Mt Cook is the highest peak in New Zealand. The route we did was 6.6 Zubriggen FA 1895. Alpine grade 3+. The route is not that technical, but the condition and weather is quite variable in the area. Before I started this trip, one of my best friend Liu Zi- Xiong has got an accident and RIP at YaoMeiFeng, China. I felt so sad because we are really good friends and he taught me lots of stuff about climbing. Actually we have planned to climb some hard mountains in New Zealand in 2015. Mt Cook is a trip to honor him and I really want to put his photo on the summit.
D1 we started 7:00am from Tasman Car Park to Plateau Hut though Hassat ridge. It took us 13 hrs for 16.3 km and 2000m high in the rain. That was an exhausted day. I got hit by a massive rock fall. It hit my backpack, helmet and jacket and also a wee crag on my bone. This reminded me Liu’s who died because of hit by rock. At first I did not know I got a fracture on my right forearm. I thought that was just a bruise. So we kept going, the ridge was extremely steep and our backpack was very heavy because we carried 5 days food and climbing gear. However we made it to the Plateau Hut.
D2 most of the people in this hut went out to have some training course and we were the only group resting. However, they came by airplane for sure eat 10 times better than us! We dried our gear in the hut, which was a lovely day. Outside the hut it was snowing. The fresh snow means the snow condition won’t be good and very high rate of the avalanche. We decided to wait and allow sunlight to heat up the snow making it scuttle down a bit. A clear sky night would freeze the snow. Start climbing in the night of D3 would be better, we thought.
D3 morning we went dry tooling and had very good time. Temperature was very high, so we heard and saw ice fall and avalanche more than 20 times on that day, which also mean D4 climbing would be safer. So we back to the hut had something to eat and slept until midnight. There we met a guy from local rescue team and he would try the East Ridge the same day as us.
On the night of D3 we started climbing Mt Cook. However one of my climbing partners had flat battery on his head touch. It was fine because the moon came out, so we still can see in the dark. When we arrived at the bottom of the route there was big slightly overhanging ice cliff with semi hard snow. I leaded up and belay them from top. But another guy’s head touch dropped in the crevasse. (So two people no head touches!) On half way, one of my climbing partners lost his crampon. So we had had to give up the summit today. The condition of that day was perfect very icy snow. So there was no way he can climbing with one crampon. I left the photo of Liu behind and started lowering 240 meters/ 4 pitches for descent. Everyone was so frustrated. Back to the hut we heard a bad news, the guy we were talking to last night fell into crevasse and died today on the East Ridge. My friends still want to go through Linda glacier, but I really do not want to push luck. At the end I flew out straight away, no regret.