HiTAC September 2023

President’s Desk

Kia Ora TAC Members,

Thanks heaps to those members who have had their input on lodge insurance options, especially Alec Heilbron who has put a great tool together to support this and future TAC committees. This tool lists and ranks the risks to the club and some promising solutions to keep the club going day to day if they were to occur.

Well winter is at its end, but with plenty of snow up high on the mountain so begins a promising spring season. The last of Level One snow crafts is due to be completed this weekend just gone by the time this goes out, The volunteer instructors and participants have been fortunate to not use a single backup weekend. Spring brings the opportunity for recent and previous year snowcraft graduates to get up higher than in winter when freezing levels go higher and avalanche risk lower. Slush Summit, a ingrained TAC tradition, is aimed at getting people to the top in ideal conditions turning around on the release or freezing level rise, the weather doesn’t always bring the perfect conditions, so it would be great to have some experienced club members along to take a moderate pace up north ridge and back to support as they combine all their freshly learnt skills for most of them on their first spring snow summit. Lots of “top tips” and just general encouragement has helped plenty of people up in past years. See in the trips section for proposed dates for the slush summit.

It’s great to see the usual mix of experience and confidence from Level one snowcraft participants. The second course which I assisted with, had the perfect balance with a couple of confident “young guns” and some “hardened trampers” both finding their winter alpine legs. I was personally impressed this year the most by the later pushing their skills and nerves to add mountaineering skills to their existing repertoire. I think it is because I could relate to them as when i did level one snow craft some 7 years ago. I was a conservative rock climber and tramper, pushing my nerves and wondering if I would ever get the experience and skills to do a winter summit. Now with a modest few winter summits and testing descents under my belt, I encourage those graduates to get some mileage lower down on the mountain in comfortable conditions and one day you may find yourself in a similar situation..

September Club night is a must not miss event, Especially if you want to be inspired to live temporarily in the boots of TAC Local Peter Leftbridge’s overseas mountaineering recent expedition in the central Asia or even have grand plans to follow his footsteps one day. See clubnight section below for more details:

One important note to our recent snowcraft graduates in case you missed it on the course, The Club owns a mix of ice axe styles for hire so you can find the best style for you before you buy your own. Please be wary of someone telling you “what you need” whether that is a sales rep or club member if they don’t genuinely ask what sort of climbing you intend to do with it. I have often seen new mountaineers fall into the trap of buying a long classic pick ice axe when they intend to do more steep or lighter travel and also seen people buy a technical tool when they may benefit from easily cut steps and leave the walking poles behind in favour of the longer ice axe. As always there is a bit of generational back and forth between which is best, but i suggest you do your own research first. What no experienced club members seem to debate about is the importance of good boots as you continue to hone your skills towards icier and more exposed conditions. They should be your first serious investment if you decide winter climbing is for you, and from my personal experience will make your climbing that much more enjoyable.

As a way to get the average age of our active members down a little, a likely barrier to new members not flush with cash to furthering their skills on the Maunga is sourcing decent boots. I have a spare pair of B3 size 6.5 Boots to loan if anyone wants to borrow them, If there are any other club members happy to lend to newcomers their spare boots so they can try out before they buy, then by all means email me your Name and best contact along with the size and i can create a modest directory.

See you on the Maunga soon

Conrad Murray

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