Ascents, Snow and more snow

11 Jan

For the last 6 days I’ve been hanging out with John Holdsworth up at the head of the Tasman Glacier in Mt Cook National Park.  John is a visiting Brit with a great sense of humor which “occasionally” turns into sarcasm and dry wit – basically a pretty fun chap to hang out with for 6 days!

Our original plan was to try and climb Malte Brun, however the weather did not play ball with a number of signifcant storms putting down over a meter of new snow.

Instead of being camped out high in the hills we were forced to base out of Kelman Hut.  Kelman hut gives us ideal access to a number of smaller and larger peaks – after flying in we set off to go climbing as soon as possible as the next days weather looked like we would be might be hut bound for a few days.

The smaller peaks directly behind the hut were all covered in ice and snow making for some excellent climbing conditions on both ice and mixed ground.

 

After the first storm had kept us in the hut for a full day we were suprised to get a clearence that allowed us to again get out and climb some iced up gulleys and to the summit of Mt Able.  The views were outstanding and it was very hard to believe that we were infact in the middle of summer!  The possibility of winter returned that afternoon with another storm – this time windless – that put down another 20 +cm of lite, dry powder – if only we could have brought up skis!

The new snow made us change our climbing objectives once again and we found ourselves walking over towards Mt Alymer in new snow up to mid calf!  It was a magical morning although quite cold!

We finished off the trip by walking down the glacier and exploring the seracs and crevases in the icefall below Tasman Saddle hut before getting a helicopter ride out of the hills.

A fun trip all up!

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