Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

New Zealand Lenticulars

06/09/2011

It’s been quite windy the last few days, but warming up here in Southern Otago, New Zealand.  Spring skiing and ski-touring season. Lenticular clouds (Altocumulus lenticularis) are classic indicators of high winds aloft. As you can see, as the sun set last night, the winds were howling up on the ridgetops just north of the house. This view taken from our balcony.

Lenticular Clouds over the Remarkables as Sunset

A Few Scenes from this Week

26/08/2011

Early Morning Ridgetop Cloud

Lake Wakatipu with snows from the record-breaking storm

Yesterday's Sunrise in Kingston, NZ

Snowbound at Kingston Cafe

16/08/2011

More Snow in NZ

16/08/2011


Also see this video feed from BBC News:
New Zealand Cities see most snow in 50 years

NZ: Where Does the Snow Go?

14/08/2011

A few days after the storm, the snow will melt to the 500-900m level, leaving the lakeside green and lush as if no storm had ever passed this way.

The South Island at 300m does have snowstorms, – we’re in the middle of one now, see the video shot a few moments ago.  But in a few days, a week at the most, this scene will probably be a distant memory. There will be green grass and sunny days – like a schizo change from dug-in to hanging out. It’s a little like the western Washington’s winters.

Last month however, we had a good storm, that sent cars skidding off the Queenstown lakeside road and as well as points south to Lumsden. The road in both directions was closed for 24hrs due to the storm, with travelers stuck at our local Kingston store/cafe, reminiscent of a treacherous day I’d had on I-80 west of Laramie, Wyoming, where I ended up waiting it out in a truckstop near Elk Mountain or Rawlins. Maybe this storm will be  the same.

I was geared up, mentally, when the last one hit. I was digging in for the long haul and getting wood in near the stove, keeping ahead of the accumulation by shoveling and keep the van cleared off. It was reminding me of New Hampshire, or when I lived in Albion Basin in Alta, Utah. But then it all changed. I was all dressed up and ready for winter, and it all melted, but it didn’t in adjacent higher elevations..
There will be good skiing up high, that’s for sure.

Winter Scenes in Southern New Zealand

30/07/2011

I shot most of these images within the last few days, the panorama was shot this afternoon.
Images ©Mountain Spirit Institute

Early Morning Light on Lake Wakatipu Mountains

Early Morning Light Above Queenstown, NZ

AlpenGlow on Lake Wakatipu, NZ

Clouc over the Southern Remarkables, this afternoon.

Light touching the peaks east of Lake Wakatipu

Alpenglow on high peaks, South of Queenstown, NZ

Panorama from Kingston, NZ, taken this afternoon

Don’t Buy It

17/06/2011

Selling Success Thru Consuming

A recent full page ad on the inside front cover of New Zealand Alpine Club‘s The Climber* Magazine shows a truly burly shot of climber Alex Honnold in Borneo, doing a dyno move on what looks like a long potential fall on a big wall. Granted the sequence is impressive, (let’s be clear, I can’t do that), but the ad states, “ALEX IS DRY, His Meru Goretex Paclite Jacket allows him to focus on the next move.”

OK, ok, stop the music. Does this make we want to rush right out and buy a Meru Paclite Jacket? Not. But if  the Meru Paclite jacket allows him to focus on that dyno, maybe it will allow ME to focus on my next move too, just like the ad in the picture.  My criticism is albeit a cliche, nevertheless, I don’t buy it.

Kiwis are known for being a self-depreciating, humble bunch. They seem to buy used whenever possible, plus it blends into the backcountry better. Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t go climbing with someone who has new gear?”  This doesn’t mean to avoid climbing and teaching new to the sport, but more it means watching out for a poser.

The Kiwi quietude is making me, in my conditioned Americanism,  feel downright goofy. I feel I may be tooting my own horn without even knowing . Mind you, I consider myself on the humble side, but New Zealanders make me look like Donald Trump.   I wonder however, how many climbers reading that magazine are taken by the ad. I would suspect a few more of my fellow Yankees stateside might be taken in. What do you think? Comment below.

Don’t buy it – buy used. Even though I’m able to buy on pro-purchase programs, I just bought a pair of Karhu BC skis on Craigslist, and it feels good. Did I even need them in the first place, yes. Maybe a step further, and a pair from the Salvation Army here in Queenstown for $40 would have sufficed. We can always improve.

Buying this Book? Share it.

Nope, I wouldn’t buy a used rope, or even cams,  but buying  most other stuff used just helps the planet, and you look better in a used jacket anyway. It’s another dirtbag move for the planet. Madison Avenue and the big corps who now own The North Face, (and now Karhu) don’t like guys like us. We’re terrible consumers – Have you joined the crowd?

According to a new book by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers, What’s Mine is Yours, The rise of Collaborative Consumption, the trend is huge – to buy less, buy used and share. I’ll write more about this book after I finish it. So far it’s fascinating.

*This is no way meant to be a slam on The Climber advertising policies, in fact the author encourages readers to support the magazine by supporting its advertisers, appropriately. A tricky one, eh?

By the way, nice move Alex.

Water, The Great Mystery

04/06/2011

Water, Check it out.

Austrian Researcher Alois Gruber states in the movie, Water – The Great Mystery, by Hopscotch Films, “At the level of thought, a person who thinks negative thoughts is polluting his own water of which his body is 75-90% composed, and giving it a negative charge.”  The movie had my attention.
The film’s narrator continues, “As it records new information, water acquires new properties yet its chemical composition remains unchanged. The structure of the water is much more important than the chemical composition.

H2O

The structure of water means how its molecules are organized. Water molecules join together into groups which are called clusters. Scientists *theorize that these clusters work as memory cells of a

certain sort in which water records the whole history of its relationship with the world as if on magnetic tape.”

Water's structure in clusters

“Of course remains water, but its structure, like a nervous system reacts to any irritation. Modern instruments have made it possible to record the fact that within each of the water’s memory cells there are 440,000 information panels each of which is responsible for its own type of interaction with the environment. “

Molecules coming and going

Marc Chaplin, Professor and Laboratory Chief of London University says, “If you consider a cluster as a specific group of molecules, then it can only survive a short amount of time,  but if you consider it as a structure, whereby molecules can leave and other molecules come in, the  cluster will survive in effect, for a very long time. Water can record and store information, like a computer memory.”

H2O has "memory panels"

“Basically water has photographic memory and you can imprint it with very subtle energies, even from 10,000 km away”  says Professor Rustum Roy, of Penn State University, and Member of the International Academy of Science.  “Does that mean remote communication can happen between human beings who are structures essentially composed of water?” asks the film.

Subject A in Russia

“In Februrary 2005 a professor and colleagues conducted an experiment  to confirm or disconfirm the hypothesis that remote communication between people is possible.  Two people were 10,000 miles apart, one in Moscow, the other in South America. The “virtual brain” of the experiment’s participants showed with EEG’s and EKG’s as well as other systems being monitored.

Subject B in S. America

Suddenly the two people had tuned themselves to the same wave, synchronization of areas of their brain, breathing patterns, and pulses. The theory is, liquids in the body carry out an information transmission system.”
The book the Secret Life of Plants was one of the first early works exploring and describing the reactions and relationships of plants to external stimuli in their world.  The author hooked up house plants in his office to a lie detector machine and to his surprise saw the plants react to his thoughts, regardless of whether he was in the same room or not, or the same city for that matter.

Subject A & B's synchronized scans

Dr. Masaru Emoto, author of “The Secret Life of Water”  was also interviewed in the film. Emoto, in his experiments, exposed different water droplets  to different thoughts, words  and intentions.

Water Crystals presented with Bach

These words and thoughts were directed at droplets before they were frozen, then images of the resulting water crystals were captured on film. The stunning results, such as  “beautiful” or “ugly” depended upon whether the words or thoughts were positive or negative. Emoto claims this can be achieved through prayer, music or by attaching written words to a container of water.    If you ‘re not familiar with his book or images, one of which is included here, check it out.

This led me to a logical conclusion from my shamanic studies in Peru, where the Inca and Quechua concept of Ayni, (reciprocity) runs throughout the mountain cultures in the Andes.

Q'ero Priests in the Andes

I learned to give words and form to what I had intuitively, (and most likely all of us have) had  known all my life from growing up in woods of New Hampshire, and later, mountain guiding in the mountains of the world –  that the mountains, streams and rivers, and other natural features give off a certain energy, and that we can interact with them as we would a person.  We can exchange energy, ask for support from the mountain, or lake,  and give back that support through emotional prayer, conservation protection and simple acknowledgement of the mountain’s energy and presence.
This might sound silly to the western logical mind, but the indigenous cultures who lived closer to the land knew and lived this life, and many still do, on a daily basis.  The western mind  is too busy, the channels are too clogged with data, to recognize the subtle signals that come from the old oak tree or the master mountain on the horizon.
The people of Cusco have twelve main “Apu’s “ or Mountain Spirits around their city, two of which are named Ausangate, Salkantay, Each main mountain or other geographic feature has its own characteristic such as male or female, strength,  allowance, introspection etc.. and the spirit of Ayni pervades all interactions with these mountain spirits.  As a side note, when I named our organization Mountain Spirit Institute in 1996, I had no awareness of the Andean “Apu’s”.
I took what I had learned, and melded it with my own intuition and experiences. When back in the U.S., I started to give more form to my relationships with the surrounding mountains and water features in my hometown of Sunapee, NH.  I started to see Mt. Sunapee in a different light, and in fact, took a job as a ski patroller mostly because I wanted to interact with the mountain energy on a daily basis. I wanted to, protect it, be in on the mountain, feel its power, and ask for strength from it as well.  Now that I think about it, maybe when Catherine Busheuff and I decided to move forward with those early meetings at the library, that later turned into the Friends of Mount Sunapee, maybe part of the seed that led to the mountain’s protection that exists today, came from those early interactions.  Many individuals have since carried forward  with their own passion to protect the mountain from abuse and over-development. I hope to think I may have had a small part in that.

Communication w/Lake Sunapee from NZ's Lakes District

I also started relating to Lake Sunapee in a different way as well. While I always felt the water was in my bones, this film, and Emoto’s book, gives me some credence that the water memory from where we come is actually part of us.  So after seeing the movie, I spontanisouly  meditated on the waters of Sunapee from here in New Zealand. I started feeling the healing power of the waters of Lake Sunapee, even though I’m down here on New Zealand’s south island,  very long way away. I could feel the exchange of energy, of love and gratitude.
So what’s this all mean – from the shamanic studies in Peru, to experiments in Russia to meditation and communication with a body of water in New Hampshire from New Zealand,  from one water body to another body of water? It means, at least to me, that we can interact more with trees,  mountains, rivers, lakes and each other on a level far deeper than conventional society believes. Traditional societies know about this connection, and its knowledge may just mean we learn to survive as a species.
I started Mountain Spirit Institute because I feel I can contribute to helping people reconnect to the natural environment, each other and a deeper connection to themselves by setting the stage for powerful transformative experiences. This film is an affirmation that I, and our board of directors are on the right track. Visit our website for more information on our core values, and our mission, and do see the movie!

Water's structure as important as chemical make-up

Chapters of the movie Water, The Great Mystery, include:
The Structure of Water
The importance of water,
Dead and Heavy Water
Natural and Artificial Water
The Effect of Water on the Body
Water as the Medium
The Power of Faith
A Water Crisis
Nature Disasters
Love and Gratitude

* While I didn’t look for footnotes to the research mentioned in the movie, nor check into the science, I decided to write this post to share my personal experience of the movie, and in life.

There was much more fascinating information in the movie than I was able to include here. Do see it to learn more about agriculture, hydro power, our public water supply and one of the world’s most pristine water supplies in Brazil.  All images are screen shots from the movie and are intended and used for review purposes only.

New Zealand Backcountry

28/05/2011

Mt Eyre, NZ Backcountry

I feel a  backcountry ski  adventure coming on. Last week I ventured out  15 minutes from our house here in Kingston, New Zealand and ended up driving down a farm road, off the nearest side canyon from the main north-south road to NZ’s southern tip. A view similar to this can be seen from the main road, but the closer I got into the back valley, following the Mataura River, I was led to this view of Mt. Eyre.  This is not one of the major peaks in the area, by any stretch, but it’s close to our place and what looks like some good backcountry skiing potential. As we near winter down here in the southern hemisphere, I’ll getting my skis sharpened, this may be my a ski area of choice due to its proximity, at least to the trailhead.

Elitism in the Mountains

27/05/2011

By R. Richards

The "Lodge" at Routeburn!

Fellow MSI board member Bob Stremba and I recently decided to spend a  couple of days on New Zealand’s Routeburn walk, one of the famous tracks in the Southern Alps. We did it last week, during the shoulder season so there were only a handful of people on the trail. But I can imagine the numbers grow exorbitantly during the summer months. Fair enough, that’s how New Zealand has decided to funnel foreign hikers, and showcase tourism into a few of the well-known tramps. Milford Sound not far away is another.

Hi There!

All went well, aside from a bit of rain. We met some nice hikers, one from Ireland, Australia, Switzerland and four from Canada. We stayed at the small Routeburn Flats hut, and the next day proceeded to the Routeburn Falls hut for a quick lunch break . That’s when something seemed out of place. First, the size of the Department of Conservation (DOC) hut was quite impressive, equipped to handle large amounts of hikers. I then noticed above me, and pondered what in the world, could the huge building possibly be that stood above the DOC hut? Since it was the off season, this larger upper building was closed, bit we could peek in the windows . As I approached,  a big wooden sign in front of the building called out  the “Routeburn Falls Lodge”.  I saw a smaller sign behind it, mounted on the wall stating: “Strictly Guided Walkers Only” adding “Independent walkers please continue on to the DOC Hut.”

Private Rooms for the Gentry

The irony of first class and coach system arriving in the mountains struck me immediately with the thought that there should be a sign on the DOC hut stating, “Strictly Independent Walkers, Guided hikers should continue on to the nearest Hilton”. Of  course I don’t really feel that way, but it was the first thing that came to mind. Better yet, maybe the cognoscenti should overthrow the highfalutin hut and invite the coach class to join them, (and possibly even have a food fight).

The only site I can remotely remember seeing like this was in the Alps. Of course high living gentiles are still staying in the hotels just below the faces of the Matterhorn and Eiger. The only class arrangement I can remember seeing was in the Alpine Club huts of the Alps where the mountain quide’s quarters, were separated from us chattel climbers. But this, here in New Zealand was a whole other matter. I’m sure Oliver James, author of Affluenza would be proud of most Kiwis who shun this sort of thing in their mountains. I then found my tolerance level further tested with another sign telling “independent hikers” to a) turn around, b)  march their little butts down to where they belong  c) and stay there, all with the Orwellian salutation of “Hi There!”  See the actual text in the image above.

Bob Stremba, overlooking the Backcountry (?)

I hope that “haute couture” in the backcountry stops with this hut. I’m assuming there may be others though.  Even  though this super-duper hut sits in the heart of the Routeburn,  in the real backcountry, we’re still all the same. The problem is, having such a lodge like this goes a long way in destroying the very experience the concession is trying to offer. By its very nature, it removes itself from the backcountry. It brings the virulent virus – the epidemic of affluenza to the doorstep of paradise.  Tell us what you think about allowing such multiple uses on government land such as  luxury lodges (such as this one  run by Ultimate Hikes) Is it a bad idea? Are we missing something about the land use plans of NZ?

If you’re thinking of taking a  guided hike, suggest to your guide that he put you up with the rest of us. You’ll find it much more inspiring. Also suggest that they could change their signs to a less snooty sort.