/ New Zealand Southern Alps
Or if I wanted to do something a bit harder does anyone know of guides/courses that don't cost the earth! Or even mountaineering clubs that I could join and hopefully tag along with someone more experienced?
Earnslaw's a good bet, as is Brewster. Also some easier stuff around the Mt Cook area.
Can post in more detail later if others don't get there first.
Alpine Guides based in Mt Cook are good (I used them for a course) but possibly arent the cheapest organisation in the world. Mal Haskins took my course and was brilliant (I have subsequently been to the himalaya with him) and I would happily recommend him - he can also be found at http://verticalresources.org
How long are you in NZ for? If a while, look up the NZAC - they often have meets where you can find partners. Wanaka is a good place to meet other climbers and there is also plenty of single pitch and bouldering to be had there too.
Hope that helps a bit!
I have done
I have happy memories of spending a week in the Kelman hut in a raging blizzard most of the time. When we did get out we did Aylmer and Hochstetter and Mt Abel above the hut. All straightforward summits and would suit I think. We helied in and skiied and walked out. I was told at the time that almost nobody walks in, with gear and a weeks food it would be quite epic over the Tasman glacier moraine, probably over two days with a stop in the de la Beche hut. Some pics in my gallery http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=36927
To the OP, as Maria (Hi Maria!) suggested, Mt Brewster is a good option. Another good trip would be to walk up to Mueller Hut (great views of Mt Cook) and climb Mt Sealy.
Guided trips won't be that cheap but Aspiring Guides and Adventure Consultants, as well as Alpine Guides are worth checking out and courses, rather than individual guided ascents can be cheaper.
The NZ Alpine Club is the most frequented (but not the only) mountaineering club and it's well worth joining if you're in NZ for a while as their huts are cheaper if you're a member (but not DOC huts - watch out!)
I've got a Mt Cook guidebook you could borrow if I'm not using it.
(I'm wandering over there some time in the next few months, I should probably work that out soon.)
I've done a fair bit in NZ over the years. I live in Sydney, so it's the nearest alpine area to me.
Probably the best areas would be from the Mueller hut above the Mueller Glacier and from the Tasman Saddle/Kelman Huts on the Upper Tasman Glacier. Both offer plenty of F to PD+ mountains within easy reach once you have got to the hut. These include Mts Kitchener, Annette, Sealy, Jean, Marie, and Darby (Mueller) and Mts Abell, Annan, Aylmer, Hochstetter Dome, and Darwin (UTG). The De la Beche Hut was demolished last year but you can still bivy on the site if you want to do classic easy climbs from lower down the Tasman such as Mt De la Beche and the Minarets.
You can walk up to the Mueller Hut in about 3 to 4 Hours from Mt Cook Village. Access to the Tasman Saddle/Kelman huts (they are close together) is best done by helicopter as the glacier walk up with a week of supplies and gear is something of an epic.
The best bet to find someone to climb with is to join the NZAC. That will also give you some priority in hut matters. Rescue is free in NZ. I know some of the guides at Adventure Consultants and can recommend them. However no guide/course is cheap!
The NZ Alps are quite low compared to the European Alps but they are subject to much worse weather that sweeps in suddenly from the west. They are lots of fun as there are usually few people about but you should not underestimate them.
Have a great time!
Actually, I might be interested in doing something with you in NZ. I would be free in January or March 2014.
What are your plans/experience?
The trip to Sefton Bivouac is a treat, by the way.
French Ridge hut has a much easier walk in/out than Colin Todd, btw.
The Grand Traverse of the Remarkables above Queenstown is great as well:
I did it with my girlfriend last summer and we both rate it as one of our best days out in New Zealand.
If guiding is what you're looking at I can also recommend Alpine Guides. Arthur runs the place and is great. When I was up at Plateau hut the west face of Mt Dixon fell off and they put me in a helicopter free of charge up to the upper tasman glacier so I could still continue climbing.
Murray was my guide and I would highly recommend him. He's hilarious, and as long as you're happy with his irreverent outlook you'll have a great time!
For video of the aforementioned rockfall that cut off access to Mt Cook, see here:
Bahahaha! We did the same... I threw possibly the largest hissy fit of my life somewhere around Ball Hut, there were thrown poles, thrown sack, tears, the lot... a large round of beers and nachos in the pub a few hours later was required for teammate forgiveness and un-dumping from my boyfriend!
Check out NZACs courses too: https://alpineclub.org.nz/national-instruction-courses
If you're female, there's a scholarship opportunity for a cheaper course too! The deadline's passed for this year but I expect it will run again next year.
The grand traverse, how hard is it? How does it compare to say the Cullin Ridge?
Also what gear did you take and what length of rope is needed for the abseil off at Single Cone?
Going over soon and this looks like an interesting day out.
Another vote for Brewster, and if you're around Aspiring then Barff is fun at about PD+, Scottish II. On the other side of the Tasman from Cook then Malte Brun via the original route is a good long scramble, especially if you come in over Rum Doodle. I gather the hut has fallen into the river though so prob have to bivvy.
The Remarks traverse is technically slightly easier and much shorter than the Cuillin Ridge although it's noticeably trickier with a dusting of fresh snow. I normally reckon about six hours round trip from the lake which is maybe 20 mins walk from the ski area car park. Gear - a small rack and a couple of slings would be fine, the rock's pretty good up there. The descent from Single Cone down the south gully has, I'm pretty sure, 3 abseil points in it (one can get buried in winter / spring) which are around 25 m apart (ish!) It isn't so steep in there that you couldn't do some jiggery-pokery if needed but remember when you get out of the gully to traverse right (facing out) for 100 m or so before descending - you'll see why when you get lower down.
Great description by AdrianC. I've not got much to add to that other than I've seen it graded as a PD+, which would make sense for summer conditions. My girlfriend only climbs now and then, so we moved together the whole way apart from a few bits that we pitched. With our 50m rope being just about long enough for the abseils off Single Cone.
Can't recommend it enough as a day out...
Swampi & AdrianC, cheers.
Ah yes I seem to recall you enjoyed that day, I have a great photo of you half way down the second scree slope...
Mmmmm. The best bit was when we got mixed up on the way back up to the Ball Hut and wasted another 2/3 hours!
Fun times and to end it all - a pint of shit New Zealand beer!
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