The idea started a couple of weeks before over a couple of beers and a good early snowfall. Whats the biggest mission we can do with just an overnight from Queenstown and limited fitness and mountaineering knowledge. Brewster!

We can leave early, be at the hut by lunch then ride Mount Armstrong, have some dinner, sleep then ride Brewster and get home to Queenstown. Plan sorted. Then the sun and heat came, but we all had booked the time from work and families, so we decided it was worth going anyway.

As planned, Jase, Bryce and myself met early, some earlier than others - Bryce. Got to the base of the hike and crossed the freezing river. As painful as expected. We knew the hike was steep and it didn't disappoint. Heavy packs not helping. We did discuss not taking boards and just going light, but the point was to ride, so we went loaded. In hindsight, as discussed, we could have left the skins and ski crampons behind.

We got past the treeline and up the ridge and reached the hut for an early lunch in the sun. After some food and coffee we started to head up Armstrong, without being too sure of the route. We found a good way and got onto the snow eventually, crampons on the hit the summit. We found a decent line of snow where we could link a few turns to justify carrying our gear for 1800m vert.

On the way down we stashed our boards with the idea of potentially heading to the Brewster glacier first then up Armstrong again for a different line. Back to the hut for a well-earned beer, curry, 3 nationalities of whiskey and an early night. Waking o amazing weather again we decided that Armstrong wasn't worth it and just to enjoy our time at the glacier. A stunning area and the lakes were frozen to I didn't feel the pressure to swim, luckily.

Back to the hut for lunch and pack the boards as high and light as possible for the steep walk down through the forest. Back to the truck for another beer and then onto B Effect brewery in Wanaka for the a burger and the best Kombucha ever. A great trip, incredible weather and people. We'll be back when there is better snow, and again for a summer explore too.

NZ Shred