It was 4.30pm on Tuesday the 23rd of September, finally the weather had broken and we had a clearing in the clouds with more settled winds. The forecast was bang on and all going well Wednesday was going to bring us a fine day before the next front pushed through.
Andrew Wardell, Alexa Wood, Neil Kerr and I got our gear ready to load and James Ford the pilot loaded Aspiring Helicopters Hughes 500 E model. Before long the chopper was powering up and we were air born over Aspiring Helicopters base and out over Cattle Flat. The view is spectacular looking at the gateway to the Mt Aspiring National Park one way, Wanaka the other and below deer hanging out on lush green rolling flats. We sidled up round the hills as we ascended up the valley and over Goldrush Saddle and up to Black Peak hut. This hut is amazing as it’s nestled in behind Black Peak with 360 degree mountain views and a west descending sun.
The hut is owned by Aspiring Guides and fortunately for us Andrew Wardell does some work for these guys so we were allowed the key. The hut sleeps four and is totally decked out for Alpine Ski Touring, Climbing Trips and Guided Walks with gas cookers, crockery, sleeping bags and essential supplies.
We dumped our gear in the hut, attached our skins and headed out for a quick ascent to the summit of Black Peak to score some wind blown powder. The wind was howling again but the light was amazing as it was nearing 5pm and after an hours grind we had reached the top. We soaked up the view which was unreal, you feel so small and exposed amongst the vastness of the mountains and Wanaka sitting quietly miles away….epic is more the word to describe it. We made fast work of the ski down, the Volkl Gotama and Marker Duke eat this terrain for breakfast. The Duke maybe a couple of hundred grams heavier than other touring bindings but when you’re skiing you can completely trust it and know that it will suck up the biggest of cliff drops.
Neil cooked a mean dinner and we warmed our stomachs with a couple of glasses of Scotch and turned in for bed. I woke at about 6.30am to find it snowing, windy and totally clagged in. We had a chopper out of there booked for 5pm, but the worst entered my mind and I thought we would be skinning back to TC. I crashed out for another couple of hours and by 9am it was improving. We made a decision to skin to the ridge and call Aspiring Helicopters and get a weather report. By the time we reached there the sun was out and they confirmed things were on the mend.
Ooh yeah, we dropped in to the front face of Black Peak and skied all the fingers that we have been in awe over since we were lads. Expecting spring corn we stoked to score 10cm of fresh and we all claimed a chute each. The terrain is awesome and we lapped it couple of times before settling on a rock for lunch with our outlook towards Fog Peak and the endless white peaks of the Southern Alps. We lapped it a couple more times before we were all buggered and pushed on for our last skin up and out to the ridge. There was a bit of blood sweat and tears but we made it unharmed. One last moment lapping up the epic view back to Wanaka and we dropped in for some primo turns back to the hut.
The chopper picked us up bang on time and Fordy (pilot) made easy work of getting us back to base. We sealed the trip with a couple of cold pints of Brewski back at Kai Whaka Pai with the outlook to Black Peak.
If you are ever interested in a trip like this then get in touch with Aspiring Guides in Wanaka and they will give you the trip of a lifetime and if you want to try a pair of Volkl Gotama’s then pop into Racers Edge, as I might know a guy that can help you out!