Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mount Aspiring!

Now this was a very special trip!
Mount Aspiring
 We did not decide to do the trip until 10am that day. After calling up the helicopter company we found out there we just 2 spots left in the chopper, which was perfect for us as it means it is also cheaper! So we frantically threw all our stuff together and drove to Raspberry Hut parking lot, about an hour from Wanaka. From there we flew up to the only Department of Conservation allowed landing spot and skied across the Bonar glacier to Colin Todd Hut.
Driving up the valley

Our helicopter

Up to the hut

 That afternoon we went for a little walk just to get into the groove of things. It was a very clear night, with a beautiful sunset.
Mount Aspiring with Hut

There were 4 Italians, an man from Israel, a man from Belgium, and a kiwi guide. It was cozy. We woke up at 4:30am the next day and set off on our adventure at 5:30am. I was very excited! We climbed while the sun was rising. We were very lucky to have a clear, blue sky day and not a breathe of wind.
Ready to go!

Mr Hasler, the brains and skills

Climbing my headlamp

Here comes the sunshine!

We are getting there!


 The route we took went up whats called the 'Kangaroo'patch' and then up the normal NW ridge route. We made it to the summit at 9am, and had lunch....which seems strange as it was 9am. It did not feel that early though. It was so beautiful! After a nice relaxing 20mins on top, we headed back down via the ramp. We only had to do one small rappel and then we were homeward bound.
Bruce on the summit

Team extreme!

Yahoo! Me on the summit

An amazing day!

Now back down the ramp
Up the glacier
 Once we got back to the hut we had a real lunch of soup and lollies, packed up, and headed back out enroute to French Ridge hut. We ski toured up the Bonar glacier with an ominous cloud following us. Luckily is seemed to stop just at Colin Todd hut and we had a clear tour up the glacier. The crevasses were amazing, and it was the most amazing experience just being in the middle of nowhere, using your own strength to get around, as well as having had a successful climb. I was very happy. We skied up to the 1/4 deck and from there had the most amazing ski down to French Ridge hut. It was the best snow I can remember ever skiing. It made for an amazing end to the day.
The ominous clouds!
It was amazing

Fortunately they just stayed there

Aspiring in the background

French Ridge Hut
It was so nice to get here, which was at about 6pm! The first thing we did was make a cuppa and jump in our sleeping bags for a nap. Our faces were very red and our bodies were quite tired, but it was a very satisfied exhaustion. That night we just cooked (pesto and pasta!) and went to bed. Party!

The next morning we headed down the ridge. And what a ridge it is! Hiking down in plastic mountaineering boots with your skis on your very heavy backpack is ridiculous! The ridge is more like a beaten path, and with the skis on your back both tips get stuck on either the trees above or the rocks under you. This then pitches you forward to your death. I down climbed a lot of it facing the hill because it was so difficult. This was the hardest part of the trip! Let me tell you, getting to the river at the bottom was a very good feeling! Too bad there was still more than 3 hours to go.

Down the ridge

Fun times

Beautiful though

Finally the river!

I was happy to get to the bottom,
 We then set off and hiked for another 3 hours along the valley. It was very beautiful, although it felt as though my feet were going to fall off. Luckily they didn't. Making it to the end was very exciting, and I felt very privileged to have been given this opportunity to experience such an amazing New Zealand gem. Thanks to Bruce for the most amazing guide and friend in the world, and for getting me home safely. And thank you to Outside Sports in Queenstown for the skis- Without them I would have been walking! You ROCK!

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