Next up on the Adventure Guide Program itinerary is a week in the legendary NZ adventure region, Mt Cook. Home of the highest mountain in the country, this area is synonomous with rock and ice climbing, hiking, mountaineering, ski touring and general outdoor bad-assness. Not for the faint-hearted, you need solid training and systems in place to explore this area, which is subject to strong winds, sub-zero temperatures, avalanches and rockfall.
For those who have the right skills however, this place is adventure nirvana! Check out Ken's update on their time at Mt Cook below...
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Climbing in Mt. Cook and Wye Creek this week was epic! We started our week with a new instructor and climbed at a crag called Wye creek. It over looks Lake Wakatipu in queenstown and offers some pretty epic views of the surrounding mountains. Our instructor Rich split the group and worked on commercial rigging with us while the others climbed some new routes to get warmed up for the week ahead of us.
On tuesday we drove out to Aoraki / Mt. Cook National Park. I have been frothing to get here since I landed in New Zealand and was overwhelmed with excitement to get the team up for some multi pitch sport climbing. So far multi pitch was a culmination of everything the team had learned on the course and the opportunity to put it all to the test. The views on the way out were amazing and only further built the hype for the week ahead.
What does your class room look like?
I partnered with Rosie from my team up a 4 pitch climb called Mako in the Mt. Cook valley, in the shadow of the massive Mt. Sefton behind us.
The legendary Paul Rogers was our head instructor this week. He is know world wide for his work in the greater ranges as a guide, putting up new routes and all around experience. He was a wealth of knowledge and someone to call a future mentor for myself. He has a really relaxed teaching style, peppered with constant jokes and stories from his past expeditions in the mountains.
Paul keeping a watchful eye as Jocelyn builds an anchor 3 pitches off the ground.
We had beautiful weather all week and packed it full of climbing and some solid time on the wall together. Here is a shot of me perched from a hanging belay station about 150 meters off the ground, waiting for some other team members to come back down the wall.
Some of the crew really came into their own this week, pushed new boundaries and are really putting their training to the test.
The focus of the week was multi pitch change overs. One pitch being anywhere from 30 to 60 meters of the rope length, switching between a belayer and a leader as we climbed up. We focused on a lot of technical knowledge as well. Safety systems, belaying techniques and anchor building. There is generally a little more stress to get things right when you are dangling a few hundred meters off the deck, and that is where the training comes in, and keeping a cool head
I think the whole group really came together this week, forming a new level of trust in each other in multi pitch and really becoming more confident on the wall. I really enjoy sharing in all that excitement and the development and journey together.
We rocked up at the Mt. Cook airport for a quick safety briefing and were so lucky to get a free flight from In Flight Mt. Cook Heli and Ski tours. They flew us up along the Tasman Glacier and gave us an incredible view of Mt. Cook. The summit was beaming with sunlight. A true inspiration for me as I will be training to be a mountaineer as well. I'll never forget that view.
Pure Ex has done sure an amazing job at facilitating the crews and providing them with a real and in depth experience with some of the most qualified and experienced instructors in the game. We learn by doing not by sitting in a classroom being told.
We finished off the week by watching the sunrise over Aoraki / Mt. Cook as a team. Paul sat behind us and told stories and fun facts about the Southern Alps.
One of my favorite things about this course is the bond and relationships that I have built with my teammates. Everyone brings something different to the table and everyone has a unique background that all comes together, forming our goofy, misfit family. The friendships that I have built with my crew will without a doubt last a lifetime.
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If climbing is your thing, then you'll know how amazing this looks. If climbing isn't your thing, you'll be surprised by how much you enjoy learning new skills and overcoming any fears you have of heights etc, as our careful instructors take you through safety measures and make sure you are 100% confident in what you are doing. If you are keen to take on a challenge in the outdoors, feel free to get in touch (below) and we can chat you through some options we think might suit you.