Mt Hector North Glacier
We climbed Mt Hector's North Glacier yesterday. It was a beautiful morning that rapidly deteriorated into a hard, cold rain on the descent.
I climbed another snow route in this zone last weekend, and was struck with how much snow was lost in the intervening four days. The photo I took of Hector last Sunday was badly out of date by yesterday. The upper glacier, in areas where the snowpack would be windswept and thin in the winter, had significant amounts of ice showing, and we had to do a couple of short pitches to surmount them.
Snow conditions had deteriorated significantly as well. On north aspect terrain above 3000 m there were a lot of areas where postholing occurred. Mostly this was in thinner snowpack areas (1 m or less) but we also found it in a few thicker areas as well. There were several weak snow bridges and we all put a leg or two into crevasses on the way up and down.
The summit block was pouring water on the one rock move to get off the glacier and an ice patch made using the easiest way to gain the summit more difficult than normal.