Late on the final evening of a successful Remarkables Ice and Mixed Festival, luckily not overly hampered by the re-emergence of COVID in Auckland, Sooji Clarkson asked me if I was keen to tackle the SW ridge of Aspiring. This happened to be a long term goal, but also one I wasn't sure I was yet capable of. Regardless, off we set with Sam Stephenson and my brand new bright blue climbing tools.
Despite is being the middle of winter, 16th-18th of August, it had been a very popular climb as conditions were ideal with lovely consolidated ice and snow and minimal avalanche danger. We also struck a perfect windless day and thus did not do nearly enough suffering for our mountain, but instead had one of the best days out of a mountain that you could possibly have!
After tea on the summit, we opted to downclimb the same route, which required just one abseil down the crux pitch and then we were away. Avoiding both the ramp and the extra climbing it would entail on the Bonar glacier at the end of the descent. Sooji even had time to recover two pairs of snow shoes she had misplaced on the Quarterdeck in a storm a few weeks previous.