Climbing Mt Aspiring – Crikey (I’m getting excited)

Mt Aspiring, Southern Alps, New Zealand
Mt Aspiring, Southern Alps, New Zealand

It is now one month from my next mountaineering experience in New Zealand, an ascent of Mt Aspiring in the Southern Alps and the excitement level in our household is reaching fever pitch.

 The trip is significant as it kicks-off a big year and hopefully some big steps towards that audaciously big goal I have to climb some of the world’s largest mountains, including Mt Everest.

 My last trip to New Zealand was in September this year when I spent time with the team from Adventure Consultants on Pioneer Glacier, in New Zealand’s Southern Alps.

Pioneer Hut, Fox Glacier
Pioneer Hut, Fox Glacier, New Zealand
Pioneer Hut, looking west to the Tasman Sea
Pioneer Hut, looking west to the Tasman Sea

That trip was a true eye opener as to what lies ahead.

Mt Aspiring is known to the Maori people of New Zealand as Tititea, the glistening one, rising 3,027 metres out of the landscape to tower over anything nearby.

It is described as having sheer faces and graceful lines.

We will travel from the headquarters of Adventure Consultants in Wanaka to Bonar Glacier by helicopter as it is usually a 12-14 hour walk otherwise. We then have a 2-3 hour walk on the glacier to reach our destination, Colin Todd hut.  And depending on how many people are at the hut we may need to camp out in our bivvy bags on Bevan Col.

The first couple of days will be spent acclimatising and revising cramponing skills, ascending steep snow and ice, and of course, importantly, crevasse rescue. I have spent a lot of time on rescues in the Blue Mountains in recent times and I have a strong belief that you can’t do enough of it – it may save your own, or someone else’s life and the skill needs to be second nature.

Baz - Fox Glacier, practising crevasse rescues
Baz – Fox Glacier, practising crevasse rescues

Prior to an attempt on the summit of Mt Aspiring we will spend a day climbing some smaller peaks in the area, such as Mt Bevan. It stands at 2,030 metres and they say the view from the top is glorious. It was also the scene of a rescue of a number of people trapped on Bevan Col and recounted in the book by Paul Powell, Men Aspiring.

There is something like 27 different routes that can be taken to the summit of Mt Aspiring all of varying degrees of difficulty. Many of these routes will not be available to us due to the time of year we are attempting it.

We are anticipating our route to the summit will be the classic North West Ridge route, but a final decision will be made at the time.

Ascent day will begin at 3am in the morning and may finish as late as 7pm that evening and we can expect a mixture of snow, ice, and rock as we progress towards the summit.

After spending 7-days on the glacier, and hopefully with a successful summit of Mt Aspiring under the belt, we will return to Wanaka where I’ll be joined by Janet and TomO for a few days of rest and relaxation, before once again heading into the mountains.

Grey's Peak, Fox Glacier, New Zealand
Grey’s Peak, Fox Glacier, New Zealand

The second week in the mountains will most likely be spent in the Mt Cook region, where we will concentrate on some ice climbing as well as a number of ascents over the course of the week. The structure of the week will be decided at the time and where we climb will be dictated to by the prevailing conditions.

Baz - Chancellor Dome in the background
Baz – Chancellor Dome in the background

There are a number of possibilities, including Mt Aylmer which stands at 2,699 metres, Mt Elie de Beaumont which gives commanding views of the Tasman Sea from its 3,109 metre summit.  Other likely climbs include Mt Green and Mt Walter, which both stand just under 3,000 metres.

After making our way back to Wanaka once again, I will be meeting up with Janet and TomO who will also be full of tales of adventure after their week travelling around in the Southern Alps. They are planning a helicopter trip to Fox Glacier as well as taking in the fabulous Southern Alps…

Before we leave for home, we will strap ourselves in the world’s largest canyon swing located near Queenstown. TomO can’t wait, and he’ll go twice he says, a tandem with both Janet and myself.

I am hoping to achieve as many summits as possible on this trip, especially Mt Aspiring, however there could be many reasons why a summit is not possible. Above all else, what I am looking to achieve is safe mountaineering as that is what will assist me the most as I head to Nepal at the end of 2013 – but that is a story for another time, for now it is simply, one step at a time!

And remember, if all else fails, remain out of control and see what develops…

Grey's Peak New Zealand
Baz on top of Grey’s Peak, New Zealand

23 thoughts on “Climbing Mt Aspiring – Crikey (I’m getting excited)

  1. sarahsdoodles December 4, 2012 / 7:39 am

    “I have a strong belief that you can’t do enough of it – it may save your own, or someone else’s life and the skill needs to be second nature.” – wow! Crazy to think that some of your daily adventures need this type of preparation!


    • The Landy December 4, 2012 / 8:38 am

      Yes, true…but crikey, I watch jaywalkers in the city each day taking far greater risks, with totally no preparation…

      Odd world isn’t it!


  2. Michelle Martin December 3, 2012 / 3:52 pm

    Thanks for keeping us updated Baz. I am in awe of your “aspirations” (yes, pun intended) but Tommo can have that wretched tandem swing all to himself – I have a tendency to let my fear of heights that halts my interest in throwing myself off cliffs. Your journey and preparation sounds arduous but I can see how rewarding it would be. I really hope the last few weeks goes well for you.


    • The Landy December 3, 2012 / 4:54 pm

      Thanks Michelle…it is a long journey, but I’m enjoying it so far!

      And TomO, well he doesn’t need any encouragement…he has already told me to forget the tandem he wants to go off backwards – by himself!


  3. Marisa December 3, 2012 / 10:18 am

    That sounds so exciting! Can’t wait to hear all about the adventure. Stay safe and have fun!!


  4. GiggsMcGill Jill December 3, 2012 / 5:07 am

    That canyon swing looks AMAZING!! TomO Definitely has to go twice!!


  5. One Fit Mama December 3, 2012 / 1:01 am

    Amazing trip planned! Can’t wait to hear all a out it!


    • The Landy December 3, 2012 / 4:57 am

      Thankyou…we are all getting very excited as this is a major step in the “big plan”…take care, Baz


  6. travelingmarla December 3, 2012 / 12:55 am

    Yay! So excited for you. Aussie!Aussie!Aussie! You’re going to do great. Thanks for being so inspirational!


    • The Landy December 3, 2012 / 4:57 am

      Thankyou for your support…! I’ll be needing to draw on all the support I can!


  7. icescreammama December 3, 2012 / 12:54 am

    Woooieeee baby!! That looks like some awesome adventure!! I will be sitting here with my feet up, drinking my coffee (sitting dangerously close to the ledge of my table) and cheering you the whole way!!! And TomO is going tandem??? has he done that before?!! Why am i not surpirsed?! 😉


    • The Landy December 3, 2012 / 4:56 am

      TomO has told me he’s doing one by himself…biggest canyon swing in the world…!

      And the mountaineering will be my main game!

      Cheers, Baz


  8. travellingbag December 2, 2012 / 7:41 pm

    That is going to be such an awesome experience, take as much from it as you can 🙂


  9. barbara grandberg December 2, 2012 / 6:52 pm

    what an amazing adventure you have planned….


  10. December 2, 2012 / 3:22 pm

    You must be feeling too. We want pictures please??


    • The Landy December 2, 2012 / 4:15 pm

      Yes, much today thank you, photos to follow, when I climb it…


  11. SWOZY December 2, 2012 / 3:02 pm

    Baz, I truly admire your courage! Snow is not one of my favourite things, so I guess I’ll never get to see scenes like these unless it’s looking at where others have been 🙂

    Thank you for sharing them. They are awesome!


    • The Landy December 2, 2012 / 3:15 pm

      Hey, don’t worry, I grew up in Townsville…snow hasn’t always been my thing, but it will be a part of life over the next few years…


  12. Mind Margins/Run Nature December 2, 2012 / 2:52 pm

    That is some impressive adventuring you have planned there. Stunning scenery. I used to live in Switzerland (the other Alps) and NZ’s look equally spectacular. Looking forward to reading about your climbs.


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