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.
“By the end of the weekend, we were like a well-oiled machine.” As recipients of the 2022 FMC Training Grant, members of the Wellington Tramping and Mountaineering Club shift from uncertainty to competency during their wilderness first aid weekend training.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
Freezing temperatures bring unexpected challenges to a group of Duke of Edinburgh Silver qualifiers on the Ruahines. But through it all, they embrace the magic of a winter wonderland tramp surrounded by snow and icicles and demonstrate what is to be a good hut steward.
After planning their tramp over two years ago, Andy and his mates finally embark on the backcountry trip they've been waiting for – Dragons Teeth in Kahurangi National Park.
Uncle Jacko takes a deep dive into the past exploring what we learnt from the COVID-19 lockdowns and raising the question, "What do tourists really appreciate about New Zealand?" And as many trampers are well aware, the question of how much to pack is the perpetual challenge. Uncle Jacko tests out the idea of ‘going lightweight’ and discovers firsthand when lightweight crosses over into just not enough.
A second attempt and an alternative route pays off for these four Duke of Edinburgh qualifiers. After a flooded track and health problems forces the group to turn back on their first try, they persevere and successfully complete their next tramp with lots of fun and skill building along the way.
Based in Fiordland working as a stoat trapper, Tom #1 and his mate Tom #2 embark on a week-long backcountry exploration into the Glaisnock Wilderness Area.
What better way to celebrate a wedding anniversary than by embarking on a family tramping adventure? On this occasion, a trek over the Kelly Range/Taipo River/Harman Pass tests skilled tramper and mum, Sonia Barrish, as she navigates slips and steep climbs on a four day, 51 kilometre tramp with her partner and 15-month old.
In 1934, two Canterbury University Tramping Club members were the subjects of an intense search after not reaching their destination. Shaun Barnett compiles their stories found in multiple newspapers from the period, in which the men recount their harrowing ordeal.
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.
'Coddiwomple (v.): an English slang for travelling purposefully towards a vague destination.' Uncle Jacko contemplates the three types of fun and shares a few English and foreign words that capture the true essence of tramping in the backcountry.
While competing in her first ever GODZONE race, Crystal Brindle asks herself, “How much is too much?” Pushing further past her comfort zone than ever before, she reflects on the different ways we experience connection in the natural world during adventure racing and what makes these endeavors not only possible, but worthwhile.