The New Zealand Ski Adventure – Mount Aspiring
Like always when on the road trying to climb and ski mountains, one has to have a bit of luck. Weather at the moment here in New Zealand is tricky for mountain skiing, to say the least. After our last ski on the Footstool we went down south to Wanaka to make the best use possible of a forecasted 10-hour weather window between gale force storms.
Of any mountain down here Mt Aspiring is the one I’ve heard most about. Some call it the Matterhorn of NZ, and it’s the only peak over 3000 meters outside of the Mt Cook range. Of course it has been on our bucket list, so this weather window seemed to possibly work for this objective.
We set out on Wednesday morning and had an easy day walk in to the French hut below Mt Aspiring. I must say that this walk definitely jump straight in to my top three lists of “most beautiful approaches” that I have done to mountains. Stunning landscapes, loads of animals everywhere and sharp mountains made the ambiance unforgettable.
The forecast said that we had a window from sometime around midnight until late morning when another storm was supposed to come in so we knew we had to start moving early.
At three we left the hut, and just before 10 we sat at the summit, having climbed the southwest ridge in perfect neve conditions. Mt Aspiring has plenty of potential for short steep lines for skiing, but after all the gale winds lately everything was verglaced, and we had no time to wait for any future sun to warm it up. We clicked in to our skis and skied down the normal Northwest ridge, with some down climbing on the worst parts of the ramp lower down.
When we got to the glacier, dark clouds was coming in fast from the west and we couldn’t see each other because of the fog. We quickly skied down to the hut, changed to shoes, repacked our bags and walked out the same way we walked in. When we arrived at the car 5,5 hours later the rain started. Timing was perfect and our goal of a nice day out in the mountains was accomplished.
With the weather and conditions we have at the moment I’m happy just being up in the mountains with a good friend, getting to climb some nice lines when we get the chance, ski what we can, take some good decisions and just enjoy being up there among the clouds.