Welcome back, for episode two of our newest series hosted by one of NZ’s iconic boarders Roland Morley-Brown, who beholds all the spots to score turns and tap into some adventure along the way.
A big thanks to GoPro and The North Face for levelling up the missions for this series. The entire series is filmed 100% on GoPro, and RMB is running head to toe North Face kit including all the essential adventure items.
Enjoy the second episode and read more from RMB below on his latest missions to ‘Petit Coluloir’.
Single Cone and Double Cone, the iconic peaks of The Remarkables mountain range, both topping out at around 2319m and off the summits of both host some incredible terrain. Petit Couloir, the name given to the chute that dissects Double Cone, has been on my hit list for a fair while now. So after a recent (slightly unpredicted) snowfall, I had the gut feeling it was now or never to attempt to tick it off.
Petit Couloir is very south/southeast facing and only gets minimal morning light, which is great for holding snow but not so great for riding. It is insanely steep and very prone to sluffing, and sliding and the huge cliff that sits right in the middle of its hourglass shape keep this hidden gem from very rarely ever being ridden.
Even though I had scoped this line from a distance a few days beforehand I was still completely unsure if one; I could make the climb up and over the middle cliff and two; once I had, would be able to eloquently ride back down it. But hey, it’s worth a crack aye!
Arriving in the Remarks top car park at 430am a few days later I still wasn’t even sure I was going to attempt the climb. I have to be honest I was pretty nervous about the potential of heavy sluffing as I was climbing up and getting washed out of the chute without even strapping my snowboard on. Hence the need for a backup plan.
The choice was pretty easy.. If I wasn’t feeling confident or whatever reason Petit Couloir didn’t work out, I would be able to continue my climb up the Grand Couloir to the summit of Single Cone and ride off the top of there, which I have done a few times over the past seasons and knew would be a very solid and somewhat safer line.
Climbing up the Grand Couloir, which dissects both Single and Double Cone of The Remarkables, in pitch-black darkness at 5am is an experience all in itself. The snow that had fallen during the storm had come with wind and with that, a bunch of wind-loaded snow was deposited directly in the gut of the Grand Couloir. It was an eerie feeling being up there, in the dark with the only light coming from my headtorch.
As the sun began to rise above the horizon I got my first look into Petit Couloir from the bottom of the chute and damn did it look beautiful, beautifully terrifying. Crampons on and ice-axe in hand, as I made my way up the chute the closer I got to the cliff face in the middle the larger and less and less rideable it looked. I did my best to get up and over the 6 meter, vertical ice wall and as I reached the top of the climb I quickly realised that there would be no way of riding down this, so with a slight feeling of “my tail between my legs” I strapped in and proceeded to ride down the bottom 2/3 and exited the chute, regathered myself and began the hike further up the Grand Couloir to summit Single Cone.
The view from the summit of Single Cone is as breathtaking as it gets. An absolute world-class visual spectacle on the eyeballs. I have ridden off the top a few times over the years, but this day, on this morning was something else. It was as good as it could ever be!