During 2/12/2009 to 8/12/2009 together with David Ellacott we hired the services of mountain guide Marty Beare for some advanced alpine instruction. We flew into Centennial Hut located on the West Coast of the main divide of the Southern Alps in New Zealand. Over the course of thee days in here we climbed a small peak named Pluto (Marty called it this and we were not sure if this was the correct name), the East peak of Minarets, and Mt Aurora. We then flew out and spent a day ice climbing on the Franz Joseph glacier.
The purpose of this instruction was to prepare Dave and myself for climbing the Linda glacier route on Mt Cook two weeks later(read about the Mt Cook climb here). The plan worked well, Marty got us working well together as a roped team of two. We got confident on the steep ice at Franz Joseph glacier, and by the time we got to Mt Cook were well prepared for the route.
Basecamp was the H.E.L. Porter Memorial Lodge - Fox Glacier Village, run by the New Zealand Alpine Club. At $15/night (NZAC members) this is a good deal.
About to board the helicopter to fly into Centennial Hut
View of the Fox Glacier from the helicopter
Marty Beare digs out the snow from the windows at Centennial hut
View of the Tasman Sea from Centennial Hut
Crossing the glacier to Pluto - we warmed up on this small peak - around a 200m high climb from the glacier - great for practise.
Heading off up Pluto
David Ellacott on belay
Traversing higher on Pluto
David Ellacott having fun coming down over the schrund
Wandering back to Centennial Hut after climbing Pluto
David Ellacott enjoying a 4AM breakfast in Centennial hut by torch light before heading off to climb the Minarets
Sunrise over the Tasman Ocean
The route up the Minarets as seen from Pluto. Click photo to enlarge.
David Ellacott leads up the Minarets
Approaching the summit of the Minarets
Marty Beare and David Ellacott approaching the summit of the Minarets. Tasman glacier clearly seen below and Mt Cook on the right
Great view of Malte Brun from the Minarets
And also Mt Cook, with the East Ridge, Zurbriggen's ridge and the Linda route all clearly visible
Together with Dave on the summit of the Minarets
Standing on the summit of Mt Aurora
Heading back to the Centennial Hut after climbing Aurora
Marty Beare in front of the Franz Joseph glacier as we head up to practice some ice climbing
Ice bouldering on the Franz Joseph glacier
We found a huge crevasse or ice wall, set-up 'V-thread' anchors at the top, rapped down then climbed back up.
Now to get back up!