Last week, Gary , Steph and Josh had a great week refreshing skills learn’t in New Zealand and applying them to the glaciers , and rock ridges of Switzerland. 1st part of the mountaineering instruction week was in the Trient ice Plateau region based out of Cabane d Orny – a fantastic Swiss Hut with great service and great things to do from there.
Second part we headed to Cabane d Dix and climbed the Mt Blanc Du Cheilon which was in excellent condition. A spectacular view and awesome Swiss summit.
Multipitch rock climbing instruction above the Orny Glacier
High on the Summit of Mt Blanc du Cheilon
High on Mt Blanc du Cheilon. Matterhorn in the background.
Decemeber was busy for IFMGA mountain guide Gary Dickson with him working at Mt Cook doing two 5 day private mountaineering courses. These shorter courses are ideal in length for introductory or skills update, and being not too long in the mountains, making for a pleasant amount of time for many people to be in the back country. Both trips were based out of Tasman Saddle hut, at the head of the Tasman Glacier, which was ideal in the quite changeable westerly weather conditions.
Tasman Saddle hut, your base for a private mountaineering instruction course
In October, Gary headed into the head of the Tasman Glacier, based at Tasman Saddle hut with clients Mark and Rachel. Learing the skills of ski mountaineering in preparation for a trip May 2017 to Denali. Cold snowy weather conditions provided perfect conditions to test gear , back country skiing / ski touring techniques , learn and apply technical mountaineering skills and weather and avalanche knowledge.
Sunset from Tasman saddle hut
Canyon lands, back basins Tasman Glacier
August had Mountain Guide Gary Dickson and Anand heading to the Kandersteg region of Switzerland to do some mountaineering instruction and crampon milage on the Morgen Horn, Blumlisalp mountains of the Swiss Alps.
Sunrise in the Blumlisalp region of Switzerland
Late March saw Mountain guide Gary and two German lads ( who have been working on a local region vineyard ) head into Tasman Saddle for a week for a private mountaineering instruction course. Although the glacier was heavily crevassed, which is to be expected at this time of the year, conditions were especially good for learning cramponing technique and glacier travel.
Andy and Dave, behind them Mt Aspiring – Tititea
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
Climbing up to Single Cone
A day out on the Remarkables
Still plenty of snow around
Just a few days ago: an excellent one day experience to test alpine climbing skills and fitness is the ascent of Single Cone on the Remarkables near Queenstown. Next for John will be an attempt at Mt Aspiring. More soon…
The scheduled courses are closed for the rest of the NZ summer but private trips are available to realise your dream adventure in the Southern Alps. Be it a guided ascent of a special peak or an alpine climbing instruction course for beginners or intermediate-advanced mountaineers. If you are keen, get in touch for us to help you organise it.
The Epic mountain biking race second half of April will be chief Gary’s last mission before European summer activities will take over his schedule. Until then though, there is some more fun in the mountains: next week, a 5 day trip with Australian lady Michelle who is coming back for more alpine beauty and experience, ice axe, crampons and helmet etc are ready.
The Southern Alps of New Zealand offer beautiful terrain for alpinism adventures
learning to place ice screws on a climbing course
End of the month, two fit fellas will be arriving from Aussie to go on an intermediate-advanced climbing course with mountain guide Gaz. The NZ weather looks to have settled into a more settled state of play and alpine conditions look excellent for the 10 day specialized mountain training.
If you are looking for a climbing course we have two sceduled courses comming up:
- Intro to alpinism – 6 days 20th-25th February
- Total Alpinism – 7 days 04th-10th March
If you are an individual or a group looking to have a week of private mountaineering instruction, just get in touch and we can see if we can fit around your schedule.
Michael and James, a week with ISM, here on Tête Blanche
August last year, Thanks for the feed back and photos Michael:
On behalf of James and myself, thank you very much for an excellent week at the Orny and Dix huts. It was an ideal mix of instruction, rockclimbing, snow and ice experience, and mountaineering on mixed terrain. Mt Blanc de Cheilon was a great way to end the week – a beautiful mountain and a superb, satisfying climb. Thank you especially for your patience and for not only ensuring our safety but taking the time at every stage to explain clearly what we were doing and why. We also greatly appreciated your steady pacing, which provided several first-hand examples of the hare and tortoise principle in practice; I can’t speak for James, but do not underestimate the achievement of getting me to the top of Mt Blanc de Cheilon in (just) under guide-book time, still breathing comfortably and with an acceptable pulse-rate.
Many thanks again.” Michael Firth
James enjoying the views from the summit of Mont Blanc de Cheillon, Matterhorn in the background( above his helmet) - well done team!