Getting Weathered – Late season trip into Mt Aspiring

22 Apr

Things don’t always go to plan …..  I met up with Craig at the Adventure Consultant office in Wanaka.  He’s fresh off the plane from Sydney and keen to get out into the the hills for a skills update and to try to sneak in an ascent of Mt Aspiring.  The only problem we have is … the weather!

The incoming system that we were walking into promised rain, wind and snow.  Our objective was to get to Colin Todd Hut which is perched up on a rocky buttress on the toe of the Shipowner Ridge.

Walking across to the hut from Bevan Col is fairly quick – the biggest change this time was the dry, no snow condition of the glacier.  Lots of hard white ice …

We got to the hut in gathering dark, settled in and discussed option for the next day, the reality was that the weather was going to deteriorate and it seemed likely that we would be catching up on rest and getting aquainted with our sleeping bags for a few days .  We used the next days short spell of fine weather to get out and do some skills updating, pitching, belaying, front pointing and self arresting practice.  Then we watched the storm come in … for 2 1/2 days unfortunately.

Normally this would be of little problem as we have plenty of time to avoid bad weather on 7 day trips.  Again the issue was the continuing bad weather.  We were actually sitting  in a region of relative low pressure with lots of unstable and moist air.  Ripe for precipitation.

With a use of the radio and Sat phone we came to the conclusion that it would be best to try and get out a few days earlier – good to avoid going stir crazy sitting in a hut!

So with a quick pack up and a lightening charge back over to Bevan col we just managed to get a heli flight back out the car park.  Descending down Bevan Col to the East Matukituki Valley isn’t all that difficult – but with wet rock and impending precipitation it was better to be safe than sorry.

Aspiring about to be engulfed bu the approaching N/NE storm

Aspiring about to be engulfed by the approaching N/NE storm

So now we’re chilling in Wanaka, we took advantage of the bad weather to go for a surf on the Hawea play wave and have a few days of multi-pitch rock climbing ahead of us.

It doesn’t always work out, but the mountain is always there for another go in more favorable weather conditions.

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