Mt Aspiring attempt 2

To climb aspiring walk in - walk out in three days via the quarterdeck with a marginal forecast in November was always going to be an ambitious plan, but we were optimistic enough to give it a go, so we did.

Fridays objective was to get to Colin Todd, a walk we figured would take about 12 hours.  We made good progress to French Ridge Hut in 6 hours and everyone was feeling good.  However the snow made for torturous travel above the hut, with ankle to knee deep snow the norm, with a few small patches of firm snow sprinkled about.

Heading up to the Quarterdeck

Heading up to the Quarterdeck

The sun setting as we approached Colin Todd

The sun setting as we approached Colin Todd

We took a further 8 hours to get to Colin Todd by which time the hut was full off parties that had choppered in to Bevan Col, leaving us to sleep on the floor.  We had only had a few hours sleep when the early birds were up at 2am to start their climbs.  We were all tired - either mentally or physically (or both).  I felt fairly strong still but I was mentally drained from breaking through rain crust all afternoon and my feet were wet from foolishly not wearing waterproofs on the glacier.  Despite some wanting to try anyway I thought that it would be foolish to attempt the climb in such state and made the case for coming back another time.  I also wasn't 100% confident on finding the route in the dark and in the cloud, so we would have been relying on following another party to the bottom of the ramp.

Mt Aspiring and the Bonar Glacier

Mt Aspiring and the Bonar Glacier

Mid morning a party of three Czech climbers turned up, one with a dislocated shoulder.  There was a Canadian EMT at hand so he proceeded to attempt to relocate the shoulder into it's socket, but due to the muscle mass and previous injury history was not successful.  SAR was called into extract the climber and we decided to head out soon after back down to French Ridge for the night.

The chaps from Aspiring Helicopters and SAR doing an excellent job as usual

The chaps from Aspiring Helicopters and SAR doing an excellent job as usual

The walk back to French Ridge was every bit as unpleasant as it was on the way in, and we were well ready for a good nights sleep by the time we arrived at the hut, pleased to see our friends in another party who also didn't manage to summit.

A frosty start at French Ridge

A frosty start at French Ridge

Sunday we strolled out back out to the road, somewhat defeated but having taken away some good lessons for the next attempt.

| January 26th, 2017 | Posted in Storytime |

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