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Moving to New Zealand

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Moving to New Zealand

Postby GravityPilot » Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:12 pm

So I'm moving to New Zealand for work come May/June. I'll be in the Arthur's Pass area without much time to travel about. I'm bringing some basic alpine gear for work, but what's around? We'll say my job is snow intensive, so I'll have ski mountaineering gear as well. Any ice that time of year? Alpine? I don't know much about the area so any help would be great. Like I said I'm going to be pretty busy with work but I'd like to at least try to get a grasp on the area. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Moving to New Zealand

Postby dadndave » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:24 am

Shouldn't be any shortage of snow and ice in June (This is the southern hemisphere, after all)

Mount Rolleston should offer you quite a bit of fun and adventure and it's very accessible from Arthurs Pass. Also Mt Murchison would be worth a look. There's a bit of info here to whet yer appetite. Just surf backwards and forwards and on this site and you'll get a bit of a feel for the area.

http://www.softrock.co.nz/mg/pages/page45.html
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Re: Moving to New Zealand

Postby Mountain Bandit » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:29 am

Lucky bugger - I'll take 'snow intensive' work in fridge of the Southern Alps any day!!! (I'm speaking for us hapless folk who have the mountaineering bug but live in flat country - ie Australia)

Dadndave is on the money here. Damien (Gildea) and Radson have a wealth of knowledge concerning NZ mountains too if you are after specific details.

No shortage of snow or ice round there - the whole world doesn't heat up that time year like in does in America. You also have to remember that the South Island isn't that big. Practically all the Alps are accessible from Arthurs Pass within a few hours by car.

If you are keen to get your toes cold, there are plenty of great mountains to climb, however many of the typically climbed mountains in the region are tough that time of year (Cook, Tasman, Aspiring etc). As suggested, mountains such as Rolleston and Murchison are great in winter. Others such as Earnslaw (Dadndave will agree with me on this one) and Single Cone (Remarkables) are great for the not-so-technical minded.

Word or warning though, the days are short (very south), and avalanche risk is high. Although considerably better compared to summer, weather conditions change rather rapidly - Pacific Ocean puts on a hell of a show from time to time!

Enjoy.....
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Re: Moving to New Zealand

Postby rgg » Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:26 pm

One of the most famous peaks down there, right next to Arthur's Pass in fact, is Avalanche Peak. The name alone says enough about the biggest alpine danger out there.

I visited the area around New Year's a few years ago. It rained hard on the morning of my arrival, late December, and on the slopes just above the pass it was cold enough to turn to snow. Not enough to pose avalanche risk, and it was gone in a few days, but I thought it was a good warning what it could be like out there in winter.

From Avalanche Peak, the glaciers on Mount Rolleston looked great! It looked like a challenging target for an alpine winter climb. I estimate it takes at least three days in winter, from Arthur's Pass and back.
Image
Crow Glacier coming down from Mount Rolleston in summertime

Although there are plenty of waterfalls close by, the temperate NZ climate and relatively low altitude of Arthur's Pass mean it's much too warm for them to freeze up, even mid winter (see here). And you're going to be there late fall. So, your best bet for ice climbing is probably the glaciers coming down into the Crow valley from Mount Rolleston - assuming there isn't too much snow covering them, or causing high avalanche risk from the catchment areas above.

Image
Devils Punchbowl Falls in summertime

Finally, don't forget to check out the Arthur's Pass National Parks site, or drop a line to arthurspassvc@doc.govt.nz for more details.
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Re: Moving to New Zealand

Postby GravityPilot » Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:32 am

Thanks for all the info, I really looking forward to heading down there. I'll be living at temple Basin and I won't have much free time (I figure) but I hope to get around a bit. If anyone is around. drop me a line.
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Re: Moving to New Zealand

Postby Damien Gildea » Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:42 am

There's often some water ice on the western (true left) of the Otira valley in mid-winter, just west of AP village, but nothing special.

It's only a few hours drive down to Fox and Franz where you can get a helo up to a hut for a few days of good alpine and mixed routes, out of a hut (Pioneer or Centennial), and great ski touring.

Early October 2010 I went over halfway up the Rome Ridge of Rolleston in a few hours, turning back as the snow was a bit slidey and I was alone. You could do it in a long day in winter no problem. Access to the start of the ridge is just out of town on the western side, marked track etc. The Otira face itself would also be good in cold, firm conditions, a long day or overnight winter trip.

Few years back some guys did some ice routes in at Temple itself, but I can't remember the details and I've never been in there myself.
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Re: Moving to New Zealand

Postby GravityPilot » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:49 am

Thanks again for all the input folks. I'm flying into Christchurch 6/20 and have to be at work on Arthur's Pass the 27th. Anyone have any plans I could tag along on? I know it already snowed some up on Arthur's so I'm getting pretty excited!
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Re: Moving to New Zealand

Postby Mountain Bandit » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:05 am

Sounds sweet man. Have a cracker of a time up in the hills.

Wish i could tag along but the missus is nearly due with our first bub so I'm not game to even ask....... Make sure you add some details of your climbing adventures (including pics). The area is tops so enjoy!

Paul.
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Re: Moving to New Zealand

Postby dadndave » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:52 am

Snow's been heavy at Arthurs Pass in the last week:

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Re: Moving to New Zealand

Postby GravityPilot » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:21 pm

Ya that train footage is pretty encouraging. Hopefully my pow skis won't go to waste.
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