Fes­ti­val to hon­our dead alpin­ist

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By MARY-JO TO­HILL

De­spite a tragedy last year that claimed the life of an elite New Zealand alpin­ist, this year’s Re­mark­ables Ice and Mixed Climb­ing Fes­ti­val has at­tracted record en­tries.

Tinged with sad­ness, but coloured by hope, the three-day event, which starts to­mor­row will hon­our the mem­ory of fallen clim­ber Jamie Vin­tonBoot, with be­tween 140–160 climbers ex­pected.

In only its sec­ond year, the an­nual fes­ti­val was over­shad­owed by the for­mer New Zealand Alpine Team mem­ber’s death on Au­gust 12, 2013, when he plunged into a crevasse, af­ter be­ing hit by a small avalanche on the Re­mark­ables, just three days into the event.

An ex­pe­ri­enced clim­ber, the for­mer Christchurch 30-year-old left be­hind aw­ife Jes­sica, and baby boy, Mahe.

How­ever, mother and son will be re­cip­i­ents of pro­ceeds from a paint­ing by well-known Auck­land artist and clim­ber Dean Buchanan, which will be auc­tioned dur­ing the fes­ti­val.

The fes­ti­val’s Face­book page said, ‘‘We miss you a lot Jamie, and our thoughts are with Jess and all your other friends and fam­ily.’’

Clim­ber and fes­ti­val or­gan­iser Daniel Joll said Vin­ton-Boot had sup­ported the event since it be­gan in 2012. It brought to­gether a cross-sec­tion of climbers from around New Zealand and the world.

‘‘In gen­eral we are see­ing a re­ally good in­crease in the amount of peo­ple in­ter­ested in win­ter alpine climb­ing which is very pos­i­tive for the sport in gen­eral. There are also a lot of women climbers reg­is­tered this year which is another pos­i­tive sign.’’

Three new clin­ics would be in­tro­duced this year, in­clud­ing a moun­tain safety coun­cil ‘‘avalanche aware­ness’’ clinic, Earth Sea Sky ‘‘in­tro­duc­tion to back coun­try ski tour­ing’’, and the Bivouac ‘‘learn­ing to lead’’.

A ski tour­ing race, the Move­ment Ski’s Back Coun­try Ski Tour­ing Race, or­gan­ised by ski tour­ing leg­end Erik Brad­shaw, was mak­ing its de­but.

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