out of a Cravasse
Next day was rescue day. The guys had asked for a big day on this to add to their rock and canyoning skills that they already had. The guys have done quite a few trips together out of Sydney and could adapt a lot of the rescue skills to other trips they are doing.
We did have one hut day but good timing after being out every day before that, so a rest day was nice and good to catch up on other theory skills.
Ice climbing skills training in the Icefall
Climbing training on Steep ice
Ice climbing on the way back to Mt Cook village, always a good time and again perfect conditions with a good freeze after the small amount of rain the night before. What a great week in the hills and look forward to spending time in the hills with Sam and Rick again.
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With summer here it was time to wander up to spend a night at the Sefton Bivi with Simon and Katie.
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Mt Cook has been in great conditions this season with lots of snow in the last few week. We even got snow on the 1st day of this trip causing the Avalanche hazard to go up requiring a day for the new snow to settle out.
On the 1st fine day we flew into Plateau hut and went out for a short climb on Glacier Dome.
Warm up climb on Glacier Dome with the Tasman Glacier in the back ground
Great views up the Tasman Glacier from the summit of Glacier Dome, then back to the hut in prep of leaving at 1am for Mt Cook.
With the days getting shorter we got into the summit rocks before the sun came up.
Coming though the summit rock with the early morning light just coming on.
We made good time even with the soft snow and got the summit at 9am as the winds started to pick up.
Enjoying the summit views
The winds held off enough to make a hot walk down the Linda Glacier and glad we had snow shoes for the walk across to the hut.
Conditions are quickly changing in the Linda and expect that not to many more ascents before the cravasses get to large.
Time to start looking for other routes/mountains to climb.
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Great weather and amazing views made for a great few days up on the Annette Plateau. With the weather forecast looking OK we decided to head straight from Mt Cook village to just below Mt Annette to bivi for the night.
Travelling through the mountains to our bivi spot
We spent some time on the way learning about navigation in the mountains plus cramponing, and other travel techniques to get up the Annette Plateau.
Our Bivi spot with Cook in the background
Arriving at the bivi spot we set up for the night and took advantage of the great views in all directions. We where lucky that most of the rock walls where already there and little work was required to get comfortable for the night. After dinner a quick ascent of Mt Annette was required to get the last of the light.
Evening ascent of Mt Annette with the bivi spot below
Next morning was more training with pitching and steeper climbing techniques covered.
Learning pitching techniques
Learning steeper climbing techniques
With the weather forecast not looking so good we headed for Mueller hut with the plan of more learning in the morning and then decent to the Village. The weather did start to change with winds increasing but still no rain.
Last day with morning light on Mueller hut and Mt Cook in the background
Made for a great start to the day and then descended as the wind really picked up. Now in Mt Cook village and have new snow on the hills overnight so a day of theory today and some rock climbing on Friday when the weather clears again.
Posted in MEC, summer | 1 Comment »
With the recent mid summer “winter” conditions, new snow and crazy weather the mountains and glaciers are looking in fantastic condition for a likely great, late, climbing season.
With snowfall to low levels at regular intervals right through December and now in January, many of the usual crevasse hazards that can affect climbing access are less daunting than normal for this time of year.
If you’ve been holding off till the last moment booking for a special ascent or training course, now might be the time to make the most of it. Give Dave or Art a call or email us and we’ll help you tailor a trip just for you.
Posted in Snow/Route conditions, Weather | Tagged Alpine Guides, conditions, mount cook, mountaineering, new zealand, snow, weather | Leave a Comment »
Skis, thats what we should have had this week! Had some snow this week up at Plateau hut with David while trying to climb Mt Cook. Started on day one with a quick flight into Plateau Hut before the weather changed in the afternoon. We got out on the ANZAC the 1st fine weather day and the hut started to full up with Jane and Nathan from AGL flying in to join us too.
Training day on the ANZAC’s
Then it started snowing, with the freezing level low got about 1m of snow up high. When it cleared we had light and dry snow outside the hut. David as a keen skier asked where our ski are and can we get snow flown into the hut, would have made for some great skiing. Instead we started to prepare the route up Mt Cook, walking in the early morning up the Linda before the sun hut the slopes.
Breaking trail up the Linda Glacier in the early morning
Jane breaking trail, what happened to the skis?
Due to the Avalanche hazard up high we didn’t attempt Cook the 1st day waiting for the new snow to settle.
Next morning with a 1am start we heading up with the other groups from the hut, thanks to the Italian group that broke trail on the upper mountain.
David coming through the summit rocks covered in new snow
Good weather though a little cold on the actual summit with SW winds still blowing. Back to the Hut in good time, passing most of the other parties on the mountain up high, busy mountain with the 1st ascents for 2014. Jane, and Dave (AGL) had both their clients on the summit around the same time as us, though warmer just below the summit (no down jackets required) so no standing together for summit photos.
The last day of the trip we went for a quick 3hr climbing on Glacier Dome as David was keen on more mixed climbing having enjoyed the summit rocks so much.
Jane belaying a post Cook mixed climb.
Great trip and planing more climbing for next year, Pioneer for mixed climbing?
Posted in Guiding, Mt Cook Expedition, summer | 1 Comment »
Another great trip on the Tasman Glacier, with a crew from Wellington. We had a busy week with long days and early starts to make the most of the weather this week. The early starts gave great light for photos and with the TMC doing similar things each day and posing as models out in the terrain showing the big vistas.
TCM heading for Hochstetter Dome
With the TMC around we often combined forces for learning, Sam took advantage of perfect self arrest conditions on the way to Hochstetter Dome.
Sam demonstrating perfect self arrest technique, while the crew watch carefully on.
While in the mountains, Will had his birthday, so the guys had to make a cake out of what we had, not the right number of candles but close?
Will blowing out the Birthday candles
We had perfect conditions on Alymer after a false start, got up at 6am but the snow started and then cleared again by mid day so we left when it cleared for an afternoon race up to the summit before it got dark (remember your head torch?).
Leading out on the South Face Alymer
The guys on the Summit of Alymer looking to the East.
Even with the early start and then late climb the guys had the motivation to build a snow cave after dinner finally getting into the cave after 10pm and knowing we had an early start to beat the incoming weather the next day. Some quick Ice climbing in the lower ice fall on the way to the helicopter flight out to Mt Cook Village finished our time in the mountains.
TMC leaving on the 1st flight out.
With the winds still not to strong in Mt Cook Village we took advantage of the last of the good weather and got some multipitch rock climbing in.
Pitch 2 rock climbing on the bluffs near Mt Cook village.
The last day we finally had a sleep in with rain falling on the roof and was spent catching up on the theory we had missed by being out in the field each day. A big week packing in as much as we could. The guys are already talking about Aspiring and Mt Cook as the next trips so expect to see them back soon.
Posted in Courses, People, Snow/Route conditions, summer, TMC | Tagged alpine, Alpine Guides, guiding, Mt Cook, private course, TMC | 2 Comments »