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Todd Windle prepares for Mt Cook descent

October 2004

Kiwi free skier, Todd Windle prepares for Mt Cook descent

Todd Windle returns home this week to take on Mt Cook. Windle who has been based in Chamonix, France for the last six months will be climbing to the Low Peak summit of Mt Cook and then free-skiing the descent back down to Empress Hut.

Although he has met the challenges posed by extreme mountain ranges throughout the world, this summit descent of Mt Cook has always been a goal for Windle. Alongside him will be an international film crew who will capture the descent of one of the Southern hemispheres most magnificent giants.

“The line I want to ski is only accessible from the Hooker Valley which is one of the most spectacular valleys in the region,” says Windle. Getting to upper part of Hooker Valley will however involve a degree of technical difficulty and danger. The team will be traveling on foot, although two helicopters will be deployed into the area once the descent begins to capture on film this ultimate challenge.

The descent will begin by crossing the lower Empress Shelf to the North West Couloir. From there they will work there way up to the West Ridge and then on up to the top of Low Peak (3593ft).

Once the team reaches the upper part of Hooker Valley, Windle will ski from the Low Peak of Mt Cook down the ridge to the Empress Hut. “This will involve climbing and skiing two different grades,” says Windle. "For the most part it will be a grade 3 climb however this will turn into a grade 5 once we get closer to the top.” The grade 5 climb of this mission is extremely dangerous and has claimed several lives in the past. Windle and his team will attempt the descent between 24- 27th October however this is all subject to weather conditions within the region.


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