New Zealand, 2009-12-05

2010 July 6
by barclay

The main event today was a glacier hike.  Actually, a heli-hike, since we wanted to get farther up on the glacier than we could by ice climbing in a single day.  After a short safety into, we all jumped into the helicopter than they circled us up to a couple kilometers up the Franz Josef glacier.  The hiking wasn’t strenuous, but was certainly dangerous, as the English woman who slide 20 feet down a crevasse into an icy pool of water could tell you.  I was impressed with the reaction of everyone on the trip, though:  without a speaking a word, we quickly formed a human chain and pulled her, shivering, out of the clef.  Staying true to her English roots, the first thing she did was apologize about being “too much of a trouble.”  It gave us all a laugh.  Despite our guides self-deprecating introduction (“Just a disclaimer:  I have no mountaneering experience.” “How’d you get this job?” “Like any good Kiwi, I bullshit well.”), he was actually quite a good guide, could spot terrain well, and had received extensive training.

After a couple hours of tooling around serac fields, ice tunnels, and blue ice deposits, the weather turned inclement and we had to be flown back down to the base.  We were all jubilant from the activity and scenery of the day, and settled down to soaking in some glacial-water hot pools, monopoloy, and beers with cheese and crackers.

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