blast from the past- Low Peak Speed Ascent

Mt Rolleston Low Peak Speed Ascent/Descent

NOTE -I posted this on Monday, October 20, 2008 on my old blogspot blog

It has been a goal of mine for a while now to do a speed climb up the Otira Slide to Mt Rolleston’s Low Peak and yesterday things finaly fell into place. During the week, after Martin returned to Switzerland, Lukas and I had been at Cheeseman, getting some good skiing in, with a nice 2000m vert day and some great spring snow, skiing down to 1300m elevation a few times. The weather was looking good for Sunday and Lukas got pretty pumped when I told him about the trip. The whole “speed climb” thing its pretty European and I got pretty inspired for this trip after talking with Pierre Gignoux, who withStéphane Brosse climbed from Chamonix to Mt Blanc and skied back down in 5hrs15mins! Now, climbing Low Peak isn’t quite on that same level (not even close really!), but I’m working with what I’ve got (and I aren’t talking about the mountains- my fitness level). Preparation went well, as we carbo loaded while Lukas watched his first game of rugby in the Pub in Arthur’s Pass. We arrived at the car park on Hwy73 just before 7am and we were away running just after. Good progress was made over the rough track and after 35 mins we took skis off our packs and slipped into our ski boots. The low angled apron leading towards the Slide was firm and made for fast skinning until the pitch steepened and we donned crampons. At this point I was thinking we would be lucky to summit within 2hrs (Graeme Kate’s fastest time) as we had been going for around 1hr and still had over 500m vert of the steeper terrain left to go.

2 tiny dots racing up to Low Peak
Lukas, as always, set a fast pace booting up and I scurried to stay close and was surprised how fast we ate up the vert. As we reached the summit my watch read 8:46am- 1hr40min! Stoked!
We were in full race mode, skis, boots, even the silly race suits (like I said this is very Euro, so the suit is a must), so we spent just a minute or 2 on the summit, I don’t even think I looked at the view, and we we off.
On skinny race skis, and with tired legs the pitch felt steeper than I remembered. It was firm and littered with golf ball sized chunks of hard snow. The power slide was in full effect in the upper sections, before finding smoother snow and opening it up a little.
The start of the run back down the Otira Valley
We were back at our running shoes in less than 10 mins where I had stashed some watered down coke. We changed back to running shoes, chugged the coke and were away running again. The down hill run felt good and we made good time, arriving back at the Cheapa Campa at 9:23am.
2hr17min round trip, so pretty happy.
Myself and Lukas back at the parking lot
By Popular Demand-
One of the home viewers has asked to get a run down on the gear used (sorry no photo this time Tim).
Dynafit SR8.0 skis w/ TLT Low Tech, Coltex mohair skins, XP carbon boots, helmet (w/goggles), Buffx2, fleece gloves, Salomon XT Wings running shoes, 20l race pack carrying- light weight shell jacket and pants, Simond Caiman alloy crampons, Simond Ocelot Hyperlight axe, light weight soft shell jacket, first aid kit, steel shove, probe, 700ml water, 1 Peak Fuel, shell mitts. And yes, that ridicules race suit!
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One thought on “blast from the past- Low Peak Speed Ascent

  1. Ollie is dead keen to go there. When tramping late last year he read a book about mountaineering accidents that included one on the Otira Slide, got him hooked.

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