Ok, so I lied. I said this was going to be a 4 part series on NZ, but when I looked closer The Kelman Hut and everything we skied there, it would just be way too long for one post. I’m going to make it a 7 or 8 part series. We’ll see.
The hut was cold and dark, but it was nice to be out of the elements. The next day was socked in and we were gifted a rest day, the other guys went out and skied a few white out laps next to the hut cause they are total fiends. Weather forecasts were spotty at best so each morning we decided to set an alarm for 5am or so and do a weather check. If it was clear, we rally. If it was stormy, we’d sleep in. The next day was clear and so we headed for the biggest peak of course, that being Madam Ellie DeBeaumont.
The lovely lady revealing herself. (this was shot a several days later from the summit of Mount Richardson). Our line goes up the lookers lefthand side through the seracs and cracks to the ridge and then onto the big bald summit.
We started in the dark and made a very long traverse and slight descent to the base of the mountain in firm conditions. The sun welcomed and warmed us as we started to climb. Ropes were deployed as we worked through the lower openings and crevasses.
Beau making his way skyward with Mount Darwin (center) and Mount Richardson (right) in the background. We would go on to ski both of those peaks in the upcoming days.
There was a mean crust that took a lot of work to punch through. Adam giving it a go. Luckily it didn’t last too long.
The final summit ridge had some cool wind features and a few really steep spots, but the snow was good and stoke was high!
Team summit photo- Adam F, Billy H, Noah H, Beau F (left to right)
I didn’t shoot many photos on the way down, mostly video. The snow was perfectly edgy and even soft in some spots as we retraced our steps.
Low clouds came in and we lost all visibility. This was just above the crusty area and so we waited it out, hoping to get good visibility, so we could watch each other flailing and not fall in any holes.
After we traversed through the crevasses we hit the glacial valley. From there we enjoyed perfect mellow angled corn for several thousand feet. Then we marched back a few thousand feet up to the hut and called it a day.