Earlier this week I spent 3 days in the mountains with my good friend Dennis. We have been mates since about 1992, back at university where we 1st meet racing old beat-up bicycles around his apartment. Since then there has been many adventures. Less for him more recently, but good to be in the hills with him.
We went up Tapuae-O-Ueneku in the Inland Kaikoura range. A very cold and in-hospitable in winter. I have visited this range a lot since being home and love being in the big, cold and remote mountains. Since November last year this was my 5th trip up there including a quick section over the pass during GodZone. BTW… the next chapter is coming soon.
Anyways we got to the high mountain hut on Monday afternoon to see that no one had been there in about 6 weeks, when I was last there with Robin. This place is remote and very cold and no one goes there for months on end in winter… Well apart from crazy people like us.
We got an early start Tuesday to attempt a winter summit of Tapuae-O-Ueneku. We were making good progress and the snow and ice conditions were perfect. Good hard ice for our crampons and ice axes to get lots of purchase on. As the morning wore on the wind increased, however we were feeling good.
As we got closer to the summit we had to pass under a big head wall of rock and ice. By now the sun was on it and combined with the now very strong winds was beginning to fling chunks of ice off and have them hurtling now the slope at us.
We were about 300m from the summit and a very short distance when we were both hit by sizeable pieces of ice. One about the size of a boot hit me in the leg. When you have your head down concentrating on your steps and cannot look up to see chunks of ice flying at you it makes life a little different.
So the decision was made to pull the pin and go back to the hut. We had a leisurely climb/hike back to the hut enjoying if nothing else the mountains and the 2 colors of blue and white. Truly inspiring. below are some pictures and the home page picture is from the same trip.