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Scottish Ice-Climbing Expert Visits Franz Josef


Media release, 13 November 2006

Scottish Ice-Climbing Expert Visits Franz Josef

The founder of the world’s largest indoor ice wall has arrived in Franz Josef to lend an expert hand to the construction of the ice-climbing wall that will form part of the new multi-million dollar Hukawai Glacier Centre.

Jamie Smith, is the founder and Managing Director of Ice Factor, the world’s biggest indoor ice-climbing wall located in Kinlochleven, Scotland.

The 10-metre high ice-climbing wall is part of the new $6.5 million Hukawai Glacier Centre at Franz Josef which will be the biggest facility of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

It will consist of six different ice faces, enabling up to 20 people of all levels to experience an ice climb, at any given time, as if they were outside scaling the actual glacier.

“It’s all about getting the consistency of the water and ice correct to create glacier like ice,” says Jamie Smith. “There is a very fine line that must be reached – if the ice is too cold then it will be brittle and break and if it is too warm then it will turn to slush.

“The most important aspect is keeping the air temperature consistent at -10 degrees to ensure the ice remains at an optimal consistency. We want people to climb the wall and imagine, despite being indoors, that they could be outside climbing the real glacier.”

The Hukawai Glacier Centre has been two years in the making and is planned to open to the public early next year.

The Centre will enable people to walk through an entire glacier experience – starting in a rainforest and finishing in a space reflecting the features of the Franz Josef Glacier complete with ice cave and crevasse.

The ice-climbing wall will be in a separate room with floor to ceiling windows, so visitors can sit in the café and watch the people ice-climbing in action.

Jamie Smith will be in Franz Josef until Wednesday November 15.

Ends

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