Paul and I ventured into the Temple Stream South Branch in search of ice over the weekend. Below is short report of what we found.
We pinned our hopes on the South Face of Peak 2200 which is just to the south of Steeple Peak. Our expectations were not high given the lack of snow, but cold temperatures over the past few days made us think we might get lucky.
We got our first glimpse of the south face on Sunday morning after two hours of scrub and scree bashing. Initially it seemed that our effort was all in vain, but with the aid of Paul’s binoculars we spied something that looked feasible on the lower part of the face, close to where Paul had climbed a route previously.
We got to the base of the ice and despite water flowing over the rock in places it looked on. I took the lead and started swinging my tools for the first time in months. The first pitch was quickly dispatched and two more fun pitches followed. The crux was the middle pitch where two rock steps had to be negotiated via some precarious chandeliers. Paul managed to break one of these off, almost taking his ice tool with it. He recovered but arrived at the belay rather animated! We named the route ‘Don’t Drop the Chandelier’ and graded it M5 WI4.
A short movie of the climb is coming soon.
Not a lot of climbing has been happening for me recently, at least in the alpine world. The weather keeps foiling my plans. But I have managed to get to Mount Somers a couple of times, and this is still a challenging place to climb, even if it is only sub-alpine and 2 hours walk from the road end. The area boasts long routes (for NZ that is) with technical footwork that make toes fail before fingers, especially on routes like Al La Weta, a Mount Somers classic which is sustained all the way to the top. I love this type of climbing, it keeps me on my toes, literally.
On my first attempt of Al La Weta (25). I sent on my 3rd attempt. (Photo Paul Hersey)
We collected a bit of video footage during the Mount Somers trips and Shelly has put in another stellar effort at making this into a short promo film for the Backyard and Beyond project. Enjoy