“For a group of neuro-diverse students, the biggest challenge can be getting the opportunity to take part in outdoor adventures.” After five years in the making, nine neuro-diverse students from Wellington East Girls’ College head off for their biggest adventure yet – a six-day ski and snowshoeing trip to the Cardrona Valley. Unit Leader, Leonie King, shines light on the students’ barriers to entry and the preparation required to complete their Gold DOE's Hillary Award.
'Though plenty of inexperienced day walkers happily climb Taranaki, the mountain is still one of the most deadly in New Zealand. For many, the northern summer route is their surest way to safely experience climbing Taranaki.' Seasoned mountaineer, Peter Laurenson, provides foundational advice for minimising trouble and maximising fun on Mt Taranaki this summer.
No ride, no problem. FMC Youth Award Grant recipient, Tara Isaacs, organises her own DOE Gold Qualifier from the ground up. Starting without a team, a shadower or a ride, she compiles a crew and all the components necessary to cross off one of her 'bucket list tramps' – the Abel Tasman Coastal Walk.
“What may seem to be a safe situation is only one mis-step away from catastrophe.” In an alpine environment, even one small error can lead to a life or death situation. A false sense of security coupled with an unfortunate event results in a tragic outcome for one mountaineer on Mount Ruapehu.
'No growth occurs when comfortable' becomes the guiding mantra for five Youth Award Grant recipients. Flexibility and persistence prove essential during their DOE Gold Qualifying Journey, as they respond to ill trampers and an emergency helicopter rescue along the Pinnacles.
Every club is faced with the task of finding and managing leadership, which can often feel daunting. FMC Executive Officer Administrator, Rebecca Gray, shares pro tips and creative solutions for designing a vibrant, effective and committed club committee that is sustainable for years to come.
The story of Holly Beckham is a story of a Māori wahine toa, who is determined to find her way back to wairua by climbing the highest mountain in the world. With no alpine training, but survival of loss, abuse and addiction, she is starting from the ground up.
For their Duke of Edinburgh Silver Qualifying Journey, Emiliana and her team opt for an alternative mode of backcountry travel – kayaking. Dubbed the Kayak Kapers, this team of twenty-four students (over half of whom had never kayaked) bravely took up their paddles and developed new skills during a multi-day exploration of the Marlborough Sounds.
What makes a suitable alpine leader and how do you identify these people in your club? New Zealand clubs have a proud tradition of passing on knowledge to newer members who later themselves become leaders. FMC provides a guide to identifying and supporting not only current alpine leaders, but a framework to raise up the next generation.
Over the April school holidays, six students set off to complete their Silver Duke of Edinburgh Qualifying Adventurous Journey in Tongariro National Park. Demonstrating excellent planning for their tramp, the group successfully navigates all the challenges thrown their way and completes a trip of a lifetime.
"All too often we can apply the ‘she’ll be right’ attitude to exploring the outdoors, but in an emergency, that is of little help." After assessing their outdated first aid skills, the Otago Section of the New Zealand Alpine Club puts their FMC Training Grant to good use – an intensive first aid course where they learn everything from CPR to managing real-life scenarios with hands-on practice.
A cascade of poor decisions – lack of experience, a hyperfocus on reaching their destination despite horrendous conditions and the separation of party members – results in the preventable loss of a young woman left behind on the Gillespie Pass. Examining the events leading up to this tragedy, Johnny Mulheron and Erik Bradshaw offer sound advice for trampers heading off the beaten path of the Great Walks.
"There is just a whole lotta love in kayaking here in New Zealand, for the rivers and each other." Shannon Mast was unanimously voted as Paddler of the Year 2022, at Whitewater New Zealand’s AGM. In this interview, Justin Venable dives into what makes Shannon passionate about whitewater kayaking and New Zealand rivers.
"Journey – a long and often difficult process of personal change and development." For these four FMC Youth Award Grant recipients, they draw upon their strengths and honestly address their shortcomings to come together as a team to support one another, as well as look after fellow trampers on the Tongariro Crossing Northern Circuit.
"You know you have taken on a good adventure when you have butterflies in your tummy." Feeling ready to tackle another ambitious mission, Andy and his two mates attempt to fastpack the Richmond Range High Ridge in 45 hours over four days.
“Was it fun?” After a six-day non-stop adventure race through the mountains around Mt Aspiring, Alastair McDowell ponders this question and asks himself, "Why do we do this to ourselves?" He shares a thought-provoking exploration into what calls mountaineers into the wild, what the experience is truly like, and how brushes with fatality are an ever present reminder of mortality.
Examining their Gold qualifying tramp through the lens of Te Whare Tapa Whā (the four dimensions of wellbeing), Alicia and Sophie reflect on the significant challenges they faced on the Rees-Dart Track and what strategies helped encourage them to continue.
Would you be prepared to make the same decision if you were alone? The impact of group dynamics, including polarisation and ‘risk-shift,’ can lead to life-threatening circumstances in the backcountry. Nick Plimmer examines a real-life situation where a party of four trudges on despite poor conditions, resulting in a 100 vertical metres fall into the plunge pool of a waterfall and an extremely close call.
How does the Dunning-Kruger effect impact the way we estimate our competency in the outdoors? Uncle Jacko delves into how this effect has both a negative and positive influence on our backcountry experience. He also discusses navigation and communication in the backcountry – S122, ham radio gear and SOTA, for those amateur radio operators who love the outdoors.