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JoshK

New Zealand

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Does anybody have any good information on some fairly non-technical climbing opportunties in New Zealand? It looks like I am going there for the month of January with my father. We plan on doing some of the hut trail hikes, but I think it would be fun to get in a summit or two as well. He is very fit, but isn't a technical climber, so scrambles or easy glacier climbs would be what we are looking for.

 

thanks for any info,

-josh

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I just got back from the South Island on Sunday. Awesome place - well worth going. For none technical climbs on the South Island check out the Arthur's Pass Area - plenty of very scenic climbs, of minimal difficulty the Mt. Aspiring area's good too. The Mt. Cook area is awesome, but more technical than either of the 2 mentioned above. I just finished posting some pictures in the gallery. I also have a couple guidebooks, and can recommend a few more.

 

Oh - stay away from the Great Walks. The scenery isn't any better than the others. The trails just easier, and there are more gapers.

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Josh,

 

If you are in the Queenstown area, check out Ben Lomond (1746m). It is a good summit scramble. We climbed it in December and it was still snow-covered (!)

 

Cheers,

Steve Ramsey

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One of my favourites was Mt. Kitchener at Mount Cook. Hike up the trail to the Sealy Tarns and stay at the hut. Got up for sunrise and went up Kitchener. One of my best mornings ever. Other than that, Tongariro is an excellent area on the North Island. We took mountain bikes to the summit of Tongariro itself, left them and then continued hiking to some hotsprings on the otherside of it.

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I second the Arthur's Pass vote.

 

I hiked up Avalanche Peak and Bealey Peak (probably 2nd/3rd class at most), mostly on a trail, and enjoyed them both, as they were pleasant and afforded views of nearby glaciers.

 

There are hostels and other places to stay around there as well.

 

Have fun, what a great place to visit.

 

Feel free to PM if you want more beta.

 

Steve

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Here's a link to the Online Version of the Arthur's Pass Guide:

http://www.softrock.co.nz/mg/mghome.htm

It uses the Modified Mt. Cook rating scheme - which is a NZ comprehensive grading scheme. I climbed/hiked Mt. Aiken - same difficulty as Avalanche Pk (1-)

152Rolleston-med.jpg

Which is on the left of the ridge in the front of the above picture.

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Go to castle hill and do some bad ass bouldering!!!

 

thousands and thousands of limestone boulders! how could you pass that up!?

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Hello again all. OK, on talking to my dad again he has said he would like to attempt Mount Cook. The plan would be to hire a local guide for logistics (and a 3rd man on a rope team) with the agreement that he isn't to drag us up like gumbies.

 

Has anybody here climbed Cook? Would it be doable for a very fit, confident and quick-learned individual with only minor amounts of prior climbing experience?

 

thanks again,

-josh

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I climbed it with a partner who had never been on a rope before. Yes, it would be possible.

 

The Linda Glacier route is non-technical or minimally technical except for just a couple of pitches. You and he will know you've climbed something, though -- especially if you climb from the bottom (many parties fly to the Plateau Hut). All in all, it is about like climbing a moderately challenging North Cascade alpine climb with the Ptarmigan Ridge on top of it. I believe it is 6,000 feet from the Plateau Hut to the summit.

 

lindaglacier.jpg

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Thanks Matt, that is about what I was figuring. Beautiful pic. I used your same words when I was explaining it to him that "he'd know he'd climbed something." Like I said, he is as fit as they come so I believe we could do it if other conditions cooperate.

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I recall they have a storm on average once every three days. If you want to maximize your chances, allow plenty of extra time. I got lucky and did two climbs in a week, but some of the locals were mad because they, though strong climbers, hadn't been successful on two major climbs in several years' worth of vacations.

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Ducknut said:

I am there now Josh, want me to bring you some local info?

 

Wow, if you could that would be awesome! The more info I can find the better chances we would have of pulling it off.

 

thanks!

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JoshK said:Wow, if you could that would be awesome! The more info I can find the better chances we would have of pulling it off.

I've the guidebook at home - I can loan it to you if you'd like. There's a guide service (Alpine Guides http://www.alpineguides.co.nz/ ) located in Mt. Cook Village.

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Not to rain in the direction of the parade . . .

 

But in my opinion, the Linda Glacier route is inordinately dangerous (due to massive seracs and icefall threatening much of the route) relative to the actual aesthetics of the climb itself (mostly a slog).

 

When I was camped at the Plateau Hut, I assessed the conditions (very broken up glacier with lots of wandering and a fixed line to pass the bergschrund, the freezing levels (high), and the success rate of other parties (low) and determined that the mountain was beautiful but the route itself was not worth it.

 

I would highly recommend some other climbs which can be done from the same hut, however, including the Silberhorn Ridge (Grade 3) and the East Ridge of Dixon (Grade 2+), both magnificent, rewarding climbs with great views and far less objective hazard than that one encounters on the Linda.

 

I heard of a local fellow who was trying out to be a guide for one of the local guide services. He was told to pick a route on Cook and guide the trainer up the route as he would a client. He chose the Linda, got the trainer up and down the route safely, and failed the exam. The reason? He picked a dangerous route.

 

Anyway, I don't mean to be all doom and gloom, but I do want to say that there are many other good, safer routes to do than the Linda Glacier route.

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Valid point, Goatboy -- the "gun barrels" are a serious hazard. However, I don't recall thinking we spent an inordinate amount of time in harm's way, and I thought the route was challenging, beautiful, and highly rewarding. The success rate is low, I think, because it is a big climb on a big mountain -- and because the weather sucks down there. The Silverhorn is a safer climb in some ways, but a party had a major epic on it when I was there and the place should not be underestimated.

 

Here is one of the technical pitches on the Linda Glacier route:

 

Summitrocks.jpg

 

Above this, there is several hundred or a thousand feet of climbing that is steep and exposed, just short of what most of us would call technical ice climbing. I ended up lowering my partner down the entire thing rather than simulclimbing and trusting that he wasn't going to take us both for the big ride. Although he was a cocky guy and not the type to want to be babysat, he thanked me for being careful up there! Indeed, the Linda Glacier route is no "mere slog" in my book.

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mattp said:

Valid point, Goatboy -- the "gun barrels" are a serious hazard. However, I don't recall thinking we spent an inordinate amount of time in harm's way, and I thought the route was challenging, beautiful, and highly rewarding. The success rate is low, I think, because it is a big climb on a big mountain -- and because the weather sucks down there. The Silverhorn is a safer climb in some ways, but a party had a major epic on it when I was there and the place should not be underestimated.

 

Here is one of the technical pitches on the Linda Glacier route:

 

Summitrocks.jpg

 

Above this, there is several hundred or a thousand feet of climbing that is steep and exposed, just short of what most of us would call technical ice climbing. I ended up lowering my partner down the entire thing rather than simulclimbing and trusting that he wasn't going to take us both for the big ride. Although he was a cocky guy and not the type to want to be babysat, he thanked me for being careful up there! Indeed, the Linda Glacier route is no "mere slog" in my book.

 

i guess hazards on the route include 10 degree camera tilt rolleyes.gif

 

Josh - the best non technical trip I did in New Zealand was a hike up to Mt Owen near Buller Gorge on South Island. huge karst limestone plateau. beautiful place. it's also apparently the exit from the mines of moria yellaf.gif

 

The North island volcanoes and also the Tongariro Northern Crossing are non tech and has hot springs and geysers.

 

The Linda is mostly a hike but involves about 7 pitches of 45 degree ice and rock and going to the real summit (not the "guides summit") involves a 10m vertical ice wall. there are seracs threatening much of the route not just the gunbarrels. when we came down around 2 PM there were 4 icefalls across our tracks from the morning.....

 

its very worth it to fly in to Plateau Hut. costs about $100 per person NZ$ IIRC. one interesting statistic is that something like 1 in 3 parties that takes the slog route in or out gets injured in some way. I walked out solo when partner flew out, to save $$$, and survived with just a destroyed plastic boot and was lucky to not also have a destroyed foot.

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Wow. Sounds, uh...fun. I'm not sure I want to get myself or my dad killed on a slog. We are actually looking at Mt. Aspiring as well now. I guess the NW ridge is supposed to be a fairly non-technical and beautiful climb. I have no idea what the mountain is like, but I'm assuming since it's a ridge it probably doesn't have the objective hazards of this linda glacier route.

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Josh -

You can do it! People climb the Linda Glacier all the time and most of them live. It is a serious mountain, though, and Dru is right to point out that just getting to the hut can be quite a climb in itself (and not without its hazards). The guides are pretty good, and Mount Cook is a very cool prize. If you and your dad are attracted to Mount Cook because it is Mount Cook, Aspiring is just not quite the same (it is a very cool looking mountain in its own right, however).

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i can't tell you anything about aspiring except that i did half of the hike-in several times and got stormed out every single time. however if the weather is bad up on aspiring it may well be warm and sunny in wanaka and you can pull down on schist! or visit a winery! bigdrink.gif or eat a pastry in Kai Whaka Pai! wanaka was my favorite town in all of new zealand.

 

hey fern didn't you climb aspiring?

 

josh you might want also to check the new zealand alpine club website in case they have current conditions reports.... i dont know what the website address is but i bet google does laugh.gif

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I think the "route to do" on Mount Aspiring may be the S. Face, but the ridge you mentioned is a better choice for you and your dad, probably.

 

aspiring_jan_99.jpg

 

Mt Aspiring, New Zealand

NW ridge on left, SW on right, January 1999

Low snow year...more indicative of March

 

 

Photo credit: Jethro Robinson

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