I didn’t discover packrafting until @ and I moved to New Zealand; once we got into a couple of boats from @, we were both hooked. I knew that my focus for the year was going to be technical mountaineering, but the boats enable so many more opportunities to explore--providing unique perspectives that you can’t get while hiking or climbing on lateral or vertical ground. I had to find a way to incorporate them into my climbing expeditions--but I needed to figure out if it was even possible to combine mountaineering, skiing, and packrafting before heading out on a big trip. Mainly because combining them requires a lot of gear. And for at least the start of any trip, it all goes on your back.
My first winter objective of the season was climbing and then skiing a small peak called Armstrong; the mission occured after @ sent me a DM. We had never met, but he was from Alaska, was eager to climb, and he seemed legit. Two hours later, he picked me up and we started off. The snow sucked and we couldn’t see more than 30 meters (100 feet,) but good times were had.
Another DM from Cameron gave light to a bright idea. He and @ were planning to climb Mount Earnslaw (2,830m, 9,284 feet) and they invited me along. The next morning we met in Queenstown, and I came with skis and packraft in-tow. I’d haul it all in, cache the raft in the valley, climb the peak with the guys, then ski down, and paddle the Rees River out--parallel to the track, but an opportunity to see if my ideas were feasible. The Junkshow began.
Want to see more from this trip? Check out vlog Episode 1. Link in my profile. 📷: @