Single Cone – The Remarkables, New Zealand

This post is long overdue and just been busy and a bit lazy to put it all together but I’m back in the mood today so it’s time to pump it out!

Angie and I had a trip planned for New Zealand over the 2017/2018 Xmas and New Years and we were obviously really exciting looking for things to see and activities do on our trip.

I came across this Via Ferrata activity that goes up some waterfall around Wanaka and it looked pretty cool. It was around $400 a person and after checking out the website, it didn’t look that technical, it was pretty straight forward eg. just climbing up ladders over and over again seemed pretty boring. So i thought, why we dont go and find some awesome climb to do together and we can bring our gear.

I started googling and trolling through forums looking for climbs that are similar to “Tip Toe Ridge” at Arapiles and even going through to look for easy fun climbs. Somehow i came across this climb called the Grand Traverse.

Screen shot 2018-05-05 at 4.11.12 PM.png

The Grand Traverse shown in red in the photo above is a lap following the ridge of peaks in the Remarkables which goes around Lake Alta. This goes to the Telecom Tower, Double Cone and then Single Cone. It has that alpine feel which i really like and after reading in some of the forums, really experienced guys said it takes them about 10hrs carpark to carpark which is pretty epic. It reminds me of the Fitz Traverse which is pretty epic and got me pretty excited.

I had a think about it and i thought it might be a bit too epic for Angie and I especially as we’re not experienced in the area and dont know what to expect. So i looked for alternatives, one of which is a direct climb up Single Cone which is the highest peak in the Remarkables which still gives you those amazing 360deg views and looks like a hell of a lot of fun. So i thought that would be our objective and a bit more manageable, less stress and we’ll be able to enjoy ourselves a bit more.

So i started trolling through the internet to get info on Single Cone and actually came across a few websites that had quite a bit of detail however it was difficult to really know what to expect as i was essentially piecing together bits of information, photos and video together to get an idea of what the climb is like and whats going on. In summary i found out that there are two routes, the easiest being what they call the the standard route or the descent route, then there is the harder one called the North East Arete.

I finally spent a solid day on the weekend just putting it all together and ended up making my own little mini guide! It was hard i guess because the descent route wasn’t really in any guidebooks (yes i got friends to send me photos of their guidebooks!). The easiest route in guidebooks was the NE Arete so that definitely made it hard to figure out what to expect.

The NE Arete looks a bit more exposed as you straddle the arete and looks pretty sick. The standard route looks pretty straight forward where you follow the path up before you have to traverse along these ledges to get to the bottom of a gully which is filled with snow. Then the idea is that you get climb up 2 pitches through the snow gully and then do a bit of a scramble up to the summit. Coming down you abseil back down through the snow gully and come back down the way you came up. It looked pretty cool!

Single Cone South East Ridge_0

Single Cone South East Ridge_1

Check out the mini guide that i put together with all the info and photos i found 🙂

This climb was going to be the highlight our our New Zealand trip! we tried to plan it around a day with awesome weather and a day when we were well rested. I still was a bit suss about the climbing through the snow gully and wasn’t sure how snowy it was going to be and if it was alright with tennies.

We were pretty lucky cause we stayed at a campsite one night and our neighbour was a mountain guide working in Queenstown so we asked him for the beta and he was super friendly and helpful! it definitely gave us so much more confidence after that chat.

The next day we spent at Queenstown and we even bought matching gloves cause we saw that the forecast was like 4degC up in the Remarkables as opposed to the 27degC in Queenstown! Such a good buy =)

The next day we headed off in the morning around 10am and along the way, we bumped into our guide who was taking a client up! what a coincidence =)


We started the walk with pretty much all our clothes on cause it was freezing! Hehehe but it wasn’t long before we started stripping off =P it took us about 30min to get to Lake Alta as we followed the 4wd looking track up the hill. It’s so beautiful!


We headed towards the west side of Lake Alta and then followed a number of tracks up the scree! There were so many tracks and was easy to get into one which took you to some steep sketchy terrain! One we got off the acre, you can see the Single Cone behind us!


The scree then turns into talus and the air gets crispy.


There were heaps of areas with snow and little frozen ponds!






Once we traversed across to the ledge at the base of the snow gully, we had a little picnic.



The two pitches of scrambling through the gully were pretty straight forward. Got can scramble in the gully or out on the right which had better protection. At the end of the 2nd pitch just before the summit was this really cool hands crack =)

This was the final little scramble before we got to the summit!


Here we are at the summit where you can see Double Cone behind us!

It was actually a bit scary to scramble around the summit cause it was so exposed and airy =P


What an epic view =)


We came down by doing 2 rappels back to the bottom of the gully




What a day! It took us around 12 hours carpark to carpark and we were going SUPER slow but nevertheless, it was AMAZING! It ended up being pretty late by the time we got back so we ended up sleeping at the car park where we got free wifi! It was super cold that night but it was another one of those nights where we slept so well and woke up the next day like little sausages but with smiles on our faces =)

Check out this little recording that we recorded once we got into bed that summarises our day.

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“the road to double digits”

We joked around a while back about doing the maths of when we should be having kids. It started with my sister Connie mentioned that she did the maths and she won’t be 31 till she has kids based on her partner’s career timing. I mentioned it to Angie and she’s like why don’t we do the maths too!?

It was actually quite interesting cause until we started looking into it, we hadn’t realised how hard it was to have kids. It’s not like what they tell you in high school where it’s like have sex… Then boom! You’re preggas… Life is over. People have a been “trying” for kids.. Many take years of trying… That just doesn’t seem fun.

So we did the maths based on our career status, engagement, saving money for house and wedding, wedding, enjoying our home and married life and trying. I think after factoring in we realised I’m going to be like minimum 37 before we have kids… That means I’ll be a dinosaur dad! I trimmed and chopped bits and pieces here and there due to our desire to be young parents and we came up with ~33 for me. That’s still pretty old I think but hey means I still got like 4 years of climbing to reach my goal of V10.

It was something Yi and I talked about when we started bouldering 10 years ago. “when would you be content with your bouldering and call it a day?”, “V10” was the response we both agreed to. I thought what better time for it than now? Been bouldering for 10 years, turning 30 in January and hit up a V10! What an awesome birthday present to myself. It’s pretty much the bouldering version of remembrance day!

I was having a phone conversation with Angie last night and she mentioned she wanted to start trying in the next 2 years….

2 years!? The doesn’t leave me alot of time before my climbing life is over. I have so many things on my tick list that I better get on to! In the flip side this is such good motivation to start training and train hard!

I guess small goals help but I’ve got a V10 in mind already – A Busy Road To Solitude at Wyadup. That’s totally my style apart from the huge throw at the start!

So the first step is to start “training”. What’s training? To me it’s to do climbing specific exercises in a structured way instead of my normal casual boulder at the gym. This way it’ll give me goals to work towards each week.

I’ve kicked off week one with Strength training with focus on crimping and static strength. I have really weak fingers and they tend to get injured easily so it’ll be good to put some focus on them. I also incorporated a way to train my core without doing situps which I’m really enjoying!

After 2 weeks of training, I hit project day at the gym and I remember how light I felt when I was warming up. It didn’t last very long but nevertheless it was a surprise. I then hit my projects and managed to send two of them! I definitely felt the core was stronger and tighter!

I’m looking forward to the warmer weather so I can head down south and get on some boulders.

I found a free weekend and headed down south for the weekend by myself. I spent the first day on Busy Road at Wyadup and struggled to sort out the beta. It took all session and alot of shoulder pain from the big spans. I kept pushing through and it definitely aggravated it. I still struggled to do the first move and it felt out of reach. Coming down from disappointment, I headed to Copper Rocks the next morning for a quick go at The Cougar and somehow made awesome progress and sussed out the beta for the first big move up to the jug! Psych was high and I ended up staying for a good 4 hrs just working the second section. I managed to find a way to do the end using a mantle and I was psyched! It’s on!

I woke up the next day and my shoulder was in serious pain. I went to see a physio and it was an unhappy rotator cuff so rehab it was. I’ve never had an injury where it was so chronic it just kept hurting and didn’t show signs of improvement. I had 2 physio sessions a week consisting of releasing massages and exercises. I took a good 4 weeks of exercises before I started feeling signs of improvement.

A few weekends later I went back for another solo day trip to Copper Rocks and was totally disappointed. I realised that I couldn’t link the two sections. I couldn’t link the heel hook right hand bumps into the mantle. I started sussing out alternative beta but that slowly got me more and more disappointed with the realisation that actually this might be way beyond me. By the end of the day with alot of rock caressing, I found that the transition was all to do with a subtle hand and body position. It wasn’t solely about power but was quite precise and delicate. I was happy once more =)

The shoulder was improving with rehab but on a Friday, 2 days before another day trip to the project, I was bouldering at the gym and tried a move and felt sharp pain in the shoulder again… It wasn’t happy =( definitely a few steps back.

I’m sure we’ve all been there before, trying to push through the pain and injuries in hopes of sending the project. I think the biggest issue is ourselves, it’s our drive and determination as climbers to keep pushing through all means to achieve success.

I still decided to go for the day trip with Edwin and the shoulder started out OK but progressively got worse try after try. I think the biggest thing for me that day was my mindset. I was like, all good, just going to see how I go and come back before Xmas to give it another burn. That helped me relax and be fluid with my body. I have never felt so strong on the moves before and made it from the start all the way to pressing up on the mantle! I was in total disbelief and was so stoked! I definitely didn’t expect that I’d be able to get so far!

I’m going away offshore for 2 weeks so hopefully it’ll let my shoulder have a rest =)

Whilst I was offshore, I did mostly gentle shoulder exercises on the rings as well as theraband exercises! To the point I did so many that my shoulder wasn’t happy =P the shoulder felt pretty awesome after the 2 weeks. I came back and hit the gym, tried this problem that was spanny during my warm up.. Bit mistake.. Game over the pain came straight away =(

I think that was when the realisation came that things could be bad for my shoulder if I didn’t look after it and this kept happening. I think that was when I finally accepted that I’m going to avoid reachy and spanny moves for a good 6 months. Mentally I was in a much happier state and physically I felt good!

I drove down to Copper Rocks one last time before 2018 came for annual Pre-Christmas boulder. I didn’t really have much expectations but thought I’d give The Cougar a run. First shot was a mess.. Pretty fail! I thought I’d give it a good 10min rest then emotionlessly gave it another shot. Everything went perfect, starting from the little hip flick when swinging to the jug to the transition into the mantle. The heel hooks landed right and the hand bumps spot on. I got the mantle transition and it was the moment of truth as I pushed up to the pocket, I haven’t managed to link it this far before however unknowingly I was up, hips locked in and reaching for the pocket. My two fingers in there were pulling hard as I felt the pump in my forearms. I tried to maintain composure as I executed the sequence that I had rehearsed before. As I was bringing up my right foot, my left hand slipped, I started barndooring and I thought it was all over but somehow I was able to hang on and recover. I tried again and brought my right foot up to the hold, pushed on my right leg and lifted my body up to hit the final hold. Sorted out my feet, rested and shook out before pulling over the top. I was in disbelief and felt super happy! I finally did it! Something I never expected to do, what started as a bit of a joke with my best friend came to life! Since that day I’ve felt a burden off my shoulders, I feel a lot more relaxed in general and just happy =) I’m not feeling the stress and anxiety that I’m used to which is awesome. I think right now I’m just happy to let my body recover and start fresh again!

Merry Christmas folks!


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“you look like a terrorist” – Connie Z

I remember in uni when Yi and I used to dream of travelling the world, the first place we talked about visiting one day was Dubai. We talked about the futuristic architecture and how much bling bling the place rocks.

About 10 years later, it’s finally happening! It all started when my boss sent out an email to remind people to take Christmas leave so I got in as soon as possible. I booked my 10 days and started wondering what to do. I could do the usual and go back to Melbourne to visit my folks and then come home to climb over the new years. The psych wasn’t high so I started thinking about places I’d like to visit .

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Slopey Shoulders – Pt. 1

When you get injured and it’s bad. . . You know it straight away cause it’s this feeling that you’ve never felt before. I felt this on Sunday.

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Perth 500 – 4 sets of “well done” sausages

The “Perth 1000” started off as an idea that my mate Nish came up with. Legend has it that he was thinking about whether it is possible to climb 1000m in a day… The next question was where?

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Types of Fun

What is fun? The first image that comes into my head when I think of the word fun is kids laughing and running around the park with their friends. Continue reading

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“for the record, I’m so much happier the way it was before” 

“What do I have to do to successfully lead this team?”

this is the phrase that’s been going through my head the past week.

Work wise, it’s been one of the most challenging things I’ve had to do. I guess everyone is different but when it comes to my personal life, I don’t really like being in the spotlight and more than happy to do my thing and just sheep along. There’s been times when I have naturally fallen into the leader role when I’m climbing but it’s not something I enjoy all the time. I feel a sense of burden and a need to look out for everyone, sometimes at the sacrifice of my own enjoyment and fun times.

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