plans to spend summer in the Rockies fell through along with our hoped-for work permits. So it was back to NZ with regrets and no plan. Trying to maximise my rock time, I tred the SE ridge of grotto solo but chickened out of the super exposed, rotten crux; kiernan lyons rushed me to the airport and it was back to ”those windswept isles where polynesia and antarctica collide” – an approximate quote from ‘Beyond the Snowline’ by Aat Vervoorn, my favourite book.
The next month was spent looking for a job, getting in the odd surf etc… and a first kayak descent of a beautiful local stream no-one had thought copuld hold enough water, disclosing a beaut 5m waterfall and some killer long rockslides. The Lora gorge is an instant flood run classic, many miles from the nearest whitewater. However, there was 10cm of snow on the ground when we ran it; upping the commitment, so it was quite a relief to float out the bottom in daylight.
alta ego, remarksice climbing with benefits
Big thanks going out to Penny Gottard. Ona tour near Ben nevis, south end of The Remarkables, I got a badf attack of food poisoning and virtually crawled out, vomiting and dry retching. Would’ve been out the night in a NW storm were it not for Penny’s ceaseless encouragement and physical help carrying my gear. Made it out in time for me to spend 4 hours sleep sprawled in the boot of my car, then drive to my new job for a medical screening!gettin’ the sickness. literal.
Al Walker and Jaz Morris were kind enough to invite me to the Darrans, and Jaz and I pulled off an ascent of a new mixed route (Home Turf, darrans grade 4/II , 4 pitch in ice so thin as to be almost totally absent, but good turf and granite. I was very, very happy to be back on my spiritual home turf. The darrans remain my favourite place in the world, in all their moods (so long as I have access to some form of bombproof shelter of course!).bridging above the cavehomer hut. paradise.grotto SE ridgelast hours in canadajaz, Pitch 2 Home Turf,
I also was lucky enough to climb with the late Hiroki Ogawa, and share a couple of pitches of ice at the remarkables with him. I still remember his glowing face and infectious grin piercing the cold as he bridged and squeezed his way up out the top of alta ego, a beaut thin gully, with some dry-tooling and an awesomely awkward squeeze out the top. Climbing and staying with Hiroki was a true pleasure, as were our long discussions about his scientific work and his advice regarding scientific careers. IExtremely tragically, Hiroki and his girlfriend sadly died in a horrendously cold storm which swept the nation from the south and trapped them on Taranaki. Hiroki, we are all going to miss you, and Nicole also I am sure. You were a beam of light on the coldest day.