Climbing  The longest night

Snow plugging on the Grand Plateau, then a descent via Cinerama Col

Whhhhiz. ‘Whoa, that was too close.’ I pondered for a brief moment whether or not my helmet would’ve been enough to deflect that one. ‘Maybe not!’ As I worked to stay out of Simon and Caro’s fall lines, my overtrouser-shredding bumslide down the steep, slippery scree below Boys Glacier had tracked right, towards the northern moraine edge of Ball Glacier. The trouble was, they kept following me, so I had to keep working further right. But now in darkness, with light snow falling, I stood near the edge of the steep moraine amongst a scattering of boulders. I was at 1,050m and below was a black void I wrongly thought to be about 200 vertical metres between us and Tasman Glacier. In fact, I was just 50 metres above the relatively flat sanctuary. If I’d realised this I probably would have kept going. Fine in hindsight.

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Peter Laurenson is a member of the Wellington section of the New Zealand Alpine Club and editor of FMC’s Backcountry.
For more images and info about Peter, visit www.occasionalclimber.co.nz

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