Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Avalanche Peak Challenge

Now that I have a new camera, choosing the photos is impossible.   On Saturday, Feb 16 I completed the Avalanche Peak Challenge (http://www.avalanchepeak.co.nz/).  This is definitely what Mike Steel refers to as a true mountain run (check out the first paragraph on http://www.math.canterbury.ac.nz/~m.steel/Non_UC/runs.html).  It was probably the hardest 25km I've tried to do.  The uphill required hands to climb some rocks (nothing over class 3, but still) and the ridge and the steep descents --- lets just say I'm getting better at scree and it was a lot less running than expected.

The race went straight up this hill not far from Avalanche Creek there on the right.  Not so intimidating from here.  Unfortunately, I don't have great pictures of the top as it is a bit hidden.  The trip up was pretty cool though.  Once out of the trees (you can kind of see where it is bush not trees), the view was spectacular.  We could see the whole valley and later Mt. Rolleston and the Crow Glacier with its ice fall. 

The start!  I look a little silly in my picture with Rose (picture on the right).  I met Rose at the mountaineers club hut where I slept the night before.  She was super cool and ended up second in the race.  I never saw her again until she gave me a lift back to the hut. :)

I am pretty sure that is Avalanche Peak in the very back of this picture (and Mike has now confirmed this for me!).  We came down through the valley between the two other mountains you see in the picture.  
This is the view up the valley we ran down.  That is the "Northern end of the Southern Alps".  We actually came down the valley on the right between the grassy ridge in the front and the mountain behind it into this river bed.  We were in the river bed (see below) for a long time.  It was tough running on the rocks, no trail. 
I took these pictures of the Waimakariri River and the Bealy Bridge the next day as I rode from Authur's Pass to the University of Canterbury field station in Cass (hence the Spot in the picture).  We had to run under the bridge.  After that we had about 3km to go, still in the bloody river bed. 

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