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**** Mt Cook Summit By Andrew Stagg  13/02/2014
Mt Cook Summit Click Image To Enlarge   
Terry Harch leading and Julz McMahon belaying on the Summit Rocks of Mount Cook, NZ. We reached the summit via the Linda Glacier route in January.

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User Comments

With that much tat frozen to the summit, it's probably a good thing that it falls
off every now and again. 

Really atmospheric shot, thanks for sharing. 

With the inclusion of this mountaineering photo it is really great to see the diversification of Australian climbing within the Chocky photo gallery.
This shot has (for me), most everything from a photographic perspective, due the strong human and natural elements incorporated into a well proportioned shot with a great sense of depth.

Dramatic moody scenery; lead climber showing signs of altitude-exhaustion (appears to be resting rather than placing pro?), emphasising the effort involved getting to a seldom visited place; attentive (if not concerned?), belayer, well rugged up conveying the ambient conditions; and enough colour to emphasise the bleakness of location under such conditions; altogether summarising a different genre of the game we play!

Visually the obvious choss quality of the rock makes the amount of tatt kind of understandable, but it is lamentable that the high places are not left in loftier-environmental condition.

I presume that much of the tatt is left-behind abseil anchors, and the 'dead ropes' stuck while parties got off (or are they fixed to facilitate guided clients?), which makes me wonder if the mountaineering fraternity has the same ethical debates about tatt/bolts/fixed gear, that the low altitude climbing mob have?

Congratulations to that team for their successful ascent, and thanks for sharing a snippet of it with us. 

I love the dark clouds in the background. Gives a real sense of foreboding
and danger that's quite appropriate given the location.

Also stoked to see a mountaineering pic up! 

Love the colors and sense of space. Awesome pic. 
I thought, interesting shot, shame there's no climber in view...
Then I read M9's post and thought - what leader?

Half a star off for the leader looking like a rock!

Otherwise amazing photo, great atmosphere & depth - so much scenary
squeezed into what is essentially a close up photo. Looks like a hell of a
mission! Congratulations. 

Duang Daunk
Bloody good shot. Love the tatt. It really adds to the experience in my opinion, especially for those who like a sense of history about the place, as it fits right in there with old pitons, other fixed gear, and even used oxygen cylinders and expired bods for the really high stuff. 

@ M9 - Thanks. It is high praise considering your usual critique of pic of the month.

Yes, that is stuck rope you can see hanging down. We had the same issue on descent and I had to solo back up to recover it.

@ MartyM - I agree, it's disappointing that Terry wasn't wearing colourful clothes; he's usually such a bright guy. But it adds a bit of mystery to the shot that it's not immediately obvious - kinda like 'Where's Terry'.

Here's Julz, Terry and I on the summit:

We were raising money for wounded Australians at the same time. If you'd like to donate you can go to: 
Great shot of NZ alpine weather. Foreboding. The West Coast in the
background in the main shot. A sunny carefree northerly aspect portrayed
in the summit shot. 
MartyM shouldnt you add a star for climber blending to rock - - - 'the climber in his
element, is become one with the mountain, blending into his terrain, knowing
nothing more then the ground he is." 

Big G
Great to see a quality mountaineering shot and anything that replaces that gawd awful aiding nonsense we were lumbered with has to be a winner. 
stuart h
Great to see a photo of the alps on pic of the week.

Congratulations on your climb.

Re M9s questions

This belay(?!) is known as 'spaghetti junction'. The major variations
through the summit rocks intersect here at the base of the first steep
step. Unfortunately this spot, while sheltered, is the worst rock in the
summit rocks.

There is a lot of junk that gets tied to together in an effort to believe that
you have an anchor here. There are a couple of pitons and some big
slung blocks way up the back that are tied in to the other pins, jammed
knots, and the rest of the stuff with old cut-off rope ends and ancient tat.

Part of the lower stuff gets cut out & replaced intermittently, although it
is much more common to tie in more material in a manner that also
incorporates the existing junk and then think light thoughts. Replacing
the ropes on the back pitons would be such a pain that nobody tends to
bother. Personally, I don't abseil from here because the anchor is junk.

Most of the other commonly used abseil anchors through summit rocks
now have a big wire cable and shackle in place to prevent the need to
cut out and replace sling anchors and to prevent the build-up of tat as
seen here.

Especially as the snow level drops melting out more of the rotten rock at
spaghetti junction, it would be good to drill some longer term anchors in
better rock just above and extend them with cables, given the number of
people who do climb through it, but raising this for discussion generates
pretty emotive responses… . I think it is entirely sensible, not least
because it used to be fairly normal just to climb down through summit
rocks but the season where that seems a good idea is pretty short now.

The ropes look like they have been recently abandoned after getting
stuck or they could be connecting spaghetti junction to the much better
anchor high above (since they are there they should be either tied in or
cut out & removed). In general the only material fixed on the route is the
abseil stations which accumulated over time, leading to a few being
fitted with cable slings. Guided or not, everyone just climbs the
mountain. It is a really good day out.

edit - spelling/typo 

Thanks for the clarification post stuart h. 

The rock looks terrible and the whole palaver looks quite cold. You should thinks
about arAps for your next adventure. Better rock and cheaper. 

@ stugang
>The rock looks terrible and the whole palaver looks quite cold. You should thinks about arAps for your next adventure. Better rock and cheaper.

What has that got to do with real mountaineering?
(On both of the dual meanings!) Heh, heh, heh. 

White Trash
Looks bloody cold. 


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