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TheNumberNine

Mt. Cook & Mt. Aspiring

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I climbed Aoraki, it was fun.

Weather sucked too much to even get a view of Aspiring when I was down there.

 

Blake has a nice Aspiring TR on here.

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A colleague I used to work with described New Zealand as flying halfway around the world to climb in Washington.

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HAHA! Is he a Washington elitist or is New Zealand not worth the trip? Seems like a sweet place to visit.. Might as well climb while you're there..

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I climbed Aoraki, it was fun.

Weather sucked too much to even get a view of Aspiring when I was down there.

 

Blake has a nice Aspiring TR on here.

 

 

How would you rate it in terms of technicality? Two tools? Frontpointing? What time of year?

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It depends on which route you climb, but they are all pretty much two tools and front points. The Grand Traverse's southern end was out of condition when I tried it due to low snowpacks and general glacial retreat; we couldn't even get to the hut. Went around and climbed the Linda, which is the easiest route on the peak; lots of glacier walking in the line of fire from seracs, then a section (about 4 pitches) of 4th class mixed through rock bands, then a 10m vertical ice wall to gain the summit. Compared to Cascade volcano walk ups it's a big step up in difficulty.

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HAHA! Is he a Washington elitist or is New Zealand not worth the trip?

I think he was referring to the climate (wet side/dry side separated by high mountains) more than anything.

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Check out "Men Aspiring" by Paul Sidney Powell, if you can find a copy. It is nothing short of badass (Beckey-esque).

 

 

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It depends on which route you climb, but they are all pretty much two tools and front points. The Grand Traverse's southern end was out of condition when I tried it due to low snowpacks and general glacial retreat; we couldn't even get to the hut. Went around and climbed the Linda, which is the easiest route on the peak; lots of glacier walking in the line of fire from seracs, then a section (about 4 pitches) of 4th class mixed through rock bands, then a 10m vertical ice wall to gain the summit. Compared to Cascade volcano walk ups it's a big step up in difficulty.

 

That sounds awesome. I'd like to learn more about technical climbing soon but I'm heading to the West Butt of Denali in a few weeks for my first attempt.. Totally cleared out my college student savings account.

 

Where are some good places to learn/try some more technical climbing in the Cascades? Liberty Ridge on Rainier a good place to start?

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HAHA! Is he a Washington elitist or is New Zealand not worth the trip?

I think he was referring to the climate (wet side/dry side separated by high mountains) more than anything.

 

I can feel that.. I wonder if New Zealand has exceptionally good looking ladies or even better, good looking climber ladies. That would seal the deal!

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Where are some good places to learn/try some more technical climbing in the Cascades? Liberty Ridge on Rainier a good place to start?

 

If it is alpine climbing you are after, Liberty Ridge is a poor choice for a beginner's route. The B. C. Coast Range, the Purcells and Selkirks, and the Rockies (in Canada) offer better choices than the Cascades.

 

I'm not denigrating the Cascades. We have some fantastic climbs here. But for learning the craft - alpine climbing - you can find better opportunities up north.

 

As to the original topic, you will find great adventure in New Zealand and likely more than you might find in the Cascades. While the weather is, as here, poor, there is a difference: the New Zealand Alps don't have a prolonged dry season like we do. Those glaciers and those peaks are treacherous.

 

And, by technical standards, Mt. Cook is more serious than any peak in Washington. The standard route on Cook is like adding Ptarmigan Ridge route or one of the more serious routes on Rainier ON TOP OF one of one of the more serious North Cascade peak climbs. Mt. Cook rises over 10,000' above the glacier next to it. Getting to the hut is more serious than most North Cascade peak climbs and the climb from there is harder than any Cascades summit climb except maybe Nooksack Tower. Mt. Cook is a serious mountain.

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Awesome comparisons between NZ and Cascades right there, mate. Perhaps someday when I'm a true Pooh-Bah I'll attempt Cook (assuming it hasn't completely fallen apart by then)

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To me, New Zealand was a lot like Washington, but with much worse food, you say "Cheers" instead of "Thanks," and you are outnumbered by sheep 10-1.

 

 

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but with much worse food

 

worse beer, food could be good to very good and certainly not "much worse" unless you are looking for Michelin stars (of which WA has none anyway

 

more likely to me a hottie tourist or transplant climber chica than an actual kiwi

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If it is alpine climbing you are after, Liberty Ridge is a poor choice for a beginner's route. The B. C. Coast Range, the Purcells and Selkirks, and the Rockies (in Canada) offer better choices than the Cascades.

 

I'm not denigrating the Cascades. We have some fantastic climbs here. But for learning the craft - alpine climbing - you can find better opportunities up north.

 

There are many more mountains and settings up North than here but I wouldn't say they are better places to "learn the craft". In fact, I'd think the Cascades is one of the better learning mountain range because it is quite forgiving to beginners (all relative of course): the rock is not among the best but it is on average much better than in the Rockies, and the interior ranges of BC (Bugs and a few other areas excepted), Cascade weather is somewhat less predictable than further inland but temps are less extreme due to moderate elevations and lesser continentality, maritime snow packs are more reliable (obviously similar in Coastal BC), more?

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I'd recommend the Mt. Aspiring area, including that peak. Wanaka makes a decent base - there's a Dept of Natural Whatever there with maps, permits, etc. Chopper (find partners to go in on it with) or hike up to the Aspiring hut and spend a few days up there getting messed with by the keas.

 

Hint: occasionally, you'll encounter a chopper or plane that is leaving the high country empty. While at the Aspiring hut you can monitor the flight traffic for this situ. They'll load up up for really cheap on the fly, no pun intended.

 

That range has a lot of scrambles that can be soloed, a good hut system, several sheltered bivvy sites (big ass boulders...marked on their topos). The alpine rock is generally quartzite, which varies from OK to OMFG-I-NEED-TO-RUN-AWAY-NOW.

 

Things to watch for are sand flies, keas (nice birds, but don't leave any gear unattended), and hook grass (hairy legs beware).

 

The Aspiring area is kind of like the Cascade. Only the plants, animals, geology, weather, and people are different, everything else is pretty much the same.

 

Marked trails tend to be somewhat rougher than here in spots, unless it's a Great Walk - then they're about 10 feet wide.

 

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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I'd recommend the Mt. Aspiring area, including that peak. Wanaka makes a decent base - there's a Dept of Natural Whatever there with maps, permits, etc. Chopper (find partners to go in on it with) or hike up to the Aspiring hut and spend a few days up there getting messed with by the keas.

 

How long in is the hike from Wanaka? Would you say that you could spend a good 2 weeks in the area for some worthwhile climbing?

 

 

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but with much worse food

more likely to me a hottie tourist or transplant climber chica than an actual kiwi

 

Hot tourist chicks/climbers does the trick too :crosseye:

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I think NZ is a great place to go climbing once you are a fairly experienced climber. I thought Cook by even the "easy" routes to be somewhat more intimidating/difficult than Liberty Ridge. Quite good climbing (if weather/conditions allow), but it is far more dangerous than most all peaks in the Cascades. I also thought the SW ridge on Aspiring to be a classic anywhere, but again harder than most Cascade climbs. I think both of our summit days on Cook and Aspiring were 15+ hour jaunts. As a friendly bit of advice, don't hike in to the Plateau Hut on Cook- the heli ride is very much worth the cost.

 

As Tvash pointed out, the tracks to the climbing areas tend to be rough. The huts make up for it, but the weather can be very, very bad- so they are kind of a necessity. It is a great country and one I would consider going back to each winter- if it wasn't so darn expensive to get there. There are plenty of great hikes (tramps) to go on if the weather/climbing conditions stink (which is likely). Lots of crags too....

 

Edited by JasonG

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If you've never been -- you have no idea how wonderful it is.

 

Wonderful people, good fish and chips, and adventures to be had at every corner (if you're willing to be flexible between sustained bouts of bad weather).

 

It's a lot like the Cascades MIGHT HAVE BEEN during ice ages in the past, when glaciers were huge. And like the Cascades, the clear blue days mean so much when you've sat out a long wet period...

 

New Zealand is called "Aoteroa - the Land of the Long, White Cloud" for a reason! Not to mention lots of white baa

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Those pics are sweet. What a beautiful mountain!! It's going on the "to do" list :moondance:

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Hi guys

There are quite a few threads on NZ buried on cc.com - most of which I reply to. I'm a long-term resident of NZ (in NZ now as a matter of fact) and can honestly say that the alpine climbing has incredible potential that is almost never realized due to bad weather. NumberNine, the kiwi women aren't that attractive (as a generalization). If you're looking for that sort of entertainment, the tour buses (Kiwi Experience is one) are a good option. Usually full of German girls.

 

I've climbed all over NZ, feel free to ask me any specific questions or whatever, but people have been giving sound advice so far. Castle Hill rocks, and there is some good, moderate alpine climbing very close by. Otira face of Rolleston or something like that.

 

Cheers

 

Graham

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