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The day the Caroline Face of Aoraki-Mount Cook was “knocked-off!”


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Author Topic: The day the Caroline Face of Aoraki-Mount Cook was “knocked-off!”  (Read 14 times)
Kiwithrottlejockey
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« on: November 01, 2014, 04:03:40 pm »


from The Dominion Post....

Flashback: A new high for a pair of hippies

Pair's mountain feat one to remember

By TOM HUNT | 11:06AM - Saturday, 01 November 2014

THE BIG ICE-WALL: John Glasgow and Peter Gough became the first to climb Aoraki/Mount Cook's Caroline Face in Novermber 1979. The grueling route was notorious for its spectacular — and deadly — ice avalanches. — Photo: Fairfax NZ.
THE BIG ICE-WALL: John Glasgow and Peter Gough became the first to climb Aoraki Mount Cook's
Caroline Face in Novermber 1979. The grueling route was notorious for its spectacular — and
deadly — ice avalanches. — Photo: Fairfax NZ.


THE SKY turned purple and green when John Glasgow and Peter Gough came down off Mount Cook.

It was November 7th, 1970, and the pair had become the first to scale the Caroline Face of New Zealand's highest peak, also known as Aoraki.

The face had tempted climbers for years. The bodies of John Cousins and Michael Goldsmith, who attempted the climb in 1963, were never recovered.

The mountain had beaten Gough and Glasgow before. The previous year they had aborted a climb, with two others, after a harrowing trip across a crevasse, only to come across a storm.

After that attempt, involving a night-time clamber down a gully, jumping down waterfalls with little idea what was below, they vowed never to climb a mountain again, Glasgow said.

The vow didn't last, and in November 1970 the pair returned.

The crevasse that had hindered their mission the previous year was no longer there.

Gough would say the first day of the two-day climb was the worst, as the face often had avalanches.

The Evening Post would report that the face — “virtually a snow and ice climb” — was one of the greatest climbing challenges in the world.

Its safest route was up a sharp, rocky ridge, but it still had spectacular ice avalanches that could wipe climbers off the mountain, and had done so previously.

They set up a bivouac on a ridge that night, almost 1000 metres from the summit, where Glasgow recalled: “A small avalanche went past 20 to 30 metres below us. You just look at it and hope the big one doesn't come after.”

That night was a meal of tins of stew, chocolate, biscuits, and hot drinks.

They survived the night and set out the next morning into the “crux pitch” — a sheer ice climb and reportedly the hardest challenge they would face that day.

But luck and good timing were on their side. A crack they could climb had appeared in the ice face. Ice conditions were ideal, with the sun softening the ice on the surface but leaving firm ice to anchor to beneath.

With people watching through binoculars from below, including some at the Hermitage Hotel, they emerged on to the ice fields, along the ridge of the mountain.

Crossing the field was “like a roof”, Glasgow said — ice sheets dropping away on either side with nothing of the mountain visible beneath.

They reached the ridge but never bothered with the nearby summit — that had been done before — then dropped down the west face, an easier descent.

“I remember a degree of relief at getting off it,” Glasgow said. “I remember Pete saying, ‘You're a bit of an idiot, Glasgow, but it was good to do it with you’.”

Approaching the Gardiner Hut — at 1,700m on Noeline Rock, above Hooker Glacier — the sun had set and the sky to the south flashed green and purple.

Neither man mentioned the psychedelic sky. “We thought we were just tired,” Glasgow said.

What was really playing out as they re-entered civilisation was the natural phenomenon Aurora Australis.


HIPPIES ON TOP: Peter Gough, left, and John Glasgow after their historic climb. STILL OUTDOORS: These days John Glasgow is a guide in the Abel Tasman area at the top of the South Island. — HELEN MURDOCH/Fairfax NZ.
HIPPIES ON TOP: Peter Gough, left, and John Glasgow after their historic climb (left). | STILL OUTDOORS: These days
John Glasgow is a guide in the Abel Tasman area at the top of the South Island (right). — HELEN MURDOCH/Fairfax NZ.


Back at the Hermitage Hotel there was “quite a furore” over their successful climb. The story was splashed across the front pages of newspapers around New Zealand.

An American woman approached the pair at the Hermitage and asked to speak to their manager. They had no manager, so she volunteered for a day.

She bought a stack of copies of The Press and got Glasgow and Gough to sign each one. She sold them for $15 each and gave the two climbers the proceeds.

“That was our one day of having a manager.”

In the hype that followed their climb, Glasgow would describe it as a “triumph for hippies”.

Both men had beards and long hair, and Glasgow — who would go on to live in a commune near Motueka — was pictured wearing John Lennon-style sunglasses.

“I was using the word in its original sense — someone hip and aware and on to it,” Glasgow said.

Both men are still involved in the outdoors. Glasgow is a guide in the Abel Tasman area at the top of the South Island, while Gough was climbing near Las Vegas this week.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/10688581/Flashback-A-new-high-for-a-pair-of-hippies
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2017, 05:47:21 pm »


from Radio New Zealand....

Extreme skiers conquer dangerous face of Aoraki/Mount Cook

8:56AM - Sunday, 29 October 2017



THREE MEN have completed the first ever ski descent of one of the most dangerous faces of Aoraki/Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand.

Tom Grant, and his two friends Enrico Mosetti and Ben Briggs, skied down the Caroline Face — New Zealand's highest at 2,000 metres — on Friday morning.

It was the last face to be climbed and has been described as the ‘the glittering prize of New Zealand mountaineering’.

Mr Grant says it was incredible to be one of the first skiers down the face of such a wild mountain.

He posted on Instagram yesterday: “Just back down from an unforgettable adventure … First descent of Aoraki/Cook's 2,000m Caroline face. One of the bigger unskied faces around, certainly the biggest thing I've ever skied, truly colossal in scale.”

“The icing on the cake was skiing it in powder most of the way. 3 raps and despite all the seracs in the photo, it was good, clean skiing. Thanks to Ben and Enrico for being such solid partners and for everyone else who supported us.”

But Mr Grant is warning other keen skiers to be careful.

He says the group checked for the weather conditions and made detailed plans about the path of their ski down.


Facebook pages:

 • Ben Briggs

 • Tom Grant

 • Enrico Mosetti


http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/342589/extreme-skiers-conquer-dangerous-face-of-aoraki
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