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Mt Buller Ice
10:29:03 PM
Bonjour tout le monde,

I just thought I would mention a route that I climbed last Sunday up at Buller which was seemingly absent from the guide written by Graeme and Geoffrey on this site. Whether this means it is new or not I'm not sure, but it was definately good. I've drawn the line on the relevant topo from the guide (in green obviously) and describe it hence.

Start left of the centre of the ampitheatre and head left and up icicles over first vertical section. Go straight up easy snow to next steep band and through this on ice/drytool moves. Go slightly right up ramp to belay under headwall. Head straight up the headwall on frozen turf and drytooling moves. While this is steep and might not have much gear (especially if its all rimed up) the moves aren't too hard. The route joins "Stonehinge" (I think) near the bolt just before the next belay on a nice ledge on the ridge line. Continue up the easy ridge as for Stonehinge.

This is as the route was last sunday, but I was up at Buller on Wednesday as well and needless to say it was in much better condition, especially on the two icicle sections on the first pitch which made it a fair bit easier. Also there was a 2 inch coating of rime on everything which made finding rock gear (which I predominately used the first time) quite hard.

PS My Name is Nick Herrald, and I was seconded by Rhiannon Palmer.

1:25:10 AM
Nice one. What grade?
7:20:58 PM
I wouldn't have a clue about the grade as such (nor even what system I would grade it under). It was easier than the waterfall in thin conditions, and harder I think than "Way Out in the West", which we also climbed that day. If it was a rock climb I reckon it would be about 14, if that makes sense.
One Day Hero
7:32:14 PM
In Hungary, I tink dis route will get grade P2
7:36:00 PM
You probably knocked the bu##er off around Scottish 3/4.

9:41:08 PM
Yeah it certainly looks it from the amount of rock present!
7:41:04 PM
yes "the mountain was difficult, severe even. But it went."

As Totter would say, "Its one thing to climb Mont Blanc, buts its another thing entirely to climb Rum Doodle."
11:43:03 PM
With the winter climbing season drawing to a close I just thought I'd add to Nick's post regarding activity at Buller over the past couple of months. There has been quite a crew beavering away since mid July and consequently many of the mountain's harder routes have been repeated and a few worthwhile new ones added (insert usual caveat regarding first Recorded ascents here).

In Waterfall Gully the routes Main Column, Guttersnipe and Heat Aches all saw ascents as well as a line well to the left of these. Of particular note among these was Stephen's lead of the alarmingly steep Heat Aches in less than perfect conditions.

In the Amphitheatre area, in addition to Nick's route, Stonehinge and Going Way Out In the West were both led. The bolts on both these routes seemed largely superfluous, due partly to good winter conditions (read ice) providing natural gear and partly to good winter conditions (read snow and hoar frost) hiding the locations of said bolts.

Stephen on Going Way Out in the West (note tied-off icicle at his feet)

A couple of likely new lines were done close to the Enzian lodge, both around 15m high with one featuring fun technical dry-tooling through a slight bulge. Another couple of routes were done in a gully low on the West of the mountain, just to the North of the entrance to Waterfall Gully. These weren't overly technical and given their proximity to the Waterfall they've probably been done before.

Wednesday last week saw Nick and I sneak up for one last run at it before it all melts. We uncovered a sensational steep 90m route that hints at how much potential Buller has for more Scottish-style winter climbing. The route was done in two 45m pitches with the second presenting tricky verglas climbing through several steep bulges.
I haven't had a chance to consult with Nick on the name yet but I'm proposing "Party at the Boss's House?". What do you think Nick?

Nick leading pitch two of Party at the Boss's House?
7:48:16 PM
The name is good Dave.

I should mention that despite the generally thin conditions last Wednesday, there was a thin sliver of ice that you can't see in the back of the corner I am climbing in the photo.

The gear was spaced but adequate. I would encourage any future ascencionists to think about taking pitons, which work well in the generally fractured rock of Buller, rather than a drill.

9:29:35 PM
On 31/08/2005 uwhp510 wrote:
>The name is good Dave.
>there was a thin sliver of ice that you can't see in the back of the corner

I was going to say! That looks truly desperate...very Scottish indeed ;)
4:26:45 PM
Despite appearances, about 80-90% of the tool placements on the second pitch were in ice/turf (the first pitch was crampons off rock climbing at about grade 10 I guess).

Steve and I were back up at Buller on friday in VERY melty conditions and climbed a route further left. It was two pitches with the first about 30m and Scottish grade 3 (Steve is scottish so he can tell these things). The second pitch was about 40m of quite hard, thin grade 4 I think. It was not as sustained as the previous route but in the conditions had much harder moves at the crux. Also there was a lot more loose rock than I have previously experienced at Buller, which might have been due to the meltyness of the day. There was a lot of ice on this route and in colder conditions (when the ice would become usable instead of raining down in big chunks as it was on friday) it would be a highly enjoyable grade 4, instead of the scaryness we experienced. We are calling the route "One in the face" after Steve took some small chunks of ice to the face while on belay for the second pitch.
8:50:41 PM
'One in the Face' indeed but that's what you get when you venture into 'areas subject to extreme ice' but we chibbed the cheese merchant.
Until next year this 'truly desperate' winter climber will contain himself with some desperate Scottish climbing images.

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