Southern Alps, New Zealand

Two years ago Toby and I went on a mountain skills course in New Zealand which was severely affected by storms and we spent most of the next six days stuck in a hut (see our original blog post). It was definitely an education but didn’t give us much opportunity to get outdoors and put theory into practice. I came back for a short trip with Simon Howells via Aspiring Guides who was a guide on the first trip. After what happened last time I figured that we’d be able to get on well no matter what happened. The weather was again a feature – we lost the first day waiting for a weather window that would allow helicopters to fly up the Fox Glacier to Pioneer Hut and came out a day early to avoid forecast storms in what proved to be the right decision.

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The intervening days had beautiful blue skies and provided a good lesson in the need to move quickly and get up and off the objective to avoid having to slog through soft snow in the afternoon sun. We were well out of harm’s way but the afternoon sun also brought an increase in falling rock and ice heralded by a cracking sound like a gun shot. I am taller and heavier than Simon and felt this great sense of injustice that the snow crust would hold his weight in places whereas my foot would break through into soft snow. We went up Grey Peak which is only a minor peak but provides incredible views of the Southern Alps (and the sight of helicopters passing below us through Pioneer Pass) and were able to look down the other side of the divide at Plateau Hut where we had been stuck two years before.

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18 responses to “Southern Alps, New Zealand

    • The area around Queenstown, Wanaka and the Southern Alps is so beautiful. Kicking myself that I didn’t visit more when I lived in Oz

    • I read about that when we got down and found it very sad especially as Toby and I had witness how ferocious tbe weather can be on Mount Cook from the safety of Plateau Hut two yeats ago.

    • Thank you. I’m rapidly learning about the weather in NZ! With the forecast the way it was when we flew in I had that “here we go again” feeling. I’ve travelled a fair bit and if there is a more beautiful place than the South Island of New Zealand I certainly haven’t been there so I will definitely be back.

      • Nice to hear 🙂 As you are an Australian maybe you can give me some advice? I am heading to Perth in two months time on business and have 2 days to spare and wanted a microadventure from the city, preferably camping. Do you know any good closeby spots for a microadventure in perth?

      • I must admit that I’ve never been to Perth but Toby suggests camping and kayaking around Rottnest Island, doing a bit of the Cape to Cape or the Stirling Range.

  1. Pingback: Fox Glacier, New Zealand | Everyday Adventures·

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