12th December 2012

3701m – Summit Ice Cap of Aoraki Mt Cook




3….                  2….                 1…..
See ya !!!!



Well after 4 years of wanting to do it I finally manged to get a none work period to coincide with a good weather window and a chance at making a speedriding descent off the top of Mt Cook.










In the end it turned into a 36 hour round trip from Wanaka.  I flew in with a heli load of people to Plateau hut – uncertain if I had a rope party to wander up the Linda glacier with.  As it turned out I teamed up with Bram Whillock, a ske mountaineering type who wanted to make a ski descent of Mt Cook.


Bram has been going around doing all kinds of interesting things – check out his site : www.bramski.org


Anyway – I had planned on having a night in Plateau hut to acclimatise but as things go we ended up making the most of the good weather and afer flying in  at 3:30 we were awake at 12:00 midnight, getting our gear on and starting to skin / ski over towards the mouth of the Linda glacier.  Bram and I had agreed to only us the rope if we really needed to on the glacier – we had a great freeze and were were also using ski's – damn hard work on the frozen snow really.  The crevasses were reasonable well bridged and with a great freeze it was pretty safe – safer then being roped up and on ski's at any rate.  Bram did mention, after he had returned to the hut, that he was sure the crevasses had opened up during the night ….  I told him that just hadn't been able to see how big they were!


Overall this wee mission would have to have been, what felt like my worst ever climb of Aoraki via the Linda glacer – I was feeling a bit ill (prob mild AMS) had quite a lot of nervous energy (ie scared) and really didn't want to have to make a repeat attempt the next night!  The summit rocks were fairly boney and free of snow / ice which actually makes them easier to climb.  As we topped out on the the summit ridge a fair amount of cloud started to rise out the Tasman Valley and onto the Grand Plateau – not ideal for a landing.  Conditions on the summit were also a little bit firm with no really "safe" place to make a good launch and with a SW tail wind I felt it better to fly from just below the summit – at the summit ice cap shrund.


By the time I'd gotten all ready to go and sorted out wing, skis and camera's the cloud had broken and I had a great line down to the mouth of the Linda Glacier …


Big thanks to Bram Whillock and Paul Rogers for additional outside footage.


Mountaineering and Speedflying

Spring 2010, October – November

Nun's Veil

Nun's Veil (2756m) sits just inside the Aoraki, Mt Cook National Park.                                                           

As a Mountaineering objective to climb the Nun via Turners Coliour and fly from the summit – it needs a few logistical issues to be sorted out. 

  1. Getting across the Tasman Lake
  2. Crossing the Murchison river
  3. Re-Crossing the Murchison River
  4. Making back in time for a pick up to cross the Tasman again.

The actual climbing isn't that technical  – except for right near the summit – A short section of 50 degree snow ice and rock adds a bit of spice to the 1000m plus climb up Turners Couloir.

By far the biggest hazard on this mission will be the avalanche conditions and the wind on the summit.  A direct westerly breeze or NW brreze will allow a flight back down towards the Tasman Terminal lake – easterly or southerly breezes will mean a flight down in to Gorrilla Stream

The Minarets 
Tasman Glacier

The Minarets are reached by climbing Del a Beche Ridge from the Tasman Glacier and we'll be staying in Del a Beche hut at the toe  of the ridge.  The journey up the ridge is an absolute classic and once we've reached the Minarets Plateau there are a number of options.

  1. Fly down the east side o the Main Divide and land on the Tasman Glacier
    • This aspect has some amazing scenery + incredible glacial formations to fly over and on.
    • A high landing on the Tasman Glacier will allows us to ski back down to Del a Beche hut for the next days mission
  2. Flying down the East side of the mountain will drop us onto the west Coast
    • The flight down the West Face is a broad bowl – if the wind is strong enough we'll be able to soar the bowl and carve our way around the face
    • After making the flight we'll need to tour up and over Graham Saddle to make another flight down the Rudolf Glacier.  If the conditions don't permit a flight then we'll simply have to do a 1200m ski run ..