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.
Late November, local woman Jackie went off with Alpinism and Ski Mountain Guide Callum into the Aspiring climbing region for a private mountain guiding adventure. They got in and did a warm up climb of Rolling Pin, before the next day making an attempt to climb Mt Aspiring. In was an extremely windy and cold day and wisely they turned back at an appropriate spot on the NW ridge around 2/3 the way up the mountain. As a testament to Jackies fitness and preparation, the next day they walked all the way out to the Raspberry creek carpark and a well earned shower and feed in Wanaka. A great experience was had by Jackie. Mt Aspiring summit will always be there for a less windy day. Nice work team
Part of private mountain guiding adventures - walking out thru the sub alpine
Jackie climbing on the biggest mountain on her back doorstep
Mountain guide Callum and Jackie - the climbing team for a crack at some private mountain guiding in their back yard - Mt Aspiring
A fine day in the Southern Alps during September
Ski touring has been the main subject since our return from Switzerland a few weeks ago. Three Australian guests visited Fox Glacier and Pioneer hut with Gary, in between the snow storms that rendered the Southern Alps very wintry indeed. Not that much snow around the hut was one of Gaz’ comments. – The next 7 day ski touring adventure started for Charles Day after a day visit to Treble Cone. A legendary mountaineer from way back who knows the mountain guiding scene of New Zealand very well, having had many fine trips with IFMGA guides here, to name but a few Nick Cradock, Anton Wopereis and Dave Hiddleston – he also climbed Mt Aspiring with Geoff Wyatt, walking in and out! but some more photos of ski touring:
Glaciated Beauty and fun times
views down Fox glacier and Pioneer ridge towards the sea
Colin Todd hut
A variety of huts, a combination of high alpine and tramping accommodation plus some amazing rock bivvies. The collection of photos so far only includes huts on the South Island. The majority of mountain huts in New Zealand do not have a hut warden and trampers and mountaineers need to carry in their own cooking gear e.g. stove, fuel, pots, plates, etc.. You can pay the hut fees to DoC – Department of Conservation – or the NZ Alpine Club. Continue reading 'Mountain huts in New Zealand'»
Private mountain guiding adventures
Alpinism on a private mountain guiding trip
Climbing Dent Blanche - private mountain guiding
As summer in New Zealand is disappearing, our minds are turning to the mountain guiding season in Europe where we’ll be based again until end of August. This year, given that Gary is president of NZMGA at the moment, he’ll be representing his favorite country at the international mountain guides festival in France during the first week of May. Iris & Gaz look forward to their personal ski touring while there too. However, before the departure in six weeks, we have some more Alpinism in New Zealand on the program.
The last week of February: mixed weather with fresh snow up high and here some shots of what Michelle from Jindabyne and Gaz got up to: rock climbing, abseiling, refreshing alpine skills…
Traverse of the Remarkables, a fantastic alpine climbing experience
Abseiling - part of alpinism skills
Mountaineering accommodation in Mt Aspiring Nat. Park
further on, that fresh snow and clouds were hanging around for a while. The alpine traverse of Single and Double cones of the Remarkables near Queenstown provided excellent terrain to “get back into it” for Michelle while the team waited for the sun to come back. Then they were off with ice axe, crampons, bivy bags and all..
Michelle, high above Queenstown on the traverse of the Remarkables
Safety is important out there. Here is a site about being SMART on adventures which is advertised by the Department of Conservation. My thought: if you go out there and stay in mountain huts for your alpinism missions, be it alpine climbing, hiking or bird watching, you might as well give the local DoC office your intentions. At least that way there is an indication of how many people stay in the huts … a long subject, so be smart and stay safe.
Diamond lake Rocky Mountain 775 m altitude, views over lake Wanaka on a guided walk, 3-4 hrs return
learning to place ice screws on a climbing course
End of the month, two fit fellas will be arriving from Aussie to go on an intermediate-advanced climbing course with mountain guide Gaz. The NZ weather looks to have settled into a more settled state of play and alpine conditions look excellent for the 10 day specialized mountain training.
If you are looking for a climbing course we have two sceduled courses comming up:
- Intro to alpinism - 6 days 20th-25th February
- Total Alpinism – 7 days 04th-10th March
If you are an individual or a group looking to have a week of private mountaineering instruction, just get in touch and we can see if we can fit around your schedule.
Here some memorabilia of Alpinism during the last decade: youtube legendary Doug Ball who spent considerable time climbing with mountain guide Gary Dickson aka Gaz from January 2006 until August 2009.
Doug Ball, 79, on Mt Aspiring, New Zealand
Doug at 80, climbing a few peaks over 4000m in a week in Switzerland
Doug climbing high above the Dossenhütte, Kingspitze in the back ground
Doug had climbed Mt Cook Aoraki with his wife Peggy and many other peaks, but never Mt Aspiring. He got thwarted twice while climbing with Gaz because of conditions and weather but third time lucky and for a brief time he was considered the oldest climber to have sumited. He must have been an inspiration … more
Based at Centennial hut for some more alpine climbing
He sent us these lines just recently …”I use a slide show of my mountaineering photos as a screen saver so that my memories are not lost but are refreshed every day. Alpinism and Ski certainly made an enormous difference to my life. What would have become of me if I had just thrown in the sponge after Peggy died? I have so much to thank you both for and am not likely to ever forget it.”
keep going strong Doug
Typical NZ Spring storms are coming through and just last week we had fresh snow all around the mountains near Wanaka. October ended with our ski touring team coming out of Tasman Saddle hut, a successful Copeland pass alpine trekking traverse and a Mount Cook climb that could not eventuate because of the full on weather and avalanche dangers. IFMGA mountain guide Sean Brooks with mountaineer Rob had an interesting time at Plateau hut with the wind keeping them awake during the nights spent up there. Chief mountain guide Gary Dickson sat out the storm with VIP team Phil, Bill, John and Geoff and they managed a good number of excellent ski turns in the surrounding areas for the next couple of days, finishing with a splendid ski down the Tasman Glacier. However, they witnessed lots of avalanche activity too. NZMGA mountain guide Pete James with Darrin were also in the area, waiting in Mt Cook village for the weather to clear enough. After they saw the Chamoix bar windows blown out and the storm finally calming down, they were able to cross the Main Divide and here some photos (all by Pete James) telling more:
Climbing up towards Copeland Shelter
The shelter and Copeland pass behind it
Darrin on the Copeland Pass, Mt Cook Nat. Park