Ice climbing was great, super, amazing, exhilarating, tiring, exciting...in a word awesome!
We started the first day with a beautiful drive to Fox glacier, and then did some basic crampon, ice ax technique. The 2nd day was really a highlight...after hiking in two hours into the Franz Joseph glacier, we did some ice bouldering, easy toproping, and then I got to do an ice lead! It was on easy ground (ice :) but nonetheless, very exciting and a bit tiring. After learning to build anchors, and a few rappels, we did an overhanging toprope. Around midnight onto day 3 it started to rain heavily, but no fear, because Franz Joseph has an indoor(!!) ice climbing wall (3rd biggest in the world, apparently the biggest is in Scotland). So we spent a few hours there before the long drive back to Wanaka.
My guide, Marty near a wall on Fox glacier.
On approach to the climbing spot at Franz Joseph..
Overhanging toprope...not particularly good form :)
On the top!!
I have more pictures, but they'll have to wait until I'm back in the states.
Overall, I must say the rock climbing experience helped quite a bit. A lot of the technique is very similar (keep you weight on your feet, etc etc). But also helping a very experienced guide (he's leading a trip to Everest in a few months, if anyone is interested) all to myself was wonderful!
Now I'm back in Wanaka where it's been raining all day, and is scheduled to rain for the next couple of days. I was hoping to get a chance to go heliskiing (weeeee), but it may not happen due to the weather, so I'll probably just end up going skiing.
In the end, two thumbs way up for ice climbing.