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.
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.
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.
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.
That’ s on the Alpinism & Ski program until May this year: be it for a guided ascent of Mt Aspiring or another dream peak or a combination of alpine climbing instruction and peak bagging while on a week of alpinism adventures. Some specialized mountaineering training for Wanaka Search and Rescue members is again on the agenda too, here some photos from autumn 2012 on Fox Glacier:
SAR team members on a special training mission
Special training on snow and ice
Skills training for mountaineering
Ice screws in good use
“hard work” on snow and ice
from ice and snow onto rock, that’s mixed climbing
nice day in the office
Southern Alps of New Zealand for special training
Who climbs up will have to come down
Panorama on a guided climb of Mt Cook
From the December ascents trip we have received some photos: Peter’s guided climb of New Zealand’s highest mountain with Gary Dickson in person. We are allowed to share them here:
A beautiful day for the climb of NZ's highest
two climbers in the distance
Fabulous views of the Southern Alps
Mid December is an excellent time for a trip up to Mt Cook – Aoraki, as the Linda Glacier Route is often still in good condition. A weather front potentially holding them back for a day, disappeared faster then expected and on the 11th Peter and Gary were the only climbers on that day to climb Mt Cook up the Linda, a very special feeling and an extra treat according to our guest.
Gary Dickson, chief of Alpinism & Ski
still climbing up towards the top, 3754 m
The summit is near
Thanks Peter, both for coming and for the photos, best wishes for many good adventures in 2013!
mountain guide Gary Dickson
Plateau hut, an awe inspiring location
The Darrens in Fiordland Nat. Park
March is coming to an end and with it a New Zealand mountain guides course of two weeks. Fully Internationally qualified and senior mountain guides Gary Dickson and Nick Cradock are running this two week course in the Southern Alps. They spent some time in the Darrens in Fiordland, Continue reading 'Mountain Guiding in New Zealand'»
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
Be it an ascent of one of the beautiful peaks in the Southern Alps or a mountaineering instruction course to learn/refresh alpine climbing skills, Alpinism and Ski offers you our diverse range of mountain guiding services. From short and easy rock climbing on the local Wanaka crags, trekking, hiking and walking around the local hills or to more full on and week long missions on the glaciated terrain, just get in touch to help you organize your next trip.
The youngest and smallest having fun on the rock
A future rock climbing star in the making?
Yesterday, Riverside next to the Motatapu river near Wanaka provided a fantastic venue for an introduction to the sport of rock climbing for long time client and friend Phil melchiors Grand sons. It was also a lovely spot for a family picnic and ‘refreshing’ plunge in the water.
Working as a trainer for the New Zealand Mountain Guides Assn, Gaz and his small team flew up to Centennial hut in windy, cold South West conditions. His crew made up of 3 Fox Glacier guides who are keen on the NZMGA Alpine Trekking Pathway and one from Invercargill/Queenstown keen on becoming a NZMGA ski guide. There is an excellent amount of snow cover on the glaciers and lots of good guide techniques taught to the students . After a couple of days in that location they then re-located to Pioneer hut and finished the 6 day mountaineering instruction course at Chancellor hut from where they flew back down to Fox. A good week in the Southern Alps to improve technical skills and knowledge.
Need a mountain guide during December/January?
Due to a cancellation, Gaz is available for personalized mountain guiding or offer you a great mountaineering instruction course…
Guided walks in the Wanaka area and Mt Aspiring National Park. There are Rob Roy Glacier Cirque, Glacier Burn taking the Eastern branch of the Matukituki, Diamond lake loop track for those with only a small half day to spare: great views of Mt Aspiring, the river and Lake Wanaka. Even if you only have a couple of hours, they are so worth while checking out the best view points and eco tours in our Wanaka paradise…. call Iris for suggestions
Life is too short , let's get out and play