For as long as I can remember I've wanted to ski the Girdlestone.
Last week I finally had the chance.
Its not like its a particularly out of the way climb, or even a particularly difficult decent for that matter, I've just never had anyone to do it with, nor have I had the gear. So until now, its just sat there looking at me.
The mission came about whilst chatting to Cam McKay about various other ski adventures. The forecast was banger and he said he had some spare gear, so that was that.
The hike up called for a bit of extra kit, although it wasn't straight ice, the rime was enough to make you lose your footing in plastic soled ski boots.
So we donned our crampons and had at it.
The going was safe until the last leg of the hike when, as we had anticipated the heat of the afternoon was causing ice to release and fall down from the rock walls above us.
For the last section of the climb swapped ski poles for our axes and swiftly scuttled up under the rocks to the safety of the high lookers left saddle (I don't know the name).
We decided it was too sketchy to continue right to the summit with the amount of ice falling, as the last section is basically fully rimed rocks.
So we took a moment to take in the view, clicked in and dropped in from the saddle.
Although the snow was pretty difficult for the first few turns, it eased quickly and I was able to open it up a bit and enjoy the run.
Its nothing compared to what real mountaineers tackle, but for me it was a great intro into climbing with axe and crampons, as well as observing first hand how the rise and fall of the temperature can affect the snow and ice around you.
|Looking off the back of the Girdlestone|
|Looking towards the Turoa summit from the saddle|
|Cam with Turoa behind|
|About to drop in|