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.
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.
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!
Gary Dickson, Mountain Guide IFMGA/NZMGA
Spring seems to race along in full speed and plenty of typical storms with lots of wind are blowing through, not so typical are all the thunder and lightning we had during the last few weeks though.
The chief mountain guide of Alpinism & Ski Wanaka, being president of the NZ mountain guides association, has just returned from Peru where an international meeting for the industry took place. Gary is now getting ready again for alpinism adventures in the Southern Alps. His schedule for the coming summer season is getting busy but there are a few slots available should you want him in person for your special ascent, a particular training course or ‘just’ an amazing week in the mountains.
Meanwhile in Wanaka, the native and not so native flora is displaying new beauty almost every day and guided walks are continuing to be part of our alpinism adventures.
lake Wanaka from the summit of Rocky Crop, Diamond lake loop track
As the ski season is coming to an end, the trekking boots will replace the ski boots, though there might be a ski touring adventure still to be enjoyed. Spring is the time of newly appearing buds and flowers, cute little lambs and beautiful young cattle frolicking about. The Matukituki valley is the perfect place to observe them while driving up to the end of the road for a visit to Rob Roy glacier cirque, or about half way along for the stunning Diamond lake loop track. Great trips for bird watching, sightseeing and hiking. Inspired yet?
Native bird of NZ, the charming little Tomtit
bird watching and sightseeing: part of guided trekking
Mountain parrot of the South Island of NZ
Wanaka base of Alpinism & Ski
Back in Wanaka, fresh snow has arrived with our return and all around it is as beautiful as ever. The first ski day for Iris has come and gone and chief mountain guide Gaz is preparing for a week of rope rescue course with the experts of the industry. As the present storm goes through, we are catching up with the latest Climber, Forest & Bird and Fish & Game mags. In Wanaka, the Wanakafest addicts are already busy preparing for the event late October, (24-27th) should you have spare time and/or cash to help, get in touch through www.wanakafest.co.nz
Ski touring is on our immediate alpinism activity menu and so are the soft recreational trekking excursions. Just ask if you are interested.
Alpinism and sustainability go hand in hand – there is no other way as we all have to look after our splendid nature and wilderness areas. We have our own sustainability statement and improvements have been ongoing since our establishment during the Millennium year.
Mountain guide Gaz getting rid of surplus packaging before a trip
Climbing ropes too get recycled, here to fix a rubbish bin
there are 2-3 composts on the go at all times at the Alpinism and Ski base
Alpinism and Ski Wanaka is on every mountaineering, ski touring or trekking trip passing on the message as best as possible to visitors from all over the globe. We have also supported Wanaka Wastebusters since they opened their doors. Now there es another enterprise in Wanaka which I believe is in line with being sustainable and sharing resources, the Wanaka time bank. If everyone of us makes the best possible effort, there WILL be improvement. Education is part of it so please help to pass the message that breaking bottles all around beautiful places in Wanaka and leaving rubbish is not cool!
Help educate the masses: no rubbish left behind ever!
Ski touring from Murcheson hut, see the rock avalanche on the left
As we are packing up for a couple of months of summer mountaineering in Europe, ski touring and back country snow boarding adventurers in the Southern Alps are getting ready for the 2013 season and most likely some hardy souls are at it already.
Ourselves will be ready for it, Ski Touring in New Zealand that is, from 10th September onwards. However, if you want our help before then for putting together your dream trip in the Southern Alps, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Fixing dates is always a good start.
More photos of this particular ski touring adventure :
Ski touring : upon arrival, some snow shoveling to get into the hut
ski touring in the Southern Alps
Fantastic views over the Southern Alps on NZ while on a ski tour lunch break
Team players: Geoff, John, Phil and Bill & mountain guide Gary Dickson
Sking back down to Murcheson hut
escaping the avalanche, no, but lucky they did not have to
Fresh snow is visible on Treble Cone – good for the winter vibes of everybody looking forward to play in the snow coming winter. Autumn leaves are still being blown around and chief mountain guide Gaz today is going zen with his chain saw.
The Avalanche Course in NZ price for Sept/Oct. 2013 has been set and here are the details:
- 3 field days visiting the back country areas near Wanaka
- theory sessions include: mountain weather, snow physics and pack assessment, hazard evaluation and forecasting as well as avalanche search and rescue techniques and equipment
- based at the luxury hut /humble lodge of Alpinism and Ski in Wanaka, enjoy a sauna after a day of instruction out in the back country
- Price one person NZ $ 2960, two or more $ 1625 per person
Included in the price are guide fee, accommodation for 2 nights incl. dinner, lunch and breakfast, local transport and a one day back country lift pass at TC. More here or email us for more details
Mt Avalanche Glacier
This autumn, guided trekking to Rob Roy Glacier cirque will end 1st of April as the bridge is going to be closed for replacement. How about trying out the guided trek up the Eastern branch of the Matukituki valley instead? Glacier Burn and views of Avalanche glacier might be just the right alternative.
Summer continues to spoil us with perfect weather. A few good weeks for mountaineering in the Southern Alps are still available.
Planning a visit to Wanaka? our Alpinism studio is there for your independent holiday, be it over Easter, during the Festival of Colour or the Autumn Art School.