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Sunrise, Mount Holdsworth. Andy Carruthers

Chair’s report: 

I recently got caught up in a classic case of confirmation bias.  I was standing outside the hut, map in hand looking at the route we were to travel.  The only problem was when we left the hut we came to steep spurs that dropped away and not the ridge we were looking for.  What's more I was using my new map app on my mobile and it had stopped updating.  It had us 800m from the hut and short of the track we had followed into the hut.  Huts don't move around.  Two hours after first leaving the hut and back where we started, it was time to challenge the assumptions.  What if the hut has moved ... or it's not the one that's marked on the map?  And everything fell into place.  The map app was updating.  We were standing outside an unmarked hut.  And out to the left was the ridge we were looking for.  It seems I'm good at fitting the 'facts' to align with my preconceptions and ignoring the other stuff which doesn't seem to support my view.  Hopefully, being reminded of this will help me on the wandering path to enlightenment.

Speaking of following wandering paths and map apps, the section is keen to have both guest speakers and topics of interest at section nights. Not much of a segue but wait ... one proposed topic is a session on map apps!  Keep an eye on the section night programme for this and other topics.

See you at a Section Night!
Cheers, Keith
Katja Riedel, Ski Touring, Greenland

From the editor

Thanks to Eva for the photos of her West Coast trip. I have a report from my Lake Fohn trip in Mount Aspiring National Park.

Last week Bob McKerrow took us on a journey into "The Early History of South Westland Mountaineering", thank you for a great night of story telling and for the members who were able to come along.

We have information about the upcoming Snow craft courses below, I expect these will fill up fast, so get in quick.

Reel Rock was a great success selling out, I hope you got to enjoy it. 

Banff tickets will go on sale soon. The two confirmed dates are 19th and 27th May.

Please email any photos from your recent adventures, tag @nzacwellington on Instagram or share to our facebook page we love to share what members have been up to.


In this Vertigo
To view past Vertigo's and notices click this link 
Jon Dallimore, Ngauruhoe peering through the crowds, Mt Tongariro

Section News

Gear Hire

We are looking for a new gear custodian, if you would like to find out more please reply to this email.

No gear can be hired until we have a new gear custodian.

The Section has gear for hire: avalanche transceivers, ice axes, shovels, stakes, hammers, helmets, crampons, probes, PLBs, ice hammers (entry level). Each item costs $5 per week with the exception of PLBs – PLBs are free but require a deposit of $50 refundable on return. 

InReach for hire
We suggest that all climbing parties carry a PLB as well as the InReach. If there is demand the section will purchase another one or two. The benefit of the InReach is that you can send and receive text messages, receive weather forecasts, and send an SOS in an emergency.
The InReach comes with 3 preset messages: 1. Delayed but everything is ok; 2. Starting our trip now; 3. This is where we are. Messages received from the InReach include a link that can be used to see the location. When hiring the InReach you need to provide an email address that will receive the messages and also advise if you’d like to adjust the preset messages.
The InReach can be paired using bluetooth to a Smartphone which has the Earthmate app loaded. This makes it much easier to type in messages. We recommend that you take a powerpack to keep the device charged and also only turn the InReach on when you need to use it to save battery power.
There’s a $50 deposit for hiring the InReach and a hire charge of $20 / weekend.
Additional charges will be incurred if you request weather forecasts or
use non-preset messaging. 


Section nights
All scheduling is subject to Covid Level status, but at time of writing it is as below. Remember, our venue is now the Guest Room at the Southern Cross Tavern,
39 Abel Smith Street, from 6pm.

Tues 20th April , Les Molloy, Patron of the
Federated Mountain Clubs, will present mountain wilderness in NZ and the series of trips he did long ago in the Olivines. 

If you would like to make a presentation at a future Section night, or have a suggestion about someone else to present, please let Juergen know

Video recording of October Section night , Paul Maxim and Geoffroy Lamarche presenting climbing in the
European Alps, including Mont Blanc. video link

Accommodation on Mt Ruapehu
Our snowcraft courses for the past few years have been run out of the
Manawatu Tramping and Skiing Club lodge on Whakapapa. We’re always
made to feel welcome and the lodge is well situated a short walk from the top of the Bruce Road. Membership to the club is extremely reasonable - $35 per year or $50 for a family membership. Members stay at the lodge for $36 a night including food. If you’re looking for somewhere to base yourself for your winter pursuits or rock-climbing over the summer months go to to find out more about joining the club.

Discounted PLBs offers a 5% discount to all NZAC members for NZ purchases of PLBs. Two brands are on offer - KTI SA2G and McMurdo Fast Find 220 (not always in stock). To use the discount, the coupon code on the website is NZAC05 and the owner, Peter, asks you to send a copy of your membership card to

NZAC Wellington Snowcraft Course Information 2021

These are the alpine instruction courses for you if you are interested in becoming an alpinist. It is a progressive course program consisting of three levels to allow you to gain skills and experience to your level of interest. The full program can be completed over three years. Between the courses you will be expected to gain experience in the skills and techniques taught. The minimum prerequisites are detailed for each course below.

2021 Dates
Level 1 Courses
Theory evening Thurs 22nd July. 
Practical weekend Fri 30th July - Sun 1st Aug. 

Theory evening Thurs 29th July. 
Practical weekend Fri 6th - Sun 8th Aug.

Theory evening Thurs 5th Aug. 
Practical weekend Fri 13th - Sun 15th Aug.

Level 2 and 3 Courses
Theory evening Thurs 5th Aug. 
Practical weekend Fri 13th - Sun 15th Aug

Please note that each course starts with a theory night on Thursday night followed by a practical weekend at Mt Ruapehu from Friday to Sunday a week later. You will be required to leave Wellington by mid-day (this is a course requirement). Course content is subject to change based on weather and other factors.

To register for the courses use this link 



Member Discounts – Instruction courses
Some of NZ’s quality training providers have come on board to offer some excellent NZAC member discounts on their Instruction Courses. Support
NZAC and support local businesses,

check out the member discounts below:
Adventure Consultants 
Alpine Guides

Outdoor Education NZ 
Peak Safety

Queenstown Mountain Guides 
Aspiring Guides

Snowy Mountains Climbing School 
Alpine Recreation

Independent Mountain Guides Queenstown
New Zealand Snow Safety Institute

RAL parking restrictions at Ruapehu
Skiiers be aware. Find out more here.

NZAC Instruction
The section is seeking an expression of interest from members who are interested in becoming a volunteer instructor.  We are looking to put an instructor development programme together.  As part of this programme we have snow craft instructor training coming up next year (see below).  By letting Keith know at we can include you in our planning.
Basic Instructor Training Courses - North Island
Dates: Evening Friday 25 th – Sunday 27 th June
Location: Ruapehu - Tukino Alpine Sports Club
12 participants per course
2 day course (Saturday-Sunday) for new instructors who haven’t attended past NZAC Instructor Training Courses.
Cost: Instruction delivered by NZMGA Guides, overnight accommodation and catering will be provided for all participants from the National budget.

Basic Instructor Refresher Course – North Island
Dates: Evening Friday 25 th – Sunday 27 th June
Location: Ruapehu - Tukino Alpine Sports Club
8 participants per course
1 day course (Saturday) for existing instructors (encouraged to attend not mandatory).
Cost: Instruction delivered by NZMGA Guides, overnight accommodation and catering will be provided for all participants from the National budget.

Backcountry Avalanche Course – North Island
Location: Ruapehu - Tukino Alpine Sports Club
Dates: Evening Monday 21 st – Friday 25 th June
6 participants per course
Designed by the Mountain Safety Council, for climbers and mountaineers to further develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of avalanches and how to avoid them. This will be organised for Volunteer instructors to attend but will be opened to the public if needed to meet numbers to cover costs.
Cost: Amount TBC (likely around $650). Costs will need to be covered by the individual with potential for financial support from the section if the committee agrees. Cost will cover instruction delivered by NZMGA Guides, overnight accommodation and catering.
SHAUN BARNETT, An Icy log, Ruahine Range

Coming Trips, Courses, Events

Covid 19 impact
In Level 1 trips can run and scheduling new trips is possible. In Level 2, not.
With the most recent developments we are not even trying to guess what
happens next. All club actiuvity is a case of ‘watch this space’!
NZAC Central Office has provided some guidance on what’s appropriate,
including being mindful not to take risks that could require a rescue; keeping
track of who you are with on a trip (tracking); following Government
requirements regarding personal spacing, washing hands, etc.
As new trips are proposed we will brief the trip leader on protocols
appropriate at the time.
If you’re uncertain about the skill level required with any of the trips, would
like to register your interest or to find out more, email us at
Also, please contact us if you’re keen to run a trip yourself – the Committee
can help with advertising and logistics.


NZAC instruction courses
Click for more details Ice Climbing Ski Touring High Alpine Skills

The NZAC's nationally delivered winter instruction courses are now open for registrations. These courses are very popular and so early registration is advised.

Leading on Techincal Ice Course - Wye Creek, Remarkables
This course is designed for intermediate mountaineers who are looking to take on more challenging technical ice climbs. It is a good progression from the NZAC Intermediate Snowcraft Course or a High Alpine Skills Course.

Introduction to Backcountry Skiing - Cragieburn.
Designed for confident and competent skiers, this course gives you the skills necessary to enjoy New Zealand's non-glaciated backcountry skiing. 

Glacier Ski Course - Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park
Looking to take your skiing into the high mountains? This course is for competent backcountry skiers who are looking to ski tour on glaciated terrain.

Women's Backcountry Ski Skills Course - Cragieburn - Coming Soon
Join other like-minded women to learn the skills necessary to enjoy backcountry skiing in non-glaciated terrain. Lead by a team of female NZMGA Guides this is a great social course to meet likeminded women and learn new skills.

Backcountry Avalanche Course - Arthurs Pass | Tukino Ski Area - Coming Soon
Develop a deeper understanding of the avalanche phenomenon. This is a must-do course for anyone serious about spending time in the alpine environment. 

Trip Reports

Lake Fohn Mount Aspiring, Photo Grant Pritchard

A Cold Night Out

Lake Fohn Mount Aspiring National Park
Words and photographs – Andy Carruthers

This trip had been on my list for a few years. I had been on the Routeburn a few times recently and did a Rees Dart family tramp as a teenager.

I had met a few folks who had done the route, all raved about the amazing country. After reading Geoff Spearpoints “The Great Unknown” a gift from my father in law I was inspired to reach deeper into the backcountry. The 5 Passes doesn’t come close to Geoff’s incredible trips but we all have to start somewhere. click here to read the full story


Ballroom Overhang - Fox River Eva Duncan

South Island Tour

Photos from Eva's tour including Fox River, Mount Tuhua and Shotwell Slabs click here to see the photos 

Julian, The Shit Weasel Summits, Angelus

Section Contacts

Powered by volunteers
We’re always thankful for volunteers and members stepping forward to help the section run smoothly. A lot goes on to keep our club going, virtually all powered by volunteers.
On the back page is our ‘Club on a page’ summary. It gives an at a glance description of all the things we do, how and why. Feel free to print a copy and pass it on to anyone who might be interested in becoming a member or volunteer. And if you’d like to learn more about how you could get involved, please email us at

Role Name Contact

Acting Chair,
Keith Munro 
Treasurer  Eva Duncan 

Keith Munro 

Gear custodian

Trip coordinator 
Adam Power 
Vertigo   Andy Carruthers 
Section nights  Peter Laurenson 
Banff  Emma Hayward 
Photo comp   Guy Dubuis 
Social media   Sam Brown  
Patron  John Nankervis  
General Committee Carolyn OShaughnessy
Richard Graham
Stephen Hunt
Jurgen Oesterle

Getting to know the members

Here are a few questions to answer and share with the club, email your answers for future newsletters.

Andy Carruthers Member and Editor
  • Who is your hero? Superman, I would love to be able to fly
  • If you could live anywhere, where would it be? I love Wellington you can't beat it on a good day and it's a short drive or flight to the mountains
  • What is your biggest fear? My kids getting badly hurt
  • What is your favourite mountain? Mount Tasman is very impressive
  • What really makes you angry? People littering 
  • What motivates you to spend time in the mountains? The feeling of freedom, adventure and relaxation. The mountains are beautiful.
  • What is a cool adventure you have done? A few years ago we did a Kaimanawa Kawaka traverse over a weekend
  • What is your favourite book to read? The Great Unknown by Geoff Spearpoint
  • What makes you laugh the most? Love a good joke, especially when told by my 11 year old 
  • What was the last movie you went to? What did you think? Shadow In The Cloud, It was a good watch, 3 out of 4 stars

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