End of August, mountain guide Gary Dickson and Anard take the training that they have been doing and applied it to an ascent of the 4000m Monch, Berner Oberland region of the Swiss Alps.
In the middle of the July/August Swiss climbing season , Grant and Gary spent a week in the Swiss Alps working on developing Grants intermediate and advanced climbing techniques/skills for smooth, efficient ascent and descent of big peaks.
Again this year , Mountain Guide Gary Dickson travelled to Iceland in June and worked with Icelandic Mountain Guides and this year some other glacier guides from Iceland with their training and certification requirements for the Icelandic glacier guiding industry.
Grant has just booked with me a week of mountaineering in the Swiss alps in August. You too can come and join the alpinism and ski team and enjoy the massive supermarket of mountaineering peaks and routes with good access, light packs, excellent mountain accomodation in Switzerland.
On his recent trip in the NZ Alps, Ant is inspired to get into more mountaineering again and will maybe join me in the swiss alps too………………… what about you?
January 2016, Ascents trip to the West coast, based at Centenial Hut. Great weather and we had the whole of the 8000ha of the Franz neve to ourselves! and the end of the week , a fantastic traverse of the Remarkables, above Queenstown….
Leysin is a fantastic alpine village nestled in the pre alps of Switzerland, perfect as our base to launch mountaineering trips into the swiss alps from.
Leysin is easy to get to via the fantastically efficient and reliable Swiss train system or road if you have a rental car.
It is about the same size as Wanaka, NZ – a small alpine type town with cafes, restaurants, sports stores, supermarket, a variety of nice accomodation options and importantly central to the main mountaineering regions.
- 1.5 hrs from chamonix
- 2 hrs from Zermatt, Sass valley region
- 2.5 hrs from the Grindelwald region
- 3hrs from getting to Italy – Grand Paradiso National Park
So perfect for a warm up acclimatisation hike, rock session or via ferrata if required for skills acqusition , skills tune up or best weather option, and then ideal for launching off to the best venue for conditions, weather, your skills and objectives….
What you need to know about aircraft access/egress for our guided mountain climbing and mountaineering courses here in the NZ southern alps
Accessing glaciated mountaineering terrain in the Southern alps requires travelling in to our National parks some distance. Most locations if done on foot would require a good weather period, 2 days travel with big packs and a substantial elevation gain all in good weather.( same to get out) Often when the party travelling in via foot access gets to the climbing location the weather is already on the turn, the party gets some hut time, finds their food is running out and then is forced to start heading out down the valley again. Hmmmm. Yep, as a young student at university, this used to be a common scenario. I got a bit done, but not as much as I could have…..
Alpinism and Ski uses helicopters to access and egress the climbing venues ( this is actually a very common and standard thing for NZ mountaineering). There are many helicopter bases close to the mountain venues we go to which is ideal. Yes this is an added expense, but one which many climbers who understand kiwi weather and logistics regularly use.
Flying in and out maximizes your precious time in the alpine zone. Last but not least, when you fly in, your legs are fresh for your climbing, mountaineering and ski touring adventure and so is the food.
Knowing and understanding Kiwi weather is cruicial for trip planning and working in with the helicopter companies. This is where my 30 years of exerience and my solid understanding of local weather patterns comes in.
Our guided mountaineering and ski touring parties wait for good weather in the mountains to arrive and then quickly, efficiently and painlessly fly in. If the weather is bad for flying in, time is spent rock climbing/scrambling, revising rope skills and/or relaxing at the Alpinism and Ski base.
Aircraft cost for alpinism adventures in NZ
Your New Zealand mountaineering and ski touring adventures with Alpinism and Ski Wanaka do not include the price of flights in or out of the mountains. Why….?
Trips in NZ are driven by the weather and conditions options, sometimes you end up going into your first objective, often you end up going somewhere different that first thought.
Prices of flights vary depending on the area flown in to (e.g. Mt Cook-Aoraki National park or Westland National park) as well as aircraft used. The rules and regulations governing these areas vary too. I am more than happy to explain it and give estimates on application to help you with budgeting. You pay directly to the aircraft company involved. there is no fee taken by us for that part of the trip.
We leave the flying to the expert aviation companies. We have an excellent working relationship with them and they and us do our best to get the most efficient and economical flight deals for your New Zealand alpinism adventures.
Alex from Aspiring Helicopters, Wanaka
Summer climbing trips in NZ are gone again until later in the year but autumn mountaineering adventures can be stunning too. Mountain guide Gaz has just returned from an NZMGA course for future guides and has now put his mountaineering gear in the shed for a break. He’ll work on his aerial photography missions with his drone, the hexacopter. Summer in Europe is not too far away and the Icelandic mountain guides have requested the chief’s presence for more expert training.
The Alpinism & Ski team have had the opportunity to visit the Albert Burn chalet recently, a beautiful area, great views of Mt Aspiring and we had some pesky Keas around too, making sure we did not sleep in. A most interesting alpine flora session we had too, a separate album coming up. Here a few pictures of the latest Pure Alpinism 7 day trip, to Westland National Park with Charles Day from Australia:
2014 ended with Gary taking Simon from the UK on for a guided climb of Mt Cook. Simon and his wife Jacki had planned eight days based at the Alpinism & Ski studio with the plan for Gary and him to ultimately go for the ascent our New Zealand’s highest peak.
A training ‘exercise’ was a day out on the Remarkables for the classic and beautiful alpine traverse of Single and Double Cones. Stunning views, great rock formation, excellent climbing and just simply an awesome day out.
The team had some ‘weather issues’, and we all enjoyed a wine tour in the area too. But they finally were able to fly to Plateau hut and stood on the summit of Aoraki -Mt Cook (on his shoulder only of course:-) just a day before Christmas. Meanwhile at the base in Wanaka, preparations were going on for a xmas roast and welcome back for the blokes as well as some packing up and we saw our wonderful visitors off on further travels towards the Westcoast.
Mountain guide Gaz’ report on returning was that this had been the most complicated route finding through the Linda glacier he’d ever done. Our Private Mountain Guiding in New Zealand trips in the future will not likely include Mt Cook-Aoraki any more, as it is increasingly hard to climb and guides willing to do it not many around! Some more photos of this last Cook climb:
A testimonial :
Gary, our wives and children thank you for safely delivering home their two Aussie husbands (mid-40’s) from a recent 6day mountaineering instructional course in New Zealand’s Mt Aspiring National Park. We arrived with a good level of physical fitness and a healthy dose of trepidation given we had no real mountaineering experience between us. Gaz, reviewed our clothing before distributing necessary climbing gear and food and then we headed into the mountains via helicopter. Gary’s professionalism quickly became apparent as he tailored a logical instruction framework with constant risk assessment whilst providing respectful critique of our efforts throughout. We gained exposure to crampon travel over rock, ice and snow; an array of safety knots as well as both short rope and glacial travel roping techniques. Gary’s ‘keep it simple’ philosophy helped us grow in confidence as we trained in anticipation of a summit opportunity during our stay at Colin Todd Hut only to be dealt a poor hand by the weather gods. Not to worry, our hut day was filled with indoor classes in map reading, glacial navigation, weather forecasting and prussiking. Our instruction also covered off on anchoring, self-arrest and crevasse rescue techniques all of which enhanced our comfort levels and our skills. The hike out required a solid effort so be warned. An awesome experience, an extremely experienced guide and leader, a magnificent amphitheater in which to learn new skills and be at one with nature in New Zealand’s majestic Southern Alps. Highly recommended, we’ll be back!
Andrew & Dave (Dec 2014, Sydney, Australia)
Thanks Andrew and Dave, we look forward to welcome you back for some more Pure Alpinism fun!
Happy New Year to you and yours