Friday, November 30

Positive mojo & karma urgenlty needed

Climbers have obsessive and addictive personalities, but on the plus side, can focus really really well!

I knew this beforehand but somehow it slipped my mind and I checked the NZ weather.  And the summary of it is, that it's crap. I will have (as usual) crappy weather, which will probably mean that I will be stuck in a hut, crying my eyes out, without any real chance at even starting a summit attempt to Mount Cook, let alone summiting it.  This brings back the Matterhorn fiasco, where two days crying in a tent ended in us spending the night on a ledge on the Matterhorn (it makes a good story for a long run, by the way).

It also means that I've been refreshing the weather page EVERY TEN MINUTES for the last two days. Add that to my overall tiredness caused by the 14-hour days i've been putting in since Monday, and the two/three coffees a day, and my anxiety level is through the roof. Most importantly, I can't relax at all, and I only get brief bouts of relaxation in the interval between the page refreshes. Of what? Of the NZ weather site, of course!

And of course, even being stuck in a hut becomes optimistic, in that I might not get to the hut in the first place!

30 November
Issued at: 12:33pm Friday 30 Nov 2012
Fine with high cloud.
Wind at 1000 metres: Light.
Wind at 2000 metres: Southwest 40 km/h.
Wind at 3000 metres: Gale southwest 80 km/h.
Free air freezing Level: 1600 metres rising to 3000 metres tonight.

1 December
Issued at: 12:33pm Friday 30 Nov 2012
Rain developing in the afternoon with some heavy falls in the evening.
Wind at 1000 metres: Northwest rising to gale 70 km/h in the morning and to severe gale 120 km/h in the afternoon.
Wind at 2000 metres: Gale northwest 70 km/h rising to severe gale 120 km/h in the afternoon. 
Wind at 3000 metres: Severe gale westerly 90 km/h rising to 120 km/h in the afternoon. 
Free air freezing Level: Above 3000 metres.

Tuesday, November 27

Realization. Part 243.

Just realized that one of the immediate (non-academic) perks of being here for a long(-er) period of time is that not only Suzie will not go on intercontinental flights but NOW I CAN BUY BOOKS!

One picture Tuesday

Spot me! We did this sharp and steep route in the first day. I found it not too hard (easy!) but my teammates found it difficult, so we sort of mellowed after that. It does not look like it in the photo, but it's a loong way down to those crevasses.

Monday, November 26


Summitting Single cone in the Remarkables on Wednesday on ice and snow for a 12 hour summit day, and picking 8kg of cherries (only 4 kg left!) on Sunday. In other words, I'm back for a week and getting psyched to mark my exams and do some research before tackling mount cook next week. It has just dawned on me just how difficult Mount Cook is, having experienced the New Zealand grading scheme for alpine ascents. ah well, in the quiet words of the poet, "suck it up, buttercup!"

As I'll be immensely busy this week, posts will mostly be (glaciated) pictures.

Monday, November 19


Writing on a crappy computer with crappy internet connection. Stuck in the hut due to ginormous snow storms, sun burned, up to my neck in snow, can now do crevasse rescue and hauling reliably, and ice climbed!!!

Heading god knows where in the hills tomorrow. And when I say hills, I mean permanent snows at 2500m. Life is good!

Saturday, November 10


And psyched!!!

Friday, November 9

The Claw, V5, Campground boulders, Grampians

Only posting this up because there are really very few videos for lower grades, especially done by short climbers - although compared to some people, I am not short!! 

Thursday, November 8

Photographic evidence

Of three  four things:

  1. The spaghetti top from Dodo is most cool.
  2. Even though I may be Hulk's sister, those muscles are useless. I cannot start Master Bates anymore.
  3. I CAN hook my left foot to my left hand! (before I only had photographic evidence that I can hook my right foot to my right hand - it's on display in my office) This is an important achievement for an elephant like me!!!!
  4. The reason why I can't start Master Bates anymore is because it's not a HEEL hook as in the photo, but a TOE hook. Go figure. A toe hook would indeed allow one to hold this tiny tiny crimp:

More photos here.

Wednesday, November 7


My version of heaven is a 10-pitch, easy 6b limestone cliff. At the end of every pitch you have the following:

The first pitch has on offer cheese with olives.

The second pitch has a strawberry patch and the strawberries are always in season.

The third pitch has a coffee machine with good Yemeni coffee.

The fourth pitch has Tom yam that is spicy enough for me. Tom yam is also on the fifth pitch.

The sixth pitch has cheese again and some sort of anti indigestion medicine.

The seventh pitch has blueberries and raspberries and they are always in season.

The eight pitch has nothing but edelweiss flowers - they are beautiful and fluffy and nobody picks them because they are so high.

The ninth pitch has nothing and is very strenuous, to make me really work for it.

Lastly, at the top of the cliff there's a cherry orchard. And the cherries are always in season!

Tuesday, November 6

One picture Tuesday

It's been a while since I've taken pro shots of people climbing: here's Marian in the grampians over the weekend:

Monday, November 5

Existential issues

Last week, on Monday, I got promoted. I celebrated with a beautiful bag and we celebrated by going out for drinks and dinner and drinks and dinner!! However, it was all hush-hush for the entire week as all the outcomes had to be discussed with all the applicants. The news did not come out until today, during lunchtime.

Also today, during lunchtime, grant outcomes were published, and I obviously didn't get it. It would have been too good to be true and thus obviously it wasn't. Now here am I getting all the congrats emails but gloomy as to the little minor failure (when, truth be told, it was a chance in 200,000 of

Should I be happy? Should I be sad? I was pondering this, but then I remembered this past weekend in the grampians with the dodo. And I realized that regardless of all the shit and angst that's been going on (and the lack of sleep, mind you -!) I am happy! And life? It is good!

Friday, November 2

The bird!

It has landed! And here is the proof!

Thursday, November 1

9. more. days.

And so much happening until then. Like the bird arriving tomorrow. The bird! Here! In Australia!!! AARGH! Grampians woo hoo!!!

Now, I must admit that I have no idea where I'm going. I mean, I know I'm going to New Zealand. To do an advanced mountaineering course. And then climb mount cook. If the weather holds. And my students give me enough positive karma (or not enough negative karma) to keep me alive.

But I am absolutely clueless as to which town I'm going to (just checked the tickets, it seems I'm flying in to Queenstown) and what happens from there. No fucking idea. I think I will be automagically transported to a place. From which the course starts. And I think there's a book. That I have to read. In between marking zillions of assignments and writing two (TWO) journal papers. And doing course re-design. And climbing. And training. And entertaining the bird. And I think I have to manage a budget. And write an exam. Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows? Who needs sleep anyway?!

And there's gear that I have to buy. Next week. I think. It was on a list. That I made today. When I got halfway I realized it was already two pages long so I stopped adding things to it and tore it and threw it away. Or did I? And we're in the middle of setting up some supercalifragilisticexpialidocious projects for our students!! They will put software into space!! For REAL!!! I think. Maybe. Help! :)

Anyway, what I do know (heh) is that I'm super psyched about all of this!! Even though the last time we went to New Zealand things were not as pretty as I remember them: