Crampons, Ice Axes, and Mountains (Crikey – it gets the thumbs up)

 

Climbing the south face of Aurora, Southern Alps, New Zealand
Climbing the south face of Aurora, Southern Alps, New Zealand

Mountains have a way of drawing you in like a magnet, whether you want to view them, walk up them, or perhaps climb them.

 For me it has been about climbing them and the Southern Alps on New Zealand’s South Island has provided me with a great place to do just that over the past two weeks.

Baz on Aurora - Southern Alps, New Zealand
Baz on Aurora – Southern Alps, New Zealand
Baz on Aurora, Southern Alps, New Zealand
Baz on Aurora, Southern Alps, New Zealand

 And sure, there has been a day here or there that the weather was not suitable, but that is an opportunity to wrap yourself in a warm down sleeping bag way up high in an alpine hut with a good book…

Talking about Alpine Huts, I spent a week at Centennial Hut, situated on the West Coast, and from its position, perched high on an exposed ridge, you could see all the way down to the Tasman Sea…the sunsets were fantastic from our alpine hideaway!

Sunset over the Tasman Sea - Centennial Hut
Sunset over the Tasman Sea – Centennial Hut

I have learned much over the past two weeks under the supervision of the team from Adventure Consultants who are high altitude climbing specialists based at Wanaka and it has prepared me very well for an expedition to climb in Nepal later this year.

In fact, the climbing in Nepal will not be as technical as the climbing I have been doing these past two weeks, but the summits will be in excess of 6,000 metres!

Baz - traversing on Aurora Southern Alps, New Zealand
Baz – traversing on Aurora Southern Alps, New Zealand

And whilst I am still surrounded by the magnificent mountains of the Southern Alps I will be putting away the crampons and ice picks for the next few days as Janet, TomO, and I are going to spend some time just relaxing in this wonderful country they call New Zealand…

Tasman Glacier viewed from Graham Saddle, Souther Alps, New Zealand
Tasman Glacier viewed from Graham Saddle, Southern Alps, New Zealand

 Crikey…did I say relax – I mean relaxing, as we know how.

All three of us will be stepping off a platform high above a canyon near Queenstown, in what is billed as the world’s largest canyon swing. Once you depart the platform you free-fall 60 metres down into the canyon until the ropes smoothly swings you into a giant 200 metre swing. You then complete a couple of massive swings before you slowly come to rest approximately 100 metres below the departure platform.

Strewth, I’ll let you know how that goes!

And all I can say is – “thumbs up” to climbing in New Zealand…

New Zealand's Southern Alps - Gets the "Thumbs Up"
New Zealand’s Southern Alps – Gets the “Thumbs Up”
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30 thoughts on “Crampons, Ice Axes, and Mountains (Crikey – it gets the thumbs up)

  1. Carol Page-Potter January 25, 2013 / 10:35 pm

    Fabulous pictures! So very excited for you. On to Nepal and the top of the world.

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    • Baz - The Landy January 26, 2013 / 5:10 am

      Thanks Carol…making our way towards the “top of the world” very slowly!

      Like

  2. linhartb January 24, 2013 / 5:31 pm

    Breathtaking shots! New Zealand is on my bucket list of places to go!

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  3. icescreammama January 24, 2013 / 3:39 am

    big thumbs up!! those are surreal pictures. it looks like you are at the ends of the earth. stunning. are you ever cold? i’m bitching today because it’s freezing over here in ny this week, i don’t think i could take it. it’s true, the only cold i like is ice cream. 🙂

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    • Baz - The Landy January 24, 2013 / 4:09 am

      Well actually walking on the glacier can be very hot, especially with a heavy pack. On this particular climb we were traversing the south face early in the morning and it was cool.

      I regulate temperature with clothing, something you need to work at as you progress on the climb…

      Like

  4. Deliberately Delicious January 24, 2013 / 2:02 am

    Gorgeous photos. What a magnificent place, Baz. How very fortunate you are to have been there – and how fortunate we are to share the experience. That picture of you traversing Aurora is something else!

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    • Baz - The Landy January 24, 2013 / 4:08 am

      Thankyou…not the place to fall that is for sure!

      Like

  5. walksandrambles January 24, 2013 / 1:16 am

    Having just moved to a mountainous area and living among them for the first time, I’ve become aware of that “pull” you describe. I spend a good deal of time walking around on them and way too much time just looking at them (my family says I’m a “mountain creeper!”). I don’t yet understand this enticement…they’re like a 24/7 attraction. BTW, your third to the last photo took my breath away!

    Like

    • Baz - The Landy January 24, 2013 / 4:07 am

      The mountains are a great place to spend time…sounds like you’re hooked already! Good for you….

      Like

  6. sweetlybalanced January 23, 2013 / 9:31 pm

    You’re right that sunset IS FANTASTIC!! Have fun with Janet and Tom O in New Zealand!!! Take lots more pictures! 🙂

    Like

    • Baz - The Landy January 24, 2013 / 4:00 am

      It is a Wow kind of place, that’s for sure…

      Like

  7. barbara grandberg January 23, 2013 / 7:27 pm

    wow…so amazing :}

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  8. Jillian Carlon January 23, 2013 / 4:47 pm

    Good to hear from you. Great photos and a wonderful adventure/training. Love reading about it too. Thanks. 🙂

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    • Baz - The Landy January 24, 2013 / 2:17 pm

      Thankyou Jillian…it has been fantastic!

      Like

  9. sarahsdoodles January 23, 2013 / 2:11 pm

    Have fun “relaxing” with Janet and TomO! I hve a feeling you guys have a damn good time together.

    Breath-taking photos…as usual!

    Like

    • Baz - The Landy January 23, 2013 / 4:40 pm

      Strewth…I’m worried about this “relaxing”…!

      And such a great place to take photos!

      Like

  10. travellingbag January 23, 2013 / 1:49 pm

    Amazing photos, and I would imagine the peace and quiet at that altitue is something that’s worth the climb 🙂

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    • Baz - The Landy January 23, 2013 / 1:54 pm

      For sure…and you’ll experience it soon in Nepal!

      Like

      • travellingbag January 24, 2013 / 10:10 pm

        Not too long now – getting excited and scared in equal measures 🙂

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      • Baz - The Landy January 25, 2013 / 5:31 am

        And it is healthy to be that way…I’m excited or you!

        Like

  11. Julie Gomez January 23, 2013 / 1:34 pm

    The mountain looks amazing, Baz! Thanks so much for sharing New Zealand, and cheers to your next adventure!

    Like

    • Baz - The Landy January 23, 2013 / 1:53 pm

      Thanks Julie…a wonderful place to “adventure” in…!

      Like

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