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  South Island Gallery / Climbing / 2014-11 Porter col route and Middle Peak Hotel on Mt Cook  


Paul and Tom tried to do a Grand Traverse of Mt Cook. The forecast was perfect 3 days out so we set off walking up the Hooker glacier to Empress hut (via Ball pass route, then down onto the glacier and up the glacier all the way). We hoped to do the west ridge but it was covered in rime, so we went up the Porter Col route instead. 13 hours of snow up-to waist deep and a small avalanche that was a bit too close, then 5 pitches of ice up to grade 3, and we got to Porter Col and checked into the Middle Peak Hotel (only 150m vertical from the summit). The next morning the wind was a bit strong and the clag was down and we were exhausted. We sat in the bivi for a couple of hours waiting for conditions to improve, then gave up and descended the Porter Col route. Back at the hut I found I'd got frostbite from sitting around in frozen boots (I'd thawed the outside with boiling water but should have poured some inside as well). Walked out the next day as the NW strengthened, now I can't climb for another month until my toes heal!
 P1050606 'Before' Paul is winning on the alpine explorer look
 
 P1050610 Ball pass track, now with big washouts
 
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 P1050614 First chilly bivi and we're only at 1000m
 
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 P1050616 Down on the Hooker glacier, after the snow had stopped
 
 P1050617 And the weather keeps on improving
 
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 P1050623 Paul approaches Empress hut
 
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 P1050631 Paul and La Perouse
 
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 P1050636 Endless deep snow on the way up the upper Empress
 
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 P1050648 Middle peak hotel at last!
 
 P1050649 Then the spindrift arrived and started covering everything in ice
 
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 P1050656 Bad news--frostbite
 
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 P1050663 Back at Empress hut the wx were perfect, Sheila face in the background
 
 P1050668 Weta
 
 P1050669 More climbers walking in just in time for a week of NWers
 
 P1050670 Looking up at our route as we walked out
 
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 P1050674 Having my frostbite checked out and sharing climbing stories with Dr Price
 

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