Wanaka is showing off another stunning day after a nice covering of snow on the mountains all around earlier this week. Mountain guide Gaz headed to Fox Glacier on Monday for another instruction course, this one for NZMGA. It was blowing such gail force winds on day one, the team could not fly up but spent the day on the lower glacier, going through all sorts of technical skills for mountain guiding. In the meantime, they are based at the Centennial hut, high up on the Franz Josef glacier.
We recently received some feedback from an instruction course participant, so here it is thrown into our latest : “…great course, Gary was a fantastic instructor and covered all aspects. Felt comfortable to ask questions and seek advice. Will recommend it in future. Thanks”
Now for the most important thing happening this week: one of our sustainability projects for the Alpinism and Ski base here in Wanaka is finished, a long term dream as well, ticked off the bucket list and we are mighty proud of it: as of now, we are putting power back into the grid with our brand new solar system. So, life is good and we’ll continue to plan more projects and dream a little.
New Zealand flora at its best on a guided trek: Edelweiss
February is always pretty nice for guided trekking excursions from Wanaka and here some feedback from a couple of visitors, one trip was to the Rob Roy Glacier Cirque and the other to Brewster hut, both guided trekking trips in Mt Aspiring National Park.
Jessie from Canada about the Brewster hut visit: “Iris, thanks so much for the wonderful guiding and lovely company! I learned tons about New Zealand”
Chris from Stockholm in Sweden: “it was a lovely day and I enjoyed every minute in the mountains with you” and more:” This tour was a real pleasure for me. You are a good guide with your deep knowledge of the nature and a very nice walking companion”
Thank you ladies!
views of Wanaka town, lake and mountains
No better place than Wanaka to start an Alpinism adventure in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. The small town on the edge of lake Wanaka is only a short drive from Mt Aspiring National Park, a fabulous playground. It is very well situated to go either East to Mt Cook or West to Fox Glacier depending on weather conditions.
Chief guide Gaz is off this afternoon for a few days of mountain guiding in the Southern Alps of NZ with a Swiss couple. The weather forecast looks great and details of this alpinism adventure will follow.
Given the weather at the start of this year, we cannot boast of any big achievements until now. The wild winds, snow and rain in the back country meant that for the latest window, the highest local peak, Mt Aspiring-Tititea, was a busy place during the last couple of days. This is what Mount Aspiring looked like yesterday morning:
Guided ascent of Mt Aspiring
Ready to fly on Thursday morning, the team got a ride with Aspiring Helicopters to Bevan Col and made their way across to Colin Todd hut. A 4.30 am start the next morning and several hours later saw them on the summit. Clouds cleared, it was cold and windy but good conditions for the guided climb up the Northwest ridge. A bonus was an organised flight back at the end of the day and as the next front was forecast, the team did not hesitate to jump on the helicopter. A fast and happy adventure and here a couple more photos:
Base to climb Mt Aspiring: Colin Todd hut
Climber on Mt Aspiring Northwest ridge
Descending Mt Aspiring-Tititea, 3033 m
Mountaineering courses in New Zealand are based out of great huts like the NZAC owned centenial hut – located at the head of the Franz Josef Glacier
At the head of the Franz Josef glacier is Centenial Hut. The recent NZ high alpine skills course run by Gary for the NZ Alpine Club, based themselves here for a few days of good weather covering crevasse rescue, pitching on snow and ice, navigation and weather forcasting.
Lake Hawea views
We are so lucky that there is such an amazing number of excellent hikes in the area. One of them takes you up to Pakituhi hut, high above lake Hawea. It is steep but rewarding with fantastic scenery. The flora is pretty special too and yesterday even the temperature was perfect for Lorraine and Iris.
While we are keeping busy with hiking, walking and trekking in the Wanaka area, mountain guide Gaz is based in an alpine hut in Westland National Park with a team of four mountaineers who are learning tricks and techniques for alpine climbing.
And Wanaka, that charming small town which is our home, is gearing up for a busy festive season. The buzz about #gigatownwanaka is of course still going on and feel free to give us your support.
specialised rock training, MJ leading
Aaron ready to belay us up
Aaron and MJ
Multipitch rock climbing on the granite slabs near Homer Tunnel in the Fiordland, Darren mountains was the start of this summers specialised Police SAR squad training.
Stunning location and excellent rock and even the Keas behaved themselves and did not destroy our packs.
The plan to do a traverse of Mt Macpherson over to Mt Talbot was thwarted by the Fiordland jungle mist, so after a slightly soggy ascent and descent to homer saddle, the continuation of specialised training was on the way back to Wanaka, with a climbing stop off at Kingston. Superb multipitch climbing with excellent lake views before a Queenstown burger.
Next climbing instruction installment will be in March …..what will we get up to then?…..
Mic, Monty and Pat high up on the Fox Glacier, New Zealand
A few months ago, we heard from Mic who had climbed Mt Cook as well as Mt Tasman with Gaz some years ago. He was keen to introduce his son Pat to Alpinism adventures and last month, together with his longtime mountaineering buddy Monty, the threesome arrived for a seven day mountaineering instruction course. At the base, this was the opportunity to finalize the latest Adventure Tourism auditing request and then our team hit the road to Fox Glacier; photos on the last blog but here now the feedback:
from Monty, after his fourth trip:
” Thank you very much again for a wonderful and friendly experience. I always come away from climbing trips with ‘Gaz’ with more confidence and desire for more mountain excursions. I know Mick and I will be planning our next trip as soon as we get back home. Gaz, your patient tutorial towards Pat in getting him to understand the complexity of climbing and how he can still enjoy it was most beneficial & assuring. A great mentor.
Iris, your hospitality as always was warm and generous. Till next time, Monty”
Thanks Monty, we look forward to it!
The peak season of mountaineering adventures in the Southern Alps has started with this last month of the year. Guided climbing adventures with us begin most often right here in Wanaka, including ascents of Mt Aspiring, Mt Tasman and of course the highest, Mt Cook – Aoraki.
Also mountaineering courses and Gary has just spent a 7 day trip with three Australians, based at Pioneer hut for the best weather days, learning, refreshing and improving alpine climbing skills, enjoying the alpine ambiance and taking in the wilderness aspect of the Southern Alps:
- Being dropped off in the Southern Alps
Learn the skills of alpine climbing from a professional IFMGA mountain guide
- Getting ready for the Wilderness
hire a mountain guide to learn the skills for alpine climbing in the Southern Alps of New Zealand
- truly glaciated terrain with plenty of crevasses
traveling over glaciers requires certain skills
- Crevasse rescue is part of the skills practiced on an instruction course
practicing crevasse rescue in New Zealand
- Ascending Mt Von Bulow, 2600 m
Summiting a peak during a mountaineering course
- Climbing Grey Peak, 2882 m
With a mountain guide, you can climb peaks during an instruction course
- Climbing up the Ridge, Grey Peak
- Ascent of Grey Peak on a mountaineering course
- Monty on the lead
Alpine climbing instruction course in NZ
- Fox glacier and Mt Tasman
Enjoying the moment on the Fox glacier with Mt Tasman in the back ground
Mic and Monty have both been on Alpinism adventures here with us before and it was a pleasure to introduce Mic’s son Pat to the fun and excitement of alpine climbing.
Paradise duck family, the female is the one with the white head
Wanaka, our home and paradise, has a geeking thing going on at the moment, trying to get the most support with #gigatownwanaka or #gigatownwka in order to win the fastest internet connection. So, if interested to help, go to http://gigatown.co.nz/ and support our little beautiful town, thanks!