/ West Peak of Mt Earnslaw NZ
try posting on the NZ forum www.climber.co.nz
I can't help you on the west peak, but have done the easier east peak. East peak is very easy technically, but yes the rock was poor, so i'd imagine that the rock on the east peak isn't disimilar tbh.
Esquilant bivi hut is great, plus the walk in/out through the woods below Kea Basin is very confusing in the dark!
Glenorchy DOC had an NZAC printed sheet with a few Earnslaw route descriptions on it when we were there (2007), so maybe give them a ring, or try the NZAC direct.
Good luck, it's a beautiful area.
View from the east.
Haha - the forum is a bit shit, I will freely admit. Last year there were two pretty decent forums - mountainz and mojozone. Some strange politics happened and mountainz no longer exists and mojozone has recently been turned into the climber website I referred you to. Not all of the old users have switched over, sadly. I see your post, I'll respond and see if i can't spark a discussion.
In my experience (I'm NOT a kiwi, but I live here and have climbed all over) the MC grading scheme works a little like this:
MC 1: F
MC 2: PD
MC 3: AD
MC 4: TD-/TD
A supporting anecdote: Here in NZ, I've not climbed a route harder than a 3+ (for reasons outlined below). I was in Cham last year with a Kiwi who's done a few MC 5's and we did Fil a Plomb together (TD+?) - and he said it was way way more difficult than anything he had ever done in the mountains, anywhere.
Actual technical difficulties on the routes tend to not be the cruxes - actually getting to the route and then having the decent weather to complete it is the crux. The number of nights I've wasted in huts 'cause the weather is crap is scary. $100 will seem like nothing if you get over here and can't climb anything!
In all honesty, I think alpine climbing in NZ is a waste of time and money. UNLESS you live here and are in a position to rush in/out when the weather windows arrive. Then you can get something done, and it can be really good. There's no way I would travel here to climb. I live on the North island now, and there's no way I'd pop over to the South Island for some climbing. 19 times out of 20 it's been a waste of time and money when I have. I won't go alpine climbing on the south island anymore until I live down there (in a year or two). That was my extra two cents, which you didn't ask for.
watch Lord of the rings, im pretty sure its the large snow covered peak you can see behind isengard. probably get more info than waiting for a reply on climber.co.nz.
> Haha - the forum is a bit shit,...
> Actual technical difficulties on the routes tend to not be the cruxes - actually getting to the route and then having the decent weather to complete it is the crux. The number of nights I've wasted in huts 'cause the weather is crap is scary. ...
> In all honesty, I think alpine climbing in NZ is a waste of time and money. UNLESS you live here and are in a position to rush in/out when the weather windows arrive. Then you can get something done, and it can be really good. ... 19 times out of 20 it's been a waste of time and money when I have....
Sounds about right :-))
Re: grades, I don't worry about them too much, partly because:
1. Comparing them to the Alps or somewhere is useless, not just because of access and approach issues but because the rock is so bad the tech climbing compared to Cham or elsewhere is just totally different. People often cite some bit or two of NZ mountains that has good rock (N face Hicks etc) but the reality for the vast majority of it is that it is crap, so mixed routes can be very hard to judge or compare.
2. I think quite a lot of routes in the guidebooks have not had many repeat ascents, some not even 2nd ascents, but it's so hard to know, or find out. I put a post titled 'Second Ascents' on the climber.co.nz forum and, unsurprisingly, very few people contributed anything significant.
I'm sure you'll do it in a day. I was with two beginners and we did the whole thing in one (admittedly long and epic) overnight round trip from Queenstown.
On your way in up the Rees after the appropriate distance look out for a (red?) DOC sign on the far side of the valley from the track you walk in on. This sign marks the start of the path through he woods leading to Kea Basin. You'll need to ford the Rees at or before this point. The journey back through these woods in the dark with its millions of spooky glow worms and trying to avoid hunters lamping deer in the Rees was the crux for us! :)
Not as arduous as the Aspiring approach, but still pretty long.
I agree the connecting ridge looks great doesn't it.
Best of luck with it all.
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