HiTAC November 2023

President’s desk

Kia ora prospective and Taranaki Alpine Club members,

My condolences go out to those members booked on cancelled trips of late, and thank you to trip leaders for making the calls to cancel when conditions were far from ideal. You may have noticed a bit of media attention on recent alpine incidents around New Zealand which ended in fatalities. This is a reminder that our chosen sport requires respect for the mountain and is a team sport through and through, to make sure participants get themselves and others home to their whanau at the end of the day. I would like to specifically like to thank Greg Banks, Greg Sharman, Glenys Grant and Stephen Miller and his minions for attempting multiple weekends aimed at getting fresh snow crafters in the alpine in the right conditions for them to grow their skills.

Late October marks the end of the ski season for Ruapehu, but more excitingly for those initiated the start of the alpine rock-climbing early season. If you would like to get inducted into this great pastime or simply learn some basic introductory ropework skills for summer or winter, keep an eye out in the instruction section below for trips aimed at this.

Open Climb planning continues, and if you have helped in the last 2-3 years expect a call soon from the Open Climb Committee to check your availability for the 2024 event on Saturday 10th of February. Also see below for details on next club night around the open climb. If asked by members of the public: all going well, tickets should go on sale in late November/early December.

For those who made it to October’s Club night you were treated to a lot of great images and an engaging speaker – Chris Prudden – keeping many past their bedtimes. Even if you’re far removed from the mountain guiding industry, there is definitely a feeding relationship over the years of club members either going on to become qualified guides or even going on guided trips to maximise their time and experience in short time frames. While I wouldn’t want to jump into the shoes of such guides, as it looks like a lot of hard work and responsibility, you have to admire the people who can guide on a particular route over and over again and contend with the internal struggles of balancing the environmental impact that big tourism brings with the education that can be provided to make sure our natural preserves are in a good state for future generations.

From my personal experiences as a rock climber, sometimes it’s easier and more reliable getting permission to access private land with small numbers than public land. Some club members and I have put our hands up to help with this, and have been informed steady progress is happening in regard to the reopening of some local crags on private land. These private crags are so crucial given our local mountain doesn’t have easy graded bolted climbs and for very good reasons. This can be a speed hump for climbers to progressively develop their skills without jumping straight into the mental, financial and time commitments of traditional climbing. So therefore, keep an eye out on the HiTAC and ACAT website for more updates as they come.

It may seem a long way out to the AGM in early March, but your current committee is proving to be a proactive one and putting it out there now that the club needs ongoing commitment and succession of key committee and non-committee volunteer roles. Keep your eyes peeled for more information on what roles are in most urgent need to be filled from March 2024. It’s not all mahi: there are a lot of social benefits to filling these roles as many friendships are formed also, speaking as someone who has served on the committee for the last six years. One role that hasn’t been an official one, but we have been fortunate to have in the past, is a youth (U25yrs) representative on the committee and it would be great to have one again to keep the momentum going on having a diverse club of all ages and backgrounds for the many benefits it brings.

Conrad Murray

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