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NZAC Southland Section Annual Winter Climbing Meet

NZAC Southland Section Annual Winter Climbing Meet
Homer Hut
July 10th to 19th 20156

Now in its 8th year, the Southland Section are pleased to host the annual Darrans Winter Climbing Meet, based, as always, at Homer Hut off the Milford Road in Fiordland.

Open to all, this year The Meet will be running from July 10th until July 19th. Registration of interest sooner rather than later would be appreciated. There is a practical limit to the number of people the hut , it’s facilities, and the immediate environment can handle in Winter. For this reason, camping beside the hut is not an option during The Meet. When we ask for confirmation closer to the time, in early June, space will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

The Meet provides an informal and sociable venue where climbers can get together, meet with new partners, perhaps climb in an area they have never visited, and exchange views and ideas on technique and ethics. We view the social side of The Meet as being just as important as the climbing. You don’t need a climbing partner to come along, no-one has ever had any trouble hooking up with one when down there. Please note that The Meet is not suited to those with no Winter experience. It is not an instruction course. Attendees organised their own activities informally . If in doubt, contact me by e-mail.

Going to Homer Hut is a natural choice, apart from being right beside the road, big and reasonably comfortable. The Darrans has it all, “roadside” crags 300m high, huge unclimbed faces as big as anything else in New Zealand, peaks waiting a First Winter Ascent, what more could a climber ask! Given the right conditions, there is also excellent ski touring on offer for the experienced skier, off Talbot or Barrier Knob, or (more rarely) from McPherson Cirque right down to Homer.

Daylight is a bit limited in July, but the weather is often better. Conditions on the cliffs may be a bit less snowy, but will always be “interesting”. No matter what though, there always seems to be a fair bit of climbing gets done, with the odd new route thrown in. Don’t come expecting to climb only on ice. The Darrans is more reliable for traditional (Scottish) style mixed, and can be both technical and serious, so best be mentally prepared for anything. Winter climbing in The Darrans is still maturing, but is on a par with the best on offer anywhere - in recent years we have managed to unearth some superb mixed routes.

If you’re considering coming, you do need to be aware that the Darrans in Winter can be a difficult place, and you might have to wait out bad weather. The road can be blocked by avalanches. Bear in mind also, that there is no nearby rescue team. It is expected that you take full responsibility for yourself. But don’t let any of that put you off, it’s still the best Winter climbing venue in the country.

There is no fee for attending The Meet, other than hut fees. However, due to non-payment by some attendees last year, we have made some changes around the collection of hut dues. This year, when we ask for final confirmation, we would like a $50 refundable deposit made to the NZAC against your hut fees. In return for your co-operation with this, the charge per night will be $15.00. Should you fail to make the deposit, or just turn up, the charge will be $20 per night for members, $35 per night for non-members. In this case, you will have to pay by credit card on arrival at the hut. It is unfortunate that we've had to take these steps after having had no trouble collecting hut fees prior to last year, but all it takes is a couple of folk to ruin it for everyone. So, make the most of it, send us the deposit, and get the special rate.

Registration and enquiries for further information to

Alastair Walker
(Contact for the Southland Section, NZAC)

Earlier Event: 4 July
North Island Ice Climbing Meet
Later Event: 7 August
Snowcraft Grad Trip