We tried to sleep, but the corner room we had chosen was perfectly positioned into the wind so that it created a sweet whistling sound all night. We were all still so high from the skiing that we didn’t care. In the morning we loafed around hoping the wind would die down and it did. The next best looking line in the area was the east ridge of Mount Dixon. It was close by and could be easily done in the remainder of the afternoon. It’s nowhere near as tall as Mt Cook, but the route looked more than worthwhile. The climb/ski marked in red.
The couloir held good snow. Beau getting some good purchase.
A bit steeper than it had looked from far away.
We hit the knife edge ridge and continued upward. The higher we went, the better the view of Mount Cook became. Shit looks steep!
Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to ski we go. (photo: Beau Fredlund)
Look mom, I skied a mountain!
(photo: Beau Fredlund)
The snow changed, it became firm with some patches of ice similar to what we found on the Mount Cook summit ridge. Luckily it was only in one short section. Skiing back down would be questionable since the slope was in the 40 degree range with nasty consequences in the event of a fall.
That type of sheen on the snow is never good.
Turns off the top were chalky and fun.
Beau knows New Zealand!
Adam and Billy, inseparable.
The ridge was mellow to start and rolled over onto the icy section. We worked our way through it with aggressive edging and side-stepping. Ice axes in hand just in case!
Yours truly (photo: Beau Fredlund)
Skiing a small peak, surrounded by large ones.
Adam traversing the ridge into the exit couloir.
The entry/exit chute was the steepest section, but the snow was great for hop turning. We leap frogged down, hit the glacier and traversed back to the hut. We were moving and skiing well together as a group and in two days we had enjoyed two excellent outings!
Down safe and sound and back to the hut before dinner. Team photo- Adam, Billy and Beau. Adam is showing his vector skis some much deserved love. Perfect tool for the job.
Each night at 7pm we received a weather report over the radio. Between the cracking radio and the thick kiwi accents it wasn’t always easy to understand, but that didn’t matter that much since the forecast was rarely accurate. As far as we could understand, a storm was on it’s way. Three nights at the Plateau Hut and it started to feel like home, however the remaining lines that interested us would need optimal conditions. From what we had seen there was too much ice up high to push onto steeper and exposed terrain. It seemed like we could easily talk ourselves into trouble if we stayed here much longer. We decided to move on.
We loaded up our full kits and headed out for a new hut and fresh terrain. We still had plenty of food and fuel so we opted to traverse to another hut higher in the valley. To get there we needed to drop over 3,000 feet to the valley. Our timing was ideal! Adam nailing the 2,000 foot ski down the Freshfield Glacier in perfect corn.
After a little scree scramble we were on the Tasman Glacier. Beau prefers to be a man of few words and many mountains.
We switched to tennis shoes and just walked up the dry glacier.
I’d never been on a dry glacier before, the exposed ice was tacky, not slippery making for quick and easy foot travel. This was clutch because we had a long way to go with heavy packs!
(photo: Beau Fredlund)
I don’t recall how many km’s we went in our relocation, but it was plenty. Here is Adam gaining some vertical back on snow after many flat miles. Mount Cook lies directly above and behind him. Not a bad days work.
The clouds crept in and a whiteout enveloped us before we could find the hut.
Eventually, we hiked far enough and high enough that we didn’t need to hike any higher, or any further. We arrived at the Kelman Hut where we would base ourselves and ski to our hearts content for the next six days. I snagged this photo of off of this Great Gallery. I had heard that New Zealand had a good hut system, but it’s much better than good, it’s incredible. Check it out!
Part 3 coming soon.