The New Zealand Weather can be a very fickle thing.  Sitting smack in the path of the Roaring Forties, NZ gets hit by everything that slides under Australia with increasing NW winds preceeding most storms – during winter the wind and snow can make for some pretty dangerous avalanche conditions.  Single Cone rises above the lake Wakatipu and Queenstown and sits directly above the Remarkables Ski Field.  A fantastic rock scramble in summer conditions, the winter brings deep heavy snow.  The remarkables in general is a alpinists playground with exposed ridges, technical climbing, ice and mixed climbing all on offer ….

 

It's also a fantastic objective to Speedfly from …

 

For Dugald and I this has been one of our major objectives on the road towards a successful flight from above 8000m.  The weather window was right – the snow conditions were not so right but most importantly of all, both of us were able to make the day.  Work commitments had either been changed, ignored or side stepped and it was with a hell of a lots of anticipation and barely contained excitement that we met up  at the base building, got our gear sorted and headed off on our ski's towards the top.

 

The snow conditions could only be described as frozen to start off with and it was great to be able to use old skinning tracks.  The snow changed as the day got warmer and we gained altitude.  At around 2100m the snow was once again powdery and deep.  Getting out of your ski's made you go to at least knee deep!  The South East Ridge of single cone would be the easiest way of the mountain but it still puts you in some seriously exposed terrain with ice covered rock – covered by plenty of fresh snow.

 

I've been up on Single Cone plenty of times for both personal trips and for work – but I have to say I can't remember approaching the summit with the same nervous feeling I had yesterday.

 

Lit winds at the bottom mean nothing in the mountains and we had a moderately strong cross wind at the launch.  After a practice launch we stepped into our ski bindings – kited the wings into sky and launched. 

 

Enjoy the Video, join the ride – we loved being out there to do it!

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