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New Zealand winter climbing

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New Zealand winter climbing

Postby iceisnice » Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:17 am

Hey, I was wondering if some locals could give me an idea of what the alpine climbing is like in the winter in New Zealand. What kind of conditions exist around Mt. Cook? Are the huts in use during the winter? I'm from the States and have extensive mtneering and skiing experience and am looking for my next big adventure but for the most part only have time during our spring/summer. Any info would be greatly appreciated (haven't been able to find much on some internet searching). Thanks.
Last edited by iceisnice on Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Damien Gildea » Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:40 am

Check out the ice sections at www.verticalresources.org
There's a pdf guide to Bush Stream there.

If you're going to go, check out www.mountainz.co.nz and post on the Forum.

Not much gets done on the high peaks, either cos of weather, avo conditions or lack of good ice (just snow). People often talk about it though.

Pioneer Hut is probably the most popular hut in winter/spring, up on the Fox Glacier where you can climb Douglas Peak, Haidinger, Tasman etc.

Winter ascents of Cook are very rare. Helos from the east side are expensive. West coast helos are cheaper. Helo in to Bush Stream then walk out is OK. Cook in winter maybe best by skiing up the Hooker Glacier to Empress Hut.

Wye Creek ice down near Queenstown is popular but nothing like Canada or Colorado.

June/July is cold dark and maybe snowy. Aug-Sept is better for ice, but sometimes big avo danger.

Guidebook to Cook area is by Alex Palman, published by NZAC.

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Postby ant morgan » Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:02 pm

Winter is pretty stable weather wise, for NZ.

The Mt Cook area has the big peaks, and some ice at Bush Stream. Quite a bit of winter alpine climbing has been done in July over the years (2004 especially), although as Damian said, the days are short, cold, and the avi can be problematic. Most parties climb the bigger peaks from a hut. Bush Stream is camping only.

Queenstown has better ice (Wye Creek), which again is camping only. Some short, mixed alpine routes are close by, that can be done in a long day from the Remarkables ski hill.

Apparently the Darrans offers some pretty amazing scottish style climbing and a few harder ice routes, close to Homer hut. We hoped to get in there last season, but the road was closed for most of the week we were there.

Also check out the NZ alpine club for info on:

huts - http://alpineclub.org.nz/default/73

Alpine climbing Guides - http://alpineclub.org.nz/default/152
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Postby dadndave » Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:55 am

Darrans in winter?

Good grief. I looked at Sabre from the west side and took off with my tail between my legs. Got as far as the "Yak Pasture" which is apparently where the climbing "starts" Shit.

Beware of Kiwi understatement, If you go down to the Darrans you will encounter some serious hardmen.

I wasn't in their league. That's all I'm sayin.
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Postby iceisnice » Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:17 pm

Thanks guys, I think that is the info I'm looking for. Also, is there any good online info that specifically deals with New Zealand weather AND snowpack conditions? Ya know, something I can study to get any idea of what kind of snowpack and avy dangers you guys have to deal with. I'm use to avy terrian, but, I think our avy dangers are significantly different than yours. Thanks a bunch.
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Postby Damien Gildea » Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:50 pm

http://www.avalanche.net.nz/

That's what I always look at June-Oct. But the season won't start for another month or more yet.

The reports on there during the season are for areas that can be monitored and tested. So things may be different on the big peaks. First-hand reports on mountainz.co.uk or verticalresources.org are often more use.

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Postby ant morgan » Thu Aug 13, 2009 10:09 am

The winter climbing meet held at the Homer hut this year was a massive success. For more details have a look here:

http://www.mountainz.co.nz/
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