Participants: Alex Warnaar, Tania Seward, Jeff Ducrot, Anna Larsson, Laura King, Zeinab Chegini, Timothy Manning, Richard White, Shawn Fostner, Victor Santos
Dates: 14-15th June 2014
Words and images: Tania Seward
Once upon a time, in the hallowed Kirkwood Village, a gathering of fierce warriors took place. Each had brought their sturdy tramping boots and were ready and willing to fit their crampons.
At the start of the meeting, Glen the Warrior Instructor checked the weather forecast… and told the warriors to put their boots away, as there would be no Snowcraft that weekend. Instead, the warriors drank beer together and there was great merriment.
Two weeks later, the warriors once again gathered with their boots, and again they were thwarted by Mother Nature. Instead, the warriors shared food together and lamented the curse that had befallen Glen, the Chief Warrior Instructor.
Scarcely a week later, there was a frission of great excitement on the Facebook page of the Warriors. There was a clear forecast and it looked like Warrior Snow Training might actually go ahead.
21 keen warriors signed up, fitted crampons and gathered in the UCSA carpark at 7am on a Saturday morning. Fortified en route with coffee and pies from the Culverden Bakery, they arrived presently at Lewis Pass, whereupon they discovered that Mother Nature had played a cruel trick, and there was no snow.
Upon discovering that there was no snow, Chief Warrior Instructor Glen smote his ice axe upon the ground, and cursed the heavens. Twas indeed a sight to behold.
Warrior Instructors Tania and Alex had decided that the chances of snow were greater on an overnight mission, so accompanied by Assistant Instructor Warrior Jeff and seven Fierce Snow Warriors, they set off up the Lewis Pass Tops track to find some snow.
Heavily burdened with tents, cookers, sleeping bags and the detritus that accompanies an overnight tramp in the snow, the Fierce Snow Warriors climbed high point after high point, negotiated The Bluffs of Doom and eventually made their way into a basin below The Ferocious Mt Technical.
No snow had been seen at this point, but the Fierce Warriors were not to be deterred. Tomorrow was a new day, and in the meantime, the billy was brewing a Magical Potion and sleeping bags were calling.
The next morning dawned, and the Warriors huddled around yet another pot of Magical Potion. Warrior Instructor Alex cracked the whip and soon the warriors were on their way over the nearby saddle and into the snow yonder.
First on the warrior agenda was self-arresting. Shouts of delight and glee were heard coming from the warriors as they slid down patches of snow, interspersed with Indispensible Warrior Instructor Advice like “keep your feet up”, “angle the ice axe” and “put more weight on the pick”.
Once all the warriors had mastered the noble skill of preventing imminent death from falling off a mountain, they set out to master the use of crampons. Warrior Instructors Tania and Alex made an excellent sales pitch for semi-rigid boots as they front-pointed effortlessly up the snow slope. The other warriors resolved to buy semi-rigid boots, but none-the-less made their way up the snow slope using only shards of metal attached to their boots.
Only moments later, all 10 warriors were assembled on the summit of Mt Apprentice – and it wasn’t even 10am! The excitement was palpable as the cloud cleared and the West Coast was visible in the distance.
Time however was marching on, and the lure of the Culverden takeaway store was like a siren song to the warriors’ hearts. Tents were packed in record time and soon a procession of 10 mountain conquerors were making their way over hill and down dale, secure in the knowledge that some snow had been found, and that Chief Warrior Instructor Glen’s curse was limited only to Saturdays.