While Te Araroa doesn’t quite finish at the southern most point of New Zealand, I’ll take it. And by accepting that I can say I’ve walked from the tip of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island. So almost a year on since I kicked off from Cape Reinga what is left to do? Hmm… let me think about that….
…how does the climbing to the highest point in New Zealand sound? Sounds bloody good to me!
So at the end of November this year I’ll be heading back to New Zealand to climb the ‘cloud piercer’ and since I’ve still got this blog running I thought why not continue to use it to capture my latest adventure in New Zealand. (I really have fallen in love with this country – bring on the day I can move here.)
At 3,724 metres (12,218 feet) Aoraki (Mt Cook) is no mean feat. It has all of the technicality of big mountain climbing seen in places like the Himalayas but without the altitude and acclimatisation issues. Nether the less it will prove a challenge.
With a high level of glaciation, large crevasses to cross and exposure to rock/ice fall and avalanches below the ‘gun barrels’ the climbing difficulty is not to be underestimated.
I’ve climbed big peaks before, including ascents of Imja Tse (6,189m or 20,300 ft) and Lobuche East (6,145m or 20,100ft) in Nepal and Mt Aspiring (3,033m or 9,950ft) in New Zealand, with Aoraki always being on the bucket list and at the back of my mind. Somehow I have just never got around to it. Seeing it rise majestically above lake Pukaki to form an amazing snow covered back drop as I passed along Te Araroa earlier in the year only seemed to cement the idea of an ascent.
With a number of years rock climbing and mountaineering I’m confident I have the prerequisite skill base for an ascent but just to be on the safe side I will be taking a guide – to keep me on route and that little bit safer. Quizzing Aspiring Guides on whether I have what it takes, they agreed I did and worked with me to secure dates in their quickly filling summer calendar.
So what this space… November is fast approaching and I can’t wait.
To tempt blog follows… here are some photos and bits of pieces of earlier climbs.
Chick here for a 3D look of the route