Remarkables Ice and Mixed Festival

It’s New Zealand’s largest climbing meet – and this year, the Ice and Mixed Festival in the Remarkables was bigger than ever with over 160 climbers in attendance. Members of the renowned New Zealand Alpine Team were part of the organising committee, and enjoyed getting out and running clinics for amateur climbers. We spoke to NZAT member Daniel Joll to hear how it all went.

“It was such a good turnout – it just keeps getting better and better,” says Daniel.

“While we had plenty of experienced climbers to help out, it was just incredible seeing people of all levels getting involved and stepping out of their comfort zones. Beginners got to rub shoulders and share the rope with New Zealand’s top winter alpine climbers – taking part in clinics, competitions, races and social gatherings to advance and promote modern mixed climbing.”

The Ice and Mixed Festival is in its fourth year, and was run over the last week with huge success. It’s the annual meet of the Expedition Climbers Club Inc – made up of members of the New Zealand Alpine Team, and climbers from a range of different backgrounds all over the country. Anyone who signs up to attend the festival automatically becomes a member – with all proceeds going towards the Expedition Capital Fund, festival running costs, a charity auction, and of course, prizes. Macpac sponsors two of the festival’s awards – giving prizes for the ‘Hardest New Route’ which went to NZAT member Karl Merry Schimanski and Jin Jin, and also the ‘Hardest Repeated Route’ which was won by NZAT member Jono Clarke and Diane Drayton.

Daniel Joll with one of the Learning to Lead Clinics

Daniel Joll with one of the Learning to Lead Clinics

One of the highlights of the Ice and Mixed Festival is the instruction clinics, run by experienced climbers like Daniel Joll and fellow members of the New Zealand Alpine Team. These people generously donate their time to help others experience climbing – something that has become their greatest passion, and they love to share this enthusiasm with others.

“We had 80 people come through these clinics – it just makes it so worthwhile for us being able to help others get out there and experience what climbing is all about,” says Daniel.

A big drawcard to coming along is the chance to make new friends, and become acquainted with potential new climbing partners and contacts from within the community.

“People come to socialise, just as much as they come to climb. To get the vast majority of New Zealand’s passionate climbers in one place is just awesome – there is no other climbing-related event in this country that draws anywhere near this interest level.”

The first buttress of Queen's Drive with Learning to Lead, Ice and Mixed Clinic and General Climbers

The first buttress of Queen’s Drive with Learning to Lead, Ice and Mixed Clinic and General Climbers

The Festival is run by volunteers – it’s not run for profit at all. Most of the money made goes into the the Expedition Capital Fund which was set up to support the Expedition Climbers Club’s climbing trips – the first of these will be in Peru next year.

“To come along, you and your climbing partner have to be a member of the club– anyone who comes to the festival is – and so far we’ve had strong interest from 30 climbers. It’s going to be an incredible trip, and with so many Kiwi climbers coming along, we are sure many new friendships will be established,” says Daniel.

If the trip goes ahead with these numbers, it will be the largest expedition to leave New Zealand in 30 years – a rather significant event.

“It’s going to be huge, and I can’t wait to share this experience with others,” says Daniel.

Steven Fortune of the New Zealand Alpine Team

Steven Fortune of the New Zealand Alpine Team