Easy Snow Climb in Mt Aspiring or Mt Cook NP's?

Regional discussion and conditions reports for Oceania and the Pacific Islands. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the Oceania Climbing Partners section.
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by ktnbs » Mon Dec 31, 2007 3:35 pm

Hope the weather cooperates tolerably enough for you guys. Looking forward to hearing about your trip and of course some photos posted. :D

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by dadndave » Tue Jan 01, 2008 12:17 am

NZ weaather co-operate?

You gotta be kidding. Not to worry, I have two weeks up my sleeve this time so I should get something done somewhere.

What do you think of French Ridge as a possible hike for non-climbers, say up as far as the hut? How tough is it?

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by ktnbs » Tue Jan 01, 2008 6:03 am

French Ridge. Most certainly provided one is in decent physical condition as it is a steep haul with some tricky footing with v-shaped ruts in places, eroded ground with exposed roots and occasional pull-yourself-up with your hands and arms. Have been up it twice with a very heavy pack and wore trail running shoes. One time changing into mountaineering boots at the bush line where snow started and another all the way with not much snow.

The last quarter of the route up, above the bush, one will have to his left an increasingly steep drop-off and caution is required due to slick grass and can be compounded with zero visibility. Gloomy Gorge is on the right of the trail going up and well enough away from it but I suppose it is possible to wonder of into it too in bad weather. Should this upper portion also have snow cover then an added hazard is the hummocks of grass making for some surprisingly deep, knee jarring holes to punch through.

I believe my times to the hut from the bottom at the river ford (have not used the bridge) were about three hours.

I may hike up there in late February but sans burdensome pack! I will be basing out of Aspiring Hut for almost a week and hope to take in Cascade Saddle as well as a sojourn to the upper valley to the base of the falls ending where the Bevan Col route becomes serious.

Best of luck, I wish I was going along for the company to share that beautiful venue with.


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