Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Trip 2; West Coast + Skiing at Treble Cone (July 5-8)

We spent the 5th back in CHCH moving out of the flats, before taking off for the long drive to the Fox Glacier Township on the West Coast.

Day 1

"Bagged Mt. Fox today (1345m). Six hours total. Love hiking through the rainforest, really going to miss it. "

"At one point Zoe and I managed to miss a turn and ended up walking out and along a trunk growing horizontal over the floor of the forest. It was pretty clear when we were about 10 feet over the ground that we weren’t on the track anymore, though I think we were both hoping we were."

"Excellent views of Aoraki and Mt Tasman. Day packing was such a key idea, saved us a fair amount of trouble. Snow and ice up top, got a good view of Craig pk (1900m), tussock completely coated so at least 1m or more. Made me realize that Mt Armstrong at 2100m could be a bit sketch on my own. Decided back down at the bottom of the trail it’s not worth it. I’m sure I can, but it’s not the brightest idea on my own, there’s definitely avi danger up there among others. Besides, I’m in good company."

Day 2

"up at 6.15, packed up and hit the short trail to lake Matheson at 7 in the dark. Watched the sun come up over Mt Tasman and Aoraki while eating a cold breakfast, had the viewing deck to ourselves. "

Next stop was the glacier terminus. Freezing cold, no sun in the moraine. Really impressive to see up close, crawl around on and touch, though I liked the views we enjoyed above yesterday without the crowds.

Lacking perspective; the empty cavern in the ice is about the size of a living room

With perspective; Annika in her ice blue jacket nearly blends into the giant ice fin.

Say what?

"Took off around 11. Going down the coast brought back memories from my tour. I remembered almost every curve, and hill (go figure…I got to know the latter pretty well) "

"We stopped for lunch at the beach outside Haast, stood in the freezing surf of the Tasman and looked across its lengths for the last time before heading back east up over Haast Pass."

"The pass and all the towering peaks above looked amazing covered in snow"

Lake Wanaka

These are the same two shots, but I took the lower one first on my tour in April

Lots of food for a cold night on Lake Hawea
"We got over to Wanaka to find the town bursting at the seams. Hardly even recognizable compared to what Meg Narv and I saw back in March. ... Holed up in a concrete igloo tonight, no joke, this place is so cold; its only source of heat is a glorified hand dryer like you might find in a public restroom."

Day 3

Excellent day on the slopes with Annika and Missy. So cool to go, glad I can say I boarded while I was here. Annika and Missy are both great skiers, but we were all feeling it. Snowed the day before we got here. Still lots of fresh to be found, but good to have the tracks since they don’t necessarily mark off things like cliffs.

Saddle Basin at Treble Cone ski area

Lake Wanaka

"No trees here, it’s so weird feeling, not really any trails, a few areas groomed out by the cats, traverses and such, but otherwise it’s all off piste. What’s more, you get off the second lift and there’s a well beaten trail the rest of the way to the top. There are areas of the mountain open to riding, but only if you’re willing to hike it. Def worth it, too bad that ethos is so hard to find in the east. "

Looking through an endless sea of snowy peaks towards Mt. Aspiring

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Trip 1; Cass Lagoon Circ (July 2-4)

Day 1

Hobos in Arthur's Pass

Flip-floppers, preparing for a rugged hike to the Beally Hut

"We decided to bail on Waimac falls because of high water, opting instead to hole up a mile from the highway in shelter. "

The Beally hut

Snow in the peaks across the Waimac valley

A few hours later it cleared

Day 2

Black Range

Down the Waimac valley towards Porters Pass

The crew moving out after a snack

Towards Arthurs Pass

Bruce peak

Lagoon Saddle

"Tuesday was a beaut; we wandered through the tussock meadows on the flanks of Bruce Pk. To lagoon Saddle, rounding its west side through lagoon saddle and down to the west branch of the Harper. "

Lagoon Saddle Shelter

Harper River/the trail

Missy on a wire bridge
Hamilton Hut

"Eventually made it to the large Hamilton hut. All to ourselves with a wood stove for warmth. "
Team encore

Day 3

"Woke up at first light to go split wood in the frosty dawn. Couldn’t help but think of Ashar, when I got them clean down the center."

Looking back through the Hamilton Valley

No worries as we passed through Cass Saddle

Cass Saddle

"Cloudy skies but no rain, Climbed up the Hamilton Valley. Steep pitched to reach Cass Saddle. Cruisy walk down the other side, but became disoriented about 4k from the road. Crossed, and recrossed the swift current of the Cass Brook twice before finally picking up an old trail that lead us out. "

Ahead through Cass Valley and the Waimac Valley

Checking out Cass Saddle Hut

"We got to the road and the girls were more disoriented than I realized. Insisted that that the car was to our east even though we’d mostly been going east. Couldn’t convince them otherwise, and feeling outnumbered 5-1, I gave in and Annika and Caitlin stuck out a thumb towards chc. A half hour later they came back looking pretty confused, haha. Made it back to chc by 7 for some Indian food and then a few brews at Fat Eddy’s. "