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Day 153 Ice Climbing and Glacier Cave

Thursday 12 March

Mt Cook - Tasman Glacier

Epic day. I had a brilliant guide, Dave, who was like a gazelle on the ice, and Mick assisting and acting as my personal photographer. I found the crampons pretty easy to use once I learnt to trust them. Only one small tumble onto the ice when I forgot lesson number one - walk like a cowboy. That is, with a wide stance, otherwise the crampons catch your other leg and trip you up. I can attest to that being the truth.

Me in the ice cave (photo taken by Dave)
Dave my guide and instructor
Mick my assistant guide and photographer

I was incredibly fortunate that there was the opportunity to explore an ice cave. It formed in about January and they expect it to only last a few more weeks. It constantly changes as the ice melts and freezes, and the water runs through it.

The ice climbing was adrenaline pumping. A high vertical wall of glacial ice that I had to first get down. A technique a bit like repelling, with getting over the edge and trusting I wasn't going to plummet to the bottom being the most challenging part. Then the climb back up.

As you can imagine, I loved it all, and the photos can tell the story.

Tasman River flowing out of Tasman Glacier. Aoraki / Mt Cook is the largest peak to the left
The base of Tasman Glacier. The land slip to the left has blocked the Ball Hut tramping route which was one I was hoping to walk.
Approaching the landing site on the glacier

You are going down there! Are you serious?!! Aoraki in the background. Dave and me.

My first descent into a crevasse.
Dave in the ice cave
Me in the ice cave. It started to get very narrow from this point.
The cave is getting smaller.
Dave squeezing through.
That's me. This crevasse and ice wall just a bit bigger than the last one.
Here I am again in action.

I'm nearly there. By this stage my calf muscles were seriously burning.
The celebration at the top with Dave.
Just incredible!

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