Tuesday, 21 October 2008

In search of the perfect plan

Aspiring, no Nelson Lakes, no Mount Sefton, no Mitre Peak, climbing, kayaking, tramping, pancakes!!! Clearly this trip was going to be epic!
On Saturday after lectures finished Dave, Ian and I were due to leave at 6 am from chch to drive to Wanaka and walk into Colin Todd hut on mount aspiring - sleep for a few hours and then have a very long summit day. After all 3 of us slept in a little, and got scared off by a front coming thru we went back to chch to make new plans. After deciding on nothing but still going to each of our houses 3 times to pick up extra gear (and another person Allie) we headed south with the current but ever changing plan of climbing Mitre Peak. After more muking around - getting free breakfast and lunch at r&r we eventually headed off. Sun set as we traveled thru Dunedin so we got to Te Anau reasonabley late. On the way down I had been txting a teacher at Fiordland College trying to hire some kayaks for the trip across to the start of Mitre Peak. Due to the 11pmedness and her being away the request didn't go down very well. So we went to bed not having kayaks and realized it would be very foolish to get all the way to Milford and hope to run into someone there! In the morning Ian felt like being sick so we thought the mountain was really out. So we took the leisurely tourist approach - got into homer hut and then couldn't decide whether to go for a walk up to Barrier Knob, a climb at the Babylon craig or a quick run up the Gertrude Valley followed by a possible climb. In the end the run won out - except Dave just bought 3 ice axes and a couple of pairs of crampons.... so at the head of the valley we started heading up the snow in our cross trainers! We made it to the saddle easily enough, and got some sweet views. Blisters added to the sense of achievment honest! Tip from the wiser here tho - Don't where crampons on running shoes!
Then we drove through to Milford - coasting engineless from the top of the tunnel to almost Milford Sound, took some touristy photos of the mountain we didn't climb then came back to Te Anau.
Then on Monday we had a huge pancake day before going to Manapouri for an afternoon of climbing at the freestone rock craig. Nice 17 called Gardners Edge was done and enjoyed by all. Its Tuesday as I type this out, Pancakes are being prepared and the plan is Ferg for dinner in Queenstown before heading to Wanaka for a walk into Aspiring hut...

A trip into Aspiring National Park 21st - 24th October 2008

Day 1 (Te Anau -> Queenstown -> Wanaka -> Aspiring Hut)
So leaving Te Anau around mid afternoon on Tuesday we drove north,
at Queenstown we visited the famous ferg burger. As always it was delicious!
Arrived in Wanaka just before it got dark, went to my uncles house to talk to
him about this Mount Aspiring business. We then packed up all our junk and took what we didn't need out and drove to Raspberry flat (the road end). At this point it was rather dark so we busted out the head torches and walked for just under two hours to get to Aspiring Hut in the valley. At the hut we had brilliant sleeping positions beside great windows and I spent far to long just star gazing.

Day 2 (Aspiring Hut -> Beven Col -> Colin Todd Hut)
A nice early start with us leaving the hut by half 8, a bit of a slog up the valley got us to a waterfall at the very head for lunch. After this things started to get interesting!
For one we had to get up onto the snow - this involved a wee scramble up some very loose rock with heavy packs on. Wasn't to bad in reality, but the party took a wee while to all get up to the snow a whole 15 meters or so higher. Ian and I took a route to the right on some large slabs of rock covered in snow grass - while Dave took Allie up the guts of the stream. Unfortunately Ian and I were getting further and further away - and it was getting steeper on really slippery snow covered snow grass. So eventually we realized we had to down climb this brilliant stuff, can't say that was very fun - I had crampons on so front pointed down the dirt under all the crap. Got right back down to the bottom then chased Dave and Allie up the creek bed. A lot more uphill following the stream followed until there was a point where we had to climb rock again - Allie managed to loose her gloves at this point, but we were up! Well kinda, we were out of the gully but not in a good spot as far as avalanches are concerned... Dave lead us up a spur that took us higher and up to a very prominent snow arrete. After climbing round the bottom of that we kept heading up - eventually getting up to Beven Col. This overlooks the Bonar Glacier which we then proceeded to rope up for and cross. A steady pace gets us at Colin Todd hut in no time at all.
At the hut is a guided climber, after clarifing what the summit really takes - Allie and I decide we don't have enough experience to safely climb up. Personally for me finding out that there was ice climbing involved on "The Ramp" put me off - this section is always underestimated by seasoned climbers and is the scene of multiple fatalities yearly. So when I heard that my first ice climb was going to be soloing this... I really wanted some more practise before that kind of behavior went on!

Day 3 (Colin Todd Hut -> French Ridge Hut (Via Mount Aspiring for Ian and Dave)
So Ian and Dave got up at 3am and trudged off to climb Mount Aspiring. I went to allot of effort to watch their progress through the window - I saw them summit at 8.30am and start the long decent back to the hut. Allie and I went out for some basic snow craft instruction. Then many cups of tea later and me nervously watching them descend the ramp they got to a relatively safe spot above the glacier. Once they got back and had a cuppa tea they laid down for a quick sleep before we packed up and roped up ready for the long travel up the glacier to french ridge. This was cold! Eventually after finding every bit of uphill possible we could see back down the valley again. The much missed till this point Bum slide was finally realized and so the trip was hailed as a huge success. French Ridge Hut was as always awesome, and we had an amazing meal of pasta, cheese, salami and the brilliant for burnt lips curry powder.

Day 4 (French Ridge Hut -> Christchurch)
With all the best intentions of starting walking by 7am - we got going about 10am and walked down the steep root mangled french ridge. A wee paddle crossing the river at the bottom was pleasent on hot tired feet. A long slog back to the car and then a flat tire + swim in wanaka made the day a tad more memorable...

So all in all this was another epic adventure for all involved, I know I enjoyed myself!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Guitar Hero with a real Guitar

3rd Pro project idea - Guitar Hero with a real Guitar

Playing the popular video game Guitar Hero a person emulates playing a guitar and when they press buttons a note plays in real time in the game. The notes are not defined as there are only 5 colored buttons so music cannot be made. I proposes a harder, more useful alternative - using any real tunable electric guitar and as you play the game you are learning to play the instrument.


Imagine getting your electric guitar, plugging it directly into a blackbox which interfaces with your (PC/Xbox360/PS2/PS3/Wii) inserting a game and playing a guitar hero like game WITH YOUR REAL GUITAR! You could have a minor role jamming some easy riffs with Flea playing the hardstuff... all the while improving your music and guitar skills!

Technical Considerations

  1. Analog to digital conversion
  2. differant pitch/tones of guitars
  3. auto tuning helper thing...


GH is a cultural phenomenon - selling over 21 million units and earning over a billion US dollars.


So as my good friend Justin points out - its been done! The last link is a game that does all I have talked about! Sweeeet!

Monday, 8 September 2008

Kayak Palozza

Murchison Weekend!

I have just had a very fun few days up in Murchison - went up on Thursday with Craig and every river was swollen and running dirty, the Buller was Massive! So it was with plenty of nerves that Craig and I went for our first flood run on the O'Sullivans rapid of the Buller. It was incredibly powerful - we both went down at the same time and both got flipped by a rather car sized wave! We both rolled back up and then attempted to get to the true left of the river - craig was on the left and he made it, I have never had so little to do with where I was going on a river... I was "told" by the Buller that I would like to do the next rapid, managed te eddie out on the side afterwards and life was all G. It just amazed me how in a 50 meter stretch of water I couldn't get 5 meters to the side! We then went to have a look at the Laver Matak which was truley pumping! Mick had just done his afterwork run so we had a chat about possible places to take begginers with all this scary flooding around - he gave very sound advice of exploiting them as shuttle bunnies and waiting it out. Everything was faster and more dangerous. The next day we had a wee lesson in Big Eddie at the campground - fun times had watching Ian practise his roll in the fridgid waters! Later that afternoon Craig and I went to the Lower Mataki with a random kiwi from the campground - had an awesome run - felt really good charging through some rather large holes! As we were getting out Mick arrived for his 2000+ run on the river - we convinced him to shuttle for us and Craig and I ran the river with him and another professional kayak instructor from the nz kayak school. It was wery good to see the control they had - stopping at the smallest micro eddie and S-turning their way down the rapids! Hopefully we didn't embaress ourselves to much - we then got told about the many plans to damn some of the very rivers we had been padling. 
Got back to the campground and the crouds from Christchurch had turned up! So in true UCCC style we got a little roudy. Picnic tables were broken a Mouse made some lewd posses and fun was had by all. Come Saturday we had a bright and early start in big Eddie with everyone going back to basics of forwards strokes etc. After lunch we all headed to the Mangles.
Then a lowers run with Jono, KT, Pat, an English guy and myself was wicked. The pom had a wee swim at the very top of Earthquake rapid... I didn't envey him! I went paddle chasing down earthquake while Jono helped the swimmer. Sweet times that night as well, a mission by Ian and myself involved hitching a dead tree to big brown and trying to pull it down. Fire was all good! Hayley busted out some fire pois later - always fun! Sunday came far to quickly and we went for a nice middle mataks run in the morning - I managed to get my head knocked in a little accident involving a begginner missing the water with their paddle. I then managed to raft another begginer into a hole which we side surfed for a bit before flipping and for some odd reason I held on to their boat under water - ending up us both swimming right above a decent wood strainer! Funtastical! After that we went to the Glenroy - Pat and I ripped it up under Jono's watchful eye, so much fun! A fish and chips smorgasboard and we headed out of Muchison. Sylvia flats hot pools were visited for a good few hours for the debriefing! Brilliant trip all round!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

My epic 21st party plans.

Initially the thought was simple - get a keg and bring it to my house, invite friends and drink it.
Apparently this is not good enough so we have gone back to the white board (literally).
A few key points were identified:
  1. alchohol must be in ubundance
  2. somewhere cool/differant
  3. music
  4. a theme

figure 1 shows the initial battle plan - moving from Uni at 1700 hours to the Karo Flat Residence and meeting the few people who bother to show up. these core people will finish the keg prior to departure. Yes we are leaving! we will take the number 3 bus as shown in figure 2 ot Sumner, where we will walk for a wee way (1/2 an hour max when sober) to the middle gun enplacement on the port hills. There is a carpark there - big brown is magically going to be there with any beverages we want transported + coffee facilities and maybe a tent or two for the week (probly me)

figure 2 - movements and extra ideas
The rather large Red Cross tent shown clearly on the left will not be attending - the pavilion is for official Red Cross events :-(
The RAF which have an Iroquois in the figure will probabley not attend also....
the panzer tank is actually imaginary - it wont be there either.

Figure 3 - Theme: Pirates vs Ninjas
So see you there at 5 or 6pm on Friday the 12th of September - bring a few warm clothes to chuck in big brown for on the hill. 

Monday, 14 July 2008

West coast - In winter!

Somewhat foolishly I decided (or rather got told by Jordan) to go to the coast for some paddling. Hayley and Emily also missed the memo about water temperatures so we set off for a place to crash at Arthur's Pass. This might sound straight out of a fairy tale but Hayley has a friend who works for D.O.C at Arthur's pass who just happens to live in a secluded log cabin surrounded by snow.
He is a bit of a hippy...
He is Irish...
He also plays the Tin Whistle....!!!

Now this awesome cabin has a coal range, which we made apple pie in.
I can't really stress how good this was.... it was incredible!
Sadly our trip wasn't all going to be at the log cabin so we headed to Hokitika and attempted to get flow info etc from the official establishment... miserable failure - so the plan to wing it was made! Now we had heard the styx was pretty mint, and that the further you walked in the harder it gets, so you just walk till it looks perfect...

The wee Honda City tried its wheels at being a 4wd... Didn't quite make the cut in my humble opinion although Hayley might beg to differ!

Getting all ready to go paddling...
Yeah so with all our gear it was what is termed as a "tight fit"!

The walk in is rather long while carrying your kayak too! Emily wasn't feeling so great so she stopped and Hayley and I kept trooping up river.
The track went away from the river for a wee while and the point where we got out looked intense! I was very nervous! Anywho we got in, I loved it! um Hayley had a swim or three and ended up walking downriver a wee bit till it got a bit less dangerous. I portaged a couple of dodgy looking drops... Unfortunatly my little brother lost my water proof tough camera so I have a total of zero shots on the run itself. What I can say is it was tougher than but reminded me of Lower Mataks in Murch and the Hollyford (Falls Creek not the G5+ stuff obviously) in Fiordland.
All in all was a spectacular run! Will be going back - alot!

Hot pools on the way back.... need I say more?

Friday, 11 July 2008

Hami and milly

Aww So I went up to stay at Hamish's house over the holidays - plan was to climb Ruapahue and Ngauruhoe.

In the end we settled for just one of them. Starting at a carpark on Ruaphue we walked through the snow and past this waterfall.

We then got off the track and headed for the plateau between the two big mountains.
The snow was very deep and we had a few large detours to miss big drifts after they swallowed the leader! Eventually we got to a decent looking place to camp on the south side of Ngaurauhoe.

Pretty late to start setting up the tent. The plan for the next day was to climb to the top then camp in the valley at the very top. This is the view from just out of our campsite...

A very fun hour or two later this is the view from the top! It was a really good climb up the south side - nice and solid ice really good for the cramponing made the trip up quick and easy.

View from the top wasn't half bad! We then went into the small valley at the top and started digging a shelter for the tent.

So the shelter just was taking too much effort and the wind was getting up and up... so just after sunset we decided to go down the mountain. So we packed up in the dark and got out the packliners ready for an epic bum slide! 2 minutes later we were on the Tongarero Crossing track on the north side of the mountain. We then tried to follow the track west towards a hut. In the dark and snow the track was rather hard to follow however and we got a little off course. Going down the Devils Staircase off track and procceding to get bluffed out... on the way back up there was a small ice ledge beneath a rock that just looked ideal for a bivvy. So busting out the packliners again, hammering the ice axe on the side as a safety barrier we slept under the stars.

The view in the morning was pretty incredible as well. Watching a few people come up the valley from our perch.

Eventually we got up, found our way down the cliff and back to the track. A quarter of an hour later we were at the hut, then walked back to the carpark.

The view looking back towards the mountain... Mission complete!

Monday, 12 May 2008

The University of Canterbury Canoe Club website.

Hey guess where the kayaking club's website is.
We finally have our own website at www.uccc.org.nz
So add it to your bookmarks!
I plan to add a trips database there so everyone can see what rivers go hard in the south island.
So thats http://uccc.org.nz
woop woop!

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Climbing/Kayaking Expedition South

Epic mission number 2 for the three week break. Went on one awesome road trip.

Day one (Christchurch to Wanaka via Mount Cook) - So the four of us (Hayley, Dave, Hamish and myself) met at the ucsa carpark at 9am, decided then and there to take 3 kayaks from the gear shed so with mine allready there it was pretty loaded! After shuffling some cars around and going back to three of our houses for things left behind we finally hit the road.
First we headed to Mount Cook - Sebastipol Bluffs. I had my first ever multi pitch climb, ok so it was only grade 13-14 but there were 3 pitches and I was leading and it was fun ok! In fact the guide book said that the second pitch was the best grade 13 climb in the south island! Was amazing from the top tho - never climbed so high before! Then a casual scree run in climbing shoes down to the car as dusk fell upon us. We drove through to Wanaka that night and set up our tents on the lake front very very close to town. Got the kayaks off the roof and had a midnight paddle on the lake, including some limbo under a twin hulled boat and a race. Near our camping spot another group had lit a fire on the beach so being cold and wet I figured we should rock on up and make some new friends! Worked a treat - I even was offered bourbon for a go in my boat! Clearly onto a winner, we joined in the festivities at the fire and got out our guitar and drum! One of the people at the fire was absolutely amazing on the Guitar so we were well entertained. After drinking a goon sack of country red (not too bad actually!) we headed to our tents for the night around 3am.

Day two (Wanaka to Te Anau) - 5:30am council security woke us all up proclaiming that we had 5 minutes to pack up our shit and move or face a $500 fine! This was every so slightly annoying especially since all the kayaks were spread out - wet gear everywhere, dinner stuff cookers/dishes all over the place...
Good early start to the day, joy! So we packed up in the dark grumbling a little at our new friend authority and headed out to Hospital Flat (the best climbing crag around wanaka). Set up tents and slept in the car park. Eventually rising to climb in the dusty wind. I optimistically tried and failed to lead a 17, but blaming the wind rather than my climbing gave up to let Dave lead it and then I seconded it on top rope. Good times had by all then we headed back into wanaka where I met up with an old school buddy Glen Victor Collins - it was great to catch up with him. After some subway we headed to puzzling world but couldn't bring ourselves to part with money for the tour or puzzling room... So we sat in the cafe playing with puzzles for a few hours... Eventually we got kicked out as it closed and we had to drive... So a few hours later we get to queenstown - Dave reakons the remarkable carpark is not to bad for camping so we drive there to find that it is just a big gravel car park with no view/grass/trees/anything at all going for it. And its raining! So I mention my house in Te Anau being empty... and after some indian naan and fuel in Queenstown we head to homer street in the heavily laden Big Brown. So beds was better than camping, Dave who had slept outside in his bivvy bag the previous night didn't know what to do with all the comfort!

Day 3 (Lake Te Anau - Lower Waiau) So today we had a proper flat water session in the warm lake Te Anau for Hamish and Dave who hadn't done any kayaking before. Incredibly after a few demos, a swim or 4 from dave, they both got wet-exits, buddy rescues and C to C rolling down! Hamish busted a roll after 3 attemts!!! 3! Insane! on the drive home from the lake I spotted a familliar truk with kayaks on the roof at the holiday park - turns out two mates from the kayaking club were in Te Anau as well, so had a catch up with them and decided they should also come stay the night. Unfortunatly due to a guard rail jumping in front of Emily's car Roy and Emily had to drive into Milford to play mechanic and put in a new radiator. After some sort of epic pancake lunch we played 500 inside until it cooled down a bit - then we drove to the river and went for a paddle! It got dark and cold by the end of the river. Brrr, didn't even jump off the bridge. Still it was a good time! Had stolen my brothers car for the shuttle but found out he had no rope for his roofies.... so annoyingly had to double shuttle back and forth to get my car. More drinking and finishing the game of 500 - with the all important graph! I think two lost mesairs in a row did H&H in, DB claims the victory! Eventually Emily and Roy arrived back from Milford, looked like they would have to go through again to change something.
Day 4 (Te Anau - Homer Hut) Got off to a very early start, an epic pancake eating session with a triple batch all dispatched in no time - I think we left Te Anau for Milford about midday. We realised that we had kayaked in Didymo infected waterways so at the divide we cleaned all our kayaks and gear in freezing water. But then we went kayaking properly! The Hollyford - Falls creek to Marion swing bridge and it was low - very low! All six of us got in at the top - but after a short spell it was decided for Dave and Hamish that they were not quite ready for this technical rock garden river. Can't say I was popular with the two of them - as they were having fun! While we kept paddling they went up to Homer Saddle for a nice view. The kayak went really well - had to portage some of the drops as the river was lower than I have ever seen it. At the main drop a scout showed it could be done but looked a lot more dodgy than usual. Roy and I went down the rapid leading up to it but then pulled the pin and portaged. It was dark by this time due to out timely start and we opted to get out at halfway - the hollyford turn off. Then a run to the car to warm up. After getting changed into warm dry gear we went up to pick up the kayaks then headed to Homer Hut. We got there and Hamish and Dave were not there, we asked one person if they had been around and they said no. So it was assumed that they could not find the entrance which is rather hard to see especially at night. So Hayley, Roy, Emily and I went for a drive around to look for them (and Roy's truck!) Eventually at the tunnel car park spotted the car and a single light a long way up the hill. After a short wait Hamish and Dave got back from a quick jog up to Homer Saddle and we all went to Homer hut to hang out with Derick Thatcher and a few other famous nz climbers.
Day 5 (Homer Hut - Milford - Te Anau) Yay the tourist drive into milford! Had a good look around at the chasm before all the tourists arrived, and went down to the pool at the bottom to hang out for a while. Went for a walk along the lake in Milford and then caught up with Roy and Emily trying to fix Emily's car. Decided that another paddle was definitely called for so we went and did the Guns camp run, a very easy grade I - II paddle.

Day 6 (Te Anau - Wye Creek Queenstown)
Wye creek! Good afternoon of climbing, after a huge walk up the hill to the crag! Dave tried a ridiculus overhang, but wasn't feeling up to it. I lead a few easier climbs (14-15's) with Hayley seconding them all fine. Met some locals who were very helpful and pointed out a sweet place to camp for the night. Dylan Taylor ended up meeting up with us, and Hayley, Dylan and I slept on the beach under the stars.

Day 7 (Queenstown - Queenstown) Went for a climb in the morning - lead "The Mission" a long sustained 16. Was really pleased to finally get to the top. Dave got his overhang. We then headed down and moved from our awesome campsite into a car park at the bottom of fern hill Queenstown. Had an epic night out at Mels engagement party before hitting up another few bars. Would have liked to go to the world bar but Roy was too intoxicated apparently. So Hayley Roy Emily and I went to subculture, which was pretty sweet.
Day 8 (Queenstown - Chirstchurch)
Last day, I went and saw mel in the morning. Lunch with my Mum and brothers at Jim's house in alex. Dave takes us on a rather large shortcut over a gravel road - miles of it!
Kinda results in Emily beating us back to chch after we had a 2 - 3 hour head start!
But we all get back to christchurch in one piece just a little worn out. Wicked trip!

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Easter at Paynes Ford

So for easter Hamish, Volker, Dave, Morgan and James all went to Paynes Ford.
Meet up with Luc and Megan from the UCCC when we got there.
Was an amazing trip - got some lead climbing in on real rock, with some beautiful scenery.
Ran the top section of the Abel Tasman with Morgan - which was pretty damn sweet. Swimming at Totranui will never get old!

Photos are available on facebook