A POM living the dream Down Under and loving every minute!
Published March 16th 2013
Reach for the sky
Want to experience what it would be like to climb a mountain, but without the altitude sickness and exorbitant expense? Why not try the 'Fox it up: Ice climbing adventure'.
Based at Fox Glacier on the west coast of the South Island, New Zealand, you will start the adventure by getting kitted out with boots, crampons, a helmet, ice axes, a coat, gators and a harness. You will then hop on a bus which takes you to the base of the mountain.
From there, you begin the upward hike to the base of the glacier, where you will pause briefly to fit your crampons onto your boots, put your harness on and pop on your helmet, before hitting the ice.
You will then take your first tentative steps onto the ice. A few sherpas have already been hard at work, carving steps onto the ice for you to make your way onto the glacier but when you're on the flat, the rest is up to you and your crampons.
Once you have found your feet on the ice, your well-trained guide will take your group of four to an ice wall where you get to experience your first ice-climbing adventure. To begin with, you get used to using the front points of the crampons and your ice axe in order to grip to the ice wall. Then your guide will rope up a climb in order for you to scale a complete wall, with the knowledge that if you fall, you will be held up by the ropes and your harness.
Depending on your skill level, you can climb quite a number of ice walls during the 6-7 hours you are on the ice.