On the 19th of January the British Ex-pat team of James Edwards, Kev Neal and Oliver Metherell made the first ascent of 24 Hour Party People, a direct line on the South Face of Mt Aspiring, the “Matterhorn” of New Zealand. Edwards had previously tried the line in the Spring with another ex-pat climber, Dave Alderson, but the pair had failed due to a tiring two day wade through deep snow and a large section of overhanging rock that was devoid of ice. Alderson was unable to make the second attempt but two other soldiers of fortune volunteered to step in and grab the one day weather window between storms. Edwards pushed on from the previous highpoint and climbed two further pitches of Scottish VII through the overhanging band on very dubious 'weet-a-bix' rock and thin blobs of plastic ice. These key pitches led to the centre of the face where leads were then swapped on 65 to 90 degree ice directly to the summit ridge. As per all good adventures, a north-westerly storm with winds gusting over 100kmph, raced in during the descent reducing visibility to a few metres. The trio sat out the night in a bothy bag before continuing the two day walkout over soggy crevaced glaciers, cols and down through steep forest to the road head (and a stash of pre-placed beer) but not before an incident whilst crossing over one of several massively swollen rivers almost swept Neal over a waterfall to a soggy end.
Edwards and Metherell also made the first ascent of 'Pt 2072' by Matinee D, 500m and the pair were joined by Neal for the first ascent on the Dasler Pinnacles of Petit Peuterey D, 800m.
The lads would like to thank CRUX and Patagonia for their help in supplying equipment.
24 Hour Party People, ED2, Scottish VII, 650m