/ Off to New Zealand need some destination advice

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olddirtydoggy - on 05 Oct 2017
Ello you lot, we're off to New Zealand (South island only) in Feb/March for a month and we need some adventure advice. We're after 3 things if you can help.

Firstly an easy, long multipitch route similar to South Ridge Direct (5a) The South Ridge Direct (VS 5a) or Cathedral Peak in Yosemite. A day long multi without pushing too hard would be wonderful.

Secondly, has anyone on here scrambled Mitre Peak in Milford Sound? I could do with some feedback on how that went if anyone has completed it, especially what specific challenges are worth extra planning.

Thirdly, we're looking to do something in the Southern Alps but might consider hiring a guide. Has anyone any recommendations you can throw at us for a bit of winter fun. The leads so far are returning companies offering single days out for more casual tourism.

Lastly, thank you very much!
Tom Last - on 05 Oct 2017
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

Not sure about long miltipitch or Mitre Peak, but Mt Earnslaw down off the Rees Dart track is a lovely easy alpine peak with and incredible outlook. Mt Aspiring is popular too, but a bit harder, more remote and generally more involved.

PS. No winter fun in NZ in Feb/March it's the Austral summer.

Cheers!
SenzuBean - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

> Ello you lot, we're off to New Zealand (South island only) in Feb/March for a month and we need some adventure advice. We're after 3 things if you can help.

> Firstly an easy, long multipitch route similar to South Ridge Direct (5a) The South Ridge Direct (VS 5a) or Cathedral Peak in Yosemite. A day long multi without pushing too hard would be wonderful.

Check out the Darrans - not sure on the details though. I've not climbed there, but have heard it's great for mountain trad.

> Secondly, has anyone on here scrambled Mitre Peak in Milford Sound? I could do with some feedback on how that went if anyone has completed it, especially what specific challenges are worth extra planning.

http://www.backpackingmatt.com/climbing-mitre-peak-new-zealand/

Worth reading if you haven't already.
The amount of loose rock on many NZ peaks is just so much higher, because there hasn't yet been the traffic of thousands of parties trundling rocks as they go, and much of the rock is fairly friable.

> Thirdly, we're looking to do something in the Southern Alps but might consider hiring a guide. Has anyone any recommendations you can throw at us for a bit of winter fun. The leads so far are returning companies offering single days out for more casual tourism.

All of the guides are pretty much in Queenstown - that would be where I'd look for hiring a guide for any ice/mixed climbing, although you'd have to go very high to get any ice at that time of year.
walts4 - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to olddirtydoggy:
>.

> Secondly, has anyone on here scrambled Mitre Peak in Milford Sound? I could do with some feedback on how that went if anyone has completed it, especially what specific challenges are worth extra planning.

Many years ago, scrambled Mitre peak, think its the East ridge (was a long time ago.)

Excellent day out, but beware of vertical grass section after the temperate jungle section with a very indistinct track, route marked by wool fibres!
We were dropped off by a fishing boat in the morning then just set off trying to keep to the ridge as much as possible reaching the summit around 2.00ish I think. We had arranged to be picked up by helicopter from the summit, the recommended descent I seem to recall due to the vertical grass!
All the transportation details were arranged over several beers in the bar at Milford sound, probably best to frequent this venue to organise the logistics to be honest, you shouldn't need a guide, its fairly obvious.
Have a great time...

Oh, you must climb in the Darrans, loads there that will fit your criteria for easy ridge scrambles if you get the weather which you should in March, I have a guide book but unfortunately not with me otherwise could be specific.
Post edited at 06:18
damowilk on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

Feb/Mar is not a great time for any ice or snow, even high it’s likely to be poor snow conditions. The majority of NZ ridges and mountains are poor rock, and for safety and sanity, it needs some snow to glue it together.
The Darrans has some of the best multi pitch, but weather is highly variable. Perhaps a bit more dependable, there’s some on the Alta slabs, on the Eastern side of the Remarkables, near Queenstown.

I’d suggest rather than do some dodgy and out of season mountaineering, do some tramping instead and see the best of NZ outdoors.
AdrianC - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

For multi-pitch rock routes in a stunning setting your best bet is the Darrans. Bowen Allan Corner might suit you - it's not overly long but the approach is spectacular. For something longer but harder there's always The Ravages of Time at Chinaman's Bluff which is HVS / E1 ish. If you want easier access then the rock routes above Lake Alta in the Remarkables are pleasant and can be topped with a traverse over Double Cone & Single Cone which is lovely and has good rock.

There's still plenty you can do in the mountains at that time of year although, as others have said, it's fairly late season. For a route that's possible year round, but usually better in late summer (i.e. when you'll be there) the full NW ridge of Mt Aspiring comes to mind.

Bit of a disclosure notice here about guiding companies - I work for both Aspiring Guides & Adventure Consultants from time to time. The three biggest companies are those two (both Wanaka based) and Alpine Guides up at Aoraki / Mt Cook Village. There are some smaller companies, too like Alpine Recreation in Tekapo & Queenstown Mountain Guides etc. Any of them would be able to organise something to suit you and the weather.
barney800 on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to AdrianC:

Darrans are epic if you get the weather, and what we saw on Moir's Mate was not loose at all (which surprised me after climbing around Wanaka). I second the suggestion of the Bowen Allen corner as an awesome looking line, although I haven't done it. We did Lucky Strike (20) while we were there which is technically harder but very well bolted.

Another area I looked at for that trip but never visited was the Barrier Range http://climbnz.org.nz/nz/si/otago/barrier-range Butterfly Buttress on Bruce Peak looked particularly good.

For guiding companies, we've been ski-touring a few times with Aspiring Guides based out of Wanaka and have always had good experiences.
olddirtydoggy - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to olddirtydoggy:
Thank you all so much for the help so far, this has saved not only time but also getting stuck on something unsuitable. We will be checking out the Darrans and all the other info we have now. Many thanks.
Kahti - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

There's a bunch of nice hill walks/easy mountaineering routes along Arthurs Pass. Was there alone so the most "mountaineery" one I did was Mt Rolleston. Which despite having a reasonable amount of snow left (i think it was december) had some pretty sketchy loose rock as well. Amazing place though and so quiet compared with further south.
kiwiflea - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to AdrianC:

Wouldn't believe anything this guy says never seen him climb anything :p......
derryclimbs - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to barney800:

> Another area I looked at for that trip but never visited was the Barrier Range http://climbnz.org.nz/nz/si/otago/barrier-range Butterfly Buttress on Bruce Peak looked particularly good.

I can recommend butterfly buttress. Excellent route. As was Weta Prowl on the adjoining peak which I can't remember the name of. 7 hour walk in though.

AdrianC - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to kiwiflea:

Ha ha ha! You're back!
olddirtydoggy - on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to derryclimbs:

We're looking at Butterfly Buttress and I'm trying to plan the finer details. I think I'm right in saying the approach is from the Temple valley, East of the peak and a tramp up to what looks like a saddle between Bruce and Steeple peaks which I'm thinking brings us to the start of the buttress just north of said location. If you can help confirm that then it would be wonderful. I also wondered what descent was like. Many thanks for posting and for Barney800 for his prompt.
olddirtydoggy - on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

Also looking at Mt Earnslaw as a great looking multiday route. The usual kitlist question comes up everywhere due to conditions. Many reports are suggesting the time of year doesn't need crampons and axe as early March is usually clear of seasonal snow other than an easy crossing on Birley glacier. Potential numbers can fill the hut up so a tent could be a need. Rope for the descent from the summit looks like a must.
I'm aware conditions can change and it's better to carry gear rather than risk it but there might be some info on here that could save us some kg's. Many thanks.
derryclimbs - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to olddirtydoggy:
> We're looking at Butterfly Buttress and I'm trying to plan the finer details. I think I'm right in saying the approach is from the Temple valley, East of the peak and a tramp up to what looks like a saddle between Bruce and Steeple peaks which I'm thinking brings us to the start of the buttress just north of said location. If you can help confirm that then it would be wonderful. I also wondered what descent was like. Many thanks for posting and for Barney800 for his prompt.

Steeple peak, that's the badger! Anyway, approach sounds about right from memory and without a map. I think the saddle might have been on the far side of butt buttress though. The hike (tramp) in is a beast but we were carrying 3 days worth of kit (although I do recall forgetting half our food - which I wouldn't recommend doing). There was a great little flat spot for camping on the shoulder of a ridge which was about 20 mins walk to the base of the route. We pitched about 5 sections but were pretty naive back then and could've simul climbed/scrambled most of it. The descent was a piece of piss. Off the summit, back down to the saddle and scree to base camp. We walked out a different valley where there was a hut along the way. Can't remember the name though, sorry. 10 years ago now.
Post edited at 00:00
ben b - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

I haven't done Earnslaw but various friends have: can be done in a weekend with quite a lot of effort, or more slowly to enjoy it! Never heard of the hut filling up. Maybe a bivvy bag if really worried. Small Planet (Queenstown) hire gear; if you're coming through Dunedin I could probably lend you axe/crampons on a no liability basis.

cheers

b
CliffPowys on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

If you want some easy alpine stuff you could try the Sealy Range from the Mueller Hut. It is the ridge to the west of Mt Cook Village. If you are OK with glacier travel and F to PD snow there are six or so peaks that you could climb without a guide. The Sebastopol and Watertank Ridges from the Village to Mts Annette and Kitchener respectively are excellent scrambles.

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