Adventure Magazine

Issue 243: Survival Issue April/May 2024

Issue 243: Survival Issue
April/May 2024


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adventure<br />

where actions speak louder than words<br />

where actions speak louder than words<br />

ISSUE 243<br />

Apr/May 2024<br />

NZ $11.90 incl. GST<br />



Pure<br />

joy<br />

comes<br />

to<br />

those<br />

who<br />

hike.<br />

The roll of the dice<br />

We had recently returned from Hokkaido, Japan when we heard<br />

the new of Isabella Bolton and Joshua Sellens.<br />

Sadly as these pages went to print two young Kiwis, Isabella<br />

Bolton, 21 And Joshua Sellens 33, lost their lives in an avalanche in<br />

Japan on Mt Yotei in Hokkaido. Both were experienced riders and<br />

both knew the area well.<br />

Coincidentally, this issue of <strong>Adventure</strong> is about surviving; about<br />

keeping safe and making the right decision. Survival is all about<br />

taking precautions, mitigating risks, making good choices, and<br />

weighing up all the danger factors. But at the end of the day, no<br />

matter how careful you are, how risk-averse or cautious you are,<br />

sometimes you are just unlucky.<br />

There is a full feature on social media misadventures on page 30,<br />

now I am sure those people didn’t put their hands up to get killed,<br />

but if you hug a wild leopard or hang by your fingernails from the<br />

72nd floor, you are not being cautious nor risk averse.<br />

But, if you have checked the conditions, examined the terrain, taken<br />

good advice, and gone with experience and the right gear, then<br />

sometimes, when things go wrong it is just the roll of the dice and<br />

sometimes chance does not go your way.<br />

<strong>Adventure</strong> sports are about reward; that is why we do them; the thrill,<br />

the excitement, and the fun, but there is a risk, and sometimes, risk<br />

catches up with you through no fault of your own.<br />

Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families of those who have lost<br />

loved ones in Japan, and cliche as it sounds, doing what they loved.<br />

Steve Dickinson<br />

Editor<br />

Mt Yotei, Hokkaido<br />

SIDE NOTE: This issue many of the stories<br />

are supplied by people who were in the<br />

moment, doing their best to survive, so some<br />

of the photos may be a little blurry, others a<br />

little shaky - as you read through the pages,<br />

keep in mind the photographers had other<br />

things on their minds...<br />

Men’s<br />

Women’s<br />

All New: Moab Speed 2<br />

The future of hiking.<br />

merrell.co.nz<br />

| | |

We Are Every<br />

Hard-Won<br />

Summit<br />


25 year old Tom Mahuta Robinson<br />

embarked on an extreme adventure when<br />

he set out to design, build and row across<br />

the Pacific Ocean.<br />

He spent a total of 265 days at sea in<br />

complete isolation, travelled thousands of<br />

miles and experienced incredible highs.<br />

He also experienced his fair share of<br />

challenges. This photo was taken as he<br />

documented his journey.<br />

For the full story, see page 10<br />


Steve Dickinson<br />

Mob: 027 577 5014<br />

steve@pacificmedia.co.nz<br />


Lynne Dickinson<br />

design@pacificmedia.co.nz<br />


subscribe at www.pacificmedia-shop.co.nz<br />


ARE, Ph (09) 979 3000<br />


www.adventuremagazine.co.nz<br />

www.adventuretraveller.co.nz<br />

www.adventurejobs.co.nz<br />

www.skiandsnow.co.nz<br />

@adventurevanlifenz<br />


Pacific Media Ltd,<br />

11a Swann Beach Road<br />

Stanmore Bay, Whangaparaoa, New Zealand<br />

Ph: 0275775014 / Email: steve@pacificmedia.co.nz<br />

advertising rates, demographic and stats available on request<br />

Contributions of articles and photos are welcome and must be accompanied by a stamped self-addressed envelope. Photographic material should be on slide,<br />

although good quality prints may be considered. All care is taken but no responsibility accepted for submitted material. All work published may be used on<br />

our website. Material in this publication may not be reproduced without permission. While the publishers have taken all reasonable precautions and made all<br />

reasonable effort to ensure the accuracy of material in this publication, it is a condition of purchase of this magazine that the publisher does not assume any<br />

responsibility or liability for loss or damage which may result from any inaccuracy or omission in this publication, or from the use of information contained herein<br />

and the publishers make no warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to any of the material contained herein.<br />

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These excerpts can be found on the <strong>Adventure</strong> traveller website www.adventuretraveller.co.nz<br />


Down on the shoreline in the moonlight, tiny waves are rippling<br />

around a rock. Suddenly the rounded lump shifts forwards, and<br />

then again. Not a boulder after all but a mature female green turtle<br />

hauling her 150kg body out of the ocean. Lumbering up the beach,<br />

leaving a trail like a tractor tyre, she’s searching for the best nesting<br />

site. Her in-built GPS has led her back to Ningaloo Reef (Nyinggulu),<br />

possibly to the same beach on which she herself hatched from an<br />

egg decades ago.<br />

we ARE tramping<br />

From November to March, this scene plays out night after night<br />

along Ningaloo Reef. For lucky humans who have witnessed this<br />

miracle of nature, it’s simply unforgettable, and for the best chance<br />

of a turtle encounter, it pays to join a professionally guided tour.<br />

During turtle nesting season, Exmouth <strong>Adventure</strong> Co. operates a<br />

Summer Sunset Turtle Watching Tour .<br />



In March, much of Alaska plunged into a deep freeze,<br />

with temperatures dipping as low as -40 degrees<br />

Fahrenheit in some places. Anchorage is seeing<br />

some of its coldest temperatures in years as the<br />

mayor of the state’s largest city opened warming<br />

facilities for those who are homeless or who don’t<br />

have reliable heating. The extreme cold in some<br />

areas caused heating fuel to thicken, breaking<br />

heaters, and in Anchorage, the roofs of at least two<br />

businesses collapsed under the weight of the snow.<br />

Meanwhile, Alaska’s capital, Juneau, set a new<br />

January snowfall record of more than 6.5 feet.<br />

RUN10023<br />



Sitting incongruously in the middle of the natural rainforest of<br />

the Pacific Island of Niue is a physically small but conceptually<br />

monumental treatise on global environment concerns, the Hikulagi<br />

Sculpture Park. Artist Mark Cross explains why this remote island<br />

sculpture park is of international relevance.<br />

The Hikulagi Park was established in 1996 by members of the then<br />

Tahiono Arts Collective, a small group of artists and art enthusiasts<br />

who had returned to their Pacific home, countering the trend of<br />

urban drift that has devastated many rural and island populations in<br />

the Pacific.<br />

In the case of Niue, much of the land was abandoned after having<br />

been rendered largely infertile by naive colonial horticultural<br />

methods. The artists saw this land as a tabular rasa, a blank canvas<br />

where they could produce works of art that not only enhanced<br />

the land but also spoke of the very cause of its infertility. Several<br />

acres of such land south of the eastern village of Liku were at the<br />

artists’ disposal and, while being ideal for the purpose of the artists’<br />

environmental concerns, it was also ironically surrounded by the<br />

pristine rainforest which once covered the now degraded land.<br />

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These excerpts can be found on the Ski & Snow website www.skiandsnow.co.nz<br />


On January 20th, a backcountry rescue unfolded near<br />

Vermont’s Killington ski resort, involving 23 skiers and<br />

snowboarders caught in freezing temperatures. The group,<br />

primarily front-side resort participants, made an ill-fated<br />

decision to venture into the backcountry from Killington<br />

Resort, ignoring warnings and heading beyond designated<br />

boundaries near the Snowdon Six Express lift.<br />

Descending into Brewers Brook, a steep gully with powder<br />

accumulation, the group reached the bottom only to face<br />

a challenging 2.5-mile trek over steep and icy terrain.<br />

Lacking essential touring equipment like climbing skins or<br />

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Finn Bilous (Wānaka, 24) has finished in third place at the final<br />

stop of the 2024 Freeride World Tour, held on the formidable Bec<br />

des Rosses in Verbier, March 2024.<br />

Bilous put down an incredible run, including a gnarly 360 over the<br />

Hollywood cliff and a huge cross-court 360 on the super exposed<br />

face, impressing the judges and delighting the huge crowd<br />

gathered at the bottom.<br />

Search and Rescue coordinator for the Vermont State<br />

Police, disclosed that despite being in the backcountry,<br />

the individuals were not experienced in such terrain. With<br />

growing severity, 21 skiers and snowboarders, including<br />

six children, initiated multiple distress calls to 911. This<br />

prompted a daring rescue mission, highlighting the critical<br />

importance of preparedness in the unpredictable Vermont<br />

backcountry.<br />

When asked about throwing the 360 off the Hollywood cliff, Bilous<br />

explained; “We came here last year, looked at this face for a whole<br />

week and never got to ski it, so it has been percolating away in the<br />

back of my brain. Conditions lined up this year and I had to do it. I<br />

am glad it worked out, it was pretty scary with the flat light in there<br />

and punchy snow but I am stoked with how it turned out.”<br />

The men’s categories dropped in from the very top of the Bec<br />

des Rosses for the first time since 2018, providing some of the<br />

most technical and exposed terrain in any freeride competition<br />

on the planet. The conditions on the face over the last five years<br />

have been challenging, rendering the top of the mountain unsafe<br />

for freeride competition so lower start positions have been used<br />

instead. However, the snow and weather conditions aligned,<br />

making for an incredible display of riding from all the athletes.<br />



Tawny Wagstaff (Methven) has claimed the first speed skiing<br />

world cup podium of his career with a third place finish in<br />

Vars, France. This result also marks the first speed skiing<br />

world cup podium for a New Zealand athlete since FIS record<br />

keeping started in 2002.<br />


Wagstaff reached a mind-boggling speed of 212.61Kph to<br />

secure the bronze medal. He was just 1.9Kph behind sixtime<br />

speed skiing world champion Simone Origone of Italy<br />

who took the win. Simon Billy of France rounded out the<br />

podium in second place.<br />

Wagstaff said, “I am very happy, I have put a lot of work<br />

in over the last year so it is nice to see the rewards of my<br />

efforts. The course was in excellent condition with light<br />

winds. The top guys are something else, legends at what<br />

they do, generally only 1-2Kph separates the podium so<br />

can be very close.”<br />

Remaining calm before each race, knowing he is going to<br />

travel at incredibly high speeds, is an art. He explained; “I<br />

rely on many coaching techniques, deep breaths, being in<br />

the moment and trusting what I’m good at, it’s a challenge<br />

but what I live for. Taking in the intensity, it’s not often in life<br />

we can have this feeling so I make the most of it.”<br />

Wagstaff is also the current New Zealand speed skiing<br />

record holder. He clocked an incredible speed of<br />

248.61Kph in March last year at the same venue as today’s<br />

podium success.<br />

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the best laid plans<br />

of mice and men<br />

Images and text supplied by Tom Robinson<br />

Tom Mahuta Robinson is a 25-year-old adventurer<br />

and boatbuilder from Brisbane, Australia. In<br />

2022, aged 23, Tom set off from Peru, in a boat<br />

he designed and built, on his most ambitious<br />

adventure yet - to become the youngest person<br />

ever to row the Pacific Ocean.<br />

For the next 14 months Tom experienced the<br />

highs and lows of extreme adventure, facing many<br />

challenges along the way. He spent a total of 265<br />

days at sea in complete isolation, as well as many<br />

months living in harmony with the inhabitants of the<br />

remote islands he visited. The journey ended in a<br />

dramatic rescue off Vanuatu - Tom survived to tell<br />

the tale, break a world record as the youngest to<br />

row the Pacific, and share his story with you...<br />


A hat and sunglasses were essential, except when the camera was running

Tom training on the Brisbane River<br />

It was my fourth day at sea since departing Luganville, Vanuatu, on the last leg<br />

of my journey across the Pacific. I was hoping to make landfall in Australia in<br />

approximately 50 days. I was settling into what I knew would be a wet and bumpy<br />

passage back home, with Vanuatu experiencing its windiest season in over five<br />

years.<br />

All day I had been rowing quite comfortably, Maiwar (The boat, ‘Maiwar’, named<br />

after the Aboriginal name for the Brisbane River, is 24’ long (7.3m), 6’ wide (2m),<br />

and weights over one ton when fully loaded) was making her way westward at a<br />

good rate of knots and I had stayed basically dry while rowing with the 20 knot<br />

south-easters on the beam.<br />

At about 4:00pm local time I hung up the oars a little early and retired to the cabin<br />

to do a bit of navigating and prepare for dinner. As usual, I had been in the nude<br />

most of the day, as chafe is always an issue and, in those conditions, it only takes<br />

a few days to run out of dry clothes. Once inside the cabin I contemplated closing<br />

the hatch, but decided against it, as the conditions were relatively benign – (not a<br />

single wave had come aboard all day), – a fateful error of judgment.<br />

I was sitting on my bunk, looking out the hatch, and then, in a split second, my whole<br />

world was turned upside down. My view turned from blue sky to blue water, a huge<br />

crashing sound was heard, and Maiwar was capsized like a bath toy.<br />

There was no time for fear or even a thought, it all happened so quickly. The next<br />

moment I was holding my breath, I looked around me in complete shock, identified<br />

the open hatch, swam through it and made my way under the boat, through the<br />

afternoon-light pierced blue water and came up to the surface, gasping for breath<br />

as I grabbed onto the gunwale of an upturned Maiwar.<br />

My first thought was “Oh my God, it’s happened, the worst possible scenario has<br />

just become my reality”. I scrambled onto the upturned hull and took stock of the<br />

situation.<br />

His boat, Maiwar, under construction.<br />

Exploring the Penrhyn/Tongareva lagoon.<br />

By this stage it was getting dark, and I knew<br />

that of the two emergency position indication<br />

beacons (EPIRBS) I had on board, at least one<br />

would already be going off, due to a fault with the<br />

mounting bracket, and there would be no way<br />

to turn it off; whether I wanted help or not, my<br />

distress signal was going out to the world, and<br />

there was nothing I could do about it.<br />

I then re-entered the water and grabbed a heavy<br />

line, tied it to the rowlock on the starboard side<br />

of the boat, and climbed back on top of Maiwar. I<br />

then began to lean outboard with all my weight in<br />

an attempt to right the boat.<br />

The naked rower<br />











After a few tries I quickly realised that it was not<br />

going to happen before darkness set in, as by<br />

then it would be too dangerous to attempt anything<br />

further.<br />

I then tied the heavy sea-anchor line across the<br />

boat with enough room for a loop around my waist.<br />

In rapidly fading light I swam back under the boat<br />

and removed one of the EPIRBS from its holster<br />

and attached the lanyard to my wrist.<br />

For the next 14 hours I clung to the bottom of the<br />

boat, one hand gripping the keel, the other holding<br />

onto the EPIRB. Sometimes it took all my strength<br />

not to be washed off the boat by breaking waves.<br />

Just after dark I began to realise the full gravity<br />

of the situation, doubt started to creep in, and the<br />

thought of making it out alive seemed very slim<br />

indeed; it was not a good headspace to be in.<br />

Before too long, I came to grips with my situation<br />

and began to make plans. I decided to stay atop<br />

Maiwar for the night, then, on daybreak, try once<br />

again to right the boat, this time by moving stores<br />

around and flooding certain sections of the hull. I<br />

was quite confident I would be able to right the boat<br />

and continue on. The morning would also bring the<br />

chance to get to the food and water stored onboard.<br />

But before any of this I had to survive the night.<br />

I kept my chin up, and tried to make the most of<br />

a less than ideal situation. The way I looked at it,<br />

the worst possible thing that could have happened,<br />

had happened, so things could only get better from<br />

there on in.<br />

I began to sing: S.O.S by ABBA played on<br />

a continuous loop for a few hours while I<br />

contemplated my situation. I began to feel<br />

remarkably positive about the whole ordeal, and<br />

couldn’t help but smile in the face of adversity. If<br />

it was adventure I was looking for, I had certainly<br />

found it!<br />

As the night wore on, and on, and on, I came to<br />

terms with the fact that it would probably be the<br />

longest night of my life. I shuddered at the thought<br />

of a seemingly endless night still ahead of me.<br />

With all the hardship I was facing, the worst by far<br />

was the cold. Not since rowing up the South American<br />

coastline 14 months earlier, had I felt the need to<br />

wear a jumper or wrap myself in a sleeping bag,<br />

and there I was, stark naked and shivering through<br />

the night. Of course, the best remedy for physical<br />

discomfort is a strong mindset, and if there’s one thing<br />

that a rogue wave couldn’t take away from me, it was<br />

my strong mind and positive outlook.<br />


Tom entering Penrhyn/Tongareva lagoon after 160 days at sea<br />

Finishing touches<br />

Tom anchored in Pago Pago Harbour, America Samoa; 11 months after departing Peru.<br />

I thought warm thoughts, imagined a<br />

bonfire on Maiwar’s bottom, and relished<br />

the few times I was able to urinate on<br />

myself. But mostly I kept my mind active to<br />

distract my senses from the hardship that<br />

surrounded me; really no different from<br />

what I had been doing for the past year.<br />

And then, before I knew it, a faint blue<br />

appeared in the east. I couldn’t believe<br />

it. Already, the night was over, and soon<br />

enough, the sun would rise and warm my<br />

body, the day would begin, and my lot<br />

would improve. The longest night of my<br />

life had been shorter than I had expected.<br />

About an hour later, just as the sun<br />

began to rise above the eastern<br />

horizon, a black silhouette appeared<br />

on the horizon. A Ship!. I cried out for<br />

joy; safety was coming, and it was all<br />

going to be alright. The giant Auckland<br />

based cruise ship the Pacific Explorer,<br />

responded to my call for help. The cruise<br />

operator Carnival Australia diverted<br />

the cruise liner north of its course from<br />

New Caledonia to Vanuatu, and I was<br />

rescued just before 7am.<br />

Even after being rescued, the<br />

strangeness of the whole situation has<br />

not yet left me. The lens through which<br />

I view the world is still slightly refracted,<br />

but one thing has become very clear<br />

indeed: It was all worth it, every last<br />

minute, and to lament even a single<br />

moment would be an equally fateful error.<br />

Of the handful of people I have seen<br />

since my return, they seem to meet me<br />

with a melancholic smile, the corners of<br />

their mouths turn down and their eyes<br />

say sympathy very softly.<br />

Sympathy! Sympathy? Sympathy be<br />

damned! I made a mistake and I paid<br />

the price. So what if the ending was not<br />

how I expected?<br />

When I departed Peru 14 months<br />

ago perhaps it was not clear, even to<br />

myself, why I was rowing across the<br />

Pacific, but since then it has become<br />

well and truly clear. It wasn’t about the<br />

final destination; fame and glory can go<br />

the way of sympathy. They can all be<br />

damned.<br />

I went out into the Pacific chasing<br />

adventure, proper old-fashioned seatof-the-pants<br />

adventure. I went out into<br />

the Pacific to test myself, to challenge<br />

myself, to come face to face with the<br />

raw elements of man and nature; to<br />

learn what I could endure, how strong I<br />

was, how far mother nature could push<br />

me – where the limit lay.<br />

I went out into the Pacific to explore,<br />

to taste a different way of life, to live<br />

purposefully, traditionally and above all,<br />

happily.<br />

Success can be measured any way you<br />

like, indeed it’s one of the true beauties<br />

of life. Make it what you will, but above<br />

all, take away from it what you will.<br />

Before this journey of mine began I had<br />

no idea just how adventurous it would<br />

be, just how fulfilling, how beautiful, how<br />

hard, how torturous and how exciting it<br />

would all be.<br />

Real adventure is not a thing of the past,<br />

I discovered for myself that it’s still out<br />

there, alive and well, the ripe fruit are<br />

there for the picking.<br />

So do not lament for what could have<br />

been, for what went wrong and for what<br />

was expected. Do not frown. Please,<br />

rejoice with me.<br />

If there is one thing I have heard over<br />

and over again, it’s that those of you at<br />

home have enjoyed living this adventure<br />

vicariously through me, perhaps a rare<br />

chance to follow me through the far<br />

reaches of the earth and mind, where few<br />

ever go. And now, I look back on what<br />

has been, on every moment of despair<br />

and joy, and everything in between, and<br />

I cannot help but smile. I’m back home,<br />

an immense weight has been lifted off<br />

my shoulders, a weight I have carried for<br />

many years, and I cannot help but rejoice.<br />

Rejoice for what has been and for what is<br />

yet to come in life.<br />

In a short note I must, of course, thank<br />

the thousands of people around the<br />

world who have supported me<br />












WOULD ALL BE. "<br />

on this journey. It is only through the<br />

kindness, generosity and love of so<br />

many individuals that my adventure was<br />

successful.<br />

I cannot thank enough my family who<br />

supported me tirelessly from the very<br />

beginning, and who had a bit of a scare<br />

last week. .I would also like to apologise<br />

to the passengers whose holiday was<br />

interrupted by my situation.<br />

To the Australian Maritime Safety<br />

Authority, MRCC Noumea and all the staff<br />

of P&O Pacific Explorer, without your help<br />

I simply would not be writing this.<br />

After returning for an expedition to<br />

Papua New Guinea Tom Mahuta<br />

Robinson is now back in Brisbane,<br />

writing a book about his journey.<br />

Follow Tom:<br />

Instagram: tom_mahuta_robinson<br />

Facebook: Tom Mahuta Robinson<br />

Website: tomrobinsonboats.com<br />



Biblical Weather<br />

on the Routeburn Track<br />

Words and images by Gary Chesters<br />

The changing faces of Lake Harris on the Routeburn Track<br />

Even a little rain can make a big difference<br />

In the wild expanse of Fiordland, where rain is<br />

as common as sunshine, surviving a hike without<br />

a downpour is akin to winning the lottery. With<br />

over six meters of rainfall annually, and nearly<br />

200 rainy days, staying dry is a rare luxury. Yet,<br />

amidst the damp, there lies a silver lining—the<br />

rain unveils breath-taking waterfalls unseen in<br />

drier times.<br />

But nature's whims can turn from blessing to<br />

curse with very little warning. In January 2024,<br />

relentless rains, exacerbated by global warming,<br />

unleashed chaos across New Zealand's southern<br />

reaches. Torrential downpours submerged the<br />

land, triggering floods and creating landslides,<br />

wreaking havoc on iconic trails like the Routeburn<br />

and Milford Tracks.<br />


Among those caught in the maelstrom weather bomb were<br />

Queenstown locals, Gary Chesters and his hiking companion, Dale<br />

Le Maitre. What began as a gentle drizzle soon escalated into a<br />

deluge of biblical proportions, prompting an urgent need for not just<br />

a Plan B but a Plan C.<br />

Gary's first-hand account, shared through social media, painted a<br />

vivid picture of their journey; from carefree days by the clear blue<br />

rivers to the heart-stopping reality of navigating nature's fury.<br />

In the serenity of rivers and the security of marked trails, you might<br />

find solace. Yet, when nature unleashes her wrath, even the most<br />

serene landscapes become treacherous. We reached out to Gary,<br />

eager to hear his tale first hand of survival amidst the ferocity of an<br />

extreme weather event.<br />










FURY."<br />

Gary taking a dip on the Routeburn track only weeks<br />



“In the middle of January, 2024 we started off<br />

on the Routeburn and embraced the gentle<br />

drizzle, “just another day in the mountains” I<br />

thought. But things were about to change.<br />

Our original plan was to hike up to the high<br />

point and go off-trail camping to the Valley<br />

of the Trolls, but with the weather less than<br />

ideal we opted for option B, an overnight at<br />

Routeburn Flats Campground, only an hour<br />

and a half from the carpark at the start of the<br />

Routeburn. But what we really needed was a<br />

plan C – what to do in an emergency.<br />

We could sense that the weather was going<br />

to deteriorate so set up camp and braced<br />

ourselves for a rough night, totally unaware<br />

of the enormity of the situation ahead. At<br />

around 2am the rain hit and we hunkered<br />

down in our tents, but the rain was relentless<br />

and heavy. In the dark it’s hard to know what<br />

is happening outside but I have to admit that<br />

thoughts of the river breaking its bank and<br />

flooding our tent sight in the pitch black of<br />

night did pass my mind and we got very little<br />

sleep after that.<br />

There was a certain relief when day broke,<br />

but it did not stop the rain from falling.<br />

Eventually it subsided and we assumed we<br />

were through the worse of it so ventured<br />

on a side trip up to the Routeburn Falls,<br />

a couple of hours up. It didn’t take long<br />

before the rain returned and once again it<br />

poured, torrents of water cascaded down the<br />

mountains transforming the serenity.<br />

As we returned to the flats the mountains<br />

seemed to reach saturation point and<br />

everything just let go! There were waterfalls<br />

popping up everywhere and the Routeburn<br />

River changed in front of our eyes. One<br />

minute it was a peaceful river, the next a<br />

raging torrent with now angry brown dark<br />

streaks gushing in its wake. The river<br />

became its own creature.<br />

At first we watched in awe, mesmerized<br />

by the transformation, until a feeling of<br />

seriousness overcame us. It was now rising<br />

30cm every 15 minutes with no signs of<br />

slowing down. It was at this point that I<br />

glanced over at my tent to see it was now<br />

underwater. The next minute the river broke<br />

its bank and engulfed the flats campground.<br />

Excitement, and maybe a splash of<br />

adrenaline got the better of me. My plan<br />

was to retreat to higher ground, batten down<br />

the hatches and watch the show unfold.<br />

However, after a quick back and forth with<br />

my hiking buddy, the consensus was to pull<br />

the pin and get out of there. In retrospect, a<br />

more sensible move.<br />

The track from Routeburn Flats back to the main entrance soon began to disappear<br />





OVERCAME US. "<br />

After talking with the park ranger we figured out a<br />

turnaround section in case things got really bad, and set<br />

off back to the carpark. It was here the chaos began.<br />

Water was trying to breach everywhere, flowing with<br />

brutal force across the hiking trails and access points.<br />

At one point, knee-deep in what was now a fast flowing<br />

river, boulders struck our feet and the reality of the<br />

situation we were in hit us. We had just exited the<br />

turnaround point when a huge log washed through<br />

the area where we had stood moments before. A few<br />

seconds earlier and it would have crushed us.<br />

We pressed on and based on the park rangers<br />

information, hoped that we were past the worse of it.<br />

Adrenaline surged through me, I was excited, worried,<br />

happy, scared, every feeling possible, all at once.<br />

Finally we saw the bridge, the last point of crossing and<br />

breathed a sigh of relief that the bridge was still intact.<br />

With the amount of water flowing and the sheer force<br />

of it we really didn’t feel safe until we crossed that last<br />

bridge.<br />

We later found out that over 300mm of rain had fallen in<br />

a 48 hour period.<br />

The mountains are truly an untamed beast; not<br />

having the right equipment and knowledge in such<br />

environments can be fatal, and sometimes is. These<br />

tools and an experimental mindset are essential as<br />

the weather can, and sometimes does, change for the<br />

worst.”<br />





EVENT.<br />

Trickling streams turned into waterfalls<br />


SURVIVE.<br />

1.PLAN AHEAD:<br />

















Walking the "track" moments before a large boulder came through right where we had once been<br />

Below: Routeburn Falls in full flow<br />


Things obviously got scary there for<br />

a while, how did you cope having to<br />

make serious decisions? There are a<br />

few points where I stopped to come back<br />

to myself, 3 deep breaths, grounded<br />

myself before making a decision. I think<br />

that’s quite important as sometimes, we<br />

just make decisions without really coming<br />

back to ourselves mindfully. So, rather<br />

than reacting, acting from that place of<br />

more calmed state of mind.<br />

What’s some lessons you have learnt<br />

in life that have helped you in this<br />

situation? Whilst learning myself to<br />

become a dive instructor and rescue dive<br />

instructor I learnt how to imagine a series<br />

of the worst case scenarios happening.<br />

The secret is to not to dwell on them as<br />

they can manifest, but if you prepare<br />

yourself mentally if the worst does happen<br />

you're already prepared. Then, rather<br />

than reacting with fear, you can react from<br />

a more grounded position.<br />

What do you think was the best<br />

decision you made? To stay calm -<br />

acting not reacting. In regard to the actual<br />

decision, it was a team-made decision<br />

to go. I believe it was the right one in the<br />

end.<br />

What, if any, was the worse decision<br />

you made? Crossing the last river -<br />

where the log nearly hit us. In the end, it<br />

was the right move on both counts but it<br />

could have been very different. In such<br />

times, having a calm head makes all the<br />

difference and that comes with experience<br />

and time.<br />

What advice would post-trip Gary give<br />

pre-trip Gary? Nothing really. I feel I<br />

had all the right kit and the experience.<br />

(maybe pack more food).<br />

How has this trip affected any future<br />

trips or planning? The weather changes<br />

even surprised me, I think always hope<br />

for the best, but plan for the worst. And<br />

remind myself, regardless, that indeed -<br />

things can change, and do sometimes.<br />

The downside to experience is if not<br />

checked, the experienced hiker/trekker<br />

can become complacent.<br />

Any other tips? It’s great practice to take<br />

some form of emergency beacon/ SOS<br />

device in case things get really dicey, so<br />

you can contact emergency services. And<br />

it’s always great to hike with a buddy and<br />

a lot safer.<br />

Having the right equipment is essential.<br />

An old mountain guide told me to always<br />

pack a headlamp and rain jacket,<br />

regardless of the weather. That way, if<br />

you’re by yourself and you fall or get<br />

stranded, you can see, and other people<br />

can see you. You can also stay dry and, to<br />

a degree, warm when layered. They don’t<br />

weigh a lot, and they could save your life.<br />



Free solo.<br />

Calculated risk<br />

or a tragedy<br />

waiting to happen?<br />

Words and images by Derek Cheng<br />

The monitor-sized block that almost swept me from<br />

the ridge of the Evolution Travers in the Sierra Nevada,<br />

California.<br />

The handhold that broke and nearly ejected me<br />

towards oblivion on the southern flanks of Mount<br />

Robson, Canada.<br />

The panic that engulfed my friend who, climbing<br />

ropeless in the Wyoming’s Cirque of the Towers, had<br />

to compose herself to avoid being swallowed up by the<br />

gaping, exposed nothingness reaching for her ankles.<br />

The giant rock block that I dislodged but managed<br />

to catch on my knees, which would have otherwise<br />

eviscerated the four climbers below me in Canada’s<br />

Bugaboo mountains.<br />

There’s been a lot of debate about the rights and<br />

wrongs of free soloing, especially in light of the<br />

publicity of Alex Honnold’s scarcely believable free solo<br />

of El Cap in Yosemite.<br />

Discussions among climbers traverse whether it should<br />

be done at all, given the obvious risks, and if so, how.<br />

This isn’t a treatise imploring you to go out and try it,<br />

but rather an exploration of the rationale.<br />

Keenan Waeschle at dawn on top of<br />

one of the nine peaks that make up the<br />

Evolution Traverse<br />


Much of the public perception is<br />

misguided, casting free soloists as<br />

adrenaline junkies who test themselves<br />

in the most extreme way possible. This,<br />

in my experience, has no basis in truth.<br />

You don’t simply take a fancy to a line<br />

and decide to jump on it without much<br />

thought.<br />

Most free solos are likely to be<br />

on grades where a fall—and any<br />

adrenaline—is highly improbable, or on<br />

routes you’ve climbed so many times<br />

that you’re on auto-pilot. Even Honnold<br />

spent two years climbing Freerider<br />

(5.13a/28) with a rope before he<br />

committed to trying it ropeless.<br />

And while there is definitely a rush,<br />

it’s nothing like the pulsing feeling<br />

of throwing for a 50/50 move when<br />

you’re under lactic acid attack and your<br />

forearms are bulging out of your skull.<br />

If you’re doing that and ropeless, then<br />

you’re truly mad.<br />

Instead it’s the most potent climbing<br />

flow, a total immersion in a zone that<br />

so enriches every pore and heightens<br />

every sense. The unique circumstances<br />

command your attention. You have<br />

no option but to master your fear and<br />

deal with anything that may or may not<br />

happen, from negotiating brittle rock to<br />

strenuous moves above a potentially<br />

lethal fall.<br />

Mastery in such a high stakes game<br />

can deliver a feeling akin to the<br />

transcendental.<br />

But, for me, this was the light at the<br />

end of a very long tunnel. For years I<br />

viewed free soloing, like most climbers,<br />

as simply too risky to even consider.<br />

Then one afternoon in the Pines—the<br />

campsite in the climbing haven of<br />

Arapiles, Australia —I was party to a<br />

conversation with far more experienced<br />

climbers about the virtues of simulclimbing.<br />

“You are basically soloing but in a safer<br />

way and with a bunch more gear,” one<br />

older, grislier climber was saying. “And<br />

it can be an essential skill if you’re in<br />

an alpine environment and trying to<br />

minimise the time exposed to objective<br />

hazards. In the mountains, with potential<br />

avalanche terrain or incoming storms,<br />

speed is often safety.”<br />

Arapiles, with its abundance of easy<br />

multi-pitch climbs, was the perfect place<br />

to try simul-climbing.<br />

This happens when two climbers are tied<br />

into a rope, but instead of one person<br />

belaying as the other climbs and places<br />

climbing protection to guard against a<br />

fall, they both move up at the same time.<br />

A fall from either climber will likely pull<br />

the other one off the wall, but as long as<br />

there are at least two pieces of protection<br />

between the climbers (in case one of<br />

them fails), the falls shouldn’t be fatal.<br />

It all depends, of course, on where you<br />

place the protection and how far the<br />

leader might be above the last piece.<br />

But in general, if done well, it’s safer<br />

than soloing but still much speedier than<br />

when the leader climbs and their partner<br />

belays.<br />

A buddy and I spent that afternoon<br />

simul-climbing, knocking off five multipitch<br />

trad routes in a few hours. It was<br />

exhilarating to move so quickly across<br />

so much rock.<br />

Comfort levels commonly expand as<br />

a challenging activity becomes more<br />

familiar. Several more simul-climbing<br />

days on grades no harder than 12<br />

peppered my Arapiles season, and the<br />

more familiar I became, the more my<br />

gear placements tended to become 10<br />

metres apart, rather than every third<br />

metre.<br />

Still, the thought of climbing ropeless<br />

was terrifying and, when a bunch of<br />

friends gang-soloed up Tiptoe Ridge (5),<br />

I stayed behind.<br />

Simul-climbing, however, became an<br />

essential tool in the alpine toolbox.<br />

One of the first occasions was in the<br />

Cirque of the Towers. An early start saw<br />

me and my friend at the base of the<br />

350m-high northeast face (5.8, 15) of<br />

Pingora, one of the 50 Classic Climbs of<br />

North America, with a double rack and a<br />

50m-half rope. One simul-pitch later, we<br />

were on the summit.<br />

The neighbouring peak, Wolf’s Head,<br />

also has one of the 50 classics, and we<br />

rappelled over to it and solo scrambled<br />

up the fourth class terrain at the base<br />

of the East Ridge (5.5/12). When it<br />

steepened, we tied in and simul-climbed<br />

to the top.<br />

"MUCH OF<br />











POSSIBLE."<br />

Mitch Woodward soloing Agamemnon, the classic grade 11 climb at Arapiles, Australia<br />


The truth is that you’ve probably done<br />

some free soloing if you’ve ever done<br />

any alpine routes. It is rare to rope up for<br />

any and all mountain terrain. Some will<br />

be comfortably ropeless while crossing<br />

glaciers on well-trodden boot tracks, or<br />

scrambling up non-technical approaches,<br />

or climbing more technical rock.<br />

I was still very cautious the first time I<br />

ended up soloing technical terrain. It was a<br />

300m-long corner system called Joy (5.6,<br />

13) on Mt Indefatigable in the Canadian<br />

Rockies. We intended to climb it as a party<br />

of three, but I decided to start soloing up to<br />

take photos of my friends from above.<br />

I wore a harness with a half-rack of cams<br />

so I could build an anchor, sit on gear<br />

and wait for a rope if I was in any way<br />

uncomfortable. But I didn’t end up needing<br />

them.<br />

When I topped out, I was acutely aware<br />

of the awesome tremendousness of the<br />

experience.<br />

I slowly branched out. The trade route<br />

on Sir Donald, a gorgeous 5.4/12 line up<br />

the northwest ridge, takes a whole day if<br />

pitched out, but is a casual few hours as a<br />

solo. And a fine one it is, with mostly easy<br />

scrambling and huge holds wherever the<br />

terrain steepens.<br />

A bluebird day accompanied me from<br />

Irene’s Arete (5.8/16) up Disappointment<br />

Peak, in Grand Teton National Park, to<br />

Exum Ridge (5.7/15) on the majestic<br />

Grand Teton.<br />

The Sierra Nevada has so many peaks<br />

that there is literally no limit to potential<br />

link-ups. One of the most popular is<br />

combining the southeast buttress of<br />

Cathedral Peak (5.6/14) with Matthes<br />

Crest (5.7/15), a nearby mile-long fin of the<br />

most exquisite granite.<br />

Soloing eventually became an integral part<br />

of trying alpine traverses or grand link-ups,<br />

one of the most memorable being a fourpeak<br />

day in the Canadian Bugaboos. It<br />

started with simul-climbing most of McTech<br />

Arete (5.10a/18) to the top of Crescent<br />

Spire, simul-climbing the first three pitches<br />

and then soloing the rest of the northeast<br />

ridge of Bugaboo Spire (5.8/16), soloing<br />

the west ridge of Pigeon Spire (5.4/12),<br />

and then pitching out the harder sections<br />

of the ultra-classic Beckey-Chouinard<br />

(5.10d/20) on the South Howser Tower.<br />

It was on this latter peak that I dislodged a<br />

huge block with my hand, but managed to<br />

catch on my knees before gently dropping<br />

it on a ledge. It would have flattened one<br />

or all of the four climbers below me. The<br />

immenseness of the narrowly-avoided<br />

consequences was written all over the<br />

open-mouthed, eye-bulging face of the<br />

climber next to me as he belayed his<br />

leader above. A quick reminder of how<br />

easily things can go wrong.<br />

Similarly tragic consequences were<br />

narrowly avoided during our traverse of<br />

The Cirque of the Towers, in Wyoming,<br />

which ticks 12 summits. My diminutive<br />

friend Cat didn’t have the wingspan to<br />

comfortably reach a good handhold<br />

above a gaping abyss of nothingness.<br />

She started to panic, couldn’t reverse the<br />

move, and I quickly moved towards her<br />

intending to offer her my outstretched<br />

hand. Just as I could reach her, she<br />

committed to the move and avoided what<br />

would have been a deadly fall.<br />

And on the Evolution Traverse, a spine of<br />

granite crossing nine peaks (5.9/17) and<br />

with more than 3000m of elevation gain<br />

and loss, I narrowly dodged the firing line<br />

several times as my movement wobbled<br />

titanic boulders.<br />

Once my weighty heft broke off a foot<br />

nubbin, throwing me gracelessly onto a<br />

ledge. Luckily it was only a metre below<br />

me, and a mildly sore bottom was the only<br />

consequence.<br />

Towards the latter peaks, I leapt from one<br />

rock and landed on a lichenous boulder<br />

that instantly dismissed my footing, forcing<br />

me to throw down my upper body in a<br />

desperate bid for purchase. Each time I<br />

emerged with nothing more than a scratch.<br />

Pause, breathe. Reset, continue.<br />

The final two peaks offered the best<br />

climbing: excellent rock, steep climbing on<br />

solid holds, and a jubilant anticipation that<br />

grew with each step.<br />

I spent the following days eating burgers,<br />

soaking in hot pools, and contemplating<br />

the pros and cons of free soloing. Every<br />

discipline of climbing has an element of risk,<br />

and every climber makes an assessment<br />

based on experience, temperament of the<br />

day, objective hazard of the route, etc. One<br />

climber’s epic free solo is another’s casual<br />

outing in approach shoes.<br />



ON ALL THE<br />



AND ONE OF<br />



‘YOU’. ANOTHER<br />

IS RANDOM,<br />


LUCK."<br />

The Evolution Traverse, a spine of granite crossing nine peaks (5.9/17) and with more than 3000m of elevation gain and loss, where I narrowly<br />

dodged the firing line several times as my movement wobbled titanic boulders.<br />

Many climbers choose their routes because of the risk<br />

factor. That is, they are aware of what lies ahead and<br />

willingly embrace it.<br />

Sometimes catastrophe strikes. I’ve narrowly avoided<br />

one of my own when I was hit by rockfall that broke<br />

several bones in my face, neck and back. Just last<br />

month a friend - a highly skilled and experienced<br />

climber - fell to his death while soloing one of the<br />

smaller granite walls above Yosemite in California.<br />

Does that make it reckless? Probably. Undoubtedly more reckless<br />

than sitting at home watching TV. But if we never did any activity<br />

that might end in injury, we would never do anything.<br />

Too reckless? That depends on all the elements in the equation,<br />

and one of the biggest elements is ‘you’.<br />

Another is random, indiscriminate luck. You could be the most<br />

prepared person in the history of the world and be swallowed in a<br />

freak rockfall, or the world’s most careless gumby and come home<br />

completely unscathed.<br />



the fatal<br />

pursuit of<br />

social media<br />

stardom<br />






ONLINE<br />




LIVES."<br />

In the age of social media, the quest for attention and validation and click bait<br />

income has led individuals to increasingly extreme activities in the pursuit of viral<br />

fame. The allure of likes, shares, and comments has driven some to engage in<br />

dangerous stunts and challenges, resulting in tragic consequences. The morbid<br />

question that looms over this trend is, how many people have lost their lives in<br />

the relentless pursuit of the perfect social media post?<br />

The statistics surrounding fatalities linked to extreme activities for social media<br />

content are alarming. From daredevil stunts to dangerous challenges, the quest<br />

for online validation has claimed numerous lives. Despite the evident risks, the<br />

temptation to go to more extraordinary lengths for that perfect shot or video has<br />

proven fatal for too many.<br />

One of the primary culprits behind these tragedies is the constant pressure to<br />

outdo previous feats and create content that stands out in an oversaturated<br />

online landscape. Social media platforms, while providing a platform for selfexpression,<br />

can also inadvertently fuel a culture of one-upmanship, pushing<br />

individuals to push safety boundaries for the sake of engagement.<br />

Whether it’s cliff diving, hugging a lion, or participating in a cliff edge selfie. The<br />

desire for a moment of internet fame blinds them to the potential life-threatening<br />

outcomes.<br />

This trend has prompted discussions on the ethical responsibilities of both<br />

content creators and platforms. Social media influencers face scrutiny for their<br />

role in glamorising risky behaviour without adequately emphasising the potential<br />

dangers.<br />

A simple warning on a video of someone plummeting to their deaths is not is<br />

discouragement but more of an appetiser.<br />

The toll of lives lost in pursuing social media stardom is an unfortunate reality.<br />

How you curtail this trend without impeding personal freedom, it is right to<br />

say ‘Well its their choice’ and it is, however, the impact of one-upmanship, in<br />

particularly with youth, (and those dealing with youth know the impact of social<br />

media) should there not be a more concentrated effort to limit the impact from the<br />

platforms where they post, or is that threatening free speech?<br />







STUFF<br />


Wu Yongning went out to do what he loved<br />

best - scale a skyscraper without safety<br />

equipment and film himself dangling off its<br />

roof by his fingertips.<br />

What happened next almost seems<br />

inevitable - the Chinese climber fell,<br />

plunging 62 storeys to his death.<br />

Beijing News investigation found that<br />

Mr Wu had posted more than 500 short<br />

videos and livestreams on Huoshan,<br />

garnering a million fans and earning at<br />

least 550,000 yuan ($126,000).<br />

Huoshan had prominently promoted his<br />

videos as recently as June. The last being<br />

a shocking clip of what appeared to be his<br />

final moments, his fatal attempt to scale a<br />

building in Changsha city.<br />


A woman was mauled by a<br />

jaguar in Arizona after entering<br />

a zoo enclosure to take a selfie.<br />

She luckily received<br />

non-life-threatening injuries.<br />



32-year-old influencer Sofia<br />

Cheung died after slipping and<br />

falling 5 meters in the Ha Pak Lai<br />

nature park, while she was taking<br />

a selfie with friends at the edge of<br />

a waterfall. Her Instagram account<br />

featured photos of her outdoor<br />

adventures, including scaling cliffs<br />

and mountaintops.<br />

32-year-old influencer Sofia<br />

Cheung died after slipping and<br />

falling 5 meters in the Ha Pak Lai<br />

nature park, while she was taking<br />

a selfie with friends at the edge of<br />

a waterfall. Her Instagram account<br />

featured photos of her outdoor<br />

adventures, including scaling cliffs<br />

and mountaintops.<br />

A 46-year-old Chinese tourist died<br />

after falling into the sea while taking a<br />

selfie on a cliff at Devil's Tears on Nusa<br />

Lembongan, off the coast of Bali.<br />

Six members of the same family drowned at<br />

Ramdaha Falls in Chhattisgarh. Two teenage<br />

sisters attempted to take a selfie but slipped<br />

into the water. Four other relatives tried to<br />

save them but they all drowned<br />


A New Zealand tourist fell to his death from a<br />

moving train on the World War II “death railway” in<br />

Kanchanaburi province in western Thailand.<br />

Patrick Ward, 45, had come with a group led by<br />

a tour guide from River Kwai bridge and rode<br />

the train yesterday to see the death railway, also<br />

known as the Thai-Burma Railway.<br />

Ward opened a door of the train and tried to take<br />

a selfie to show the view outside but he slipped<br />

on the steps at the door and fell to his death.<br />

The tour guides had warned travellers not to lean<br />

out of the carriages, which have open spaces<br />

where they connect. Doors can also be opened<br />

for passengers to sit on the steps and they can<br />

also lean from the windows.<br />


French daredevil Remi Lucidi died after<br />

falling from the 68th floor of a Hong Kong<br />

skyscraper, according to reports.<br />

The 30-year-old, known as “Remi<br />

Enigma” on Instagram, lost his footing<br />

outside a penthouse apartment at the<br />

721-foot-tall Tregunter Tower,<br />

After gaining access to the high-rise by<br />

telling a security guard that he was there<br />

to visit a friend on the 40th floor, Lucidi<br />

made his way to the top floor, according<br />

to Sky News.<br />

Lucidi was seen on surveillance camera<br />

exiting the elevator on the 49th floor and<br />

again on the staircase to the top floor,<br />

where a door had been forced open.<br />



Organic evolution<br />

the essence of<br />

business Survival<br />

<strong>Adventure</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> and Media has been involved with Nick<br />

Montague -Brown and Outdoor Action for over 20 years. In a world<br />

where adventure retailers are being gobbled up by consumer giants<br />

and evaporating like early morning dew under the withering heat<br />

of corporation expansion. Outdoor Action not only survived but has<br />

developed and expanded. Now twenty years down the adventure retail<br />

road this is their story:<br />

Where did it all start? Purchasing<br />

Outdoor Action wasn’t exactly an<br />

impulsive decision. At the time, we<br />

were residing overseas in Brazil, deeply<br />

engrossed in the preparations for our<br />

wedding, seeking a fresh challenge. Our<br />

search for new opportunities led us to<br />

explore various business listings online.<br />

That's when we stumbled upon Outdoor<br />

Action. With a lifelong passion for the<br />

outdoors and a history of adventurous<br />

pursuits, this opportunity struck a chord. It<br />

presented a seamless blend of business<br />

and pleasure.<br />

What was it like in the beginning?<br />

They were intense and long, starting our<br />

days at 6:00 am and often not finishing<br />

until midnight or later, seven days a<br />

week. This routine continued for almost<br />

the first year. We were deeply immersed<br />

in understanding the local New Zealand<br />

outdoor industry and building relationships<br />

with customers and suppliers. There<br />

were mistakes, or as I prefer to call them,<br />

'learning curves'. But with each challenge,<br />

we grew more knowledgeable and<br />

adaptable, a process that still continues.<br />

After being in the adventure retail<br />

business for over 20 years what are the<br />

key elements to business survival?<br />

Celebrating 20 years in the adventure<br />

retail sector, Outdoor Action's<br />

longevity is rooted in unwavering<br />

customer satisfaction, honesty, and<br />

trust. Communication is key, ensuring<br />

transparency with customers, suppliers,<br />

and partners alike. Our ability to make<br />

tough decisions and build a dedicated<br />

team underpins our success. These<br />

core principles have guided us through<br />

two decades and promise a future of<br />

continued adventure and exploration.<br />

Was there trepidation at losing the<br />

retail store and going online only?<br />

Certainly, transitioning to an online-only<br />

model was a risk, as with any major<br />

business decision. In business, there<br />

are no guarantees; success requires<br />

hard work, passion, and dedication, and<br />

sometimes even those aren't enough.<br />

We had our concerns, but our belief in<br />

ourselves and the positive feedback from<br />

both new and long-standing customers,<br />

who assured us they would continue their<br />

support, gave us the confidence to move<br />

forward.<br />








With the transition from bricks and<br />

mortar what is the key to the survival<br />

of an online store? As we've embraced<br />

a fully online presence, it's important<br />

to note that we're not newcomers to<br />

the digital space. Our journey online<br />

has been concurrent with our physical<br />

store operations, providing us with a<br />

wealth of experience and insights that<br />

have been invaluable in our transition.<br />

This longstanding familiarity with the<br />

online world has been a key factor in<br />

understanding what it takes to succeed<br />

digitally.<br />

A user-friendly and easily discoverable<br />

online store is essential, supported by<br />

our efforts in organic search and targeted<br />

advertising. This ensures a frictionless<br />

shopping experience from discovery to<br />

purchase.<br />

Our commitment to delivering on our<br />

promises has always been a bedrock of<br />

our reputation, addressing any issues<br />

quickly to ensure customer satisfaction.<br />

Moreover, balancing competitive pricing<br />

with the sustainability of our business is<br />

crucial. We strive for a pricing strategy<br />

that's both smart and fair, enabling<br />

customers to make informed decisions<br />

with confidence.<br />

In essence, our enduring online presence<br />

has not just been about survival; it's been<br />

about leveraging our experience to build<br />

trusted relationships and guide our store<br />

towards sustained success in the digital<br />

marketplace.<br />

Transition from brick and mortar to<br />

fully online what was the biggest<br />

mistake you made? Transitioning<br />

from brick-and-mortar to a fully online<br />

model didn't come with what I'd call<br />

mistakes, thanks to extensive planning<br />

and research. There were challenges,<br />

of course, but they were all within our<br />

realm of expectation. We were wellprepared<br />

for the financial demands of<br />

running an effective online adventure<br />

store, understanding that it would surpass<br />

the costs of operating a physical store in<br />

complexity and scale.<br />

Perhaps the most unexpected aspect<br />

was the need to retrain our team. Many<br />

had joined us with retail environments in<br />

mind and found themselves navigating<br />

a significantly different landscape<br />

in an office setting. This shift led to<br />

some turnover as we moved towards<br />

assembling a team dedicated entirely to<br />

ecommerce. It was a transition that, while<br />

challenging, ultimately shaped the robust<br />

and specialized team we have today.<br />

The journey taught us that success online<br />

isn't just about cutting costs; it's about<br />

strategic investment in the right areas—<br />

digital marketing, logistics, and team<br />

development. These investments have<br />

been essential in refining our approach,<br />

allowing us to better serve our adventureseeking<br />

customers and thrive in the digital<br />

marketplace.<br />

Transition from brick and mortar to<br />

fully online what was the biggest<br />

positive surprise you found?<br />

In navigating our transition from brickand-mortar<br />

to a fully online platform, I<br />

wouldn't say I encountered surprises<br />

in the traditional sense. This was<br />

largely because we embarked on this<br />

journey with thorough research and<br />

meticulous analysis. We didn't leave<br />

room for surprises; instead, we came<br />

in fully prepared, armed with insights<br />

and strategies to ensure a seamless<br />

shift. Our philosophy has always been<br />

to strive for perfection but plan for the<br />

worst. This approach empowered us to<br />

anticipate challenges and devise solutions<br />

proactively, turning potential hurdles into<br />

opportunities for growth and innovation.<br />

The smoothness of this transition<br />

reaffirmed the value of preparation and<br />

strategic foresight in business, highlighting<br />

the strength of our team and the<br />

robustness of our planning processes.<br />





WORSE."<br />

Specific brands survive and some<br />

do not in your opinion are their<br />

specific basics that a brand needs<br />

for longevity? In my view, the bedrock<br />

of a brand's longevity is unequivocally<br />

quality. There's a saying by Henry Royce,<br />

the British engineer, which encapsulates<br />

this belief perfectly: "The quality will<br />

remain when the price is forgotten." This<br />

philosophy is something we hold dear at<br />

Outdoor Action. We live by the rule that<br />

if we wouldn't use a product ourselves,<br />

we won't sell it. This commitment to<br />

quality has guided our selection of brands<br />

over the years. We've carried a wide<br />

range of brands, but we've been quick<br />

to cut ties with those that resulted in an<br />

excessive number of warranty claims and<br />

quality issues. It's a clear indicator to us<br />

that quality isn't their priority. From our<br />

experience, brands that fail to prioritize<br />

quality, to put it simply, don't make the cut<br />

in the long run. Ensuring the products we<br />

offer embody quality not only aligns with<br />

our values but also builds trust and loyalty<br />

among our customers, cementing our<br />

place and the brands we support in the<br />

market for the long haul.<br />

Why start bringing in your own<br />

brands? Our goal was clear: to offer<br />

high-quality products at competitive prices<br />

to Kiwi adventurers. Introducing our<br />

own brands became a strategic move to<br />

achieve this objective. It allowed us to go<br />

the extra mile for our customers, ensuring<br />

the perfect balance between quality and<br />

value. By having more control over our<br />

product offerings, we could provide a<br />

tailored experience that met the needs of<br />

our outdoor enthusiasts.<br />

Mountain Equipment stands out with<br />

its 65-year heritage. Although it had<br />

been in New Zealand for some time, its<br />

representation had faltered in the years<br />

before we took over, with a mismatch in<br />

product offerings. We saw the potential to<br />

realign and reintroduce these high-quality<br />

brands to Kiwi adventurers in a more<br />

relevant and effective way.<br />

What advice would today Nick Montague-<br />

Brown give Nick who was just starting<br />

off twenty years ago? Firstly, embrace<br />

patience. Building Outdoor Action is going<br />

to be a long journey filled with both triumphs<br />

and setbacks. Each challenge is a lesson in<br />

disguise, shaping you into the leader you'll<br />

become.<br />

Be adaptable. The landscape of our<br />

industry will change faster than you can<br />

imagine. Your ability to pivot and embrace<br />

new ideas will be crucial to staying relevant<br />

and successful.<br />

Invest in relationships. The connections you<br />

make with customers, suppliers, and your<br />

team are the backbone of this business.<br />

Trust and respect in these relationships will<br />

carry you through the tough times.<br />

Don't forget about your team. They're your<br />

greatest asset. Hire people who share your<br />

passion and vision, then trust them to bring<br />

those to life. Their growth is your business's<br />

growth.<br />

Lastly, hold onto your passion for adventure<br />

and the outdoors. It's why you started this<br />

journey. That genuine love is what makes<br />

Outdoor Action resonate with so many<br />

people.<br />

To the younger me, know that this<br />

adventure is as much about your personal<br />

growth as it is about the business. Keep<br />

these pieces of advice close and enjoy the<br />

journey ahead.<br />



failure in the<br />

name of safety<br />

Words and Images by Guy Cotter<br />

Back in 2018 we ran a story written by then CEO of<br />

<strong>Adventure</strong> Consultants, Guy Cotter. This is possibly one of<br />

the most relevant pieces of writing and advice from one of<br />

New Zealand's most successful and competent adventures,<br />

as relevant today as it was when he wrote it...<br />

If you’re going to be a<br />

mountaineer you’ve got to<br />

make peace with the fact that<br />

you are going to be a failure,<br />

repeatedly. Over the course<br />

of your climbing career you<br />

will attempt climbs you won’t<br />

get up because you’re (pick<br />

one or more) too scared, too<br />

weak, too slow, too fast, too<br />

early, too late, too tired, too<br />

hungry, can’t see, chose the<br />

wrong partner, wrong clothes,<br />

you’re hungover, forgot the<br />

crucial equipment, brought too<br />

much equipment, brought too<br />

little equipment, toilet paper<br />

got wet, weather was too/hot/<br />

cold/wet/dry/windy, chose the<br />

wrong day/season/time of life<br />

and so on.<br />

In fact, the list of excuses<br />

for your upcoming string of<br />

failures is almost endless<br />

and over the course of your<br />

climbing career you use the<br />

entire spectrum of defences<br />

to explain how useless you<br />

really are.<br />

But we all know that in<br />

climbing these failures are<br />

justified, right? After all, the<br />

argument goes, we do have<br />

to fail at times in the name<br />

of safety. There is certainly<br />

no argument about that. We<br />

must be prepared to change<br />

our plans or back off a climb<br />

when the level of risk is too<br />

high. There are simply times<br />

when there is no doubt about<br />

the level of risk we are facing<br />

that makes retreat imperative,<br />

such as, a storm that drops<br />

lots of snow and creates an<br />

avalanche hazard that you<br />

can’t sit out until it stabilises,<br />

and you simply have to leave.<br />

But there are the other times<br />

when you’re just having a bad<br />

day, or you decide you hate<br />

your climbing partner and just<br />

cannot spend another moment<br />

with them or you have some<br />

other doleful reason to fail.<br />

Now you may not feel like<br />

returning to the pub/hut/basecamp<br />

and admit you backed off<br />

because you are so lame and<br />

that’s when you pull out the<br />

safety card. No one is going to<br />

criticise you for that because<br />

safety is paramount, and you<br />

can sometimes even convince<br />

yourself that your pitiful lack of<br />

willpower was actually justified<br />

for safety reasons.<br />

But, there are times when<br />

being a lame useless<br />

paranoid failure is exactly the<br />

right call even though you<br />

can’t properly explain your<br />

rationale. I’ve had many an<br />

experience (while failing)<br />

when I’ve not been able to<br />

articulate my reasoning and<br />

that `things just didn’t seem<br />

quite right. And yes, I have<br />

used a fair portion of the<br />

aforementioned excuses to<br />

justify my fallibilities.<br />

In fact, I’ve failed so often that<br />

I’ve got myself to a stage in<br />

life where I don’t mind failing.<br />

If there is a route that is too<br />

hard for me and I’m simply<br />

not good enough to climb it<br />

then I’m good with that. I’m so<br />

good at failing that my sense<br />

of self-worth is not destroyed<br />

by the thought of other people<br />

criticising me when I do fail.<br />

Now I can even apply this<br />

apathetic approach to the<br />

rest of my life and while<br />

I’m surrounded by type A<br />

personalities who are still<br />

stuck in the ‘80’s using jargon<br />

like ‘goal setting’ I’m blissfully<br />

living life without concern that I<br />

might be exposed as a failure<br />

because in reality I’m really<br />

accomplished at it!<br />

This revelation has been<br />

spawned through events<br />

that occurred to me in the<br />

course of my climbing career.<br />

I recall once when I was an<br />

aspirant guide I turned back<br />

on an ascent of Mt Cook<br />

while other guides were still<br />

continuing onwards, and they<br />

successfully summited. While<br />

they were comfortable, I was<br />

completely uncomfortable<br />

with the conditions, in my<br />

view it was too warm, and I<br />

couldn’t say to myself that if<br />

I continued with the ascent,<br />

that I was making the right<br />

decision with the information<br />

I had at hand. My poor client<br />

was devastated and quite<br />

rightfully made a complaint to<br />

the guide company and at the<br />

time I felt terrible about the<br />

whole thing.<br />

Just three years ago (now<br />

8 years) a similar event<br />

occurred on Mt Manaslu in<br />

the Himalayas. A storm laid<br />

down a heap of snow and the<br />

forecast was indicating an<br />

oncoming frontal system that<br />

would hit us after only three<br />

clear days. This didn’t give<br />

us enough time to give the<br />

snow slopes leading to high<br />

camp time to settle before we<br />

would be forced to have our<br />

Sherpa team climb the slope<br />

to stock the camp in time for<br />

us to follow the next day and<br />

summit the day after.<br />

A golden rule of snow<br />

safety tells us that 90% of<br />

avalanches occur during or<br />

the day after a storm. My<br />

experience in the Himalaya<br />

has shown me numerous<br />

times that the most dangerous<br />

time is the day following a<br />

storm when the sun has been<br />

on the slope only a short time.<br />


Making a decision whether to summit Manalsu straight after a storm can be a tricky one.<br />















THEIR LUCK)."<br />

There were a large number<br />

of groups on Manalsu that<br />

season and there was a lot of<br />

pressure to get to high camp to<br />

summit before the next storm<br />

that was forecast to arrive<br />

in a few days, which would<br />

shut the season down due<br />

to extremely high winds. As<br />

leader of that expedition I had<br />

a choice; I could break my own<br />

rules and send the Sherpas<br />

up that slope the day after<br />

the storm, or I could make a<br />

safety conscious choice, even<br />

if I wouldn’t be too popular for<br />

making it.<br />

We knew that other teams<br />

would be on that slope next<br />

day and there was a chance<br />

nothing would go wrong, and<br />

that people would get up that<br />

slope safely and then go on<br />

to summit. I told my team<br />

that I was going to look either<br />

like a sage in their eyes next<br />

day if people got avalanched<br />

on that slope, or an overly<br />

conservative failure if nothing<br />

occurred. Well, as it turned out,<br />

it was the latter. No avalanche<br />

took out the climbers on that<br />

slope and no-one died. I was<br />

very thankful for that outcome.<br />

But, and here is the guts of<br />

it, this was a slope that was<br />

known to avalanche (it slid in<br />

2012 and 11 people died) and<br />

the likelihood of an avalanche<br />

was highest the first day after<br />

the storm. It wouldn’t be too<br />

much of a push to suggest<br />

that the fact no-one did die<br />

was more luck than skill (and<br />

again, I was truly thankful for<br />

their luck).<br />

However, the question in my<br />

mind was whether people were<br />

still climbing this slope due to a<br />

fear of making a conservative<br />

call, or because they had no<br />

idea of what they were doing,<br />

or because they had more<br />

information about the state<br />

of that slope at the time and<br />

therefore knew more about it<br />

than I did?<br />

(I’m certainly happy to admit<br />

failure and learn something)<br />

I will never know the exact<br />

answer to that question and I<br />

suspect there were numerous<br />

differing reasons behind their<br />

decisions.<br />

Fast forward a couple of years<br />

and we are on Dhaulagiri<br />

making our summit attempt.<br />

The forecasts were projecting<br />

winds and snow, but our<br />

physical observations gave us<br />

no confidence in the forecasts,<br />

so we climbed to high camp in<br />

good weather. Our following<br />

summit day was flawless,<br />

resulting in our entire climbing<br />

team reaching the summit.<br />

Elation at making the summit of Dhaulagiri<br />












A heap of snow and a frontal system, what would you do?<br />

The comparison in outcome<br />

between these two<br />

expeditions was palpable. As<br />

climbers we have to always<br />

be prepared to make safe<br />

calls. The irony is that if we<br />

always make calls that are<br />

too conservative, we’ll never<br />

get up anything. I know<br />

climbers who always pull the<br />

safety card and have never<br />

succeeded on anything.<br />

Sadly, I’ve also known plenty<br />

who perished because<br />

`conservative’ wasn’t in their<br />

vocabulary.<br />

The art is when to know to be<br />

conservative and when not to.<br />

There is no exact answer to<br />

this, accidents do just happen<br />

in the mountain environment,<br />

but as a minimum we should<br />

at least be observing the<br />

rudimentary and very basic<br />

rules around safety. There<br />

is an issue when people<br />

ignore or don’t know those<br />

rules around safety. Doing it<br />

once and getting away with<br />

it shouldn’t’ make you think<br />

you made the right call. Do<br />

it repeatedly and you will<br />

certainly get spanked.<br />

There is no better measure<br />

for assessing hazard than<br />

your own observations<br />

and a developing healthy<br />

respect for history. Carefully<br />

observing what is occurring<br />

around you at all times will<br />

reveal clues as to what is<br />

changing in a positive or<br />

negative way. Changes in<br />

temperature, sunshine and<br />

clouds, wind direction and<br />

strength, precipitation, snow<br />

texture and loading as well<br />

as heuristic factors, will all<br />

have an effect on the potential<br />

outcome of decisions you<br />

make and you will be better<br />

equipped to make judgement<br />

calls if you stay tuned in to<br />

these phenomena. There<br />

are often clues as to what<br />

hazards you are exposed to<br />

if you observe closely what is<br />

going on around you. Always<br />

have an opinion about what<br />

will happen next and reflect<br />

afterwards whether your call<br />

was correct or not.<br />

The historical data you want<br />

to know is whether there<br />

have been incidents on<br />

this slope/face/mountain/<br />

similar situation, as the most<br />

ignominious failure is to repeat<br />

an event that has occurred<br />

previously and could have<br />

been avoided had you used<br />

that history to structure your<br />

own campaign. Recent history<br />

is important too, keep track<br />

of what layers have been<br />

laid down in the snowpack<br />

through snowfall, humidity<br />

and wind events while you are<br />

there and try to find out what<br />

happened before you arrived.<br />

Failure is a relative term.<br />

In this age of expeditioning<br />

there are people that have<br />

climbed several of the world’s<br />

highest mountains who have<br />

succeeded on every climb<br />

they have undertaken due to<br />

them training appropriately<br />

and the efforts of experienced<br />

expedition operators to<br />

ensure their groups are<br />

successful. This trend has the<br />

potential to develop a cadre<br />

of mountaineers who do not<br />

know failure and therefore<br />

may not be able to appreciate<br />

the need for it at times.<br />

I always respect the effort<br />

and outlay for someone to<br />

be on a big mountain and I<br />

am fully aware that failure is<br />

painful and depressing after<br />

committing so much. Success<br />

is fantastic and should always<br />

be the end goal. It is the<br />

outcome I always aim for<br />

but when the stars are not<br />

aligned, and the signs are<br />

clearly indicating one should<br />

be operating on the right side<br />

of caution it’s a no-brainer –<br />

the crux of it is that you have<br />

to know what those signs are<br />

to be able to make those calls.<br />



surviving<br />

the<br />

olympics<br />

Words and images by Steve Dickinson<br />

<strong>Adventure</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> has a long<br />

relationship with the legendary surf<br />

break in Tahiti, called Teahupoo,<br />

going back over 20 years. The<br />

choice of Teahupoo as the venue for<br />

the Paris Games surfing event has<br />

sparked debate about the venue's<br />

appropriateness and athlete safety.<br />

With its reputation as one of the world's<br />

most ‘challenging’ waves, Teahupoo<br />

presents unique challenges for both<br />

organisers and competitors.<br />

Teahupoo has been part of surfing<br />

history. This Tahitian reef pass is etched<br />

in every surfer's mind from Laird’s<br />

Hamilton’s “Millennium Wave,” to the<br />

“Code Red” madness in 2011, Surfers<br />

have died here, and many more have<br />

been injured; on a big day with the<br />

right conditions it is one of the planet’s<br />

most amazing surfing spectacles. And<br />

all this happening in a tiny, incredibly<br />

picturesque village, surrounded by<br />

mountain at the end of the road on<br />

Tahiti Iti.<br />

When considering Teahupoo suitability,<br />

it's essential to understand the breaks<br />

unpredictable conditions. The chances<br />

of encountering ideal surf conditions<br />

during a predetermined four day<br />

waiting period are slim, even in the<br />

peak season. Unlike more versatile<br />

surf spots like Huntington Beach even<br />

Sunset Beach, Teahupoo demands<br />

specific criteria to be considered<br />

suitable – minimum 10-to-15-foot wave<br />

faces, light off-shore winds. Anything<br />

less than perfection won't meet<br />

Teahupoo standards.<br />

42//WHERE Code Red 2011 ACTIONS one of SPEAK the most LOUDER memorable THAN days WORDS/#243 in surfing history<br />


It was so big it was like being in a cartoon<br />

At Teahupoo, surfing success is measured by one metric: riding<br />

barrels. Turns and cutbacks will get scored, but it's epic barrels or<br />

nothing.<br />

Considered by many the King of Teahupoo, local legend Raimana Van<br />

Bastolaer, when we asked about the Olympics in Teahupoo replied, “I<br />

think some will charge, some will stay on the side if it’s a big size wave<br />

… but we never know. Some will push themselves.”<br />

What about the competitors from all those “non-major” surfing nations,<br />

many of which will be facing this wave for the first time? Some will have<br />

qualified for this event by the ISA (International Surfing Association)<br />

heats held on four foot messy beach breaks. Is it sensible to put those<br />

athletes in such a risky situation before the world where the result of<br />

pushing yourself could be faceplanting on the coral reef?<br />











Make our island adventure<br />

playground your next stop<br />

And experience the world’s most welcoming adventure holiday<br />

Local Michele Bourez at Teahupoo at its best<br />

In twenty years of turning up for the WSL event at Teahupoo,<br />

which has a two-week waiting period, it has been good half<br />

a dozen times and epic twice. Let’s say that against all odds,<br />

the four-day-only waiting period allocated for the Olympics,<br />

produces some ‘epic’ Teahupoo; twenty-foot barrels out of<br />

the west. The real deal Teahupoo. What will happen then?<br />

With billions being earned for advertising rights, would the<br />

organisers deem it too dangerous and cancel?<br />

The view at the end of the road is spectacular<br />




OMEN"<br />

Despite these challenges, the Paris Olympic surfing event<br />

boasts familiar names from the Championship Tour (CT),<br />

professionals. A lot of big names have qualified to represent<br />

their country and will perform regardless of the conditions.<br />

But the Olympics should be different from another WSL<br />

event where the same professionals battle it out month on<br />

month. The Olympic Games motto is “Citius, Altius, Fortius –<br />

Communiter” - “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together”- part of<br />

that togetherness is surely a level playing field for all.<br />

The decision to host the Paris Games surfing event at<br />

Teahupoo raises valid concerns over the environmental<br />

impact both on land and on the reef of the location and<br />

screams the even bigger question of its suitability, fairness<br />

and safety for the athletes.<br />


Now, it's just a case of waiting and seeing what Mother<br />

Nature serves up.<br />

Worryingly Teahupoo means “Wall of skulls”, let’s hope that<br />

is not an omen.<br />

© Grégoire Le Bacon


Testing Times in the<br />

Braeburn Range,<br />

Nelson Lakes<br />

Words and images by Eric Skilling<br />

Enduring a brutal storm in the middle<br />

of the night, collapsed tents, falling<br />

off a log into a stream, getting lost,<br />

unwelcome encounters with wasps,<br />

eels the size of pythons, a seconddegree<br />

burn injury, hitting the proverbial<br />

wall, and - a first for me - unwanted,<br />

uncomfortable, and unnecessary interpersonal<br />

conflict.<br />

Reaching the more remote Mole<br />

Saddle was an eventful five-days. A mix<br />

of rugged, steep, and overgrown paths,<br />

beautiful clear rivers and streams,<br />

magnificent views, vocal native birds,<br />

backcountry huts full of history and<br />

character, and secluded, peaceful<br />

camp sites. We also finished with the<br />

warm glow of comradeship that comes<br />

with shared adversity. This really was<br />

an adventure for the ages.<br />

Mandy and Ajay negotiating the narrow track to D'Urville Hut<br />


1100<br />

1000<br />

900<br />

800<br />

Roberts Road to Speargrass Hut<br />

3 hours. Easy<br />

Stepping out from the carpark and<br />

into the stillness of native beech<br />

forests must be the perfect start<br />

to a 5-day trip. Lined with mosses<br />

and lichens, the path meanders<br />

past gullies filled with raucous<br />

waterfalls, and a canopy providing<br />

welcome relief from the summer<br />

sun. Speargrass Hut, a favourite<br />

of mine, and thoughtfully placed<br />

in the gently sloping valley under<br />

the imposing scree-covered slopes<br />

of Roberts Ridge. A couple of us<br />

chose a pleasant campsite in the<br />

regenerating forest nearby, with the<br />

company of an inquisitive weka.<br />










STARTED."<br />

1200<br />

1000<br />

900<br />

600<br />

Speargrass Hut to D’Urville Hut<br />

8.5 Hours, 22km. Tougher<br />

Day two was a big step up. The elevation<br />

profile gives no indication of challenges we<br />

faced that day. Firstly, one of our members -<br />

for no apparent reason - suddenly ran out of<br />

energy, or “hit-the-wall” as they say. Luckily, his<br />

legs turned to jelly close to Sabine hut. Once<br />

there he was able to use the radio telephone<br />

and arrange a water-taxi trip to D’Urville Hut.<br />

We left him enjoying the company of other<br />

trampers, and the rest of us continued onto<br />

D’Urville hut.<br />

Spirits were high as we left Sabine Hut - our<br />

colleague was in safe hands, and the track<br />

ahead was wide and well graded. Reality<br />

hit soon after diverting off the route to Blue<br />

Lake and crossing the clear waters of the<br />

Sabine River.<br />

Within minutes we confronted washouts,<br />

drop-offs, and missing markers. Finally, we<br />

crossed the two bridges marked on the map,<br />

close to the D’Urville River and the hut. Any<br />

joy was short lived as we came across yet<br />

another waist-deep stream, spanned by a<br />

large log. I confidently stepped onto the log<br />

and edged my way across, calling for Antz to<br />

document this marvellous feat. Less than a<br />

metre from reaching the other side, I looked<br />

back to see who was following, which began<br />

a slow-motion tumble into the deepest<br />

section of the stream. Apart from dented<br />

pride I was disappointed to find Antz had<br />

failed to record the incident for prosperity.<br />

It was a relief to exit the forest and step onto<br />

the rocky river flats of the D’Urville river.<br />

Antz noticed a marker nailed to a large piece<br />

of driftwood lying in the centre of the flats<br />

- we headed towards it. An hour later, after<br />

Above: Another waist deep stream spanned by<br />

a large log allowed a dry crossing for most.<br />

Right: Chris on the Upper Sabine<br />

Image by Annette<br />

searching, wading through water up to our<br />

waists and mud up to our knees, and a bit<br />

of bush-bashing, we ended back where we<br />

started.<br />

Remarkably an eagle-eyed Mandy somehow<br />

spotted a yellow marker on the true-left of<br />

the river, hidden in amongst grass taller than<br />

herself. A little later we arrived at D’Urville<br />

Hut just in time to greet the water-taxi at the<br />

jetty.<br />

Antz then dropped his pack, stripped off<br />

boots and shirt and headed for a refreshing<br />

plunge off the jetty. Just as he was about to<br />

step off the edge, he noticed dark shapes<br />

in the water. Almost a dozen fat, black,<br />

metre-long eels slithered into view. He<br />

retreated. Later we learnt that another party<br />

had taken the plunge and will forever bear<br />

the scars from bites to the leg, finger, and<br />

embarrassingly, the butt.<br />

The day’s dramas did not end there. The<br />

contentment of the evening meal was<br />

shattered when a pot spilled, splashing<br />

Jacqueline’s thighs with boiling water.<br />

Thankfully, she was wearing woollen<br />

thermals which withstood the worst of the<br />

scalding liquid. Jacqueline is also a qualified<br />

nurse, with a fully stocked first-aid kit.<br />

Regardless, she coped with the pain and<br />

blisters amazingly well over the next few<br />

days.<br />

Lastly, the people conflict. It is not cool to<br />

arrive late, move someone else’s pack off<br />

a bunk, and claim the bunk for yourself.<br />

It is even less cool to then claim an extra<br />

mattress alongside yours for your gear. Hut<br />

etiquette 101 - be cool by acting respectfully<br />

or expect conflict.<br />


700<br />

650<br />

600<br />

550<br />

500<br />

450<br />

D’Urville Hut to Tiraumea Hut<br />

3 hours. A short day<br />

That night it began to rain. Initial plans to conquer Mt<br />

Misery were always going to be under review after the<br />

tortuous journey the day before, but when we heard the<br />

summit-track described as “rubbish!”, and the return<br />

times were “at least 9 hours” without the rain, we settled<br />

on a more modest target of Tiraumea Hut.<br />

After leaving the riverbed the track climbs steeply for<br />

about 250 metres into a beautiful beech forest. From<br />

there we meandered gently downhill to the hut. It helped<br />

when the wind began to drop with the rain easing to<br />

passing showers and bouts of warm sunshine.<br />

Tiraumea Hut is a classic backcountry hut, nestled on<br />

a grassy flat fifty metres from the river, and surrounded<br />

by lush forest. A sign over the door proudly announces,<br />

“Built in 1961; R Sutherland and R Osman”. Despite it<br />

being well maintained, it was also clear from the visitors’<br />

book that this dwelling has sheltered very few.<br />

1200<br />

equip<br />

yourself!<br />

1000<br />

900<br />

600<br />

Tiraumea Hut to Mole Saddle<br />

5 hours. Quite tough but not a long day<br />

Once again, the elevation profile does not do justice to<br />

the steep, leg-aching ascent shorty after leaving the hut.<br />

More dense podocarps and beech dominate this narrow,<br />

up-and-down route, with some steep and rocky gullies to<br />

scramble around.<br />

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Experience had taught us to identify the black beech<br />

favoured by invading wasps, but alas, the narrowness<br />

of the track led to inevitable close encounters. Both<br />

Mandy and I suffered their wrath this day after invading<br />

the territories of these unwelcome colonists. Personally,<br />

I did not have any longer-term effects from the attack,<br />

but Mandy endured painful swelling despite using<br />

antihistamine cream and taking a tablet.<br />

It was also my turn to hit-the-wall. Quite suddenly I<br />

found my heart rate reaching anaerobic levels at the<br />

slightest effort. I struggled on, thanks to the help and<br />

encouragement of the others, but it was a huge relief<br />

when we walked out above the bushline into sunshine<br />

and the alpine grasses below the Mole Saddle.<br />

And what a sight. To the northeast - over Mt Misery - the<br />

horizon dominated by the ragged peaks of the Cedric<br />

range. A brilliant white speck of ice marked the 2278<br />

metre Mt Hopeless, its summit clothed in a small blanket<br />

of passing cloud. Ahead of us the scrub covered Ella<br />

range hid all further views east. To the southwest the<br />

Matakitaki River was a meandering ribbon of silver in the<br />

afternoon sun.<br />

Deciding to camp where we stood was an easy decision<br />

- just below the saddle at about 1300 metres. We took<br />

full advantage of a gentle breeze and bright sunshine to<br />

dry out soggy gear, enjoy the views, and dine together<br />

under the backdrop of the surrounding mountains.<br />


FOUND MY<br />





EFFORT."<br />

The Storm – 10 hours. Tough<br />

Very wet and very windy<br />

An advantage of camping high is the<br />

spectacular views. A disadvantage is exposure<br />

to the elements. Around 11pm I was woken by<br />

a sudden gust and the staccato of raindrops<br />

on my tent. Within an hour Antz was adjusting<br />

pegs, guy ropes and pole attachments as his<br />

tent was laid flat by gusts of wind.<br />

Another tent had lost all its pegs and was<br />

flapping like a flag in a hurricane. That<br />

occupant emerged dazed, damp, and<br />

disorientated, but within minutes she was cosily<br />

bundled in the tent of her knight-in-shiningthermals.<br />

Ajay’s chivalry is now legendary. I<br />

must make a plug for my single-person Macpac<br />

Microlight which kept me dry and warm all night<br />

despite the battering.<br />

1400<br />

1200<br />

1000<br />

900<br />

600<br />

Jamieson Track<br />

3 hours. Easy<br />

Unsurprisingly, we were all up before 6am, packed and<br />

heading down the small stream that was once the Jamieson<br />

track, and the shelter of the mature beech forest. Fortunately,<br />

the storm eased within an hour, leaving us with genuine joiede-vivre<br />

as we congratulated each other after crossing the<br />

farm fence at the end of the track.<br />

This trip had exceeded everything I expected, but also left me<br />

promising to be back - there is so much more to explore and<br />

enjoy out here.<br />

I prefer to use Jetboil, Backcountry and Macpac product,<br />

especially Macpac Tents.<br />



Surviving the<br />

worlds scariest lifts<br />

Words and images by Phil Clark from Mad About Travel<br />

Skiing is one of the best pass times ever and<br />

over the years it has offered me some incredible<br />

experiences. Throughout the world ski resorts all<br />

have a few things in common, mountain scenery,<br />

fast paced action, downhill thrills and scary lifts!<br />

Often to get to some of the best terrain you need<br />

to brace yourself for a frightening ride! Braving<br />

your fears is one of the best things about skiing,<br />

people face fear in many ways. Riding lifts which<br />

frighten the bejesus out of you just piques your<br />

experience and makes the reward even better.<br />

Here are some of the most epic ski lifts I have<br />

found throughout the world.<br />


Craigieburn, Southern Alps – Located on the<br />

way to Arthurs pass this club ski field has some<br />

of the best two natural powder bowls in the South<br />

Island of New Zealand. It also has one of the<br />

wickedest “Nut Cracker “ rope tows. Fast and<br />

unforgiving the technique is to ski up to the rope,<br />

flip your “nut cracker” onto it, and hang on! In<br />

about 8 minutes you will be at the top about to ski<br />

some of the best powder in NZ.<br />

Treble Cone, Wanaka – Now a part of history<br />

the Saddle T Bar was one of the sickest jokes the<br />

NZ ski industry decided to play on unsuspecting<br />

skiers and boarders. Traversing an exposed,<br />

rough, ice strewn off camber ridge the T bar<br />

naturally sorted the gifted from the ordinary. If you<br />

could ride the Saddle T Bar then you could ride<br />

the epic natural half pipes and powder of Treble<br />

Cones saddle. Replaced by a chair running on a<br />

much more sensible route the terrain is still epic<br />

and still sorts the gifted from the ordinary.<br />

EUROPE<br />

Meribel, France – Known locally as “The Fridge”<br />

and “The Freezer”, “The Plan Des Mains” and<br />

“Cote Brun” are two of the highest lifts in the<br />

Three Valleys mega ski resort in France. They<br />

link Meribel with Val Thorens which is at 3500m.<br />

These north facing chairs catch all the wind,<br />

snow and blizzard conditions. As I found out<br />

when running a chalet in Val Thorens, they are<br />

the only way home after a long day of skiing the<br />

incredibly long runs or the Three Valleys and<br />

they are COLD! A hot Vin Chaud is vital once<br />

these lifts have been experienced on a freezing<br />

December afternoon.<br />

Aigle du midi tram in Chamonix<br />

Pizza Box Niseko<br />

Chamonix, France – The Valley Blanche is one of the worlds longest<br />

ski runs which starts at 3800m and travels over 17km’s over an active<br />

glacier. In order to access this run you need to take a few brave pills!<br />

First there is the tram which climbs 2317m from the town to the top<br />

of a needle peak. Then there is the arete ridge from the peak to the<br />

glacier, so you don crampons, get the rope out and abseil down the<br />

arete. Finally there is the 17km’s of glacier to ski, preferably without<br />

falling down a bottomless crevice! Best completed with a guide, for<br />

every avid skier this is a must do experience!<br />

JAPAN<br />

Furano, Hokkaido – The H1 link chair from Kitanomine to Furano.<br />

This chair goes flat, then down, then up and up and up! Linking the<br />

two resorts of Furano it shows you some of the most epic off piste<br />

terrain in Furano.<br />

Niseko, Hokkaido – The two infamous Pizza box chairs of Niseko,<br />

“The King lift” and the “Wonderland Chair”. Literally like sitting on a<br />

pizza box these single seat chairlifts have no safety bar, no friends<br />

and are right at the top of the mountain so they rock like a 70’s<br />

hipster. They do access some of the most epic powder bowls in the<br />

WORLD. So they have to be ridden!<br />











Experts at adventure travel since 2000<br />

"where clients become friends"<br />

Mammoth Mountain<br />

USA<br />

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – The Aerial<br />

Tram runs from the base of Jackson<br />

Hole to the summit of the Grand Tetons<br />

4,139 feet high in 12 minutes. While<br />

you’re on your way up a helpful lifty<br />

runs a safety briefing telling you all<br />

about how the ungroomed advanced<br />

offpiste black terrain you’re about to<br />

encounter, is absolutely not suitable for<br />

beginners or even intermediate skiers.<br />

Once you’re up there you can agree<br />

with them while poking your nose into<br />

the vertical entrance to Corbets Couloir.<br />

The 360 degree views of the Grand<br />

Tetons really are amazing, and the ski<br />

down even better.<br />

Mammoth Mountain, California –<br />

The famous Chair 23 runs straight up<br />

Scottys face to the summit ridge. You<br />

get a birds eye view of this double black<br />

face while sitting on a rocky fixed grip<br />

slippery plastic chair seat WITH NO<br />

SAFETY BAR! Its truly frightening but<br />

the run is worth it!<br />

Big Sky, Montana – The Lone Peak<br />

tram has just been replaced so it’s not<br />

quite as daunting as it was when you<br />

could only fit four people in it. This 4612<br />

foot long tram ride deposits you on the<br />

teeny, tiny tip of Lone Peak. DO NOT<br />

FALL OVER as you’re putting your<br />

skiis on, cause you won’t stop until<br />

you reach the bottom! The exposure of<br />

the mountain peak is something else,<br />

the easiest way down is a long, steep,<br />

black diamond run down Liberty bowl.<br />

If it’s too much, you can look at the<br />

view, take some photos and take the<br />

tram back down.<br />







CANADA<br />

White water, British Columbia - Not<br />

so much frightening, as quaint, White<br />

water ski resort has four chair lifts and<br />

a handle tow for beginners. These are<br />

some of the oldest lifts I have seen still<br />

running! 40 years young and locally<br />

owned, they brought used chairlifts to<br />

keep costs down. Later in a world of<br />

modern express detachable chairlifts,<br />

they brough a couple of great value fixed<br />

grip lifts. White Water’s very first point of<br />

their mission statement is “Making the<br />

experience affordable” I applaud this<br />

resorts sentiment, and on top of this, the<br />

resort is AWESOME! Whitewater sits in a<br />

natural powder valley and gets some of<br />

the best powder I have ever skied in, the<br />

local town of Nelson is pretty wicked too.<br />

Big White, British Columbia – The<br />

Cliff chair at Big White is well named,<br />

climbing a double black powder bowl,<br />

the chair starts out mellow and then<br />

climbs almost vertically over a rocky bluff<br />

which precedes the 1km long Parachute<br />

Bowl . The Cliff chair gives you a hairraising<br />

view of the terrain you’re about<br />

to shred. One of the highest mountains<br />

in the Okanagan, Big White has some of<br />

the best powder bowls in the area.<br />

Portillo, Chile<br />


Portillo, Chile – Located in the Andes right<br />

on the border between Argentina and Chile<br />

this small steep ski resort has discovered that<br />

ski lifts tend to get wiped out by avalanches<br />

if you leave them in place in big storms. So<br />

the invented a removable 6 person T bar.<br />

Randomly this lift works incredibly well,<br />

but it’s a fine line between white knuckle<br />

terrifying and exhilarating! The Va-et vient<br />

(sling shot) lifts fire you up the mountain at an<br />

unprecedented pace, rewarding you with a<br />

long powder run down.<br />

There is one thing in common with all these frightening lifts - they access the most<br />

amazing powder and terrain! The moral of this story, take your brave pills, harden up and<br />

enjoy some of the best terrain the world has to offer you.<br />

For more information contact: www.madaboutravel.co.nz<br />

"We live what we sell"<br />

0800 623 872<br />

info@madabouttravel.co.nz<br />


trekking himilayas<br />

Led by Robert Bruce<br />

In late December to January<br />

2024 a large group of New<br />

Zealanders, hosted by Got To<br />

Get Out founder Robert Bruce,<br />

successfully trekked to Mt<br />

Everest Base Camp in Nepal.<br />

Most of the group achieved<br />

their goal of trekking to a height<br />

of 5364m above sea-level in<br />

the middle of Nepal winter. At<br />

the higher altitudes the group<br />

endured temperatures down<br />

to -20 overnight and -15 in the<br />

day, utterly freezing conditions.<br />

This is the fourth time Robert<br />

has taken a large group of<br />

Kiwis to the foot of the tallest<br />

mountain on earth, his fifth time<br />

guiding in Nepal having also<br />

guided the Annapurna Circuit.<br />

This trip marks the 10th year<br />

anniversary of his founding Got<br />

To Get Out. He always returns<br />

in Nepal winter, New Zealand's<br />

Christmas holidays.<br />

Robert came up with the idea<br />

of getting people 'outdoors<br />

and active' after his first trip to<br />

the Himalayas in 2014 after<br />

leaving the corporate world to<br />

instead start a social enterprise<br />

that gets people active. As well<br />

as hosting nearly 1000 ‘micro<br />

advenures’ in New Zealand<br />

since, he has been particularly<br />

passionate about enabling and<br />

leading what he calls ‘the Kiwi<br />

‘rite of passage’ to Basecamp.<br />

This particular trek, compared<br />

to any other in New Zealand<br />

or Nepal, feels very significant<br />

thanks to the strong kiwi<br />

connection of Sir Edmund<br />

Hillary. “‘Sir Eds’ legacy<br />

feels ever-present in the<br />

Khumbu region, with various<br />

monuments, statues, bridges<br />

and buildings named in both<br />

his and Tenzing Norgay's<br />

honour. For trekkers landing<br />

in Lukla from Kathmandu (the<br />

very beginning of the trek to Mt<br />

Everest), the first thing you see<br />

is the name on the terminal<br />

‘Tenzing Hillary Airport’. Some<br />

call this the most dangerous<br />

airfield in the world, but ‘most<br />

thrilling’ is a better description,<br />

as you come in to land on a<br />

tiny, steeply angled airfield<br />

seemingly carved out of the<br />

side of the hill. The story goes<br />

that Sir Ed rounded up the<br />

Sherpa people and literally<br />

stomped the earth flat with<br />

their feet, walking up and down<br />

the hill to form the first version<br />

of the runway.<br />

"SOME CALL<br />




WORLD, BUT<br />




The trek to basecamp is<br />

around 120 km return. Trekkers<br />

only walk around 10km per day<br />

though some day are longer,<br />

with a gradual ascent that<br />

some days are steeper than<br />

others. Walkers ascend around<br />

500m of vertical elevation a<br />

day. The usual walking time is<br />

around 8 hours a day, split in<br />

two before and after lunch. The<br />

relative short days of walking<br />

(compared to say, hiking Te<br />

Araroa in New Zealand) is<br />

important to not ascend too<br />

quickly and risk getting altitude<br />

sickness, and also to walk<br />

within daylight hours as it gets<br />

very cold when the sun begins<br />

to fall behind the towering<br />

7000 and 8000+ meter peaks<br />

flanking the valley you are<br />

ascending.<br />

The terrain of the trek is<br />

somewhat similar to Tongariro<br />

Crossing in New Zealand; the<br />

trail is basically dry, rock-hard<br />

compacted earth, interspersed<br />

with rock steps. Not technical<br />

at all, but a long slow trudge.<br />

The route was originally<br />

developed to facilitate trade<br />

between Tibet/ China and<br />

Nepal, so the trail has been<br />

designed with yaks in mind,<br />

and is still used for them. The<br />

trail is the perfect width for<br />

a large herd of yaks to pass<br />

through in single file, and never<br />

too steep for them to continue<br />

their long heavily laden trudge<br />

uphill. Walkers need to give<br />

way to yaks, and get out of<br />

their way!<br />

There are no roads in the<br />

Himalayas at all, so the only<br />

way produce and supplies can<br />

get delivered cost effectively<br />

is on the backs of animals,<br />

or people. Helicopters can<br />

bring supplies in, but it is very<br />

expensive. So daily, herds of<br />

mules, cows and at higher<br />

levels yaks trundle past daily,<br />

kicking up huge clouds of dust.<br />

It’s important to keep your<br />

mouth covered to avoid getting<br />

it into your lungs.<br />

Each day on the trail, hikers<br />

stay in tea houses, and<br />

these become your ‘home<br />

away from home’. The tea<br />

houses are another relic of<br />

the trade route from Tibet to<br />

Nepal, conveniently perfectly<br />

positioned to provide rest for<br />

weary Sherpa who would stop<br />

to rest and have tea, during<br />

their immensely long trade<br />

journeys. Today, there are<br />

multiple tea houses in each<br />

little village you come to, that<br />

serve a wide array of food and<br />

drink and accommodation.<br />

Western food options like<br />

pasta pizza and chips are<br />

available, but it’s nice to have<br />

local cuisine. Almost every<br />

meal is vegetarian, it’s not<br />

recommended to have meat in<br />

the Himalaya, without knowing<br />

how it was transported or<br />

stored. Power is unreliable<br />

and so refrigeration is not<br />

confirmed.<br />

On arrival at Basecamp the<br />

Got To Get Out group cheered<br />

each other, and celebrated<br />

their huge effort. Some of the<br />

group waved New Zealand<br />

flags, ate their favourite foods<br />

brought all the way from home,<br />

and of course took many<br />

photos standing on the famous<br />

rocks and boulders at base<br />

camp with the Khumbu icefall,<br />

and Everest in the background.<br />

Some photos show the<br />

kiwis standing in front of<br />

the infamous Khumbu<br />

icefall, where most Everest<br />

climbing expeditions begin.<br />

Mountaineers have to cross<br />

ladders placed precariously<br />

over huge constantly moving<br />

ice slabs, before attempting<br />

Mt Everest. It’s considered<br />

some of the most dangerous<br />

mountaineering in the world,<br />

and features heavily in films<br />

and documentaries.<br />

At this time of year the barren<br />

frozen surface resembles<br />

more of a moonscape, again,<br />

somewhat similar to the<br />

Tongariro Crossing. Not a<br />

single tent can be seen, only<br />

rocks and ice. And it’s very<br />

clean! People always ask ‘are<br />

there bodies and rubbish up<br />

there?’. The answer is that<br />

basecamp and the walking<br />

route through the Khumbu is<br />

very clean. Concerted efforts<br />

over the years have ensured<br />

that the tourism experience<br />

is very good and rubbish is<br />

removed.<br />

Higher up on Everest, yes<br />

apparently there are bodies<br />

that simply can’t be removed<br />

but mostly covered by snow<br />

and ice other than perhaps a<br />

boot sticking out visible. These<br />

days Sherpa are incentivised<br />

to bring rubbish down off the<br />

mountain, and it can create<br />

good income for them to<br />

remove unused bottles and<br />

other waste, so it has been<br />

cleaned up considerably.<br />

Only the very tip of the summit<br />

of Mt Everest can be seen from<br />

Base Camp. So the best views<br />

of Mt Everest is very much on<br />

the days approaching it, or<br />

from Kala Patthar 5644m, the<br />

viewing point some choose<br />

to do before departing Gorek<br />

Shep (the highest camp) on<br />

the last day before turning<br />

around.<br />

The weather this year was the<br />

best group leader Bruce had<br />

ever seen since first visiting ten<br />

years ago. The sun was high<br />

each day, skies blue with white<br />

7000 and 8000m peaks all<br />

around. Bruce said he hoped<br />

the mild conditions were not<br />

a sign of a region warming<br />

up, as prior trips had reached<br />

lows of -30 at Basecamp. -16<br />

at Basecamp was warm in<br />

comparison and with no snow<br />

on the ground, it was quite a<br />

contrast from prior years,<br />

The total size of the expedition<br />

each day was actually over<br />

25 individuals, with expert<br />

Nepalese trekking guides and<br />

porters included in the count.<br />

The kiwis he brings each year<br />

have an excellent relationship<br />

with the Nepalese guides,<br />

some of whom he has trekked<br />

with three or four times. The<br />

local guides and porters very<br />

much appreciate the spending<br />

(money) and work they get in<br />

their down-season, with some<br />

walking many days from their<br />

lowland farms, especially to<br />

join the annual Got To Get Out<br />

treks.<br />

This year, as with prior trips,<br />

some of Roberts' group<br />

encountered challenges linked<br />

to altitude sickness. Just<br />

walking daily in extreme cold<br />

conditions and being in a dry<br />

dusty environment can lead to<br />

various chest and lung issues.<br />

This year one guest got sent<br />

home via helicopter quite early<br />

in the expedition from Namche<br />

Bazar (the ‘Sherpa capital’) at<br />

3440m above sea level. This<br />

Kiwi hiker contracted a chest<br />

infection after just three days<br />

walking, so after consultation<br />

with the doctor on the trip, and<br />

along with Nepalese guiding<br />

staff, the decision was made to<br />

send the patient to a purpose<br />

built trekkers hospital in<br />

Kathmandu via helicopter.<br />

Another guest did make it to<br />

Everest Base Camp before<br />

being diagnosed with HAPE<br />

(high altitude pulmonary<br />

edema) so also needed to<br />

descend via helicopter.<br />

Both made a full recovery, but<br />

it further illustrates the risk and<br />

challenges of embarking on<br />

this adventure. It is not for the<br />

faint hearted. The main issues<br />

trekkers face are chest (lung)<br />

infections, hard to breath,<br />

intense headaches, sore<br />

throat, loss of appetite, and<br />

fatigue. If walkers can endure<br />

all of that, they make it to their<br />

goal of Mt Everest Base Camp.<br />

“The choice of guiding in the<br />

winter season in Nepal is<br />

strategic”, says Bruce.<br />

In peak climbing and trekking<br />

seasons (around May for<br />

climbing, November for<br />

trekking) the tea houses,<br />

accommodation and flights<br />

in-and-out of the Himalaya<br />

are very full. In winter when<br />

he travels, less people are<br />

willing to brave the colder<br />

temperatures and so the<br />

trails are nearly empty. These<br />

conditions are perfect for<br />

Got To Get Out to bring large<br />

groups of Kiwis, who tend<br />

to be available during their<br />

Christmas holidays, eager to<br />

attempt the 'rite of passage' to<br />

follow the footsteps of sir Ed,<br />

and tick Basecamp off their<br />

bucket list.<br />

This year, Robert and Got To<br />

Get Out plans to host more<br />

international expeditions to get<br />

Kiwis outdoors on overseas<br />

adventures. He has in mind<br />

the Machu Picchu Inca trail in<br />

Peru, Mt Kilimanjaro summit<br />

in Africa, and of course a<br />

return to what he now calls<br />

the unofficial home of his<br />

social enterprise - Mt Everest<br />

Base Camp for New Years<br />

2025. Details will follow via his<br />

social media when tickets are<br />

available.<br />


what values matter most to them.<br />

I think this correlates with the time<br />

they spent either alone or with others<br />

walking in the bush, floating down<br />

rivers or paddling on the ocean.”<br />

He hopes to inspire and empower<br />

people to explore the natural<br />

environment as a way of improving<br />

mental health.<br />

Ocean conservation is also an<br />

important issue for the boys. Like<br />

many Kiwis, the four grew up on<br />

the coast, nourished by the sand,<br />

salt and the waves. The ocean was<br />

instrumental in their childhoods and<br />

continues to play a guiding role<br />

now. For this reason they believe<br />

it is essential we preserve and<br />

protect our ocean for the future.<br />

Funds raised will also go to Live<br />

Ocean which supports exceptional<br />

marine scientists, innovators and<br />

communicators to champion and<br />

improve the health of our coastline<br />

and marine ecosystems.<br />

The team understands the<br />

magnitude of the challenge ahead of<br />

them. Attempting to kayak +2000km<br />

along the coastline, with variable<br />

winds, weather, temperatures and<br />

ocean conditions is nothing to<br />

take lightly. “This will undoubtedly<br />

be one of the most physically and<br />

mentally demanding trips we have<br />

attempted”, Drew reflects, “but that<br />

is what excites me, the challenge is<br />

why we are attracted to it.” Training<br />

and preparation are key for the boys<br />

to make sure their bodies and skills<br />

are in top form before they set off.<br />

Spread across the country, the team<br />

have been preparing individually<br />

for the trip. Running guided tours,<br />

Cared, Kurt and Connor are out<br />

paddling most days for work,<br />

however all jump at an opportunity<br />

to paddle further afield in their own<br />

time. Drews’ preparation on the<br />

other hand, has him on the water<br />

most mornings and afternoons,<br />

spending as much time in the kayak<br />

in between work.<br />

A journey of this nature is made<br />

easier with support. A few generous<br />

sponsors have already got on<br />

board to help the boys out with the<br />

expeditions; NMIT has lent them<br />

the use of four kayaks and Chris<br />

from Kayak HQ in Nelson, a huge<br />

advocate for mental health, has<br />

generously assisted the four boys<br />

with some CKER paddles, transport<br />

of the kayaks, and other sea<br />

kayaking gear.<br />

The boys welcome every little bit of<br />

new support, whether that means<br />

following them on Instagram or<br />

Facebook, spreading the word,<br />

contributing to their Givealittle or<br />

supporting through some kind of<br />

sponsorship. You can contact them<br />

through their email or their socials.<br />

paddl4purpose@gmail.com<br />

@paddleforpurpose<br />

paddle for purpose<br />

In March, four kiwi boys embarked on a<br />

three-month kayak journey from Cape<br />

Reinga to Wellington down the east coast<br />

of the North Island (about 2200 km).<br />

The team is made up of three Stewart<br />

brothers, Kurt, Connor and Drew, all<br />

originally from Whangarei, and a close<br />

friend, Cared Blackham, from Eastbourne,<br />

Wellington.<br />

Drew, the youngest of the Stewart<br />

brothers, had the idea to navigate the east<br />

coast of the North Island by kayak after<br />

completing the South Island portion of the<br />

Te Araroa Trail back in 2019. He felt that<br />

walking the North Island portion of the<br />

Trail would miss the North Island's true<br />

beauty: its coastline.<br />

Drew’s wild idea was a seed planted with<br />

his two older brothers, Kurt and Connor,<br />

and now four years on, that seed is<br />

starting to bear fruit. In the intervening<br />

years, Drew studied Environmental<br />

Planning at the University of Waikato,<br />

and began working as an environmental<br />

consultant. Meanwhile, Kurt and Connor<br />

completed an adventure tourism diploma<br />

at Nelson Marlborough Institute of<br />

Technology (NMIT), which is where they<br />

met Cared, who was stoked on the idea of<br />

an epic kayak trip down the North Island<br />

coastline. Kurt, Connor and Cared are<br />

all now kayak guides working across the<br />

country in Wanaka, Whangarei and Abel<br />

Tasman respectively.<br />

None of the four have undertaken a sea<br />

kayak expedition of this magnitude, and<br />

with all living in separate locations in<br />

Aotearoa, planning and preparation has<br />

been no easy task. But each of them are<br />

committed to the journey.<br />

A key driver for the boys is using the trip to<br />

make a positive contribution to two things<br />

that mattered to them most; the health of<br />

people and the environment. “These two<br />

go hand in hand for us. Exercise in and<br />

on the water, bush and mountains has a<br />

massive positive effect on my physical<br />

and mental wellbeing, as well as for many<br />

others. I think that a lot of people have<br />

forgotten or are yet to discover this”, Kurt<br />

says. Through their Givealittle campaign,<br />

they are hoping to make a positive<br />

impact on mental health awareness and<br />

marine conservation. The Mental Health<br />

Foundation of NZ and Live Ocean are<br />

both charities supporting causes close to<br />

their hearts.<br />

Having experienced their own mental<br />

struggles and watching friends and family<br />

also navigate the choppy waters of mental<br />

health, they would like to help make this<br />

process easier and more accessible by<br />

supporting the Mental Health Foundation<br />

of NZ. They hope to inspire others to start<br />

their own journey towards an improved<br />

wellbeing and to help remove some of<br />

the stigma around getting support for<br />

mental health. They believe the simplicity<br />

of nature can take us away from all the<br />

stresses that follow us day-to-day, and<br />

that time and exercise in the natural world<br />

can help heal the mind, body and soul.<br />

The four boys have all found that getting<br />

out into the natural environment has<br />

helped them grow, explore their identity<br />

and find solace. Cared realised the<br />

importance of being active out in nature<br />

while studying at NMIT/Te Pukenga. The<br />

personal development he saw in himself<br />

and his peers was eye opening. “I saw<br />

friends develop a sound understanding of<br />

their own personal identity and discover<br />





"DAVID<br />









the goat<br />

New Zealand’s toughest 20k trail run<br />

Words by Nick Laurie<br />

January 20th and it was time to test out just<br />

how hard the hardest 20k trail run actually<br />

is. I had entered when I was training for the<br />

Kepler Challenge(60k) and 20k seemed like<br />

a small training run to me. My plan was to<br />

dominate the Kepler and then do a couple of<br />

trots after Christmas and be ready for a great<br />

showing at this ‘fun-run.’ Oh how wrong could<br />

I be.<br />

Firstly, I did not dominate the Kepler. I had my<br />

arse handed to me on an unrelenting course<br />

and underestimated the recovery that was<br />

needed after such an effort. I would go for<br />

a run and at any sign of a hill it was almost<br />

like a PTSD reaction and my mind would<br />

give it the big nah. Straight after Christmas<br />

I was able to put my big boys’ pants on and<br />

had a couple of good 15-25k sessions at<br />

Wenderholm and on the bush reserves of<br />

Auckland’s North Shore. There are some<br />

really cool trails in Albany, Glenfield and<br />

Birkenhead. Thanks Auckland Council.<br />

All prepped and primed I was set for an<br />

impressive showing down at Mt Ruapehu.<br />

The GOAT is an event that has been going<br />

20 years and, in our race, celebrated it’s<br />

10,000th finisher. It follows the Western<br />

round alpine track from Whakapapa to Turoa.<br />

It is approximately 20k long, has 1168m<br />

ascent and covers terrain that includes lava<br />

flows, scoria fields, mountain beech forest,<br />

tussock grasslands and alpine herb fields.<br />

David Attenborough would definitely become<br />

aroused with this one. You scale a couple of<br />

almost sheer climbs and clamber up beside a<br />

waterfall.<br />

As with every one of these missions, gear<br />

selection is very important. Being an alpine<br />

event there was a list of compulsory gear<br />

that every competitor had to take with<br />

them. I must say that this was very strictly<br />

policed with one of the most rigorous gear<br />

inspections that I have ever experienced.<br />

This team should be sent to Mt Eden jail - no<br />

contraband would get past them. I arrived<br />

pretty late to registration, and I think that<br />

they had already had a laugh hours earlier,<br />

so when I offered to show them my whistle I<br />

just got the stupid boy look. They were big on<br />

having a seam sealed jacket a proper long<br />

sleeve thermal top and an emergency bag,<br />

not blanket. I picked up my lucky number 309<br />

and went back to our Air BNB.<br />









AN EFFORT."<br />

We discussed what gear each of us would<br />

be using tomorrow and each had a fuelling<br />

strategy. The first call was shoes. Some of the<br />

lads had done it before and had visions of a dry<br />

track and selected their footwear accordingly.<br />

I chose to run in the Asics Trabuco Max shoes<br />

that I had got for Christmas. I wanted to use<br />

these because they had extra cushioning and<br />

were nice and grippy, with rain expected. They<br />

were great drainers as well which is important<br />

when going through water. You don’t want<br />

waterproof shoes otherwise you end up carrying<br />

2 buckets of water strapped to your feet. The<br />

next important thing to spend some money on<br />

is socks. I got myself a pair of thorlo trail socks.<br />

Great cushioning, non blistering and they had a<br />

firm band above the ankle which kept heaps of<br />

trail debris out.<br />

We all had our individual fuelling strategies.<br />

I had trained with the plan of a gel and an<br />

electrolyte capsule every hour. I knew that I<br />

would need 1.25l and decided to take 1.5l just in<br />

case. There were no aid stations on the course<br />

as it is very remote. The golden rule here is<br />

don’t try something new on race day. One guy<br />

tried out a new brand of gel and paid the price<br />

with a crampathon. I personally liked the GU<br />

band as they were easy to swallow and easy on<br />

the gut.<br />

We got one of the wives, thanks Sandi, to rise<br />

early and drive us to the start. She hung around<br />

and took some epic video of us all looking at our<br />

best as we ran the first 1.75k down the sealed<br />

road to the track. Everyone says to save your<br />

quads on this sealed downhill stretch, but I say,<br />

don’t listen. It is the best surface that you will<br />

have all race so unleash the inner Kenyan. It’s<br />

also the only time that you will want to check<br />

your Garmin. The rest of the kilometre splits are<br />

deeply disappointing.<br />

We were penned off into seeded groups of 50<br />

and set off at 3-minute time intervals. It was<br />

quite cool to watch the top guys take off. I<br />

remember seeing this couple in matching his<br />

and her outfits with the top seeds and I thought<br />

oh how nice they have let a couple of tourists<br />

have a nice experience. The, “her” finished top<br />

woman and the “him” finished 3rd overall. They<br />

were world orienteering champs! The seeding<br />

worked well because we were soon onto single<br />

track, and you didn’t want to be barging or<br />

holding people up.<br />



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DEATHS."<br />

I remember standing up on one section of the<br />

waterfall and feeling a bit lightheaded. I was<br />

surprised not to see fellow competitors hurtling<br />

to their deaths. Apparently, the top competitors<br />

come and scope these rockfaces out during<br />

training and work out the most efficient way up<br />

them. My tactic was to follow the guy in front of<br />

me. I knew that the last 1.6k was going to be up<br />

a sealed road and I was relishing getting to that<br />

and running like the chariots of fire movie up to<br />

the red-carpet finish.<br />

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"I HAD A<br />










IT FOR 3 HOURS."<br />

After the beautiful downhill sealed section, it was on to the<br />

shitty trails. It was raining and the ruts turned into muddy<br />

creek beds. It was hard to get any footing and for most of it<br />

running was out of the question. It was an obstacle course.<br />

I can remember the person in front of me trying to avoid<br />

the first few puddles and rivers but after about 30 minutes<br />

everyone was just covered in mud. I came up to a guy<br />

towards the end of the race who looked nice and clean and<br />

asked how he had managed to dodge the mud. He said at<br />

the last river he had just had a lie down and a wash!<br />

I felt fresh throughout the first half of the race and went a<br />

hard as I could. There were 3 guys that I used to row with,<br />

and my goal was to catch them. I caught one of them by<br />

halfway but when the terrain opened up a bit I literally hit<br />

the wall. I opened the after burners and started to run a<br />

bit harder but with the fatigue from the obstacle course I<br />

wasn’t lifting my feet as best I could. I kicked a rock and<br />

went over face first. This was not only embarrassing but<br />

very depleting. The shot of adrenaline was a waste of<br />

energy and was sapping.<br />

I fell on 5 occasions and got pretty fucked off! This is<br />

where I could do better if I ever come back. I need to work<br />

on my agility. I remember seeing the 10k marker and<br />

thinking that they had got that wrong. Surely, we were at<br />

20!<br />

C<br />

M<br />

Y<br />

Let us take you on<br />

a great adventure...<br />

The last section of the race is on a steep sealed<br />

road and is affectionately known as Mama’s<br />

Mile. So named because at this stage you just<br />

want your mum. I had my goal to run this section<br />

but after about 20m I worked out that that was<br />

the dumbest thing that I had ever thought of. If<br />

I had have run a bit more of this section instead<br />

of power walking, I would have placed top ten<br />

in the very old person’s section. Maybe next<br />

time. It was steep and I had run out of why. I<br />

finished 4h and 50 secs- didn’t get my 4h goal<br />

either. Maybe next time. The winner came in at<br />

1h55. His Dad has won the race 8 times and<br />

finished second at 1h58 to the prodigy. I can’t<br />

comprehend how these guys do this so quickly.<br />

A member of our group, Watti, won the real race<br />

(over 60s) in 3h11 and I had the fastest 1st k in<br />

the group 4m15secs.<br />

Sarah asked me would I come back? It’s a race<br />

that requires agility which is not my skillset, but<br />

it is a test of grit. I do these things to impress<br />

myself and if I can get going a bit faster and<br />

not fall so much perhaps, I could crack the 4h<br />

barrier.<br />

See you next year GOAT.<br />

In the second half of the race, we had to scale a very<br />

steep hill section on hands and knees and then at<br />

17k there was a rock waterfall that we had to climb. I<br />

commented to a fellow competitor that I had a newfound<br />

admiration for Sir Edmond Hilary as he had to relentlessly<br />

climb like this for weeks at a time while I was stuffed doing<br />

it for 3 hours.<br />

CM<br />

MY<br />

CY<br />

CMY<br />

K<br />


Fishing<br />

pivotal moments<br />

that change everything<br />

Words and images by Matt Butler<br />

In my teens I began to explore<br />

a bit further from home<br />

From a young age, I have always had<br />

an innate draw to the outdoors, any<br />

chance I could get I would prefer it was<br />

spent outside. But everything changed<br />

when at 12 years old, I was introduced<br />

to fly fishing after my mother sent me<br />

to a fishing club on my own one night.<br />

That night, something just clicked. It felt<br />

like this is what I was supposed to be<br />

doing and I was going to pursue it at<br />

any cost.<br />

I got my first rod for my 13th birthday<br />

and with no tuition or guidance it took<br />

me 3 years to catch my first fish. I did<br />

everything I could to get better, I read<br />

books, bought gear and joined the<br />

fishing club. But being the youngest in<br />

the room by at least 4 decades, it was a<br />

tough crowd.<br />

It’s ironic that any seasoned fly<br />

fisherman will say that a day on the<br />

water is not about catching fish, it’s<br />

about the experience and opportunity.<br />

Because at a young age this is how I<br />

felt, I was just happy to be out there.<br />

Over the coming years, I used to get<br />

out to the river after school and go on<br />

the odd weekend trip to some far away<br />

destination. That was until I moved<br />

up to the big smoke to launch my first<br />

business. These years were spent<br />

toiling away with little thought to much<br />

else, although the dream was to one<br />

day be free to fish every day.<br />

This moment came sooner than I<br />

thought, when I decided to liberate<br />

myself from the city and move south<br />

to Wanaka, New Zealand to pursue<br />

my burning desire to fish. My lack of<br />

water time in the previous few years<br />

showed, as I struggled to get my first<br />

south island fish. But it was the ability to<br />

see the trout in the water that changed<br />

everything.<br />

Observation was now my number<br />

one priority. Rather than jumping in<br />

to catch a fish, I would often sit and<br />

just watch, seeing how it fed and<br />

reacted to external influences. I would<br />

then calculate my approach and<br />

methodically go about catching it. At<br />

times I would even set up a camera<br />

to film myself in the process for later<br />

review.<br />

All of this waiting, watching and<br />

analysis paid off as I quickly mastered<br />

my game and it wasn’t long until I<br />

charged in with confidence. Eventually<br />

getting to the stage where I felt I had<br />

the skills to teach others.<br />

I had done so much fishing on my own<br />

over the preceding year and I felt some<br />

company would be much appreciated.<br />

So, I decided to try becoming a guide. I<br />

was a bit hesitant and unsure at first, but<br />

I backed myself to figure it out on the go.<br />

My first ever day guiding was spent<br />

in a helicopter flying all over South<br />

Westland with a couple of American<br />

billionaires. I had never been in a<br />

helicopter before so it was mind blowing<br />

and I was more than glad to have a<br />

senior guide accompanying me and<br />

showing me the ropes.<br />

Cicada snack!<br />


Moments like this are what inspire my work at KEA Outdoors<br />

This trip turned out to be life changing. At this<br />

point, guiding was just a temporary dabble for<br />

me. But it was what one of the billionaire clients<br />

said to me that changed the course of my life for<br />

the next 5 years.<br />

Sitting down on a rock to take a rest, I asked<br />

the 80+ year old mogul, “if you could go back in<br />

time, what would you change”. Without hesitation<br />

he replied, “I would have enjoyed my youth and<br />

not tried to get rich quick, you have your whole<br />

life to make money”. As someone with ambition<br />

in business, this struck deep to the core of<br />

everything the world had told me. ‘Work hard,<br />

sacrifice and enjoy life later’ was the motto of most<br />

entrepreneurs. But it was on that day that I made a<br />

choice, I was going to do what I loved for the next<br />

5 years until I was 30, then get back into business.<br />

The following 5 years were some of the most<br />

exciting of my life as I spent up to 200 days<br />

guiding on the water during the NZ summer and<br />

then spent all my winter exploring and fishing<br />

across the northern hemisphere. From tarpon in<br />

Florida, to Salmon in Norway, Trout in Ireland and<br />

Roosterfish in Mexico, I had the time of my life.<br />

With the deadline of my 30th birthday<br />

approaching, I knew it was time to make a<br />

change. However I was having such a wild time<br />

it was hard to consider what was next. Then<br />

overnight, that all ended…<br />

We all have our own story of what happened to our<br />

lives during the pandemic and we all experienced<br />

it in different ways. For me, it was the stop gap my<br />

life needed to move forward. Overnight, our borders<br />

closed to the world and I lost 99% of my work<br />

indefinitely. My northern trip was canceled and I had<br />

time on my hands, too much time.<br />

But, rather than squander it I decided to take this<br />

opportunity to make another drastic change and<br />

start a business I could build into the future. This<br />

was the birth of KEA Outdoors, an outdoor gear<br />

brand that creates gear inspired by my days as a<br />

guide but for the everyday adventurer.<br />

The purpose of the gear ties directly back to my<br />

frustrations when spending hundreds of days a<br />

year outdoors. Initially this was in the first aid/<br />

survival category but has now grown into a wider<br />

product range and a brand with global reach.<br />

Now I find myself at a turning point once again.<br />

This new endeavor has sparked a new passion<br />

for me in creating great gear for others. It has<br />

been a challenging but rewarding journey as I<br />

built the business mostly on my own.<br />

But things are about to step up, as it’s now time<br />

to lean on the success to date and take things<br />

to the next level. We are building a brand that is<br />

taking on the stale outdoor gear industry, from<br />

little old Wanaka, New Zealand.<br />

That’s why we are offering the opportunity to<br />

those that believe in our story to become part of<br />

this journey and to own a piece of KEA Outdoors<br />

through our Equity Crowdfunding Campaign,<br />

launching in April 2024.<br />

This is a unique opportunity to join an exciting<br />

kiwi brand taking on the world and we would love<br />

to have you on board. You can learn more at<br />

www.keaoutdoors.com<br />

It’s been a wild journey over the past 20 years as<br />

fly fishing and the outdoors has shaped my life in<br />

a way I could neve have imagined. The biggest<br />

take away for me is that leaning into change can<br />

foster great things, you just need to take the dive!<br />




THE 80+ YEAR OLD<br />

MOGUL, “IF YOU<br />



YOU CHANGE?”<br />










The all-new fourth generation Helios is the culmination of a seven-year<br />

quest to achieve precision beyond all previous limits of your imagination.<br />




SAFE<br />

Xtorm Xtreme Solar Panel SolarBooster<br />

21W $399.00<br />

Overload protection and temperature<br />

control<br />

Auto Power Management to prevent<br />

overheating<br />

No internal battery<br />

Charges 2 devices at the same time<br />

21 Watts SunPower® Panel<br />


Xtorm Xtreme Rugged Power Bank 20.000mAh $199.00<br />

High Capacity 20.000mAh for multiple device<br />

charges<br />

Shock-resistant and water resistant<br />

Recharge your phone at least 4 times<br />

Emergency Flashlight<br />

4 USB outputs<br />


KEA SURVIVAL KIT GEAR PACKS $40.00- $50.00<br />

KEA Gear Packs are built for purpose and contain all the<br />

essential gear required to pack or refill your outdoor survival kit.<br />


Xtorm Xtreme Rugged Power Bank<br />

10.000 mAh $129.00<br />

10.000mAh internal battery<br />

Charges 3 devices at the same time<br />

Integrated flashlight<br />

Water resistant<br />

Recharge your phone at least 2 times<br />

3 USB outputs<br />


Xtorm 20W Fuel Series 4 Solar Power Bank 10.000<br />

mAh $109.95<br />

10.000mAh battery<br />

20W USB-C PD output<br />

2x USB output<br />

Built-in SunPower® Solar Panel<br />

Splash-proof (IPX4)<br />

Powerful integrated LED flashlight<br />


KEA kit $80.00 (GO) - $120.00 (XL)<br />

KEA KIT GO & XL are Outdoor Survival<br />

Systems to help pack essential safety gear.<br />

GO for on the move and the XL for vehicle/<br />

basecamp<br />



Kiwi Camping Medium Duffle Bag 60L $139.00<br />

Rugged, durable and designed to withstand<br />

the toughest adventures. The new Kiwi<br />

Camping duffle bag comes with detachable<br />

padded backstraps convert to the duffle into<br />

an expansive backpack.<br />



Rab Emergency Group Shelter 2 $139.95<br />

Made with lightweight and windproof polyester fabric,<br />

this emergency shelter is suitable for 1-2 people and<br />

includes waterproof seats and weather-resistant<br />

ventilation windows.<br />


Rab Trailhead Bivi $269.95<br />

Lightweight and waterproof, this bivi offers great<br />

protection from the elements with a MVTR rating of<br />

10,000 g/m2/24h. To use alone or under a tarp.<br />


Rab Siltarp 1 $229.95<br />

Strong, seam free, ultralight, and waterproof, the<br />

Siltarp offers a great shelter and a variety of setup<br />

options with a central lifter point.<br />


Rab ARK Emergency Bivi $19.95<br />

Made with lightweight PE, the ARK<br />

Emergency Bivi is wind and waterproof<br />

and reflects body heat to keep you safe<br />

in emergency situations.<br />



$699.99<br />

Designed for cold-weather<br />

mountaineering and harsh<br />

environments. Water-repellent,<br />

breathable, windproof,<br />

lightweight shell with 540g of<br />

800-fill power goose down<br />

insulation. Differential cut,<br />

adjustable draft collar, 3D foot<br />

box. 1070g<br />


Gasmate Turbo Butane Stove & Pot<br />

Set $149.00<br />

For quick boiling when you<br />

need it! A super lightweight<br />

aluminium stove with quick<br />

boil technology, piezo ignition<br />

and accessories all packaged<br />

in a handy mesh carry bag.<br />


Kiwi Camping Matai Pro -5°C<br />

Sleeping Bag $109.00<br />

Matai Pro -5°C boasts<br />

a rectangular design<br />

providing ultimate warmth<br />

in cold temperatures,<br />

with generous width and<br />

height for added comfort.<br />

Features include a ripstop<br />

shell, inner pocket,<br />

adjustable hood, and YKK<br />

zips.<br />


kiwi camping Rover Lite 3CM Self-Inflating Hiking Mat $99.99<br />

Compact to pack and carry, the Rover Lite selfinflates<br />

in minutes. The tapered design can fit in a<br />

sleeping bag for maximum comfort on adventures.<br />



$369.99 (MEDIUM)<br />

Lightweight, supportive mat<br />

insulated with responsiblysourced<br />

down insulation for<br />

comfort on your adventures<br />

year-around. Compact packed<br />

size, a recycled 20D ripstop face<br />

fabric and 9cm-thick chambers<br />

with fatter chambers at the sides<br />

to reduce the chance of rolling<br />

off. Certified carbon neutral by<br />

myclimate. RV 7.1, 620g<br />


Vango F10 Xenon UL2 Tent $699.99<br />

Stable two pole 4-season tunnel design that is easy to pitch, lightweight and<br />

packs up small. Features a large vent over the door for airflow and stopping rain<br />

getting into the inner with an open door, a front vestibule, high quality, lightweight<br />

Yunan poles, and a fast-pack bag. 1.9kg (packaged weight)<br />


Kiwi Camping Weka 2 Hiker Tent $349.90<br />

Kiwi Camping's most popular hiker tent<br />

with double-sided entry, sturdy vestibules,<br />

and a user-friendly design. With a fly that<br />

handles rain and snow, the Weka 2 is<br />

perfect for hiking adventures.<br />


Kiwi Camping Mamaku Pro -5°C<br />

Sleeping Bag $129.00<br />

Mamaku Pro -5°C offers<br />

ultimate warmth with<br />

lightweight, compact design<br />

and silvertherm lining for heat<br />

retention. Ideal for outdoor<br />

adventures with ripstop shell,<br />

inner pocket, and YKK zips.<br />



ZEROFIT Heatrub move $109.95 (AUD)<br />

Baselayer, Thermal<br />

The Move features a 45% polypropylene<br />

inner / hollow polyester shell that work in<br />

tandem to regulate body temperature, so<br />

as you work harder for longer, you don’t<br />

overheat in the conditions.<br />



ZEROFIT Heatrub Ultimate $129.95(AUD)<br />

Baselayer, Thermal<br />

The award-winning Heatrub Ultimate<br />

is best-in-class baselayer that uses<br />

enhanced Heat Threads inside the<br />

garment that are activated through<br />

movement, gently brushing against the<br />

skin to generate positive warmth instantly.<br />



Outdoor Research SuperStrand LT Hoodie $399.99<br />

Ultralight and packable, featuring VerticalX<br />

SuperStrand insulation that is just as soft, light<br />

and lofty as 700-800 fill power down thereby<br />

giving you the best of both down and synthetic<br />

insulation. Ripstop nylon shell and lining for<br />

abrasion, water and wind resistance, a quilting<br />

pattern that reduces stitching and creates an<br />

uninterrupted flow of warmth and it stows in its<br />

own pocket. Available in men’s and women’s<br />

hoodie and jacket versions. 309g (men’s large)<br />


ZEROFIT Heatrub Ultimate Leggings $129.95 (AUD)<br />

Baselayer, Thermal<br />

The Ultimate Leggings are made from<br />

the same material as the award-winning<br />

Heatrub Ultimate baselayer. The<br />

leggings are comparable to fleece lined<br />

overtrousers, but with the added benefit<br />

of ease of movement.<br />



bear cottage Possum Merino Wool Ombre Throw $195.00<br />

A unique and luxurious blend of NZ possum<br />

fur and pure NZ merino lambswool. A beautiful<br />

luxurious Multi Tone Throw – so versatile, so<br />

light and ever so warm.<br />

35% Possum Fur, 55% Merino Lambswool,<br />

10% Mulberry Silk.<br />

Measurements approx: 1.24m x 1.71m<br />


ZEROFIT Heatrub neckwarmer $49.95 (AUD)<br />

<strong>Adventure</strong> Wear, Thermal<br />

The Neck Warmer uses the same ‘heat<br />

threads’ that feature in the award-winning<br />

Ultimate baselayer, which has been<br />

independently proven to be five times<br />

warmer than a standard product.<br />





Merrell Moab 3 Womens Oyster/Chalk $259.00<br />

The Moab 3 (Vent) Hiking Shoe - With the<br />

inclusion of a premium Vibram outsole, the Moab<br />

3 is built for any terrain or elevation Australia has<br />

on offer. For over a decade, the Merrell Moab<br />

has been the choice of hikers when a choice<br />

needs to be made, making it the bestselling<br />

hiker in the world. Famous for its out-of-the-box<br />

comfort, durability and all purpose versatility, its<br />

predecessors have enabled 25million people<br />

to step further outdoors. Moabs 3rd version<br />

features a new more supportive insole, a softer<br />

more cushioned midsole, a grippier Vibram<br />

outsole, and partially recycled fabrics.<br />


Merrell Moab Speed 2 Gore-Tex Mens Beluga / Womens Black $379.00<br />

The Moab Speed 2 represents Merrell's latest<br />

advancement in hiking. Combining the expertise and<br />

trail experiences of the renowned Moab hiking boot with<br />

cutting-edge innovations from avid hikers worldwide, this<br />

upgraded generation of hiking shoes sets a new standard<br />

in outdoor footwear.<br />

• Padded collar<br />

• Bellows tongue keeps out debris<br />

• Protective and abrasion resistant synthetic heel and<br />

toe cap<br />

• Dual heel and tongue loops for ease of entry as well<br />

as carabiner compatibility<br />

• Cleansport NXT treated for natural odor control<br />

• Lightweight FlexPlate technology provides<br />

torsional rigidity, lateral stability, and forefoot<br />

flexibility<br />

• FloatPro Foam midsole for lightweight comfort that<br />

lasts<br />

• Vibram TC5+ outsole provides exceptional traction<br />

for outdoor multi-sport activities, formulated<br />

exclusively for Merrell<br />

• Vibram traction lugs specifically designed to increase<br />

traction and shed debris with each step<br />

• Nylon ripstop and TPU upper<br />

• 100% recycled laces and webbing<br />

• 100% recycled breathable mesh lining<br />

• 100% recycled mesh footbed cover<br />

• 50% recycled removable EVA foam footbed<br />

• Vegan-Friendly<br />


SALEWA ALP TRAINER 2 GTX $429.90<br />

The Alp Trainer 2 GTX has a suede leather and<br />

stretch fabric upper with a protective rubber rand for<br />

protection against rock, scree and debris. Featuring<br />

a GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort lining for optimal<br />

waterproofing and breathability. The EVA midsole<br />

provides superior cushioning and excellent comfort<br />

for a technical shoe. Climbing Lacing right to the<br />

toe allows for a more precise fit, while the Vibram®<br />

Alpine Hiking outsole covers a wide spectrum of<br />

mountain terrain.<br />

Fit: STANDARD / Weight (M) 470 g (pictured)<br />

(W) 370 g<br />


SALEWA puez knit mid ptx $499.90<br />

The first hiking boot with Salewa Alpine Hemp.<br />

It has an abrasion-resistant knitted nylon and<br />

ripstop polyester mid-cut upper, with hemp and<br />

recycled polyester laces. Reinforced with an<br />

external toe cap and 360°protective rubber rand,<br />

it also features our PFC-free waterproof and<br />

breathable Powertex® membrane. At the heart of<br />

its construction built into the dual density Alpine<br />

Hemp and EVA midsole, is the new Salewa<br />

Edging Plate II, a special thermoplastic frame<br />

that runs the entire length of the boot, offering a<br />

combination of enhanced flex, and rebound for<br />

long-lasting hiking comfort. The Pomoca Alpine<br />

Trekker outsole offers excellent grip and traction<br />

in technical terrain.<br />

Fit: STANDARD / Weight (M) 480 g<br />

(W) 385 g (pictured)<br />


SALEWA pedrok pro mid ptx $459.90<br />

We designed the Pedroc Pro Mid PTX to offer<br />

a lightweight, versatile, and protective technical<br />

shoe with a mid-cut upper to cope in a wide range<br />

of scenarios from mixed mountain terrain to city<br />

streets. The SALEWA® 3F system and Ankle<br />

Protector system provide additional support and<br />

stability, while an abrasion-resistant double ripstop<br />

upper with TPU rand provide enhanced protection.<br />

Weather protection and breathability are provided<br />

by our sustainable Powertex® PFC-free waterproof<br />

membrane. The EVA midsole delivers optimal<br />

rebound, and the Pomoca Speed Hiker Pro outsole<br />

has a multi-directional lug pattern that works well on<br />

mud, grass and rock.<br />

Fit: STANDARD / Weight: (M) 390 g (pictured)<br />

(W) 290 g<br />


Anatom Q4 Torridon B2 Mountain Boots $549.00<br />

For 4-season trekking, rock scrambling, glacier<br />

travel and winter walking adventures. Full rubber<br />

rand and the finest quality leather to withstand<br />

frequent use and provides excellent ankle support<br />

plus the right flex and torsional support for<br />

confidence over technical terrain. Tri-Aria 3-layer<br />

Membrane System, Vibram® Sorapis outsole.<br />


SALEWA mountain TRAINER 2 MID GTX $649.90<br />

Introducing the next generation of our bestselling,<br />

robust and reliable alpine trekking boot. This hardwearing<br />

suede leather classic with a full 360°<br />

protective rubber rand is even lighter and more flexible.<br />

Equipped with a waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX®<br />

Performance Comfort membrane, a dual density<br />

expanded PU midsole that offers a good balance of<br />

cushioning and stiffness, and the self-cleaning Vibram®<br />

WTC 2 outsole is engineered for improved grip and<br />

traction in a wide range of conditions.<br />

Fit: STANDARD / Weight (M) 600 g (W) 470 g (pictured)<br />


SALEWA ORTLES light MID ptx $659.90<br />

This lightweight, comfortable mid-cut boot is both<br />

technical and agile. The Pomoca Alpine Light outsole<br />

ensures increased grip and traction in varied terrain.<br />

The Ankle Protector System wraps the foot, providing<br />

stability and protection from rock and scree. The<br />

Edging Plate technology blends targeted stiffness for<br />

edging stability and enhanced climbing performance<br />

with balanced flex and rebound for hiking comfort.<br />

The tough nylon fabric is reinforced with high-tenacity,<br />

abrasion-resistant, protective TPU stitching and film. It<br />

also features our PFC-free waterproof and breathable<br />

Powertex® membrane, and the elastic gaiter keeps out<br />

trail debris and grit.<br />

Fit: STANDARD / Weight (M) 575 g (pictured) (W) 425 g<br />



Review<br />

"Moab 3 features a new more<br />

supportive insole, a softer<br />

more cushioned midsole, and a<br />

best-in-class Vibram® outsole."<br />



Designed in Japan, made for the outdoor world, Zerofit unisex baselayers are game-changing products for adventurers who<br />

refuse to let colder temperatures stop them from enjoying the hills, mountains, lakes or forests.<br />

Created by a passionate team of innovators and baselayer specialists, the Zerofit Heatrub Ultimate is the most technically<br />

advanced baselayer on the planet and completely different to any other product you’ve ever worn before.<br />

Merrell Moab 3 Hiking Boots<br />

Reveiw by Eric Skilling<br />

The sign read “Track now open. Caution Advised. Condition<br />

of track itself very rough.” This had to be the perfect place to<br />

test a new set of boots - lots of exposed tree roots, steep in<br />

places, and steady rain to make it a bit muddy and slippery.<br />

I packed several books and a few litres of water into an old<br />

canvas Macpac Genesis and headed off.<br />

It was not long before I had gained full confidence stepping<br />

down the steep, slightly muddy and root-bound track. This<br />

is hardly surprising - Merrell is hardly a start-up in the<br />

adventure footwear industry and these boots have been a<br />

top-selling model for over a decade.<br />

"With a notably stiffer<br />

sole, the boots promised<br />

durability and great<br />

support on rougher terrain<br />

such as scree slopes."<br />

With a notably stiffer sole, the boots promised durability and<br />

great support on rougher terrain such as scree slopes, while<br />

sacrificing a little control boulder hopping across streams. A<br />

mid-cut with an official weight of 1kg, they felt ideal for both<br />

single and multi-day tramping.<br />

"By the<br />

time I had<br />

emerged out<br />

of the bush<br />

and mud,<br />

and onto<br />

the beach,<br />

I had every<br />

reason to<br />

feel assured<br />

that I could<br />

rely on these<br />

Moab boots<br />

during future<br />

multi-day<br />

excursions."<br />

The all new Moab 3 features a new more<br />

supportive insole, a softer more cushioned<br />

midsole, and a best-in-class Vibram®<br />

outsole. Our newest generation is the most<br />

environmentally friendly Moab ever, utilizing<br />

recycled materials in construction. The Moab<br />

3 Mid WP features a waterproof membrane to<br />

keep your feet dry.<br />

Features<br />

• Waterproof membrane seals out water<br />

and lets moisture escape<br />

• Pig suede leather and breathable mesh<br />

upper<br />

• 100% recycled laces and webbing<br />

• Bellows tongue keeps out debris<br />

• Protective and abrasion resistant rubber<br />

heel and toe cap<br />

• 100% recycled breathable mesh lining<br />

• Kinetic Fit ADVANCED removable<br />

contoured footbed with reinforced heel<br />

cushioning for medium support<br />

• Molded nylon arch shank<br />

• Merrell Air Cushion in the heel absorbs<br />

shock and adds stability<br />

• Super Rebound Compound provides<br />

durable shock absorption to help reduce<br />

torque and allow for a smooth transition<br />

into the midfoot<br />

• Vibram® TC5+ outsole technology gives<br />

you confidence with every step from<br />

mountain trails to city streets. Made<br />

exclusively for Merrell, Vibram® TC5+<br />

delivers all-around grip, traction, and<br />

durability designed for every day wear.<br />

• Lug: 5mm<br />

• 2lbs-3.25oz, 1000g<br />


1. It’s five times warmer than a<br />

standard baselayer<br />

That is quite a claim, but it’s a fact. Tested at the<br />

iconic Boken Institute in Osaka, the Heatrub<br />

Ultimate baselayer recorded a Heat Retention<br />

Rating of 0.78; a standard baselayer would have<br />

a rating of between 0.1 to 0.14. And for reference,<br />

a jumper would typically have a rating of 0.3. The<br />

Ultimate performs best in a temperature range<br />

of -10° Celsius thru 10° Celsius – so even in the<br />

coldest of conditions, it has got your back.<br />

2. Instant warmth the moment<br />

you put it on<br />

A standard baselayer traps body heat between<br />

your skin and the material, so it takes a little time<br />

before you feel the benefits. With Zerofit, five<br />

separate fabrics, along with a patented knitting<br />

process, create instant warmth as soon as you<br />

pull it on. We don’t engineer our products with<br />

compression for heat as a technology, unlike<br />

other brands. The unique fabric mix means you<br />

don’t need the tightness in order for it to work,<br />

making it super comfortable too.<br />



The Ultimate baselayer is perfect for the<br />

coldest of conditions, but it is<br />

complemented by the Heatrub Move<br />

($109.95), which is twice as warm as a<br />

standard baselayer and ideal for milder<br />

temperatures of between -5° thru 12°<br />

Celsius. It features a 45% polypropylene<br />

construction on the inside of the<br />

baselayer and a hollow polyester shell<br />

that combine for ‘Adaptable Warmth’,<br />

keeping you cosy when you’re at a<br />

standstill yet regulating temperature and<br />

ensuring you don’t overheat as you move.<br />

The construction removes sweat from<br />

the skin and evaporates it off the surface<br />

of the baselayer quickly, so that nasty<br />

feeling of ‘cold sweat’ never materialises.<br />

3. Fewer layers, greater warmth<br />

and freedom to move<br />

The Ultimate is the ideal product for people<br />

who dislike traditional tight baselayers. Over the<br />

years, you may well have ‘layered up’ in order to<br />

combat the effects of cold weather. This is<br />

where we are changing the game. The Heatrub<br />

Ultimate is so good at keeping you warm, you<br />

won’t need multiple additional layers, giving<br />

you greater freedom to move easily. In short,<br />

fewer layers yet greater warmth.<br />

4. Central Heating from<br />

top to toe<br />

Innovative ‘Heat Threads’ positioned on the<br />

inside of the garment gently rub against your<br />

skin as you move, which creates positive<br />

warmth across your body and this instant heat<br />

is retained while you’re wearing the baselayer.<br />

We also produce Heatrub Ultimate Leggings<br />

and Heatrub Ultimate Socks that are made<br />

from the same material and work in exactly<br />

the same way, so you can have top-to-toe<br />

warmth with Zerofit.<br />

Five times<br />

warmer than<br />

a standard<br />

baselayer<br />

Instant heat<br />

the moment<br />

you put it on<br />

No need for<br />

multiple<br />

additional<br />

layers – a gamechanger<br />

Heating<br />

from top<br />

to toe<br />

If I do have a concern, it would be the mesh covering the<br />

top of the boot. Clearly a way of making the boot lighter<br />

and more breathable - but I doubt they would cope with<br />

long sessions ploughing through matagouri or bush lawyer.<br />

If bush-bashing is your preference I suggest the more<br />

rigorous Phaserbound range.<br />


Buy any Zerofit baselayer and receive a<br />


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at checkout<br />

By the time I had emerged out of the bush and mud, and<br />

onto the beach, I had every reason to feel assured that<br />

I could rely on these Moab boots during future multi-day<br />

excursions.<br />


The helpful team at Merrell Takapuna store<br />

Zerofit Heatrub Ultimate baselayer (available in Black, Grey and Navy) – $129.95 ■ Zerofit Heatrub Ultimate leggings (available in Black) – $129.95<br />

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Review<br />

"The Apex pro is<br />

made of strong<br />

material around<br />

the pockets and<br />

has strong mesh to<br />

keep it superlight."<br />

CamelBak Apex Pro Run Vest<br />

Reveiw by Nick Laurie<br />

The latest release from CamelBak is the Apex<br />

Pro running vest. I was sent one to test drive and<br />

I had some deep thought on how I would put it<br />

through its paces.<br />

I usually use a backpack for my distance races<br />

with the thought that I can carry more water and<br />

not have to waste time topping it up. This tactic<br />

did not pay off in the Kepler last December when<br />

I ran dry for the last 10k. I was lucky that there<br />

was a supermarket set up on the trail that saved<br />

me from dehydration. I was keen to try a quality<br />

running vest and CamelBak have come to the<br />

party. I could easily refill the small bottles at taps,<br />

streams, or aid stations. You can use a bladder<br />

in the Apex Pro as it has an area to hold one and<br />

a clip for the hose.<br />

The biggest bug bear with a running vest is<br />

that the bottles bounce around and slosh. The<br />

inventors at Camelbak have tackled this problem<br />

by using their sealable flasks that have a leak<br />

lock. They are secured with 2 tie downs and<br />

have a nifty hole in the bottom so that you can<br />

hang them when drying. When you drink you<br />

have to suck the flask taking the air out of play<br />

and eliminating the slosh.<br />

The next issue for me is that the material is often<br />

too light and rips and tears easily. The Apex pro<br />

is made of strong material around the pockets<br />

and has strong mesh to keep it superlight. There<br />

are heaps of handy storage pockets and even a<br />

waterproof one that fits an iphone. The big deal<br />

about this vest is that it has RECCO technology<br />

sown into it that will reflect any search and<br />

rescue beacon making it easy to find you if you<br />

get lost after dark.<br />

I wanted to test this vest on a track with heaps<br />

of stairs to see how bouncing around would feel.<br />

None better than the track from Huia to Whatipu<br />

in West Auckland. Steps, Steps and more Steps.<br />

I knew that the return trip would take me 3 hours<br />

and the 1 litre of water that I could carry in the<br />

flasks would give me enough. If I was guzzling<br />

too much, I could refill at Whatipu campground.<br />

" I found it way freer<br />

to run with than the<br />

backpack and loved<br />

having all of the<br />

weight up around<br />

my shoulders."<br />

I also decided to carry all of the<br />

compulsory gear that is needed for a race<br />

to test the capabilities. I discarded the<br />

quiver pack for poles that comes with the<br />

Apex Pro because I am not a stick racer<br />

just yet. It was easy to remove and will clip<br />

back on just as easily. The gear fit in easily<br />

and I could distribute it around to different<br />

pockets for comfort. I didn’t need a whistle<br />

because the pack comes with its own.<br />

I’m reasonably broad with a 105cm chest<br />

and was given a size large to try. What!<br />

Not an XL! At first glance that line from<br />

the flight of the concords “small mans<br />

wetsuit” came to mind but once I put it on<br />

and adjusted the positioning of the cross<br />

straps, to fit around my man boobs, I was<br />

very grateful for the snug fit - no rattling or<br />

bouncing. I found it way freer to run with<br />

than the backpack and loved having all of<br />

the weight up around my shoulders rather<br />

than down in the small of the back which<br />

after a couple of hours can get annoying.<br />

It felt good.<br />

The only bug bear was that I am a heavy<br />

sweater and the whole pack with exception<br />

of the phone pocket was saturated. I<br />

would suggest putting thermals that you<br />

want to stay dry in a plastic bag. I chucked<br />

the pack in the washing machine with<br />

my running gear, washing out the bottles<br />

separately and am ready for my next<br />

adventure.<br />

This vest is the bomb!<br />




Constable | New Zealand Police<br />

Competitive Kaihoe Waka Ama<br />

Bay of Plenty District<br />



Like a ‘perfect storm’, we have seen a dramatic growth and<br />

development in online stores over the past 5 years.<br />

We are dedicating these pages to our client’s online stores; some<br />

you will be able to buy from, some you will be able drool over. Buy,<br />

compare, research and prepare, these online stores are a great way to<br />

feed your adventure addiction.<br />

Aspiring Guides offers specialised, innovative & personalised<br />

mountain guiding services.<br />

www.aspiringguides.com<br />

Amazing holidays for active people and those who seek<br />

‘travel less ordinary’. www.wildsidetravel.co.nz<br />

The best outdoor equipment for all of your adventurous<br />

antics. Outdoor Action has you sorted.<br />

www.outdooraction.co.nz<br />

Building versatile and reliable gear so you<br />

can adventure with purpose.<br />

www.keaoutdoors.com<br />

Bivouac Outdoor stock the latest in quality outdoor<br />

clothing, footwear and equipment from the best<br />

brands across New Zealand & the globe.<br />

www.bivouac.co.nz<br />

Shop for the widest range of Merrell footwear, apparel<br />

& accessories across hiking, trail running, sandals &<br />

casual styles. Free shipping for a limited time.<br />

www.merrell.co.nz<br />

Temperature. Taste. Transport.<br />

Hydroflask, more than just a water bottle.<br />

www.hydroflask.co.nz<br />

Top NZ made health supplements delivered straight<br />

to your door, with same day dispatch.<br />

www.supps.nz<br />

This small, friendly family-run company is based in Lake<br />

Tekapo, New Zealand, specializing in guided outdoor<br />

adventures throughout New Zealand's Southern Alps.<br />

www.alpinerecreation.com<br />

The place to go for all the gear you need whether you're skiing,<br />

snowboarding, hiking, biking or just exploring.<br />

www.thealpinecentre.co.nz<br />

Gear up in a wide selection of durable, multifunctional<br />

outdoor clothing & gear. Free Returns. Free Shipping.<br />

www.patagonia.co.nz<br />

With 22 locations around NZ<br />

we’re one of the largest car<br />

rental networks in the country.<br />

www.rad.co.nz<br />

Fast nourishing freeze dried food for adventurers.<br />

www.backcountrycuisine.co.nz<br />

Stocking an extensive range<br />

of global outdoor adventure<br />

brands for your next big<br />

adventure. See them for travel,<br />

tramping, trekking, alpine and<br />

lifestyle clothing and gear.<br />

www.outfittersstore.nz<br />

Specialists in the sale of Outdoor Camping Equipment, RV,<br />

Tramping & Travel Gear. Camping Tents, <strong>Adventure</strong> Tents,<br />

Packs, Sleeping Bags and more.<br />

www.equipoutdoors.co.nz<br />

Your adventure travel specialists, with over 20 years<br />

experience! They live what they sell.<br />

www.madabouttravel.co.nz<br />

Supplying tents and<br />

camping gear to Kiwis<br />

for over 30 years, Kiwi<br />

Camping are proud to<br />

be recognised as one of<br />

the most trusted outdoor<br />

brands in New Zealand.<br />

www.kiwicamping.co.nz<br />

The only baselayer<br />

you'll need. 5 x<br />

warmer than a<br />

traditional baselayer<br />

www.zerofit.com.au<br />

Bobo Products, a leading importer and distributor of snow<br />

and outdoor products in New Zealand.<br />

www.bobo.co.nz<br />

NZ world class climbing centre.<br />

Your climbing experience is at<br />

the heart of what they do. They<br />

provide trained and competent<br />

professionals that are psyched<br />

on climbing and passionate<br />

about supporting others.<br />

www.northenrocks.co.nz<br />

Purveying the finest singleorigin<br />

roasted Espresso<br />

and Filter coffee in NZ since<br />

2013 for you to enjoy at<br />

home or work.<br />

www.redrabbitcoffee.co.nz<br />

10% discount on coffee use<br />


Tokyo, the selfie city<br />

JAPAN: a country of contrast<br />

In James Clavell's book ‘Shogun’, one of<br />

the characters explains how the Japanese<br />

have three hearts: ‘one they have in their<br />

mouth that they show the world, one in<br />

their heart that they show their friends and<br />

family and a third that is deep in their soul,<br />

they show only to God alone’.<br />

Shogun is the story of John Blackthorne,<br />

an English sailor who was shipwrecked<br />

in Japan in the 1500s and must quickly<br />

come to terms with the unique challenges<br />

of Japanese culture. Now, we were not<br />

shipwrecked, we were there by choice,<br />

but the culture was still a shock - well, less<br />

than a shock, more of a confusion that<br />

takes some getting used to.<br />

We were on our way to Club Med Sahoro<br />

to ski, and we stopped off in Tokyo for<br />

three days. We had done our research<br />

and knew what to expect, to a degree.<br />

When you think of Japanese people and<br />

the Japanese way of life, you think of a<br />

controlled, polite, historic, and ‘cultured’<br />

destination. I was expecting geisha girls<br />

in kimonos shuffling down the street, but<br />

I wasn’t expecting city life on acid. Tokyo<br />

is a bigger-than-life, anime, sign-flashing,<br />

sound-blaring cacophony of light and<br />

sound that assaults your senses twentyfour<br />

hours a day, seven days a week.<br />

In a freezing 3 degrees, young women<br />

were dressed as schoolgirls in miniskirts<br />

and high boots; and there were people<br />

outfitted as rabbits and mice. Every<br />

wall seemed plastered with the same<br />

humongous boy/girl K-pop band.<br />

Tokyo is a massive sensory overload; a<br />

city crammed with people and noise, yet,<br />

in all the chaos, there was a politeness<br />

and a sense of calm and safety that I<br />

had never felt in a big city before. It is<br />

entertaining, if exhausting.<br />











BEFORE"<br />

However, amongst the chaos lies some<br />

really tranquil places, such as the Shinjuku<br />

Gyoen National Gardens, a surprising<br />

haven in the midst of the bright lights and<br />

high rises.<br />

Getting around Japan most people use<br />

the immense train system. To describe it,<br />

imagine you had a large piece of paper<br />

and tipped a bowl of spaghetti onto it,<br />

that is what the local train map looks like:<br />

hundreds of intersecting lines, hundreds<br />

of trains and then thousands of people in<br />

neat, well-ordered lines waiting to board.<br />

Once you find the correct train, on the<br />

correct platform and stand in your neat<br />

shoulder-to-shoulder rows, the train doors<br />

open, and the culture switch is flipped<br />

off. In a land where personal space and<br />

politeness count for everything, sitting<br />

down with another man standing in front<br />

of you with his genitals less than 20 cm<br />

from your nose is a little discomforting; the<br />

politeness and personal space rules on<br />

the train go right out the window.<br />

We caught the train out to Kamakura one<br />

day and arrived in what seemed another<br />

world. The towering hotels and office<br />

blocks were replaced by ancient trees and<br />

equally ancient temples and a calmness<br />

and serenity that you associate with every<br />

big cathedral in the world. Here, there<br />

were women dressed as geisha girls (we<br />

later found out most were tourists), people<br />

praying, people talking in hushed voices<br />

and oddly what seemed like every other<br />

person taking selfies.<br />

This is the ‘three-heart’ aspect of Japan.<br />

On the one hand, you have a crazypacked<br />

environment where people are<br />

ant-like, frenetic and crazy. Then, there<br />

is this other incredibly calm and cultured,<br />

peaceful environment which seems just a<br />

short distance away.<br />

The first few days in Japan left me<br />

bewildered and confused, sure I was<br />

entertained and impressed but as we<br />

headed out of Tokyo towards Hokkaido<br />

you had a defined feeling that this too<br />

would be a whole new experience.<br />

We felt the change as soon as the plane<br />

landed, we had gone from Tokyo city life<br />

and landed in an airport covered as far as<br />

you could see in ‘Yuki’ - snow.<br />

Less than two hours from the airport is<br />

Club Med Sahoro, located in the southern<br />

part of Central Hokkaido, 167km east of<br />

The bright lights of Tokyo<br />


Incredible food, zero crowds and an enclosed gondola all make for an amazing Club Med experience<br />

Sapporo and 130km from the New<br />

Chitose Airport. After the hustle and<br />

bustle of Tokyo, arriving at Club<br />

Med Sahoro felt like “coming home”.<br />

The resort sits a little way up the<br />

mountain and is ski-in ski-out right<br />

from the back door. Access to the<br />

lifts (and then back again to the lodge<br />

at the end of the day) is via beginner<br />

trails that meander through woods,<br />

somewhat like a scene from Narnia.<br />

This was much more our style.<br />

We arrived at Club Med, or “the<br />

Club” as it’s fondly known and were<br />

greeted by one of the on-site resort<br />

team known as the G.Os, (the<br />

acronym comes from the French<br />

word, “Gentil Organisateur” basically<br />

translated to Gentle/Gracious<br />

Organiser in English). There job is<br />

to keep you entertained with the<br />

numerous programs and activities<br />

available and we came to appreciate<br />

that the G.O.’s are the heart and soul<br />

of the Club Med experience.<br />

Our G.O. happened to be a fellow<br />

Kiwi from Nelson. She was excited<br />

to meet someone from ‘home’ as<br />

for some strange reason, Kiwis do<br />

not make up a large percentage of<br />

the visitors to Club Med Sahoro. I<br />

wonder if it has something to do with<br />

our Kiwi 8-wire mentality; we think<br />

we can pretty much do anything,<br />

so the last thing we seek is an allinclusive<br />

package deal that is Club<br />

Med. We soon learnt that having that<br />

mentality means the Kiwis are really<br />

missing out.<br />

Arriving in the late afternoon, after<br />

going through the “orientation” and told<br />

all the things that were available for us,<br />

we headed to the bar for drinks. This<br />

was our first introduction to the “Club<br />

Med” way of life. Firstly drinks at the<br />

bar are free. Yep, and not just a house<br />

wine or beer, and people will talk to<br />

you. Actually, that’s all part of the<br />

experience of going to Club Med.<br />

We sat down in the bar, drinks<br />

in hand, looking out to the snow<br />

covered hills when a group of young<br />

men (early 20s) sat down and asked<br />

us how we were enjoying ourselves.<br />

Surprised that these young men<br />

would be interested in what us oldies<br />

were up to, we mumbled something<br />

about only just arriving and took a<br />

sip of our drinks. Turns out these<br />

young men were some of the G.O’s<br />

and they chatted away, asking us<br />

questions about where we were from<br />

and telling us all about the fun we<br />

were going to have during our stay.<br />

The staff were all incredibly articulate<br />

and friendly, and hailed from a range<br />

of countries. Some worked at Club<br />

Med as a full time job, others had<br />

“summer jobs” back in their home<br />

countries and spent the winters<br />

working at Club Med Sahoro.<br />

Our first night in the bar was followed<br />

by dinner in the restaurant. We had<br />

the choice of joining a bigger table<br />

or sitting on our own. We were<br />

somewhat reluctant to just “barge<br />

in” on someone else having their<br />

dinner so we opted for a table for<br />

two. The restaurant offered a buffet<br />

with a huge range of options from<br />

traditional Japanese food, Thai,<br />

Chinese, European and more, all<br />

delicious, as well as a traditional<br />

nabemono (hot pot) restaurant that<br />

you needed to book.<br />

After dinner there was a show. Now<br />

I have to admit I’m not overly keen<br />

on the hoopla that goes with this<br />

type of performance entertainment,<br />

but I learnt that it’s all part of the<br />

experience. It’s easy to sit back and<br />

let the action happen around you but<br />

you gain so much more by stepping<br />

up and getting involved.<br />

" IT’S EASY TO SIT<br />







INVOLVED."<br />

The following morning we were keen<br />

to get out for our first taste of the<br />

mountain. The Sahoro Express, one<br />

of the ski lifts, only opens on the<br />

weekends and as it was a Sunday<br />

we knew we only had the day to<br />

ride that terrain, so that’s where we<br />

headed first. Although Sahoro was<br />

not having great snow conditions<br />

that week, due to the fact that the<br />

Express had not been skied on<br />

all week, there was still plenty of<br />

powder pockets to be found and<br />

some very steep terrain. Probably<br />

not the ideal starting point but it was<br />

either today or never.<br />

We had a great morning skiing<br />

through the snow laden trees on<br />

the upper reaches of the Sahoro<br />

Express. We said again and again<br />

you could see what huge potential<br />

the terrain had if there was new<br />

snow. However, we made the best<br />

we could of what was available.<br />

One of the great things about skiing<br />

in Club Med was you just had to ski<br />

back to the resort at lunchtime. You’d<br />

leave your boots in your locker, slip<br />

on your shoes and head into the<br />

restaurant for lunch before reversing<br />

the steps and heading back out to<br />

the slopes for the afternoon.<br />

Skiing the trees off the Sahora Express<br />











The resort offers 16 included activities :<br />

• Group ski lessons for kids<br />

• Group ski lessons for teens<br />

• Group ski lessons for adults<br />

• Magic Carpet<br />

• Group Snowboard lessons<br />

• Four fitness lessons (high intensity,<br />

yoga, soft training and cardio<br />

room)<br />

• Entertainment<br />

• Swimming pool<br />

• Aqua classes<br />

• Sauna<br />

• Badminton<br />

• Squash<br />

• Table tennis<br />

• Card games and more<br />

• Kids clubs<br />

and 6 on demand activities:<br />

• Spa<br />

• Kasumi Waterfall Trekking<br />

• Tomraushi Onsen<br />

• Private ski lessons<br />

• Private Snowboard lessons<br />

• Pool table<br />

Ski and snowboard gear available to<br />

hire or purchase<br />


Club Med is a slick operation in every<br />

way. We have skied at numerous places<br />

around the world but the ease of skiing at<br />

Club Med is hard to beat. The “bracelet”<br />

around your wrist gives access to both<br />

your room and ski locker so you are<br />

never searching for your keys.<br />

Like other Club Med properties, the<br />

holiday is all-inclusive; accommodation,<br />

entertainment, activities, lift passes,<br />

meals, snacks, beverages, as ski and<br />

snowboard lessons every day. Kids'<br />

programs are also included (for children<br />

over 4), and child care for 2-4-yearolds<br />

is available, so parents can relax<br />

knowing that the kids are cared for.<br />

We were travelling as a couple, but<br />

this was a family resort and as one of<br />

the friends we made explained, that for<br />

them, with two young children, Club Med<br />

was a real game changer. We met and<br />

made friends with a range of parents<br />

who had children as young as 4 in ski<br />

school and child care, and the kids<br />

loved it, which meant the parents loved<br />

it. They were free to have their time on<br />

the slopes and all were excited to meet<br />

back to have dinner and play with their<br />

children at the end of the day, a perfect<br />

scenario.<br />

As many of the snow-based resorts in<br />

Japan, Sahoro is a resort in the truest<br />

sense; there is no village or other<br />

restaurants or shop's to explore. The<br />

club is self-contained, however, you<br />

can get a taxi to the nearby town of<br />

Shintoku, which is about 30 mins away.<br />

Sahoro Ski Resort is medium sized with<br />

only 610 metres of vertical (420-1,030m)<br />

and 21 marked runs. The resort is all<br />

below the treeline, with runs through<br />

the forested mountain slopes. Of the<br />

21 trails, 8 are rated for beginners, 3<br />

Our ski instructor, Craig and our amazing group who became fast friends at Club Med Sahoro<br />






for intermediates, and 10 for advanced<br />

riders (black runs). The lift network is<br />

well developed with a gondola, 3 highspeed<br />

quads, and 5 other lifts. Advanced<br />

skiers and snowboarders will prefer to<br />

get off-piste, when there is snow. (Club<br />

Med even offer ski lessons to ski trees).<br />

Japan is renowned for amazing dry<br />

powder. With an average snowfall of<br />

8.7m, we had heard the stories and<br />

seen the pics. But no one controls the<br />

snow gods, and on our arrival, even<br />

though there was an abundance of<br />

snow, it wasn’t dry, and it wasn’t powder.<br />

We were simply a little unlucky in<br />

getting warm weather, with just some<br />

snow flurries, but the upside is we<br />

experienced a week of sunshine, rarely<br />

spoken about in Japanese ski chats.<br />

After exploring the mountain on our own<br />

for the first day we decided to join one<br />

of the lessons (all inclusive). For two<br />

and a half hours each morning and two<br />

and a half hours every afternoon, you<br />

could meet up with a group of skiers of<br />

a similar level and your instructor would<br />

take you out for the day.<br />

We were lucky to get the same instructor<br />

for much of the week, a Scottish guy<br />

called Craig. He had spent 13 seasons<br />

working on Turoa, in Ohakune, NZ so<br />

we considered him n honorary Kiwi. He<br />

was a super nice guy and extremely<br />

knowledgeable. I thought that with an<br />

offering of free ski instruction at all<br />

levels, the expertise might be a bit ‘thin’.<br />

This was not the case, and I learned<br />

more in a week from Craig than I have<br />

done in the last 10 years.<br />

Not only do the instructors teach all day<br />

but there commitment to Club Med does<br />

not end there. You’ll find the instructors<br />

(and all the G.O’s) in the restaurant<br />

each night, having dinner with different<br />

guests before joining in the evening<br />

entertainment. Craig did a great rendition<br />

of air-guitar for one of the evenings<br />

shows, while others sang, danced and<br />

even performed aerial shows.<br />

Historically, Club Med carried a young<br />

person’s vibe tag, but our experience<br />

was that it was superb for families and<br />

involved hassle-free skiing. Their focus<br />

was clear, for everyone to have fun, and<br />

they achieved that every moment of<br />

every day at every level.<br />

The best part about any place you visit<br />

is the people you meet but that’s not<br />

always easy to do; we tend to keep<br />

to ourselves a little. However, Club<br />

Med forces you into a more interactive<br />

environment that you cannot help<br />

but embrace. As a result we met and<br />

became friends with a wide range of<br />

people, young and old, some with<br />

families, some couples and some<br />

travelling on their own.<br />

Whether it was at our ski lessons, over<br />

lunch or dinner, in the bar or after skiing<br />

at one of the evening ‘shows’, you were<br />

encouraged to get involved and interact<br />

with one another. We found the more we<br />

embraced the Club Med experience, the<br />

more we got involved, the more we got<br />

out of it. As we have said in <strong>Adventure</strong><br />

over and over again, when travelling,<br />

it is less about where you are, but who<br />

you are with and who you meet and we<br />

met some incredible people.<br />

Despite my early reluctance we found<br />

we embraced the Club Med feel, the<br />

family feel, and the camaraderie, and<br />

by the end of the week, we had made a<br />

group of long-lasting friends, all enjoying<br />

the experience that Club Med offers.<br />

We will be back...<br />

Groomed empty runs with Club Med in the background<br />





COOK ISLANDS: exploring the depths<br />

Beachfront and garden Bungalows Onsite restaurant and bar<br />

Rarotonga’s stunning southern coast Set on one of the best beaches on the island<br />

" AMONG THE<br />






Cook Islands archipelago is comprised<br />

of 15 serene islands embraced by<br />

vibrant coral reefs. These islands are<br />

nestled some 900 kms distant from<br />

Tahiti, French Polynesia, and 800 kms<br />

from the Kingdom of Tonga, and about<br />

the 3 hour flight from Auckland.<br />

Among the Cook Islands, Rarotonga and<br />

Aitutaki emerge as the premier diving<br />

hubs. Rarotonga, the lively capital with a<br />

populace of 14,000, exudes a colourful<br />

charm. Its bustling daily markets, vibrant<br />

community events, and diverse dining<br />

and entertainment options create a<br />

perfect blend of relaxation and activity.<br />

Unlike its counterpart, Aitutaki, situated<br />

to the north, Rarotonga experiences<br />

cooler temperatures due to its higher<br />

altitude, with occasional dips in the<br />

afternoons. However, Aitutaki boasts<br />

more consistent temperatures, albeit<br />

slightly higher, accompanied by<br />

increased humidity.<br />

Both islands offer a similar array of dive<br />

sites, with Aitutaki boasting marginally<br />

better water temperatures and visibility.<br />

Best Time to Visit the Cook Islands:<br />

Nestled in the Southern Hemisphere, the<br />

Cook Islands enjoy summery conditions<br />

from October to March, maintaining<br />

a pleasant temperature range of 25-<br />

29°C year-round. However, visitors to<br />

Rarotonga during the winter months<br />

should anticipate occasional rain and<br />

cloud cover, necessitating additional<br />

layers. Water temperatures vary<br />

throughout the year, with Rarotonga's<br />

waters typically cooler at around 24°C.<br />

Under the surface:<br />

Exploring the underwater realm reveals<br />

a vibrant tapestry of marine life typical of<br />

the South Pacific. Expect to encounter<br />

a kaleidoscope of colourful fish species,<br />

including unicorn fish, butterflyfish,<br />

snappers, groupers, and angelfish.<br />

Divers may also spot green and<br />

hawksbill turtles, white-tip sharks, moray<br />

eels, and eagle rays.<br />

Rarotonga's dive sites feature<br />

breathtaking drop-offs adorned with an<br />

intricate mosaic of coral formations in<br />

hues of pink, purple, red, and yellow.<br />

Each dive unveils a new coral landscape<br />

with diverse fish and pelagic species.<br />

Moreover, the Cook Islands offer prime<br />

opportunities for humpback whale<br />

sightings between June and September,<br />

particularly near Aitutaki's marina and<br />

Rarotonga's Trader Joes dive sites.<br />

W W W . P A L M G R O V E . N E T<br />



1. Ednas Anchor: Nestled between coral<br />

outcrops, the anchor of the schooner Edna rests<br />

at approximately 23 meters, surrounded by a<br />

vibrant array of reef fish. This serene dive offers<br />

excellent visibility and leads to Rarotonga's<br />

mesmerizing drop-off.<br />

2. Mataroa Wreck: Deliberately sunk in<br />

December 1990, the Tongan sailing vessel<br />

Mataroa now serves as a thriving marine<br />

habitat. Divers can explore the fragmented<br />

wreck, adorned with flourishing flora and<br />

inhabited by lionfish and various reef dwellers.<br />

3. Rutaki Passage and Drop-off: This narrow<br />

vertical canyon boasts Rarotonga's most<br />

impressive drop-off, attracting experienced<br />

divers seeking encounters with tunas, white-tip<br />

sharks, and barracudas. Strong currents add to<br />

the thrill of exploring this dynamic underwater<br />

landscape.<br />

4. Bluewater Diving: Dive into the depths of<br />

the ocean and encounter an abundance of<br />

marine life drawn to Fish Aggregating Devices<br />

(FADs). These artificial structures create thriving<br />

ecosystems, offering glimpses of tuna schools,<br />

barracudas, mahi-mahi, and diverse shark<br />

species at depths ranging from 10 to 50 meters.<br />


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