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chrisbrinleejr

GIVEAWAY TIME! (Round 2!) I’ve been wearing @Revo sunglasses on all of my major expeditions for the past three years; everytime that I’ve introduced partners and friends to them, their reactions have been the same and they go something like this: “These lenses are sooo good!” They are and they are perfect for any adventure--you’ve just got to see for yourself. Now, I’ve got the chance to show you because I’ve partnered with Revo to give a pair away. For a chance to win: • Follow @revo • Like this image • Tag a buddy • Comment your next adventure: what, where, and why. I’ll pick a winner a winner next Friday. I'm wearing the Kash here with Spectra lenses 😎👌🏼 📷: @thewildindiangirl #Sponsored #AspiringToAoraki #ExperienceOurView

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chrisbrinleejr

Since I discovered mountains, rivers always seemed to be a barrier, blocking off parts of the map and preventing safe or easy passage. In New Zealand though, I discovered packrafting, which effectively transformed rivers from barriers into opportunities for new perspectives. The new method of access that packrafting provided gave greater contrast to my alpine experiences, much in the same way that @revo sunglasses create contrast with their exceptional lenses. Put a pair on; the sky becomes bluer, the glare from water is reduced, and everything appears more vivid. It’s a totally unique way to see the world. Go check out my Story on @revo's account to see more expanded perspectives from my last mission in New Zealand. 📷: @thewildindiangirl #Sponsored #AspiringToAoraki #ExperienceOurView

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revo

@chrisbrinleejr here, wrapping up my takeover of Revo’s feed to share my last mission from a year living in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. The Southern Alps feature extremely dramatic relief: most valleys are around 500m elevation or less; while surrounding peaks can be well over 2,500m high. This relief means that alpine snowmelt and runoff often form towering waterfalls which cascade down for hundreds of meters, flowing into large rivers that lead into lakes. These large rivers provide the perfect avenues for packrafting--using lightweight, compact, inflatable boats. @bennylieb and I carried ours over Cascade Saddle with intention of paddling the Dart River out. The boats effectively take a load off your back while allowing for faster, more efficient travel; and being on the water provides a totally new perspective of the mountains and map. When paddling, it’s important to beware of the glare; Green Water lenses cut it down in medium to low-light conditions, making them an ideal choice for river travel on overcast days. 📷: @thewildindiangirl #AspiringToAoraki #ExperienceOurView

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chrisbrinleejr

Ask a kid to draw a picture of mountains; its likely that they’ll create a series of marks that resemble New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Their jagged peaks are pocked by glaciers, painting an aesthetic picture when viewed from afar. To know these mountains intimately though, one must travel by foot from their lowlands; through their thick bush; and into the alpine. What will be discovered then are perspectives far greater than those experienced on a straightforward valley hike. @bennylieb and I set out to discover something expanded perspectives on our final adventure in New Zealand during a crossing of the Southern Alps by hiking and packrafting; I’m sharing moments from our trip on @revo’s feed. Go check it out to see more. #Sponsored #AspiringToAoraki #ExperienceOurView

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revo

@chrisbrinleejr here, taking over Revo’s feed for a couple of days to share my last mission from a year living in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. My good friend, alpinist @bennylieb, joined me in Wanaka, near the heart of the Southern Alps, for a series of traditionally-approached technical climbs (in NZ, meaning hiking in; without the use of helicopters) and alps crossings. We were met with varying definitions of failure and success. In short, it was a tough climbing season, plagued by near-continuous bad weather which left short windows for climbing; variable route conditions, and volatile snowpack. I managed one significant crossing of the main divide with a different team before Benny arrived. Then Benny and I attempted multiple goes at the south face of Mount Aspiring, but succumbed to the rugged Kiwi approaches and heinous conditions. Broken but not defeated, Benny pivoted--opting for heli flights up instead of arduous approaches on foot, and he managed to bag several notable peaks and routes. I pivoted as well--opting to end my season early instead of getting hung up on its improbabilities tied to my ethics of approach. In the three days leading up to our separate returns home, Benny and I opted to get one last mission in together--a crossing of the Southern Alps by hiking over a significant pass and then packrafting out. While the Southern Alps are often known for their incredible alpine terrain, accessing those zones requires steep climbs through the bush, often in wet, muddy conditions to get in place for when the weather clears. That was the case for us while gaining 1800m to reach the high point of our trip on Cascade Saddle. When the sun did occasionally pop through, Blue Water lenses kept the views in check. 📷: @chrisbrinleejr #AspiringToAoraki #ExperienceOurView

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alpacka_raft

These powerful words by Chris Brinlee Jr. illustrate the often unplanned difficulties adventurers confront when things don’t happen as expected on big, remote expeditions. But, on the flip side, just because a trip wasn't what we expected, doesn’t mean it wasn’t successful. Stay tuned as we’ll be sharing more stories, photos, and a film about this trip by Brinlee and his partners, Leigh McClurg, Ryan Colley, and Jacob Moon (who took these photos). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ “The power to pivot: that's what this expedition ultimately represented. During our crossing, nothing really went according to plan. So we adapted, with ease, often and necessarily on the fly. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It's was easy to pivot in the construct of our adventure, when life depended on it (in the case shown here, @alpacka_raft provided a pre-determined and much-needed pivot, relieving our bodies and our minds) - but it is so much more difficult to pivot in the grand scheme of life. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We tend to get stuck on emotions tied to "the plan." Why do we choose what we want and not what we need - choosing to listen to the heart instead of acknowledging logic? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The heart says "finish what you started." Logic says, "it's not working for you, so find something new." There is no wrong answer when choosing the one that's right for you. Acknowledging to that inner dilemma and taking the time to process it is the key to a successful pivot. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand #Mountaineering #ThisIsPackrafting #ExploreNewZealand @thekiwiapproach @pebbleshoo @moonmountainman @chrisbrinleejr

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bennylieb

Cam soloing on Tasman. He was on a #MissionFromGod that day. And it felt like we were nearing the heavens. The oceans down there somewhere in those white clouds... Btw I’m coming home soon, is Trump still President? That would really suck. ⛏🤸‍♀️🤖🧞‍♂️🐢☄️ . . #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @giverjh @eliteclimb @backpackerspantry @4ocean

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bennylieb

@thekiwiapproach, just over 100 meters from the summit of Tititea (Mt Aspiring), climbing the worst quality pitch of ice I’ve ever been on. But hey... it goes. #Yikes #LetsGetOutaHere 😁🤙💃💥🎷🏄‍♂️ . . #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @giverjh @eliteclimb @backpackerspantry @4ocean

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bennylieb

Traversing brittle Ice hundreds of meters up. #Tedious #AreWeThereYet 😁🤙🎸🤸‍♀️🎭 Photo by Cam Or Juju (🤷‍♂️ lol) . . #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @giverjh @eliteclimb @backpackerspantry @4ocean

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bennylieb

🚫 Access Denied 🚫 We’re back early from the Grand Traverse of Aoraki/Mt Cook. Hooker Glacier is in very disappointing condition which is a bummer because Juju and I were super psyched. Accessing Pudding Rock to get to the upper mountain is seemingly NOT possible right now. If you’re planning to do the Grand Traverse soon, or even using Pudding Rock- I would honestly say don’t go. Seriously. You’ll either waste your time or get yourself hurt. Choose a new objective. After the most heinous glacier travel I’ve ever done, we managed to find a way to the base of Pudding Rock which is the key you must unlock to gain the West Ridge. We deemed it inaccessible due to looming seracs, the bergshrund, and crevasses several meters wide with no snow bridges. By heinous glacier travel- I mean teetering/collapsing ice towers, crevasses pretty much every two or three feet- and a thin snowpack just a few feet or less thick over hard blue ice. It was so bad at one point that we named each ice tower we went by to know the way back should we have to bail (Cucumber, Ironman, Broccoli, Knifeblade, etc...). Ultimately we had to bail right then and there. The last “route” option for gaining Pudding Rock, in the guidebook, says “Go Back,” because of how awful the glacier can be, especially given it’s retreat. The icefall sits below 1700m so I see it unrealistic for it to improve this season. This is forgetting to identify the hours of walking under significant rock fall hazard as you traverse the side of Hooker Lake along loose moraine to gain the glacier. Personally, I deem the Hooker Valley currently unsafe. Until regulations change allowing helicopters to the upper valley (there really is stellar climbing up there!)- I won’t be going back to this place. On a good note, on the walk out we looked back to see Aoraki’s Summit in storm clouds at which time we would’ve been on the summit ridge headed for our planned open-bivy, it was also extremely warm and windy, maybe it was a sign ahead of time... 🤷‍♂️😣☠️ . . #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @giverjh @eliteclimb @backpackerspantry @4ocean

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bennylieb

Headed out of New Zealand in 9 days! Jonesin’ about one last go in the alpine with my buddy @ju.poncet ! #BeBackLater 😁🤙🏄‍♂️💥🛸🍻 . . #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @giverjh @eliteclimb @backpackerspantry @4ocean

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bennylieb

Bedtime on the summit of Lendenfeld (3194m). That’s the ocean down below. We didn’t bring sleeping pads on this trip so we scrounged up some old rotten ones from the hut and laid the rope under it.. Cam even carried sheets of cardboard to the summit. Haha! Read about it on my website. #ManCuddles #ICalledMiddle 🤣🎉🤝🧞‍♂️🦍🌚💫 Photo by Cam McAlpine . . #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @giverjh @eliteclimb @backpackerspantry @4ocean

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bennylieb

Cam is really tall and thus us shorter guys need a couple extra moves to get up pitches... he sure does make it look smooth though! #DearGod #MakeMe6’3 😁🙄🤘🏹🍿🍩 . . #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @giverjh @eliteclimb @backpackerspantry @4ocean

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bennylieb

My French counterpart jonesin hard high on the wall. 😁🙌🤸‍♂️💥🎉‼️ . . #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @eliteclimb @giverjh @backpackerspantry @4ocean

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bennylieb

We spent most of the day on Tititea in the clouds, but a few breaks here and there gave a look at why this climb is so magnificent! Huge exposure! 😁🤘👨‍🚀🌤🏹🚀🔭 Photo by @thekiwiapproach . . #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @eliteclimb @giverjh @backpackerspantry @4ocean

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bennylieb

Oh the joy! 😁🤸‍♂️ The summit of Tititea 3033m (Mt Aspiring). Just a couple meters wide with a steep drop of hundreds of meters on either side. The native name, given by the Māori people, means “steep peak of glistening white.” I’ve backed off it several times due to poor conditions and at this point I’ve hiked over 150km (thousands of meters elevation gained and lost) to and from the mountain with my full climbing pack and various partners. A frustrating process! This was a special moment to say the least. Patience, persistence, and the will to climb... 😌🙏💥‼️ Photo by @thekiwiapproach . . #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @giverjh @eliteclimb @backpackerspantry @4ocean

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bennylieb

Why is this man smiling? Because he’s doing some stellar alpine climbing? -Maybe. More so because his last name is McAlpine. 😮 Yes his last name is ACTUALLY McAlpine... No, I’m not kidding... 🤙 I know, I’m totally jealous too. And yes he is pretty damn strong. 🤘👹🤸‍♂️⛏‼️ . . #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @giverjh @eliteclimb @backpackerspantry @4ocean

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bennylieb

I love spending time in the mountains 😁🤸‍♂️👹🧙‍♂️🦕 Photo by @pebbleshoo . . . #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @giverjh @eliteclimb @backpackerspantry @4ocean

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bennylieb

😁🤸‍♂️ ....Engineer Col, coming down off Tasman en route to Lendenfeld summit to grab our bivy gear! . . #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @giverjh @eliteclimb @backpackerspantry @4ocean

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bennylieb

Welp... not gonna make it to #BlackFriday 🤷‍♂️😁 ...btw this photo is entirely unedited, how cool is that?!?! Tasman is the big peak back right, Lendenfeld just below to it’s left. Sunrise is the best huh? 🙌🤸‍♂️ #OPTOUTSIDE #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @eliteclimb @giverjh @backpackerspantry @4ocean

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bennylieb

Shoot your arrows 🧙‍♂️🏹🔮 ...and run that rope out!! #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @giverjh @eliteclimb @backpackerspantry @4ocean

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alpacka_raft

Some New Zealand action from @chrisbrinleejr: "Lately, the freedom of the hills that I once discovered have been replaced by burdens - both physically with the weight of gear required to reach them, and in the metaphorical sense from the perspectives of objective hazard, acceptable risk, critical decision making. This expedition encompanied all of that, to the max. It wasn't until I inflated my @alpacka_raft and entered the river that I rediscovered the freedom in the mountains that I had come to love and know before. Relieved from carrying nearly half of my bodyweight on my back, I gave into the river’s flow - finding power and solace with every paddle stroke. It felt fitting in that moment to have turned my back on alpine climbing and embrace the river - to let it all go; that sense of relief and presentness are feelings that I long for once more. #AspiringToAoraki #ThisIsPackrafting #NewZealand" (via #InstaRepost @EasyRepost)

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bennylieb

Moving upwards in fresh snow and spindrift, a few pitches from the summit ridge. These are the days... 🙂✌️💥🤺 Photo by @ju.poncet #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @eliteclimb @revo @giverjh @backpackerspantry @4ocean

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chrisbrinleejr

Lately, the freedom of the hills that I once discovered have been replaced by burdens - both physically with the weight of gear required to reach them, and in the metaphorical sense from the perspectives of objective hazard, acceptable risk, critical decision making. This expedition encompanied all of that, to the max. It wasn't until I inflated my @alpacka_raft and entered the river that I rediscovered the freedom in the mountains that I had come to love and know before. Relieved from carrying nearly half of my bodyweight on my back, I gave into the river’s flow - finding power and solace with every paddle stroke. It felt fitting in that moment to have turned my back on alpine climbing and embrace the river - to let it all go; that sense of relief and presentness are feelings that I long for once more. #AspiringToAoraki #ThisIsPackrafting #NewZealand

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bennylieb

4

chrisbrinleejr

The power to pivot: that's what this expedition ultimately represented. During our crossing, nothing really went according to plan. So we adapted, with ease, often and necessarily on the fly. It's was easy to pivot in the construct of our adventure, when life depended on it (in the case shown here, @alpacka_raft provided a pre-determined and much-needed pivot, relieving our bodies and our minds) - but it is so much more difficult to pivot in the grand scheme of life. We tend to get stuck on emotions tied to "the plan." Why do we choose what we want and not what we need - choosing to listen to the heart instead of acknowledging logic? The heart says "finish what you started." Logic says, "it's not working for you, so find something new." There is no wrong answer when choosing the one that's right for you. Acknowledging to that inner dilemma and taking the time to process it is the key to a successful pivot. When was a time that you got caught in the battle of the left and right brain? How did you handle it? Did that lead to a pivot? Let me know in the comments. #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand#Mountaineering #thisispackrafting

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bennylieb

Rapping off the summit ice cap of Mt. Tasman at about 3,300m. A nice break from all the down climbing we did. This rap led right into an ice cave! Dangling in space waaay off the deck on the second tallest peak in NZ was one of the cooler experiences I’ve ever had... even if just for a short distance. 🙂✌️ Photo by my partner Cam 🕺#AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @eliteclimb @giverjh @backpackerspantry @4ocean

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chrisbrinleejr

As I hinted in my last post, this has been a tough experience for me to unpack. Even though there wasn't a particular dramatic happening on our expedition that caused an existential blow, this trip - and subsequent failed missions in the Southern Alps - has been a catalyst. Not for ignition of a passionate flame, but for the extinguishment of the fire inside me; it's been slowly burning itself out throughout the course of the past forty some-odd nights. My passion for the outdoors is not at stake; and neither is my passion for storytelling. But my passion for alpinism is at dire risk. Climbing (or attempting to do so) in New Zealand - by the way of traditional, human-powered approaches has made me want to quit. All of it. The struggle of this dilemma is that I have wrapped my identity up in the activity - and I have essentially dedicated my life to it; especially for these last eight months. If I stop now, has everything that I have done up to this point been in vain? I know that I need to pivot, but it's so hard to move away from the precipice of what could be unexplored greatness. And so for the last forty days and nights, I have felt stuck - trapped by my identity and the sacrifices that my career-intertwined-life requires. #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand#Mountaineering #existentialcrisis

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bennylieb

We’re back from SUPERB conditions and weather in the alpine. Here’s Douglas Peak (3077m) south face- Signed Sealed Delivered!! 📩📪 We climbed this route Monday, sadly the only 3 hour storm that came through happened on the upper route 🤣 of course. 600m of steep ice! Truly a spectacular climb! Many photos to come of this and our other climbs. Such a great trip with new friends. A kiwi, French, and American team of 3! We had quite the adventure and even bivied on the summit of a 3000m peak! Finally the weather opened up after a rough stretch the last few weeks. We’re stoked! Time for some rest! 🙂✌️#AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @eliteclimb @backpackerspantry @giverjh @4ocean

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backpackerspantry

Have you been following along as our amazing ambassador @chrisbrinleejr takes on some of New Zealand's greatest mountains? Check out his adventures today, as he and his team climb, ski and packraft across some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. #aspiringtoaoraki 📸: @chrisbrinleejr

1

thekiwiapproach

A few of my favourite shots by @thefunhog and @classy_jack from our overnight trip to French Ridge hut. With a very short weather window we decided to bail on climbing Mt Aspiring but instead took mountain bikes as far as we could and walked up most of the approach to the quarterdeck. Good to get a feel for the area, I’ll be back up there soon 😎 #thekiwiapproach #celebratediscomfort #aspiringtoaoraki #climbing #mountainbike #newzealand #camping #adventure

5

thekiwiapproach

The first blocking high of the season is here and it’s finally time to get back into the alpine. Flying up to Pioneer Hut tomorrow with @bennylieb hopefully I’ll have some summit shots when I’m back! 📸 - @classy_jack @goproanz @eddiebauer

3

bennylieb

Questing 🧙‍♂️🏹⚒🔮📖 Photo by @classy_jack #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @giverjh @eliteclimb @backpackerspantry @4ocean

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chrisbrinleejr

As soon as @moonmountainman, @pebbleshoo, @thekiwiapproach, and I left Centennial Hut, the real adventure began. The guidebook gave a vague description of the route over Graham Saddle, but it was written for travel from the east; we were going in the opposite direction--and it pertained to the summer. We might as well have thrown it out the window, because trying to follow it was pointless at best--and getting stuck on its description, instead of problem solving the route ourselves, would cost us valuable hours, leading us well into the dark. -- This was a challenging, exciting, yet frustrating day; it certainly provided the most experiences that could be considered "adventure." The route contained many unknown variables which required significant problem solving. We made mistakes throughout the day, and had some calls that were too close for comfort, but ultimately the four of us rallied as a team and made it through. Throughout the next two days, our objective was to reach the lake in the background of the last photos--and paddle across. #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand #Mountaineering #skimountaineering #grahamsaddle

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bennylieb

Remarkables Grand Traverse yesterday with @thekiwiapproach and @classy_jack. Such a rad ridgeline! Beautiful views and a stunning setting. Photo by @classy_jack 💥🤺🤸‍♂️ #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @eliteclimb @revo @giverjh @backpackerspantry

5

chrisbrinleejr

Once we made it to the Alpine, our time was characterized by ski touring around and waiting out storms. On the first tour, we skinned up to Pioneer Pass, which was our original planned crossing for the main divide. Seeing it in person though, revealed that it was too rugged for us to ski, so we went back to the drawing board. After spending a day cooped up in the hut, we went for another tour to check out Douglas Peak. We wanted to climb a 600m alpine ice route on its south face, but the storm left it out of condition. Since ice climbing was out, we decided to move up our crossing, and found a new route via Graham Saddle, 9KM to the northeast. We left Pioneer Hut the following morning, and made our way toward Centennial Hut on the Franz Josef Glacier. #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand#Mountaineering

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chrisbrinleejr

After the unplanned heli bump, @moonmountainman, @pebbleshoo, and I arrived to the Pioneer Hut feeling fresh. @thekiwiapproach and @thewildindiangirl were already there, and we wasted no time setting up our touring gear. The weather was perfect so we headed out for a ski - and to scope out the South Face of Douglas Peak which we wanted to climb. It was such a wild feeling transitioning from temperate rainforest to snowy alpine in such a short time. I was disappointed that we flew up, but the feelings quickly passed in my favorite zone: the Alpine. #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand#Mountaineering

8

bennylieb

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” -Robert Frost ❄️ #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @giverjh @eliteclimb @backpackerspantry @4ocean

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chrisbrinleejr

@moonmountainman and @pebbleshoo were practically strangers to me when @thewildindiangirl and I picked them up from the airport in Queenstown. A couple of days later, we were packing in the parking lot of the Fox Glacier, preparing to embark on a mission that would test and challenge us all in ways that bring strangers together--or tear them apart. Stoked to say that this is a story about friendship. 📷: @thewildindiangirl #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand#Mountaineering #skimountaineering

0

alpacka_raft

People just do the coolest things in our packrafts. Good work, @chrisbrinleejr and team. — "Earlier this year, I came up with a crazy idea: cross the main divide of the Southern Alps via skis and packraft. The tough part followed immediately afterward: find a team crazy enough to do it with me. Surprisingly, the three people who I arrived at didn't hesitate to say yes. Over the next several posts, I'll be sharing moments from the expedition that @moonmountainman, @pebbleshoo, @ryaann_c, and I embarked upon, unofficially and lovingly referred to as #TheJunkshow.” @alpacka_raft #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand #Mountaineering #thisispackrafting

6

chrisbrinleejr

Aspiring to Aoraki, Episode 1: The Crossing The plan for the trip was simple enough: @moonmountainman, @pebbleshoo, @ryaann_c, and I would cross the main divide of New Zealand's Southern Alps using every sport at our disposal: hiking, ski mountaineering, climbing, and packrafting. We’d walk in from the West Coast via the Fox Glacier, skin up the Fox Neve, ski across the divide, hike down the Tasman Glacier, and packraft the Tasman Lake and River out--climbing a few peaks by their technical routes along the way. It would be as superfluous as any adventure, but combining disciplines promised to provide expanded perspectives of New Zealand, and maybe of ourselves--and if nothing else, the trip promised to be one helluva junkshow. #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand#Mountaineering

5

chrisbrinleejr

Earlier this year, I came up with a crazy idea: cross the main divide of the Southern Alps via skis and packraft. The tough part followed immediately afterward: find a team crazy enough to do it with me. Surprisingly, the three people who I arrived at didn't hesitate to say yes. Over the next several posts, I'll be sharing moments from the expedition that @moonmountainman, @pebbleshoo, @ryaann_c, and I embarked upon, unofficially and lovingly referred to as #TheJunkshow. @alpacka_raft #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand#Mountaineering #thisispackrafting

47

bennylieb

This is a Kea, the world’s only alpine parrot. A curious, beautiful creature with a knack for causing trouble. They’ll take anything and everything they can- but I guess that’s life when searching for food in the alpine zone. There’s less than 5,000 of them left and they all live in New Zealand. Very cool interaction having this bird run along the railing at the French Ridge Hut to stare down my lens... and I was sure to get away before he tried to fly off with my gear! #Kea #Parrot #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @giverjh @eliteclimb @backpackerspantry

23

chrisbrinleejr

As excellent as the mixed climbing was, and as fulfilling as the routes were as first mixed leads, the best part about the Remarkables Ice and Mixed Festival was having the opportunity to forge new friendships with @ryaann_c and @lucascarpati; these few days only represented the beginning of our mountain experiences together. #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand#Mountaineering #MixedClimbing #alpineclimbing #Alpinism #Queenstown #theremarkables

4

bennylieb

Gaining the ridge. 🤸‍♀️ #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @giverjh @eliteclimb @revo @backpackerspantry

12

chrisbrinleejr

The second pitch (WI3) of Friday’s Fool was perhaps some of the most aesthetic climbing I'd ever done; the experience left me begging for more. 📷: @ryaann_c #MixedClimbing #IceClimbing #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand #Mountaineering#Alpinism #Remarkables

48

eliteclimb

Eliteclimb Salamandra with @bennylieb in New Zealand. Salamandra seems to be the best choice for expeditions- ultralight, durable, warm handle, stiff, precise, wrll balanced, many picks to choose... Great choice proven by opinions of top high altitude climbers.💪👌 ... I ❤️ New Zealand. #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab #10YOn @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @eliteclimb @giverjh @backpackerspantry @revo

1

bennylieb

4

chrisbrinleejr

This was my view from leading the first pitch of the 200m classic M4 WI3 mixed climb, “Friday’s Fool” at the Remarkables in Queenstown. This was definitely the most exposed and most exciting thing that I’ve ever led! The ice was in great shape though; @ryaan_c, @lucasscarpati, and I were feeling confident after a weekend spent on other routes and we sent it! So stoked to take this type of climbing into the big mountains. #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand #Mountaineering #Alpinism #IceClimbing #Remarkables #MixedClimbing #FridaysFool

30

chrisbrinleejr

On the second day of the festival, we showed up to climb one of the Remarkables’ most classic mixed routes, a 200m M4 WI3 called “Friday’s Fool.” Fortunately, there was already a party on the route so we had to turn around--it was steep, and I was pretty intimidated to lead it. The next day, however, @ryaan_c, @lucasscarpati, and I were feeling good; we got up to the route early to ensure that we were the first ones on it. We were. @ryaan_c captured this shot of me leading the first pitch. It was definitely the most-exposed and most-exciting thing that I’ve ever led! #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand #Mountaineering #Alpinism #IceClimbing #Remarkables #MixedClimbing #FridaysFool 📷 @ryaann_c

15

chrisbrinleejr

This is a first-person view of my first-ever mixed climbing lead, a 150m M3 route called “Saturday Morning Special.” A fresh coat of snow had covered the route just a couple of days before; that made finding ice a little tougher, but overall, it felt a bit more “alpine.” #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand #Mountaineering #Alpinism #IceClimbing #Remarkables #MixedClimbing

35

chrisbrinleejr

Last November, Kim Ladiges, shown climbing a WI4 here, along with a few others from the @nzalpineteam climbed the North Face of Cholatse - - 2,000m (6,500 feet) of vertical ice. I was probably staring up at them on the wall the last time I was in Nepal. Of all of the routes and mountains in the world, that’s the one I most desire to climb. Few attempt it, fewer climb it still. Kim, standing before me had; he’d be teaching me how to lead climb ice on the @adventureconsultants course. #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand #Mountaineering #Alpinism #IceClimbing #WyeCreek

11

bennylieb

🚨Last Call for Wintery conditions in the #Remarkables 🚨 Great to get out with @_jamiemarr_ yesterday while the climbing is still so thought provoking. Rad day. 💥🤺 #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab #10YOn @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @revo @backpackerspantry @eliteclimb @giverjh

2

chrisbrinleejr

Ice climbing is an invaluable skill in the alpinists’ toolkit; in many ways, it’s one of the most difficult to develop. The season for climbing ice can be pretty short; conditions are variable; and you need to be a really solid follower before trying to lead. The types of mountain routes that I aspire to climb are comprised of long stretches of vertical ice; so for the last year and a half I’ve been climbing it as much as possible. After 60 or more pitches top-roped or followed, I was ready to learn how to lead. Fortunately, @adventureconsultants Ice Climbing Course at Wye Creek had an opening. We took a heli in from Queenstown, settled into the base camp, and then headed up to the crags--where a couple dozen routes from WI2 to WI5, along with my lead card, awaited. #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand #Mountaineering #Alpinism #IceClimbing #WyeCreek

10

chrisbrinleejr

Three hours after we began climbing the 600m North Face of Mount Earnslaw (2,830m, 9,284 feet), @the_vanman, @hamishsturmer, and I topped out. The views were even better than those from the summit of Mount Brewster--with river valleys, lakes, and jagged glaciated peaks all around. Want to see the ski down and packraft out? Check out #AspiringToAoraki vlog Episode 1. Link in my profile. #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand #Mountaineering #Alpinism #MountEarnslaw

3

chrisbrinleejr

After moving to slow in the mountains on missions past, I knew that with my focused commitment to alpinism would come the need for specialized physical training. Having become familiar with the concepts in “Training for the New Alpinism,” but not possessing the skill or experience to design my own training program, I turned to @Uphill_Athlete--a company founded by the same authors of the book--that offer coaching and training programs designed specifically for people who want to athletically excel at climbing mountains. For the last six months I’ve been putting the @Uphill_Athlete concepts to practice, first through an 8-week custom training plan designed by Scott Johnson; and then with personalized coaching from @blitzkriegbarbie--and now I’m a believer. If you want to get fit for climbing mountains, getting one of their training plans (and sticking to it) is the way to do it. Climbs that would have been exhausting before (like this 600m of gain on Mount Earnslaw in three hours) are easy now. I’ve teamed up with @Uphill_Athlete to giveaway a 24 week expedition training plan, which would be perfect if you plan to climb a peak like Mount Cook, Denali, or Ama Dablam. For a chance to win: • Follow @Uphill_Athlete • Follow @chrisbrinleejr • Like this image • Tag a buddy • Comment what mountain (specific routes are great too!) you want to train for and why You have one week to enter; I’ll pick a winner next Friday. Let's hear about those aspirations! 👊🏼 #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand #Mountaineering #Alpinism #MountEarnslaw #UphillAthlete #TrainingForTheNewAlpinism

24

chrisbrinleejr

After hiking 1,800m (6,000 feet) up with skis on my back (I couldn’t find terrain low-angled enough for skinning because we reached the snowline at dusk--and @the_vanman and @hamishsturmer were bootpacking straight up,) we arrived at the Esquilant Bivy just past midnight. I was beat. Dead tired. So tired that it was hard to find sleep. Four hours later we awoke; miraculously I felt strong and rested. I guess the training was paying off. As Cameron, Hamish, and I climbed the North Face of Mount Earnslaw (2,830m, 9,284 feet) the sun began to rise, igniting the surrounding mountains in a blaze of fire. The terrain, while exposed, was comprised of easy ground; snow slopes were connected by short steps of rock and ice which were exciting--but not enough so to unpack the rope. Want to see more from this trip? Check out #AspiringToAoraki vlog Episode 1. Link in my profile. #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand #Mountaineering #Alpinism #MountEarnslaw

28

chrisbrinleejr

Two bluebird days were forecast before a big storm; on the hike into Mount Earnslaw, it started to feel a lot like summer--except for the 60 pounds of stuff on my back: Mountaineering gear, skis, and a packraft. Fortunately after the first couple of hours I could cache the raft by the Rees River before our 1,800m (6,000 feet) vertical hike up to the hut. It was just a test run, after all. No sense in carrying it all up just to carry it back down to the same place. Want to see more from this trip? Check out #AspiringToAoraki vlog Episode 1. Link in my profile. #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand #Mountaineering #Alpinism #MountEarnslaw

7

bennylieb

Oh jeez I love it here... Chilly morning kept toasty by @rab.equipment. Pants: Rab Torque. Hard shell: Rab Mantra. Puffy: Rab Microlight Summit. (This jacket is all-time, no stitching between baffles, packs very small, unexplainably warm). A nifty kit for a cold alpine morning!! Thanks Rab! Photo by @pebbleshoo 🧞‍♂️💥🤺 #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab #10YOn @cilogear_official @eliteclimb @giverjh @backpackerspantry @revo

4

chrisbrinleejr

I didn’t discover packrafting until @thewildindiangirl and I moved to New Zealand; once we got into a couple of boats from @alpacka_raft, 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 @the_vanman 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 @hamishsturmer 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 #AspiringToAoraki vlog Episode 1. Link in my profile. 📷: @thewildindiangirl #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand #Mountaineering #Alpinism #MountEarnslaw #thisispackrafting

21

bennylieb

Sunrise on Mt French. My first morning in NZ’s southern alps- what a beautiful place they’ve got down here. Very chilly up high, and very warm down low in the rainforest. Pretty cool contrast. Also... our route on the south face of Aspiring isn’t quite ready, we got a look at it on this day. We’ll be back for it soon! #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab #10YOn @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @giverjh @backpackerspantry @eliteclimb @revo

5

bennylieb

@pebbleshoo & @moonmountainman coming up the French ridge at the start of a beautiful sunrise. Not pictured: @chrisbrinleejr breaking trail for the rest of us. 🏔💥🤺 #AspiringToAoraki #WeAreRab @rab.equipment @cilogear_official @giverjh @revo @backpackerspantry @eliteclimb

4

thekiwiapproach

After 5 days on my feet and carrying these all the while it was good to sit down for a couple hours. Even if we were being threatened by a big old storm.. 📸 @moonmountainman #aspiringtoaoraki #packrafting #alpacaraft #mtcooknationalpark #laketasman #newzealand #thisispackrafting

8

chrisbrinleejr

A strong aerobic base is absolutely critical to success in mountaineering; the best way to build that base is through running--lots of running. For the last few months, I’ve been wearing gear from @runjanji during my training for #AspiringToAoraki; I’m stoked to be partnering with them to host a giveaway. For a chance to win: •Follow @runjanji •Like this image •Tag a buddy •Comment your favorite running experience You have one week to enter; they’ll pick a winner on Friday. 📷: @thewildindiangirl #AspiringToAoraki #NewZealand #Mountaineering #TrainingForTheNewAlpinism

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