Well I was excited a few weeks ago when I booked a mountaineering and climbing trip to the Southern Alps in New Zealand south island…
Now I’m bloody excited, you know, like when you can barely control yourself, excited like when you still thought Santa came down the chimney!
After an early morning paddle down at Narrabeen Lakes this morning, which I almost had to myself along with a few pelicans, I headed home for a final gear check and pack as I depart this coming Friday.
Whilst in New Zealand I’ll be climbing under the instruction of Dean Staples who is Adventure Consultants Chief Guide for New Zealand.
He’s also travelled to the Antarctic Peninsular.
If that all sounds very impressive, get this, this year Dean summited Mount Everest for the eighth time, yes that’s right eight times.
My current goal is to summit Cho Oyu, the world’s sixth largest mountain peak, which measures in at 8,201 metres (26,906 feet). But there is plenty of preparation and training to be done before I head off on that expedition, hopefully in 2014.
Under Dean’s guidance I’m hoping to learn some very valuable skills during my week in New Zealand, or N-Zed, as us Aussies affectionately call it…
We will spend the week in either Westland National Park, Mt Cook National Park, or Aspiring National Park, depending on where conditions are best suited. And as it is still very cold we will be staying in mountain huts rather than camping on the glaciers.
We will fly into the glaciers by helicopter or ski plane and at this stage we are planning to fly out at the end of the week, but that will depend on the weather and aircraft availability at the time, otherwise it will be a hike out.
Our focus over the week will be on crampon and ice axe skills, and crevasse rescues, with a few other mountain skills thrown in for good measure. So there should be a fair amount of ice-climbing.
This is designed to prepare mountaineers for climbing the “seven summits” the highest peaks on each of the world’s continents.
I’m also going back to N-Zed in January for a summit attempt on Mt Aspiring.
What makes this a real challenge for me is that I grew up in tropical Northern Australia, my playground was the Australian outback, and the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef.
I was almost thirty years of age before I even set foot on snow, and I’ve never snow skied in my life.
And as I confessed in an earlier musing, I can’t even tie my shoe-laces! But I can tie quite a few mountaineering knots, lucky that!
And what of Everest you ask?
Well let’s see if I can get to the top of Cho Oyu first…but Janet, my partner, has penciled it in the diary already, saying she knows me too well.
For me, I will be very happy to get to a position of where I could reasonably contemplate having a go for it…
And thanks for the vote of confidence Janet…I’m taking it as tacit approval for the funding of that trip if it ever eventuates…
If you’re inclined, I’ll be updating Facebook when I can, check out The Landy there, just click ‘like’…