Well to be honest, most days excite me, perhaps some more than others, but today I booked a week of mountaineering in the Southern Alps of New Zealand leaving in two weeks time, and I’m really excited about the prospect of getting out and about…
I was intending to walk the Thornsborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island, in North Queensland as it has been on my list of walks to do for as long as I can remember. However, each time I have planned to walk it something else has come along to interrupt the plan. Usually something that I have had no control over.
I’ve often joked that there is an unknown force at work that prevents me from going. Perhaps it is saving me from the jaws of one of those pre-historic reptiles, the crocodile, that inhabit the region, but I digress…
I already have a trip booked to climb Mt Aspiring located in the Southern Alps of New Zealand this coming January. But January seems so far away, so I thought, why not give those hand-crafted mountaineering boots I just purchased a run for their money instead of walking the Thornsborne Trail?
Yep, I had no trouble rationalising that one in my own mind.
A quick call to our travel agent, was followed up with a call to the wonderful team at Adventure Consultants, located at Wanaka on New Zealand’s South Island, to confirm I was on my way.
New Zealand is recognised around the world as a great training ground for mountaineering, and although most peaks are only around 3,000 metres in height, they are similar in ruggedness and valley to summit altitude gains as the higher peaks in the Himalayas.
The week of guiding and instruction, the Seven Summits Course, is designed for people like me who are looking to progress to high altitude climbing, to gain exposure to snow camping, improve on crampon and ice axe skills, master ladder crossings over crevasses, along with other general mountaineering skills.
In Australia, it is more difficult to gain this type of exposure.
I have elected to undertake as much tuition as I possibly can, especially in the earlier stages of my journey to Cho Oyu, and Beyond, as this will hopefully make me safer on the mountain, and give me a strong base to build from and to assist in achieving my goals.
One area I will be focussing heavily on is my decision making skills, and I’ll be getting the team at Adventure Consultants to put me to the test on this aspect…
And I still need to break the news to Janet, my partner, that there is plenty more gear I need to buy before I go.
Mind you, Janet has not been watching the bank balance, but has asked only one thing of me, and that is to be safe at all times, reminding me there is always another day.
Her words of wisdom constantly echo in my mind, “summiting is optional, getting down is mandatory.”
Who has a mountaineering story they can share?