Sunday, 12 July 2009

First snow trip of the season

So, been a while again since our last blog. Ah well, this one's interesting.

We took a couple of days off this week so we could spend a long weekend down at the snow, at Mt. Ruapehu (pronounced Roo-a-pay-hoo) ( Had some brilliant weather for three days, blue skies, good snow, not too cold.

The last afternoon, after lunch, we'd decided we were going to hike up the mountain from the top of the highest lift to the volcanic crater. It's about a 400m vertical climb, estimated to take betwee 1.5 and 2 hours. The weather was pretty fine, so we went ahead and started climbing.

At our first stop, after about 30 mins, we discovered it was going to be harder than it looked. We were both feeling the burn already, and less than a third of the distance was covered. There were footholes from previous hikers that day, which made it a lot easier than what it would have been if it was an untracked route.

Rest number two was about two thirds the way up, again, feeling more burn in the legs! By now a weather front was moving in and the wind was picking up. The footholes were quickly being filled up by snow being blown in to them. We could still find and use them, but it was getting a little harder to ascend. The final quarter of the hike was the hardest. The wind was blowing hard now, meaning we were having to stop and crouch to avoid the snow being blown in to our faces and blowing us off balance (not helped by the snowboards on our backs acting like a sail!). It was also a little tougher to find the footholes, and we mostly had to make our own, digging our boots in to the 40degree slope.

We made it to the top eventually, I got there about 5minutes ahead of Jody. I celebrated my achievement by making some yellow snow, which I'd been holding for nearly 1.5hours. The top was the only spot where I was out of site for long enough!

The view was awesome, something we'll remember for a long time. It's our first experience of a volcanic crater, and to then snowboard down the side of the volcano, in nice powder made it all the more worth it!

We'll add some photo's up here when I find time, but for the time being, enjoy the videos.




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