Trip Report Wanaka 2015

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
27,618
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A few years ago a group of people were flown in to Fog peak to camp there to climb the ice fall in the pic I posted earlier. There are plenty of ice climbing spots around the region - a few of the guides are very much into it. Definitely not my thing.
 
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Red_switch

Old n' Crusty
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Jun 5, 2006
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The facts: sl heliski conducted stability tests that morning with results indicating good stability.
As is the usuall practice the guide skied the slope first before bringing the group back down.
The slope was lee to the north on low angled terrain<30 deg. There was a small rollover on the slope which fractured when the victim skied it. The crown was app 80 cm high and 40 m wide. Size of Avalanche class 3.

Everything around queenstown is variable and touchy currently. There is enough evidence of that in bounds at remarks. We need some warm weather.
 

Zimboo

A Local
Aug 28, 2014
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For those not into serious climbing, (me included) I looked up what a W16 is. Vertical climbing for the entire pitch (e.g. 30–60 metres) with no rests. Requires excellent technique and/or a high level of fitness.
 

oreo

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Everything around queenstown is variable and touchy currently. There is enough evidence of that in bounds at remarks. We need some warm weather.
The Video of the incident was leaked/posted by CNN/ninemsn and shared on unofficialnetworks/youtube : here is the video :
...if you wanted to watch it.

The victim unfortunately skis into the path of the avalanche quite close to the end of the runout/deposition zone. I wonder what the trigger was? In any case, very unfortunate.
 

Red_switch

Old n' Crusty
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Jun 5, 2006
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The Video of the incident was leaked/posted by CNN/ninemsn and shared on unofficialnetworks/youtube : here is the video :
...if you wanted to watch it.

The victim unfortunately skis into the path of the avalanche quite close to the end of the runout/deposition zone. I wonder what the trigger was? In any case, very unfortunate.
was picked up by news agencies here as soon as it went online. Was posted on Weibo, so not exactly leaked. Seems to be two people in the avvy. Avvy is big.
 

ScottGN

One of Us
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Apr 14, 2010
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Everything around queenstown is variable and touchy currently. There is enough evidence of that in bounds at remarks. We need some warm weather.
Well you got your warm weather. It's a balmy 11c in Queenstown right now and the nor-westerly has blown warm and gusty all night. And yet TC is reporting 25cms overnight in the Saddle.
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
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Oct 14, 2005
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Tue Aug 11 - North Buchanans

A crisp frosty morning which was to turn into a clear sunny day. Headed out to staging area at Aspiring station with Anna guiding today which was nice. Plan was to work out way towards Galactic Bypass. Started with a run on Dragons tail which was a little variable but still very good, then some very nice powder on Million Dollar run - just a short run though.

Then onto Galactic - the top pitch was excellent, but dropping in the valley we encountered some wind slab on one side as well as the occasional old frozen debris. Snow down the bottom section though was again very good. We then did a variation down the flank skiers right which was more consistent without the wind slab. I suggested the variation down the right hand spur which would have give us a longer run and snow would also have been good, but it was deemed a bit mellow and with a couple of the guys sitting out a run in the valley wasn't really going to work, so we just did another couple of runs from the top and down the middle. Had lunch in the valley in between.

Then working our way back we did a couple on Dragonfly which were equally as good and with superb 360 deg views - Mt Cook clearly visible before finishing with Eostre West in the sun but which was somewhat variable. The trend being that runs closer to the main valley being more wind affected.
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
27,618
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Million Dollar run
107_Million_Dollar_run.jpg


Galactic Bypass
111_Galactic_Bypass.jpg


113_Galactic_Bypass.jpg
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
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Oct 14, 2005
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Wed Aug 12 - Triple Peak, Buchanans

This started off looking fine like yesterday but a change was moving in so didn't stay that way very long. Stewarts hip was in some pain yesterday so he pulled out and we had a couple of other guys join us. Mark was guiding us today - my first time with him since the helicopter accident last year. His back was still troubling him a little but otherwise he was fine having recovered by Christams last year.

Guy from Adventure Consultants was also guiding today - a bit of a return to the old days. We also had Jason flying - who was involved in quite a bit of work in Nepal including the Everest ice fall rescue and post earthquake missions.

To start off with we checked out Tonys chutes. The snow above the chutes was great, but once we dropped in we encountered wind slab which was somewhat disappointing. It was ok again below. Suspected some katabatic winds were in play.

So we abandoned Tonys and headed over to Boil the Billy where we found much better and consistent snow. Did 4 runs in there, a couple of them working the tussock lower down where the sun had started to impact the snow. Had lunch in between, All the while though both the cloud cover and wind was increasing making it more difficult for the pilot as well as the skiing.

Were going to try and land on Beam me up but was too windy there, but got on Chamois Basin instead where it was still not too bad. Snow was very good though even if light was a bit flat. After that good options were running out so we did a couple of quick short runs on Penstock which were also very good but still in flat light before calling it a day.
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
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Oct 14, 2005
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View from my balcony in the morning when it was still clear.
Fog peak in the middle, Niger on the right.
131_Harris_view.jpg


Tonys chutes
136_Tonys_chutes.jpg


Tonys
137_Tonys.jpg


Boil the Billy before the clouds rolled in
139_Boil_the_Billy.jpg
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
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Oct 14, 2005
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Thu Aug 13 - Mototapu

A side agenda to this trip was to see if I could log another 119,000 vertical feet to reach the 3 million vertical feet milestone with HMH. I thought if things went very well I was a chance of doing so. Though after the first few days this was looking quite unlikely so was expecting to have to wait till next year to do it.

But the storms of the first week set up the second week nicely and a run of fine weather meant a few consecutive days out, so it was coming back in the reckoning with just another 13,500 required. But then that run was coming to an end and the forecast for my last 3 days was not good. Based on that I had pretty much written this day off so was somewhat surprised when Broni called to say they were flying. It seemed the forecast northerly change was slow coming in. Looking out to the north there was quite a bit of cloud but south looked clear, so the plan was to head out to the Mototapu, so it was still game on.

Headed out there with Davey and had Frog (Andy) driving up from Queenstown who was to be my guide for the day. As it happens today was 11 years to the day that Frog dug me out of the avalanche on Twin Falls. Josef was flying home today so we were joined by 3 Australian snowboarders.

I figured 7 regular length runs would do the job. It was still reasonably clear with a light wind when we headed up to Mototapu ridge. The snow was generally pretty good, just a bit variable where in places the wind had put a bit of a skin on it so you did need to ready to adjust. As we then got onto Tuohys and Arrowhead the cloud continued to come and go and go and the wind was picking up quite a bit on the ridge so there was no certainty that we could keep going. The snow was also bit more tricky there with a few bits of wind slab, so treaded carefully.

Frog then made the call to jump a little further south to Mt Hyde where I had never been before. Now we were probably closer to Queenstown than Wanaka, so a run more familiar to the Queenstown guides than the Wanaka ones. But Mt Hyde delivered. The wind had dropped momentarily, the visibility was good and better still we had excellent powder - this was a nice sheltered bowl. Nice one Frog! That definately required a rerun which was again very nice.

So having carefully tracked the vertical along the way I figured I was one run away from the target. The other gus were all hanging out for some food, but there was no way I was stopping now especially with plenty of cloud still about. We were starting to run low on fuel so needed to head back to Mototapu ridge.

Skied the run, concentrating primarily on not making any mistakes in the somewhat variable snow and getting down safely. Got down ok, so deal done - 3 million!

Sun even came back out for a bit so opted to have lunch there rather than in the valley. As we enjoyed lunch I watched the cloud descend down the Mototapu ridge which would have prevented further landings, so not stopping earlier was definitely the right call.

Very happy to then call it a day and head back.
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
27,618
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Adelaide
As I was concentrating on tracking the vertical and not getting tripped up in some of the variable snow and as the light came and went a bit I didn't actually take any pics.

Just this one at lunch looking up at the bottom part of the last run.

Actual name of this run is 'No Regrets' which seems appropriate.

140_Mototapu_3million_run.jpg
 
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Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
27,618
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Adelaide
Heavy cloud cover today, so not going anywhere.

Some new snow but sounds like it would be pretty wet.

That's it then for this year. So was good to get those runs in on Thursday.
 

benchives

I forgot how to ski
Ski Pass
Dec 30, 2006
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Well done Heinz not an insignificant achievement and something us folk look towards for inspiration
 

MisterMxyzptlk

Old n' Crusty
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Mar 12, 2002
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Geez Heinz, what were they flying 32 years ago?
Vietnam War surplus Bell Hueys?
Brilliant effort
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
27,618
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Yeah, Jet Rangers and Hughes 500D's.
The Squirrels would have started to come in mid-late 80's and the B2 versions some time in the 90's I think.
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
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Stewart is still over there. Reported a good day yesterday in the North Harris on Fog and Moonraker. Today not so good with poor visibility on Triple peak.
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
27,618
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Not many 206's in the high country... way more H500's in the day.
206's are bog standard in Altitude and weather...
H500's are still a nice bus.

Yep on both counts.
I had almost forgotten the Jet Rangers. Only used them in the early-mid 80's - lacked a bit.
The 500D's were a decent machine - Charlie Ewing had one for quite a few years and there were still plenty about for a long time. They just lacked a bit on seating capacity.
 

Donza

Dogs body...
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Apr 21, 2004
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Yep on both counts.
I had almost forgotten the Jet Rangers. Only used them in the early-mid 80's - lacked a bit.
The 500D's were a decent machine - Charlie Ewing had one for quite a few years and there were still plenty about for a long time. They just lacked a bit on seating capacity.
Most of the 500's got deer recovery in summer gigs.keeping the income fyi.. whereas 206s are better for high tension wire surveys. Blase
206's can't climb.... and can't hover at altitude.....but are great at 3000' puttering along or so cause their endurance is amazing (hence why LAPD use them).
H500's are still my my fave helicopter. However their endurance is nothing like a As350, let alone a B2.
Mind you, a 500 can make you feel ill very fast..... much faster than a squirrel.
 

sbm

One of Us
Aug 2, 2010
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Yeah. Jason from Newcastle is there too. photos @jmanpiper

I've never met Jason, but in one of those weird small world stories, a friend from the central coast apparently gave me his system training board, and it was sitting in my back yard unused for about a year or so! Dunno what happened to it, I think it's out the back of the Sydney Uni climbing gym now.
 
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N0frilz

Addicted
Jul 13, 2015
263
148
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Got told HMH had a spot this arvo for tomrorow, but sounds like ive missed out slim chance they might pull it off...

Fridays looking less windy but the freezing levels coming up...
 

N0frilz

Addicted
Jul 13, 2015
263
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HMH managed to squeeze me onto a group today, awesome day will be back skiing with them again...

Fingers crossed another storm rolls in before I have to fly out in a few weeks.
 
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Kletterer

Thredbo Doughnut Tragic
Moderator
Nov 26, 2014
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Hey @Heinz Have you flown with Methven Heli in the last few years ? The zany pilot with veteran headband still there ?
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
27,618
12,764
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Adelaide
Hey @Heinz Have you flown with Methven Heli in the last few years ? The zany pilot with veteran headband still there ?

Never been with Methven Heli. Apart from a few days in the 80's with Alpine Guides have been exclusively with HMH. That was largely due to the way Paul Scaife encouraged return clients in those early days and that has stuck with me.
 
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