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Mt Mannering via Whataroa and Classen Saddles

SW spur of Mt Mannering

SW spur of Mt Mannering

A great adventure ski tour crossing the main divide with a spectacular summit. From Murchison hut ascend the glacier on the opposite side of the valley heading towards point 2178. The glacier steepens at around the 1900m mark to 2000m mark and for us required cramponing. We did this in November with a low snow pack and warmish temperatures.


Once above 2000m easy benches lead  northwards over Classen Saddle. Easy skinning leads up a large basin towards Whataroa Saddle which is incorrectly marked on the map. To cross the divide look for a small saddle about 20m West of point 2442. There are stupendous views from here down the Whymper Glacier, and over to the East face of Elie De Beaumont. Continue reading 'Mt Mannering via Whataroa and Classen Saddles'»

Joie de Vivre Glacier ski tour, Mt Cook N.P.

The col at top Joie de Vivre Gl., Mt Mannering in background

The col at top Joie de Vivre Gl., Mt Mannering in background


A great ski tour requiring a good level of fitness and glacier skills. We skied this late season in mid November in a low snow year.

The Murchison is a good staging point for several good ski tours. The Murchison hut is good and tidy with fuel and blankets and sleeps about 8. It sits high on the shoulder of Mt Cooper and is quite a slog up from the glacier, and the access is subject to potential rock fall and avalanche activity. Hence another good alternative is to camp on the glacier if your access in is via helicopter. However many tourers access this area after hitching a flight to Tasman Saddle which can be cheaper and more frequent; then ski the Murchison Headwall down to the Hut and base out of there in order to not have to carry too much gear. The Headwall to the hut is a straightforward ski after negotiating the bergshrund at the start. The route down tends to the true left of the glacier. Continue reading 'Joie de Vivre Glacier ski tour, Mt Cook N.P.'»

Canterbury Haute Route

Canterbury Haute Route

Great trip, needs a bit more exploring to find the easiest line. The last day was the biggest with 3200+ metres climbing (4000 metres down), on top of that I ran the 15km from Bealey Spur back to Arthurs Pass … hmm, no wonder no one wants to ski with me.
In total 3 days, with nights spent at Waimakariri Hut and Barker Hut (thanks CMC). Amazing weather!
The last day was the most amazing with dry powder on all the downhills.
See the full trip and photos on our facebook page.

Ben Nevis via School House Creek

ben nevis

A trip for the keen of isolated places that don’t mind a bit of walking with the skis on the back pack.

Access: is from Bannockburn via the Nevis valley Road. Drive up Duffer Saddle and drop into Nevis crossing. Stop by the station to ask permission to cross their
land as all the trip is on private property – ph (03) 445 3006 – best to call after 6pm. 4wd car is recommended as the road, even if public, doesn’t get much traffic. Continue reading 'Ben Nevis via School House Creek'»

Doolans Loop ski tour from Remarkables Ski Field

Skiing East facing slopes of the "Doolans", Remarkables back country ski touring

Skiing East facing slopes of the “Doolans”, Remarkables back country ski touring

The Remarkables has many short day ski tours available. One option is to access the bowls to the East of the ski field, an area known as The Doolans. (Note when looking at a topo map the Sugarbowl lift is incorrectly marked…it actually heads up towards Peak 2057).

There are many options here for touring, but a fun loop to do is to head up the Sugarbowl lift, then skin up the ridge to end up just south of peak 2057. Ski down the initially steepish headwall to the more mellow bowls of the Doolans. Traverse south with many options for playing in the rolling back country. There are several opportunities to escape back onto the ridge and into the ski area via broad spurs or gullies. Having said this the Doolans basin is surrounded by a headwall which is a bit steeper than the bowl itself and can be susceptible to wind loading, so choose your exit route according to conditions. Continue reading 'Doolans Loop ski tour from Remarkables Ski Field'»

Two Thumb Range

Approaching Beuzenberg Peak

Approaching Beuzenberg Peak

Ski Touring in the Two Thumb Range

There are plenty of ski touring options in the Two Thumb Range and you can base yourself out of Camp Stream Hut or Royal Hut at the top of Bush Stream on the Mesopotamia side, or, if you want to be comfortable you might be able to use Alpine Recreation’s private hut, if they’re not booked up. Continue reading 'Two Thumb Range'»

Symphony on Skis

Symphony on

Elke on West Hoe Pass

Elke on West Hoe Pass

This is a ski traverse of the Southern Alps from east to west via the following route: Lake Tekapo – Godley Valley – Liebig Range – Murchison Glacier – Tasman Saddle – Tasman Glacier – Rudolph Glacier – Graham Saddle (crossing the Main Divide) – Franz Josef Glacier – Fox Glacier.

It takes about 4 days including travelling time, but you should allow for weather contingency days. Continue reading 'Symphony on Skis'»

Mt Alta – via Rumbling Burn to Buchanans

Descending from Buchanas to Matukituki

Descending from Buchanas to Matukituki


A variation to the Mt Alta tour is via the SE ridge and the Rumbling Burn. There is heaps of varied terrain and a multitude of different route options. We did this in a low snow year but still got plenty of powder skiing in. It did involve a hike on tussock out of the Rumbling Burn which helped vary the trip. I recommend this tour. Continue reading 'Mt Alta – via Rumbling Burn to Buchanans'»

Mt Cook – East Face & Mt Tasman ski descent

Quite a bit has been written already about these two ski descents by Fredrico Varengo, however I wanted to put them in here for the record as they are milestones in NZ ski mountaineering history.

Continue reading 'Mt Cook – East Face & Mt Tasman ski descent'»

Twin Stream – Kai Tarau

more turns Twin Stream

Twin Stream is well known for its rock climbing walls but in winter it has some good and steep lines to be skied.
You can either walk in or fly in; about 4 hours walking vs 5 minutes flying: $0 vs $350 a load. Contact Heliline Glentanner at 0800 650 651 and make sure you ask for a quote including GST, landing fees and whatever else fees apply, they tend to forget to mention it in the quote.

Continue reading 'Twin Stream – Kai Tarau'»

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