Mid March had Gary and American client Paul head into Bevan Col and glacier trek across to Collin Todd Hut to spend the night in preparation for a guided ascent of Mt Aspiring. The weather was a little tricky in the morning, but after 1 hr delay for the mist to clear, the climbing day commenced. The full shipowner ridge and full NW ridge was the route( and standard at this time of year). It was an 11 hr day , successfully summited and great satisfaction for this climb of one of NZ’s classic and moderately challenging peaks. Pauls previous climbing experience over the years in the USA was evident and added alot to the enjoyment and success of the climb. Well done Paul. What a great thing to do in your early days of retirement..
The team then flew out and next day did some local rock climbing – Paul rekindling his passion and skills for this, and then followed up the next day with a traverse of the remarkables – a super classic alpine rock traverse, before Gary dropped Paul off in Queenstown.
Great Autumn non busy climbing conditions. A great 5 days of Alpinism
Summit pose on Mt Aspiring, Autumn 2019 NZ Southern Alps
Lunch time on Single Cone, classic NZ alpine rock climbing traverse
Given the weather at the start of this year, we cannot boast of any big achievements until now. The wild winds, snow and rain in the back country meant that for the latest window, the highest local peak, Mt Aspiring-Tititea, was a busy place during the last couple of days. This is what Mount Aspiring looked like yesterday morning:
Guided ascent of Mt Aspiring
Ready to fly on Thursday morning, the team got a ride with Aspiring Helicopters to Bevan Col and made their way across to Colin Todd hut. A 4.30 am start the next morning and several hours later saw them on the summit. Clouds cleared, it was cold and windy but good conditions for the guided climb up the Northwest ridge. A bonus was an organised flight back at the end of the day and as the next front was forecast, the team did not hesitate to jump on the helicopter. A fast and happy adventure and here a couple more photos:
Here some memorabilia of Alpinism during the last decade: youtube legendary Doug Ball who spent considerable time climbing with mountain guide Gary Dickson aka Gaz from January 2006 until August 2009.
Doug Ball, 79, on Mt Aspiring, New Zealand
Doug at 80, climbing a few peaks over 4000m in a week in Switzerland
Doug climbing high above the Dossenhütte, Kingspitze in the back ground
Doug had climbed Mt Cook Aoraki with his wife Peggy and many other peaks, but never Mt Aspiring. He got thwarted twice while climbing with Gaz because of conditions and weather but third time lucky and for a brief time he was considered the oldest climber to have sumited. He must have been an inspiration … more
Based at Centennial hut for some more alpine climbing
He sent us these lines just recently …”I use a slide show of my mountaineering photos as a screen saver so that my memories are not lost but are refreshed every day. Alpinism and Ski certainly made an enormous difference to my life. What would have become of me if I had just thrown in the sponge after Peggy died? I have so much to thank you both for and am not likely to ever forget it.”
Malcom from Ashburton and Gary came back yesterday afternoon from French Ridge hut. After a few days waiting for the clouds to part, they flew up to Bevan Col with Charlie from Aspiring Helicopters on Friday evening. They had Colin Todd hut all to themselves and climbed Mt Aspiring on Saturday. No other climbers in sight, an extraordinary event.
Malcolm climbing Mt Aspirng with mountain guide Gaz
The highest mountain in Mount Aspiring National Park is very popular as an alternative to Mt Cook when the Linda Glacier route is dodgy and during the first week of January, Anthony enjoyed this climb with mountain guide Gaz.
Mountain guiding up the NW ridge of Mt Aspiring
coming down the NW ridge of Mt Aspiring after a successful ascent
Colin Todd hut, most often the start to climbing Mt Aspiring
Last weeks fabulous weather conditions for mountaineering allowed our team with Gaz and Mark from Christchurch to climb the ‘Matterhorn of the South’. Mark’s first attempt ten years ago was swarted by the weather gods so this time round it’s ticked off and here some photos:
The goal of this trip, climbing Mt Aspirng via the NW ridge
a wonderful experience and thank you for making me so welcome in your home and your hospitality. Gary, thanks for opening up such a wonderful place which I have always dreamed about venturing into. Greatly appreciated being able to feel so relaxed and totally confident in your skills and experience when venturing out into such a challenging environment. Your use of a minimal equipment to achieve maximum function is something I really value and enjoyed learning from you. Look forward to many future climbs. All the best with your future adventures together, best.