As an occasional climber, people like me make up the majority of climbers in this country. To be an advanced climber demands a level of commitment that most people simply can’t, or are unwilling, to make. Job and family obligations, distance from the mountains, availability of funds and of climbing buddies – to climb a lot demands the alignment of many planets, or the exclusion of most of them in favour of just one.

Although the chances of summiting diminish in winter – shorter days, extreme cold, increased avalanche potential; it’s this time of year that gives me the greatest satisfaction on a climb. When the conditions are right, the pristine environment, the joy of three points of firm contact on steep ground en route to an objective, from a predawn start into the glorious hues of a new day – it’s hard to beat that. Which brings me to the Darrans winter climbing Meet, which offers everything an occasional climber could want.

For a route map and more images


Peter Laurenson is a member of the Wellington section of the New Zealand Alpine Club.

For more images and info about Peter, visit