View of the Northwest Ridge of Mount Aspiring.
The crux of the descent will be how icy the route is.
Photo courtesy MatthewTurley.com
I’ve been hanging out here in Wanaka for a few days. There have been a few fine spells here and there, and we managed to get out for a skin up the Treble Cone ski area, which is closed for the season. It was mostly crusty skiing, due to the gales about the tops, but by milking the one aspect that had seen the most sun, there was some soft stuff to be had.
Looks like we are launching on an attempt to ski Mount Aspiring today. Because of high heli costs, we are going for it the hard way and walking in. The tramp in on the first day looks to be about 15k, or 10 miles, with the last couple kilometers gaining almost 1,000m in elevation up to the French Ridge Hut. We may do this section in two days to break it up a little, so we’re not as cached for the last grunt section up to the hut, since we will pretty much be carrying our skis and boots on our backs the entire distance.
The next day will hopefully be all on skis as we continue upward on what is called the “Quarterdeck”, on the shoulder of Mount French. A descent down the Bonar Glacier brings us to the last section of the approach, a short climb up to the Colin Todd Hut, below the Northwest Ridge and our planned ascent/descent route. I’ve heard the northwest facing Flight Deck on Mount Avalanche might offer a fun descent, so if the weather holds and things feel good, we might give that a try as well. Wish us luck…ciao for now!