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.
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.
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.
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.
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.