I just arrived back in Christchurch today after four days in Otipua, a small hamlet near Timaru in South Canterbury. My daughter, her three children and partner have a small farmlet there. I love being in the country and close to the mighty Southern Alps where I spent so many years living and climbing.
As I am recovering from total knee replacements in both legs, I have a lot of time to read. Newspapers have become my favourite reading and the two best adverts I read over Christmas were.
DO YOU WANT TO EARN SOME REASONBLE CASH WHILE WORKING YOUR DOGS ?
That advert embodies what I love about New Zealand, high country, sheep, shepherds and sheep dogs.
The second advert that caught my eye in the Christmas Eve edition of the Timaru Herald advertising air conditioning and telling people not to swelter in the summer heat. The maximum temperature when I read it on Boxing Day was about 14 o C and you could feel the snow and ice knifing through you as it streamed down from the Alps. I am planning to ring the company next week to see if they sold any units.
During the early 70s I lived at Mount Cook and one of my daughters asked me what was my most enjoyable climb. " The South Face of Mt.Douglas at the head of the Fox neve. Anita, that climb had everything. Steep, at the edge of my limits and a lovely route out to Mount Cook over the maion divide," I told her.
The South Face of Douglas. The red line is a recent route called the Albertown direct. We started on the next gulley to the left and when we reached the ridge in the centre,took the left hand couloiur to the top.
I climbed it with Aat Vervoorn, Jim Strang, Colin Dodge and Etienne Kummer one weekend in early January 1973. It was a steep exhilirating climb and was capped off by a quick crossing of the main divide the following day from Pioneer Hut, Pioneer Pass, down the Freshfield Glacier to Ball Hut.
Colin Dodge leading a steep pitch on the South Face of Mt. Douglas. Colin is attired in pink woolen long underwear with a pair of shorts to cover the open fly. Photo: Bob McKerrow
Middle photo: Our party at Ball Hut carpark after the climb. ( l to r) Jim Strang, Colin Dodge, Ettienne Kummer and Aat Vervoorn leaning on an old Oldsmobile. VW and old roomy cars from the 30s were common transport.
Bottom Photo: Aat Vervoorn and Etienne Kummer having a break on Pioneer Pass, connecting west to east. Photo: Bob McKerrow