Reign of Terror: AAC Members Put Up New Route in New Zealand
Terror Peak is an imposing hunk of granite just south of Milford Sound, New Zealand. It is fairly remote, and was only first climbed in 2008. The first ascent was done by Hugh Barnard and Martin Wilson with their route War on Terror, grade 21/10d. My partner, Nick Flyvberg and I did the second ascent of this route in January 2009 with a more direct third pitch, grade 22/11a.
While we were up there, we scoped out some possible other lines. Right when we were nearing the top, foul weather suddenly blew in, as it often does from the coast. We rapped down as quickly as possible (one of our ropes got stuck on the last rappel and we had to leave it). We were picked up in the nick of time by our daring Kiwi friend and helicopter pilot, Jason, who was able to hold the heli with one skid on the side of the mountain as we literally tossed in our gear and took off. Five more minutes and the whole area was socked in- we would have had to bivy for three days with minimal gear if he hadn’t been able to get us!
That March, Terror peak saw its first base jump by Chuck Berry, Shane McConkey and Miles Daisher. Sadly, Shane, who was a big extreme skier and base-jumper from Whistler, died later that month on a Red Bull photo shoot in Italy.
Nick and I returned the following year. It had been a big snow year in the South Island that past winter, and a lot of the peaks were still running wet. We did a recon flight with Jason to see if our line looked dry. It did, so when we were sure of a good weather window, we went for it. The route went quickly and smoothly. The rock was solid (a bit dirty in parts as to be expected) and the protection was good.
It was about 4 full 60 meter pitches: grade 15/5.8, 18/5.9, 21/5.10d, 18/5.9.
Jason picked us up again after the climb with much less drama this time, and we returned to camp to meet my husband and Henare and Bruce, the other fishermen who had caught loads of fish and were celebrating with cold beers!
-Shelly Malkin. Shelly is an AAC member in Greenwich, CT. She submitted her and Nick’s new route upon their return from Fiordlands, NZ in January. Put up something recently, or just had an all-around great trip? Tell the story here.
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