“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.
Through the wild and remote Matakitaki region to the well-trafficked and sociable valleys of Nelson Lakes, Alastair McDowell takes the reader on a visual journey of his fastpacking mission in photo essay form.
Inspired by the ‘Rounds’ in the UK, British native and New Zealand ultra-runner Martin Lukes designs the first ever New Zealand ‘Round’ – a classic long-distance mountain challenge taking in all of the summits of a local area in an aesthetic loop. After spending a summer bagging peaks in the Southern Lakes, Alastair McDowell tackles Canterbury’s answer to the famous mountain challenges of Britain: the Craigieburn Round.
Drawn to Fiordland in the search for more summits, Alastair is confronted with the tough reality that his kayak has floated away and he is trapped on Mitre Peak. Saved by the kindness of a mysterious stranger, he successfully completes Challenge Day 17 in under six hours.