Ice axe for Kawekas in winter?
Just wondering what's needed out there if there's snow and ice about. Are there any areas on track which would really demand the need for an ice axe in addition to crampons? Like any tramper, I don't want to take anything that's not really needed. Cheers.
you're likely to if you're going up to the main kaweka high range if theres much snow about. i encountered thick ice in taranaki at 1200m the other day..
Crampons without ice axe doesn't make sense. The other way around makes more sense.
I guess I was hoping that in the environment of the main hills, there wouldn't be much danger of slithering down into trouble where you'd need to self arrest. Wishful thinking maybe in the hope of leaving an extra piece of gear behind!
I did quite a few Kaimanawa/Kaweka winter trips; always took an ice axe, but never crampons.
If there's snow around and you're heading up to the tops I would definitely take an ice axe. I've only been in the Kawekas once in winter, but it was one of the few times I've had to use my ice axe in anger. We'd spent the day heading south along the main range in perfect conditions. There was a bit of snow about but less than ankle deep. Climbing up the sunny north side of each bump on the ridge was fine, but coming down the southern sides required a bit more care, although not enough to put crampons on. By the time we reached the descent from Mad Dog Hill to Studholme Saddle it was late in the day and the snow was getting firmer. On the last steep descent I was walking in steps which had been cut the day before and slipped; if I hadn't had my ice axe at the ready I would have slid a hundred metres down onto the rocks. I'd thought about stopping to put crampons on at the top of the descent, but could see that we would be below the snow in 5 minutes so didn't want to spend the time although my gut instinct said it was dodgy. Let's just say that I was extremely thankful to have the ice axe, even though it was the only time I used it in 4 days. So yes, take the ice axe. Mine has been on some pretty long walks without getting unstrapped from the pack, but at least it's there if needed. And like Berend said, if the conditions are firm enough to need crampons, they're firm enough to need an ice axe as well.
Never ever take crampons without an axe. Thats like taking your 4wd because its slippery but leaving the brakes at home!
Thanks everyone. Crampons AND ice axe it is!
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