The Remarkables is home to New Zealand’s most accessible multipitch mixed and ice climbing, and this year hosts the second Ice and Mixed Festival. The festival, organised by highprofile Wakatipu and Wanaka climbers Ben Dare, Daniel Joll and Craig Jefferies aims to promote winter alpine climbing, showcase new and existing climbing routes in The Remarkables and Wye Creek, plus sharing local knowledge . Funds raised from the festival go to the New Zealand Alpine Club’s expedition fund, which helps New Zealand alpine climbers prove themselves on the world’s tallest peaks. In May Ben Dare made global headlines after a 36-hour mission to save a climbing buddy who fell 90m when they were 6450m up Anidesha Chuli in one of the most remote regions of the Himalayas. Dare said the festival was a celebration of the terrain lying on Queenstown’s doorstep and designed to get more people taking advantage of it. ‘‘The Remarkables, as a climbing area, is another one of Queenstown’s world class adventure playgrounds that’s right on our doorstep. ‘‘It’s so accessible – you can do an amazing day’s climbing, all within an hour or two walk from the skifield carpark. Essentially you can go out and climb some really hard pitches then be back in town for a beer afterwards. ‘‘In the Mt Cook and Mt Aspiring areas you basically get a day’s walk in minimum, then you’ll do your climbing and have to walk out again, which is a big commitment timewise.’’ The festival’s programme was split between instruction and clinics catering to complete novices, specialist instruction for women climbers by female climbing guides and confident climbers looking to step up their skill level. It culminates in a traverse race from Double Cone to Single Cone.
Climbers in action on The Remarkables at last year’s Ice and Mixed Festival. From left are, Steven Fortune , Mattias Kerkman and one of the festival organisers, Queenstown’s Daniel Jol.