Mike Christianson • New Zealand • February 2003

Mike Christianson, from Bozeman, Montana, joined Mark for a week of climbing in New Zealand's Southern Alps. We based ourselves out of the Centennial Hut, on the neve of the Franz Josef Glacier. From here, we did a number of ascents before hiking out to the Chancellor Hut. Laurie Andrews and Kathy were also with us at the Centennial Hut for part of our time there. For more photos of the area see the page we put together for Laurie.

Other Recent Trips


Mike readies himself the the spectacular helicopter ride in. The chopper dropped us off only about 3 minutes from the hut.


The Centennial Hut looking down the Franz Josef Glacier. If it were clear below, we would be able to see the breakers of the Tasman Sea, crashing on a sandy beach.


The first climb we did was of Aurora, the peak seen here. We started up the rock ridge just above the 2 climbers and traversed the crest to the summit. Descent was by the easier snow and glacier facing us. By the looks of some of the precariously balanced rocks on the ridge crest, it would appear that the climb is very rarely done.


Mike climbing on Aurora's West Ridge.


The Aurora summit photo. The Minarets can be seen behind. We climbed these peaks 2 days later.


Mount Jervois. The NW ridge, seen here as the right skyline, is a fun climb rising just above the Centennial Hut. The route climbs over the 3 big steps on mostly moderate ground with a few short class 5 sections thrown in for fun. Jervois was our second climb.


A little "variation" on the way back to the hut after Jervois.


During our week at the hut, we shared it with a training course run by Alpine Guides in Fox. A fun group made for a lively hut atmosphere


A view of the Minarets at sunset from the Hut. The classic climb of the Minarets was our third day's fun.


Mike climbing up the ever-steepening snow on the Minarets. The Franz Josef Glacier spread out below.


Mike, Kathy and Laurie on the summit of the Minarets. Mount Cook (left) and Mount Tasman (right) seen behind.


Hugh Barnard, a local Kiwi guide, downclimbing the steep snow of the Minarets. We shared the route with Hugh and his client John.


On our way back from the Minarets we stopped to explore this impressive crevasse. A nasty sagging snow bridge above suggested that further entry was not a good idea.


One of our last climbs was on Mount Conway. Here, mike frontpoints up the snow slopes of the North Ridge.


On the Main Divide near the summit of Conway. Mount Tasman behind.


On day 5 we headed out to the Chancellor Hut. But en route we scampered up Halcombe Peak, climbing by a narrow snow couloir on its northwest side. About 5 or 6 pitches of snow and a bit of rotten rock to top it off. Great views from the summit.


As we descended to the Chancellor Hut we dropped into the mists that had been covering the coast for the last few days. While we had been enjoying flawless weather up high, the poor folk in the lowlands had been in cloud and showers.


The Fox Glacier drops down an incredible icefall on its way to the plains below. Here, near the top of the icefall, fantastic towers appear through the cloud.


Back in the land of living things. Looking down the Fox Glacier from the Chancellor Hut.


The Chancellor Hut and the lower Fox Glacier. This is the following morning, when the weather cleared and we were able to fly out from here by helicopter. One can, if one so chooses, walk out from here, but it is difficult and tedious, through rubbly gullies and unstable morainal debris. Most folks fly.

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