Thursday, August 8, 2013

Remarkables Ice and Mixed Festival 2013




Another year passes, which means it's time again for the Remarkables Ice and Mixed Festival. I'm about as poorly prepared as I was last year, with work commitments limiting recent climbing to occasional rock forays, drytool bouldering at a nearby coastal outcrop and attacking the tall poplar trees in our back section. But, like last year, I'm hoping the festival will kick-start me into action for what remains of winter.
This is the festival's second year running. And if it was anything like last year, August 15-18 promises about as much amp and action as you're likely to ever see in the New Zealand alpine scene. Getting the country's top alpinists together in one place is no easy feat. But that's what Queenstown climber Daniel Joll intended to do with the creation of the festival.
Over the past few seasons, Queenstown has been turning into the Chamonix of the Southern Hemisphere; or, at the very least, a winter version of Auckland’s Quarry. Sustained and technical mixed climbing is taking off. And Joll has been in the thick of the action, establishing difficult mixed lines on what he reckons is this country's most accessible alpine climbing playground.
With a strong sense of climbing ethics, not to mention a keen competitive streak and healthy dose of overseas experience, Joll is pushing for mixed grades to keep increasing here. He reckons New Zealand has heaps of suitable terrain, both on the lower and higher mountains.
By bringing together the top winter alpine climbers in New Zealand, Joll sees the festival as a means of advancing and promoting modern mixed climbing.
'I'm keen to showcase the new and existing route potential on the Remarks. It's New Zealand's most accessible multi-pitch winter training area, and a great place to build skills for the higher mountains.'
The festival concept has a European feel to it, with prizes for hardest first ascent and hardest repeat, along with a race along the Remarkables grand traverse. Joll doesn't shy away from the competitive slant. 'What's wrong with some healthy competition?' he says. 'If it helps people Improve their grades or inspires them further, then surely that's a good thing.'
But, for Joll, it's not just about bringing together the top climbers, promoting modern mixed climbing, and highlighting climbs on the Remarkables.
'An important roll of the festival is to share local knowledge and form new climbing partnerships,' he explains. 'I want to create an environment that encourages new climbers also.'


For me, seeing so many alpinists in one place was a huge plus to last year's event. Up to 115 alpine climbers gathered in the ski field car park at first light each morning, before setting out towards various frozen nooks and crannies on Double Cone, Single Cone, Telecom Tower, Lake Alta and Wye Creek. 18 new winter routes were climbed, ranging from M3-M8. Three ropes were cut in ground falls or large whippers. Courses ran for ice climbing and dry-tooling wannabes. Many of the participants turned up before the festival officially began, so they could get in more climbing. Such was the enthusiasm.
This year promises to be just as full on. All of the courses are fully booked, and those with a competitive streak have been secretly training for the traverse race.

Below is a rundown of this year's event:
Thursday 15th August
Registration & social drinks & buffet dinner 5pm – 8pm. Queenstown Events Centre, Joe O'Connell Drive, off State Highway 6, Frankton.
All attendees must register on Thursday night to be part of the festival.
Attendees will select routes and or areas they wish to climb in on each day of the festival. Once a particular crag or sector has its allocated amount of climbers, attendees will have to choose from a different crag or sector. First in first served. All multi pitch routes will be climbed with teams of three. Where possible a local climber will join a team of two out of town visitors.
Along with selecting your climbs for the weekend you will also register for the dinners and festival talks that you wish to attend. At registration all participants will receive the festival goody bag including special bonus products from our sponsors and some participants bags will also contain spot prizes.
Registration cost covers your entry to all guest speaker talks, slide shows and gear auctions. You will also receive discounts for gear from local climbing shops and FREE BEER vouchers from our official festival beer sponsor Export 33

Friday 16th August
General Climbing Meeting Time : As arranged with your climbing partners
Chicks N Picks Meeting Time : 8am at the top of the Remarkables ski field carpark.
Clinic location Wye Creek ice climbing area.
Ice Climbing Clinic Meeting Time : 7am at the top of the Remarkables ski field carpark.
Clinic location Touch Down area South Face of Single Cone
Snow Craft Clinic Meeting Time : 8am at the top of the Remarkables ski field carpark.
Clinic location top of the Shadow Basin Chair Lift
Mixed Climbing Clinic Meeting Time : 8am at the top of the Remarkables ski field carpark.
Clinic location Telecom Towers West Face just past the Shadow Basin chair lift.

Friday Night 16th August
Dinner from 5pm – 9pm at Queenstown Events Centre Joe O'Connell Drive, off State Highway 6, Frankton.
Slide shows from NZ’s top Alpine Climbers promoting their most classic first ascent.
Learn and hear from our iconic Kiwi mountain climbers about just what it took to climb the first ascent of some of NZ’s most popular alpine faces.
Reminder of times to meet in the morning. Return lost gear to registration. Ask for new route info.


Saturday 17th August
General Climbing Meeting Time : As arranged with your climbing partners
Chicks N Picks Meeting Time : 8am at the top of the Remarkables ski field carpark. Clinic location Wye Creek ice climbing area.
Ice Climbing Clinic Meeting Time : 7am at the top of the Remarkables ski field carpark.
Clinic location Touch Down area South Face of Single Cone
Snow Craft Clinic Meeting Time : 8am at the top of the Remarkables ski field carpark.
Clinic location top of the Shadow Basin Chair Lift
Mixed Climbing Clinic Meeting Time : 8am at the top of the Remarkables ski field carpark.
Clinic location Telecom Towers West Face just past the Shadow Basin chair lift.

Saturday Night 17th August
Dinner from 5pm – 9pm at Queenstown Events Centre, Joe O'Connell Drive, off State Highway 6, Frankton.
Awards Dinner, Festival Party,
Guest Speaker and Fundraising Auction. Dinner from 5pm – 8pm. This will be followed up by a feature talk from our guest speaker. Prior to the talk beginning we will be having a fund raising auction with excellent climbing gear, clothing and associated products available from our sponsors.
Awards are allocated for :
The Macpac Hardest New Route of the Festival (male and female team award)
The Cactus Hardest Repeated Route (clean redpoint or onsight male and female award)
The Black Diamond New Zealand Alpinist of the Year 2013
Major prizes will be awarded for each of these categories.
Brief for the traverse race.

Sunday 18th August
Osprey Packs Double to Single Cone Traverse Race. All those involved in the race meet at the top Remarkables ski field car park at 8.15am. The race starts from the first aid room at the base building for the Remarkables ski field.
Start time for the race is 8.30am sharp.
No one will think you're cool if you fall off and die during the Osprey Packs Double to Single Cone Traverse Race. Use your own judgement and act accordingly. We take no safety precautions, make no weather/traverse condition assessments and expect those that take part to use their own judgement and common sense.

Sunday Night 18th August
Farewell drinks and dinner starting from 5pm at the Frankton Ale House.

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