After figuring out whether to fix the bindings regular or goofy, there was nothing to stop him. Getting a feeling for the right balance is the first step to a successful snowboarding career. Secret hint for anyone who wants to have a go – do not wear too many thermals on a warm day! Our friend lost an estimated 3 litres of sweat this day…
I was really impressed by Aaron’s performance. He said he did water skiing before. Good on ya mate!
I don’t know how often he fell over that day, but he always got up again. Good spirit, and that’s how you learn it.
Champion performance! Have fun practising on Mount Ruapehu as soon as the season starts!
Glad to welcome Aaron, a friend who came for a short visit from Aotearoa.
Two years ago, I did some experiments with Christian and Rob, another Kiwi who came over from New Zealand for a visit. Back then, we thought that proper winter pants were fully overrated. We also thought that a rubbish bag is good enough for getting down a mountain. I guess this is still true, but if you do have a Zipflbob, why would you want to torture yourself? Kudos to Rob though – true explorer spirit riding a rubbish bag down a world cup run in shorts!
Anyway – today, two years down the track, we have learnt our lessons and wanted to pass on our experience. We got Aaron dressed up and introduced him to Zipflbob. They immediately made friends with each other and Zipflbob promised he’d give everything on the descent.
But first, it was time do some climbing. Inspired by the Kiwi experience, Zipflbob made his way through the fresh and deep snow.
This is when you feel like a true explorer.
Zipflbob on untrodden ground.
You have to admit, Aaron does look a bit like Jack Nicholson preparing for a Zipflbob ride.
Lift your feet and lean backwards to increase speed. Press you feet into the snow and pull the Zipflbob back to break and get your face covered in snow.
I reckon there is some business case potential in developing little solar powered goggle wipers.
Back inside the hut, plans were made for the next climbing season. Hang the cloths above the oven and you don’t need any salt for a tasty cheese fondue.
The ring, Frodo, stop stiring cheese and give me the ring.
Upcoming daddy and the wind of change.
Extreme winds challenge our team on the way back to civilisation. Zipflbob Ninjas turned up as well.
No moist on the lense – just a little bit windy out there.
It’s amazing what wind can do. Leave the window open and a stormy night will put up a nice 2cm snow wallpaper. This photo was taking AFTER wiping most of the snow off the wall again. And the lesson for the future – If you don’t want to end up with a frozen toilet, learn to hold your breath, do it outside – in a hole of course – or eat less and always make sure that you shut the bloody window.
Conditions got better in the afternoon and the snow storm eventually calmed down. We were already on our way back, carefully avoiding the crevasses and keeping a safe distance from the wall with its huge cornices.
Looking back at the death zone between 7000m and 8000m.
And then we saw him. We really did. The Zipflbob God himself.
Inspired by our spiritual encounter, we felt ready for another first descent.
On our way back to basecamp, we gathered for an expedition team photograph. Everyone was still stunned. Zipflbob god was with us all day.
We followed our tracks from earlier that day to get back to the hut, already anticipating the fireplace and a warm welcome with fresh sherpa tea from our expedition cook.
Some didn’t believe that we really knocked off the bastard. They also didn’t believe that we saw Zipflbob god. But we did.
Yeah, there was already a fair bit of snow when we woke up that morning and it looked like there was more to come. We got all our gear together, then found a volunteer to do the hard work and lead the group. When we left the hut, it was snowing pretty hard and we were expecting tough conditions on the upper slopes. We had heard of a Swiss expedition, which had reached the south col earlier this year, but since then, snow storms have battered the mountain and there were no further attempts on this extremely exposed new route.
We reached the steep rock face about 2 hours later and Sebastian lead the first pitch. We carefully explored the cracks and structures of the wall as we were confident that it was possible to do a first Zipflbob descend.
We passed overhanding rock faces and started to feel the altitude. The oxygen level at this point dropped down to about 10% of the concentration at sea level. Although it was tough, we did not use any portable oxygen on our climb. Instead, the stronger people in the group used mouth-to-mouth breathing to help out the weak.
Again, we encountered difficult terrain. Lukas had to lead climb a 9c pitch, before we reached the summit plateau.
The summit slopes turned out to be even steeper than expected. Step after step, we climbed the 70 degrees slope.
Just about 50m from the summit, we had to call it a climb. It was just way to dangerous to go any further from here. Avalanches, high winds and freezing temperatures forced us to dig shelter and prepare for our descent. Eddie and Susi decided that it would be best to descent the mountain the most direct route and we were mentally preparing ourselves for the first time ever Zipflbob descent of this mountain.
Guess why it is called Zipflbob („cock bob“)
Who needs goggles anyway?
… to be continued…
… I certainly was! Will have to write heaps more about this weekend soon. What a great time. Thank you all of you for coming and thank you so much for organising this hon! Couldn’t have been any better!