It seems like a long time has passed since I booked my trip to climb in the Southern Alps of New Zealand.
But the time has arrived.
I head off early Saturday morning, flying across “The Ditch” into Queenstown in the South Island, before making my way by bus to Wanaka, about an hour’s drive away.
On Sunday I will be flying into the mountains by either helicopter or ski-plane with Richard Raynes, from Adventure Consultants.
Richard has a first class climbing pedigree and has previously worked for the Mt Cook Search and Rescue team. We will spend a couple of hours walking across the Bonar Glacier to Colin Todd Hut, although we may elect to camp out on Bevan Col, depending on the Hut availability and weather conditions at the time.
On or around day five, which should be Thursday 10 January, we will make our summit attempt on Mt Aspiring. The day will be long, starting around 3am in the morning and finishing as late as 7pm.
And there are no guarantees on making it to the summit, but of course that is our goal and we will be giving it our best shot!
After a hike out from Mt Aspiring I will be returning to Wanaka to spend a few days resting with Janet and TomO, by the shores of Lake Wanaka, before heading back into the mountains for another week of climbing, this time with Steve Moffatt, Adventure Consultant’s program co-ordinator.
Steve has climbed all around the world, has summitted Mt Everest, and lead many mountaineering trips, including Lobuche East in Nepal. I will be travelling to Nepal in November this year to climb Lobuche East, Island Peak, and Pokalde. The first two are in excess of 6,000 metres, and Pokalde is just under 6,000 metres.
My second week will be less structured and we will look to climb a variety of peaks focussing on different aspects of mountaineering.
I am in good hands and I have a great opportunity to learn from these two very experienced climbers.
And although the peaks in the Southern Alps of New Zealand are only just over 3,000 metres in height, they are similar in ruggedness and valley to summit altitude gains to the higher peaks of the Himalaya’s, and for this reason it is a great training ground for my rather audacious plan to climb Mt Everest…
Mind you, it is also a wonderful place to visit and the people are friendly and welcoming.
And at the end of two weeks of climbing, Janet, TomO, and I will be spending a few days in Wanaka taking in the local sights and resting by the lake, before heading to Queenstown for a few days.
Janet and TomO won’t be sitting around whilst I’m climbing and their activities include a helicopter flight onto Fox Glacier, giving them a first hand view of where I was climbing last September, before heading down to Milford Sound for a couple of days.
They will also be retracing the Coast to Coast Adventure Race route. Janet and TomO assisted me in getting through this event across New Zealand last February…and will no doubt be there to support me in 2014’s race!
Anyway, there will be no communication access, other than satellite phone for emergencies, so I’ll let you know how it goes, along with some pictures, when I get back to Wanaka.
Hopefully I will be able to report a successful summit of Mt Aspiring, but even if I don’t there is little doubt in my mind that I will be reporting two weeks of fantastic climbing and fun…
Janet will be updating The Landy on Facebook and hopefully with news on Mt Aspiring so be sure to click on the link and follow our adventures!