Ice Climbing on Fox Glacier (NZ)

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Previous Explorer of the Month, Mike Pidgeon doesn’t do things by halves, especially not pretending to be Jon Snow on Fox Glacier in New Zealand… Check out his trip with Fox Glacier Guides and then get out there asap!


Highlights

  • Climbing ice wall with ice axes and crampons (Jon Snow-esque)
  • Ice caves
  • Huge waterfalls

The Lowdown

What could be better than pretending to be Jon Snow (who knows nothing, btw)? Imagine you’re climbing The Wall back into Westeros, while pretending to be a Wildling, when actually you’re still a Crow, but you are in love with a wildling, who is your sworn enemy, but you’ll end up saving them from the White Walkers, then inviting them for a chill sesh back at Castle Black. *Deep breath*

Complicated I know.

Despite the intricacies and twists and turns of the Game of Thrones storyline (if you don’t watch it I’m not sure we can be friends), there is no better feeling than hanging from a tiny ice pick 20m off the ground, smashing another into an ice wall, sending shards of snow and ice sprinkling down below.

Well, there’s the helicopter ride up to the glacier I guess… Oh, and the hike around the glacier to find some suitable ice walls to sink your teeth into, stopping in at ice caves, huge waterfalls and glacial pools. They were pretty sweet as well.

To be honest there isn’t really any part of this that wasn’t bloody fantastic.

So if you ever get the chance, give it a whack.

Essential Gear

The company I went with provide everything you need (Fox Glacier Guides). Crampons, ice axes, harnesses and ropes. You just have to bring food for the day and some water (you can refill in the ice cold glacial melt streams).

How To Get There

The Fox Glacier is just off the Fox Glacier Highway on the West Coast of the South Island in New Zealand.

Activities

  • hikes on the glaciers
  • scenic helicopter rides
  • the full monty; ice climbing

Skill Level

Beginner – Intermediate. They will tailor it to the group you are in. I myself, along with most of the group I was in, had never ice climbed before. However, once they realised we were a good standard they moved us on quickly to harder climbs up the ice.


Some other blood-pumpers:

Climbing out of the Grose Valley in the Blue Mountains (NSW)

Marooned on a Tropical Island (QLD)

Packrafting the Shoalhaven River (NSW)