Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Backyard and Beyond team member: Troy Mattingley

New Backyard and Beyond team member Troy Mattingley has already showcased his photography, filming and editing talents.
Here is his latest work: A short video on the recent trip to climb White Strike on Dasler Pinnacles in the Hopkins Valley.

Troy's skills are a huge addition to the team!

Monday, September 19, 2011

'What We Did With Our Weekend' or 'A New Route In The Hopkins Valley'

I love it when a plan comes together.
The forecast for the weekend was average. Perhaps the narrow window of fine weather could stay open, but in all likelihood typical Spring instabilities would shut it down. Jamie Vinton- Boot and I decided to risk it.
The Hopkins Valley is one of my favourite places in the world. In the last eight years I've been there 70-80 times, maybe more, but I never tire of its stunning mountains and climbing possibilities. Over the years I've formed a bond with each peak. And it seems each new trip offers up more perspective.

Jamie and I planned to have a look at something I'd had my eye on for a while. But the route in question would be committing and, given the dodgy looking weather, I kept a Plan B up my sleeve.
Low cloud and a gusty westerly greeted us. Soon after we reached Dasler Bivouac it started snowing. There wasn't much to do other than climb into our sleeping bags and wait for tomorrow.

The next morning it seemed the weather couldn't make up its mind. We decided not to follow suit so, at first light, started clambering through the beech forest, traversing round into the valley between Dasler Pinnacles and Glen Mary. We were going to climb somthing!
Plan B came into view - a thin white streak running straight up the western flank of Dasler Pinnacles. Never more than two metres wide, and mostly less than a metre, it was as clean a line as I'd seen for some time. Two, maybe three pitches long, it looked amazing. Jamie and I geared up.

Somehow, two pitches grew into five. The ice kept running. We kept climbing. The ground dropped away, pitch by narrow pitch.

At the crux third pitch, the ice was no more than 20 centimetres wide. I struggled to fit myself within the narrow band of rock, thrutching with one tool above the other and crampons wedged in tight. Protection was sparse and, not for the first time, I marvelled at Jamie's leading ability. This was a beaut line!

'White Strike' - 250 metres WI3 M4