Climbing Course, Southern Alps

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!

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