Last month I got myself down to the Queenstown area for a week of climbing culminating in the inaugural Remarkables Ice and Mixed Festival. I managed to climb something every day and had the best time ever at the Festival. Thanks to Dan Joll for making it such a great event. Heres a short run down of what I got up to.
I picked up Jono Clarke from the airport in Christchurch on Saturday afternoon and we headed down to Queenstown. Half way down we got a text message from Dan saying we had to be up at 4.30am the next morning for a day trip up the Routeburn where they had discovered some new ice. Jono and I groaned, so much for a sleep in. Half an hour later we got another message, actually we had to be up at 4.
We walked up the Routeburn track for about an hour, then slogged two hours up a steep stream into the start of the Humboldt Mountains. Dan and co had already chosen the plum line for themselves. Jono and I were left with a single but nicely formed pitch that we climbed every single variation on. We named the route Mr Kombucha, after a particular mushroom drink.
We were keen on a rest day but decided to check out Dan’s dry tooling venue, the Pink Palace, down on the lake front. Jono and I sent The G Man Loves My Pink Bits, and did our best to rip off a few more holds.
Jono and I teamed up with another friend, Matthias, and went into the South Wye Valley. Unfortunately the weather turned to custard but we still managed to sneak in an ascent of Haskins Drop before bailing back down the hill.
We attempted a new route on the Telecom Towers. It took us all day to climb just 120m, needless to say parts of it were pretty tricky and rather desperate. Its good to get shutdown once in a while though.
We took it easy, ate a few Ferg Bakery pies, and did another session at the Pink Palace. Troy came along too. We snuck the first ascent of Sink the Pink.
The first day of the Festival. I kicked off the day with the first winter ascent of Stone Free, a really nice crack and corner system with bomber sticks and lots of gear. In the afternoon I teamed up with Aussie climber Matt Scholes to do the 1st pitch of E.T. Goes Home. We ended up doing it as two pitches due to rope drag. Matt led the first, groveling his way under and through a large roof which made for some rather desperate climbing. I did the second pitch, the end of which required a belly-flop style mantle onto snow, funny now, but not then.
Day 2 of the Festival. I had a ground up shot at Blow Up, a steep hand-width size single pitch crack, and got hideously shut down. I learned that placing gear on steep M climbs is way harder than having it pre-placed. By the time I got to the top with a million rests I was utterly spent. It was worth it though, as a bunch of other people got to try it with the gear in and Dan got the first ascent. In the afternoon I teamed up with Matt again to climb the 1st pitch of Los Indignados. Thus ended a fantastic week of climbing.