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Ben Dare Remembers Friend With New Alpine Route

Ben Dare made the first ascent of his new 550-metre Remembrance on the south face of Mount Cook on Nov. 18.

Dare soloed his new route up the aesthetic face after heading to the Hooker Valley with no real objective.

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His chosen line was one he’d attempted on his last visit to the area with partner Conor Smith. As many will remember, Smith and Sarwan Chand died on the south face of Marian Peak in the Darran Mountains in Fiordland earlier this year.

Remembrance climbs the Noeline Glacier into ice and rock to the South Ridge. From there, Dare descended the ridge.

Dare is a member of the New Zealand Alpine Team and is a structural engineer based in Queenstown. He began alpine climbing on the North Island volcanoes of Ruapehu and Taranaki.

In 2015, Dare received a bravery award from Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae at Government House for rescuing fellow mountaineer Scott Blackford Scheele in Nepal.

They were part of a team attempting to reach the 6,900-metre summit of the unclimbed White Wave in May 2013.

At about 6,450 metres, Scheele set off a small avalanche, tumbling down ice cliffs and steep snow-covered ice ramps, knocking himself unconscious with so much force it split his helmet in two.

Dare rappelled down to find him confused, disoriented and delirious. He realized there was no way his climbing partner could make it down the mountain on his own. Over the next 36 hours, Dare lowered Scheele one rope length at a time.

He gave Scheele his jacket for warmth, spending the night in the bitter cold even though he himself was suffering from a bad cough. At the base, Dare half-carried, half-dragged Scheele back to camp, where they had to wait for help to arrive.

They were flown to Kathmandu, where Scheele was treated in intensive care for a week. After receiving the Royal Humane Society Silver Medal for bravery on Thursday, Dare said he felt proud to have been able to help a “really good mate.”

He has climbed hard new routes in the European Alps, Chilean Andes, Khumbu Himalaya and New Zealand. Read Dare’s story of his first ascent below.