This is the final installment for the Tasman Glacier trip.  Our final day was pretty spectacular as we skinned our way up the not often visited Darwin Glacier.  As a Mountain Guide I often spend my time at the head of the Tasman Glacier on many of the peaks we flew off.  I'd never been into this region and I was very very impressed with the terrain.


The early morning conditions were pretty hard and the ski down to Darwin Corner was a bit of a trial – heavy packs don't make for fun skiing and a breakable crust only add to the difficulties.  After dropping our gear the and entrance to the valley we got up high enough to see that the glacier leading to the top of Mt Anan was going to be in the shade most of the day – which would mean that it'd not corn up for a good ski run.  This alone would have made us change our plans but the fact that there was a large series of seracs to cross under with some serious debris sealed the deal – we changed our plans and went for Mt Hamilton instead …


The approach to our launch site was directly in the baking sun and it was HOT!  By the time we'd all reached to col our ascent route was looking great for a ski run, both Cam and Cory were fizzing.  The fly team found a good spot to launch from and after a few set up issues we all made it off – all told it was a pretty amazing place to fly from  – the back drop of Malte Brun and the main divide was breathtaking …


Enjoy the final Episode

Big Shout out to





Thanks for the video efforts boys …

The best laid plans – still end up needing to be changed!

Day 2 of the perfect weather window and the ski touring and speedflying mission saw the crew heading towards Eli De Beaumont.  The wind was not perfect for a summit flight attempt, with 60k SW winds forecast the mountain basically faced the wrong direction for a safe launch and flight path.  There were however a few other objectives to be had – one of which was to ski from the aummit as well.  All this was put into disarray by bullet proof ice and sastrugi from the Walter/Eli Col to the summit …


The actual approach to the col was pretty straightforward with only the shrund to cross and one large avalanche slope to be super wary off.  Objectively the approach is also hazarded by some large seracs but a brief concentrated push can see you through this region pretty quickly.  Both Cory and Mal had issues with their crampons and ski boots (not really expecting to climb hardice on a ski touring trip now are we?) and had to descend from just above the col whilst Duglad, Zac and Cam kept on heading to the top.  This was Dugald's first 3000m peak in Nz, Cams 2nd summit of Eli and Zac's 1st.  On the way back down the winds had eased to allow Dugald to make a slightly tail wind launch down the bottom half of the mountain.

The team crossing the shrund

Crossing interesting slopes to the col

Dugald – high on Eli  – Hard ice conditions


Meanwhile Mal and Cory headed over towards the Darwin bowls for some late afternoon corn skiing – what they found was a white oven bowl – bakingint he sun!  The pair climbed up high on the left flanks of the bowls and Mal climbed on further to reach a high point to make a flight down the side flanks of Mt Annan whilst Cory skied a great line back down the to Tasman Glacier.


Episode II – Eli De Beaumont and Mt Annan

Morning at Wyn Irwin Hut was cold and fine – besides ourselves there were a few other hardy souls gearing up to head into the mountains, the hut was a hive of activity.  After a heli flight to Cornice Wall we quickly dropped off all our gear and toured / climbed up to the summit of Hochstetter Dome.  This a straightforward summit with a very large ice cliff below where we would launch from.

Launch conditions were pretty firm and fall or lauch failure wouldn't be very pleasant.  Zac, Dugald and Mal all get away safely and have an epic flight down screaming past the ice cliffs.

Cam and Cory headed over to check out the conditions on Eli De Beaumont for an attempt the next moring to climb and ski / fly from the summit. 

Right besides the hut is a fantastic gully – the boys just couldn't resist the temptation to fire it – straight down the guts.



Speedfly8000 – Tasman Glacier – EP1

Just a very quick update on the last mission we did.

A very short and intense 3 day trip up to the head of the Tasman Glacier has paid off with some very kewl summits and flights from various mountains and cols.  Probably the highlight of the trip was Dugald's successful ascent of Eli De Beaumont – which he climbed solo (without a rope, not without climbing partners) and on bullet proof sastrugi (storm ice).  Flying wise the team flew from the summit of Hochstetter Dome, the shoulder of Eli De Beamount, the side of Mt Annan, numerous flights down the beside the Tasman Saddle Hut and very epic day skinning, climbing and flying from high above the Darwin Glacier just below the summit of Mt Hamilton.

Conditions meant that we had to abandon our planned attempt on the Minarets as the lower ridge was basically just ice – that's New Zealand though – you need to be flexible.

Enjoy the images and short teaser trailer – more to come soon.




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 ..



    The forecast for the coming week looks nasty so the Alpine training trip that Dugald and I were going to do has to be postponed until after the 24th of April.  It's funny that as a mountain guide I have to choose time off to go into the mountains for a personal trip …. then only to have the weather pack out and be unable to do what I want to do!

    Our alternate plan is to go up the Remarkables on Saturday and do some training for Dugald there as well as make a flight attempt off either Single Cone or Double Cone.

    Bad Weather coming – Monday



    A jaunt into the New Zeland Alps to climb and fly.

     *The weather forecast is too bad to go into the hills from 12-16th April – trip postponed *

    12th April to 16th of April – Open to other speedflying pilots with alpine skills

    Dugald and I will be heading into the NZ Alps near the start of April to Tasman Saddle hut.  The objective of this trip will be to do some alpine training with Dugald and to climb a number of nearby peaks and fly off them.

    Objective 1

    Hochstetter Dome.
    A good easy alpine training hill with a great summit from which to launch from

    Objective 2

    9144 – Mt Annan Ridge
    This area offers a number of different locations to climb and fly from  – either along the ridge line or from the summit of 9144.  Gaining the summit during winter is via a snow / ice gulley – in summer conditions it is a great alpine rock adventure.  The summit offers a great place to launch from again

    Objective 3

    Walter Peak
    Probably a little to ambitious for this particular trip but if you don't try you don't do.  Walter Peak combines some interesting glacial travel with moderate alpine slopes to bring you up onto the main divide.  If the treu summit of Walter gives no joy there is an awesome Plateau from which to launch from about 100m below the main summit