A guided ascent of Aoraki/Mount Cook
10 January 2008
This day trip was not on the fixture card and indeed was not an official club trip, however the club’s Alpine Instruction Course and a number of climbing trips in 2007 lead by club members greatly helped me prepare for this outing.
I had hired Dean Staples, a guide working for Adventure Consultants. Also on the mountain that day were two other Adventure Consultants guides and their clients and also a 64-year old Japanese woman and her guide. The route was the standard Linda Glacier (grade 3 according to the guide book).
We set out at about one am from Plateau Hut (2210 m altitude on the Grand Plateau). By about 6:30 am we had ascended the heavily crevassed glacier and stood at the head of the Linda Shelf, a sharply sloping ice slope bounded below by cliffs of ice and rock. Above the Shelf, and after a modest amount of front pointing, the Summit Rocks were addressed: perhaps 250 m ascent on rock sometimes steep and sometimes loose. It was here that a guide had fallen to his death about a week earlier. The summit lies 300 m above these rocks; mixed ice and snow climbing with mixed gradient and exposure. Reaching the top, we were greeted by a brisk little southerly, the only wind felt all day. Cloud was beginning to form in the west but still good conditions for photography.
Six of the eight people on the mountain that day summitted. Exhaustion stopped one Adventure Consultants client at the top of the Summit Rocks; his guide stayed with him of course.
The descent included five 60-metre abseils through the Summit Rocks, the guides impressing with the dexterity of their rope handling. About 19 hours GOTOWO; my altimeter ‘upometer’ read 1799 m.
- Party members
- Colin Cook