This blog is about my travels. At home in New Zealand, in other parts of Oceania, North, Central and South America and in Europe.
A few days after the festival I climbed 'Friday's Fool' a fantastic four pitch mixed route with Rauri. Rauri had just won New Zealand alpinist of the year, so I had a wonderfully accomplished climbing partner! The giant, week - long high was still hanging over Otago, but the clouds were starting to look dark and it was clear that the weather would turn soon.
We headed up towards the route. Queen's drive seemed so quiet without all the festival climbers everywhere. We were the only people there.
The first pitch was actually the most challenging, it was mixed and the ice was slick along with steep rock sections. Rauri led amazingly here. The views were absolutely stunning and there was plenty of variety all the way.
Somewhat awkwardly I got a phone call as I was belaying Rauri up an ice pitch on the second pitch, obviously I wasn't going to take it, but the sound of my phone jingle in my pocket echoed around the icy cliffs, gave us a bit of a laugh. Later on when we were back safe and I could check my phone I had found out it was just a cold call, although I did wonder if it was an important phone call.
There was a lot of variety on the route, some mixed sections, some thick, solid ice, and some snow gulleys.
I particularly loved the last pitch which involved dry tooling up a fantastic crack. It is definitely a fantastic climb and it was great to have such a wonderful climbing partner as well! A great climb and great company.
I headed down to Queenstown from Auckland on a very affordable Jetstar flight on a Tuesday. It was a bit earlier than I really needed to be there, but the flight was such a good price and Queenstown was such a great place to visit, I thought I might as well.
Literally hours after landing, the announcement was made that Auckland was going into a level 3 lockdown again and that the rest of the country was going into level 2! I definitely felt rather fortunate not to be locked down again!
Highlights from a long weekend of ice and mixed climbing were leading a dry tool route, soloing a route - (sure was quicker than climbing it roped - tee hee!), and leading up Single cone on the Remarkables, with sweeping views of the mountains around and Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu.
There was a giant weather high for days on end and it was amazing just enjoying the beautiful weather.
Craig and Alex gave me plenty of (much welcomed!) encouragement to lead a dry tool route up a fantastic crack near the start of Queen's drive. I was pretty delighted to have lead this dry tool route, but had placed my tool so firmly on the last placement, just before a mantle and I built an anchor - it took a lot of maneuvering to get it out. Definitely a solid placement though!
Although the sun was hot the air temperature was super cold, so I had piled on the layers to keep warm. As the morning wore on it did warm up however.
Single cone, Remarkables
The next day, bright and early, we woke to yet another gorgeous day. We headed up the snow field to climb Single cone.
The snow conditions were absolutely perfect, the avalanche conditions were very low due to the fact that the snow pack was settled, but it was crisp enough to provide for great cramponing. The snow slope steepened, and we found the bolts for the first anchor for the first pitch. I led this, the snow had buried all the bolts for me to clip on the way, but the snow conditions were so perfect, I felt completely fine running it out the whole way, and clipped in at the bolts at the top of the pitch.
Alex zoomed up next, and Craig soloed up afterwards. From the top of the first pitch, there was a great view down the South side of the Remarkables visible by peeping over the side. We then climbed the second pitch and had a lovely lunch on the sizable flat ridge on top of Single cone. Some lovely people coming from the other direction had lunch with us too - and later sent me some photos of me clambering up to the top. At one point as we had been climbing a helicopter flew past, but I think we got just as good a view as the people on the guided flight. I wonder if they saw us!
I am a traveller from New Zealand. My blog is to inform friends and family about my adventures. I hope you enjoy it!