A New Variation to Central Gullies, South Face of Mt Hicks

Friday 7 October: Matt Thom and I set off from Mt Cook Village headed for Gardiner Hut on the Hooker Glacier and hoping to climb White Dream on the south face of Mt Cook.  We realised pretty quickly that White Dream was far from being in condition and, although it meant another 4 hours walk, changed our plan to head for Empress Hut and the south face of Mt Hicks instead.

Walking up the Hooker Glacier, Mt Cook in the distance. Photo: Matt Thom.

Lucky for us, enough ice had formed on the south face of Mt Hicks to make it climbable, if only just.  In fact, the best looking line turned out to be unclimbed.  We had a plan.  Matt set to work preparing his nutella and sour cream naan bread wraps for lunch the next day.

The south face of Mt Hicks. Photo: Matt Thom

Saturday 8 October: Matt started up the first pitch just as the cloud of an approaching storm rolled into view.  By the time I was eking out what protection I could find on the third and crux pitch, the storm was upon us complete with powder avalanches every few minutes.

Jamie searching for gear on the third and crux pitch of the route. Photo: Matt Thom.

We continued climbing through the storm, which eventually lessened as forecast to, although we did sometimes wonder if it ever would.  Some pitches were pretty thin, keeping our minds off the weather.

Jamie on a thin pitch. Photo: Matt Thom.

Seven pitches later our new route joined Central Gullies and we decided to call it a day.  Looking back at our line that evening I noticed that part of it formed a distinctive Y shape in conjunction with the surrounding ice gullies.  Matt confirmed we were of Generation Y stock.  So we decided to call our variation Generation Y, and with difficulties of AI4, M5.

The line of Generation Y on the south face of Mt Hicks. Photo: Matt Thom.


One response

  1. Pat Deavoll

    I think what you have done here is a slightly left start to the Central Gullies. People start the central gullies any old where (Ive climbed the route 3 x with a different start each time). Im also a bit circumspect about claiming a new route when you didnt actually finish it. Generally turning back on a route because of weather, or because its getting late in the day, or because rocks are coming down…its called failing.

    Regardless, good climbing…

    October 12, 2011 at 3:45 pm

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