Has your compass ever steered you in the wrong direction? In this UJCC, Uncle Jacko divulges what happens when one's faithful compass becomes an agent of chaos, how much water and electrolyte intake one really needs and some handy, DIY gear hacks for the backcountry.
Time for Gold! Zander Groenewald from Otamatea High School in Northland completes his Duke of Edinburgh Gold expedition around Taranaki Maunga.
Aches and pains slowing you down in the backcountry? Uncle Jacko dives into the best options for pain relief, the ever so popular 'swamping' trek and the pleasures of poetry inspired by Aotearoa's landscapes.
“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.
'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.
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.