It will be a summer of adventure. Following a recent meeting of the FMC Mountain and Forest Trust seven parties were awarded Expedition Scholarships to assist with an amazing variety of imaginative explorations.
The inaugural Simon Bell Memorial Scholarship, sponsored by the Bell Family in Simon’s memory was awarded to Wellington Tramping and Mountaineering Club members Megan Banks, Debbie Buck and Ian Harrison for a 12 day traverse of the Tasman Wilderness Area starting with a helicopter in to the famous Roaring Lion. Harrison is a well-regarded photographer and his documentation of their travels, or travails, will be eagerly awaited.
There were also 6 FMC Youth Scholarships awarded, funded by the FMC Mountain and Forest Trust:
The longest of these adventures is already underway! Allan Brent, Alexis Belton, Mark Leslie and Lydia McLean are traversing Te Wai Pounamu from Cape Farewell to Puysegur Point. A very ambitious schedule see’s the party travelling by foot, bike and canoe, sometimes lightly and sometimes with full mountaineering gear. Highlights should the mountains accept their endeavours include ascents of Mt Whitcombe and Humphries, and kayaking Long Sound.
An Auckland University Tramping Club party of Bianca Freytag, Tyler Waters, Sophie Jenkins, David Zeng, Bjorn Striebing and Maud Tissink will attempt a full traverse of the Olivine Ice Plateau, in over the Whitbourn and Williamson and winding their way out through the peaks surrounding the Derivation Icefall.
An Expedition Climbers Club party led by Jaz Morris, with Pete Harris and others to be confirmed, perhaps take the cake for the most “hardcore outdoor” experience proposing a first ascent of the south face of Pariroa/Castle Mount in Fiordland. In Morris’s words, “We expect to be exhausted by an approach through rough terrain with large amounts of equipment, terrified by difficult pitches of moss-covered rock, saturated with rain and cruelly taunted by the vagaries of Huey. However, we also expect to be rewarded by 1o days of isolation from civilisation, the opportunity to attempt one of NZ’s largest unclimbed faces and – with luck – by the satisfaction of a rarely-achieved summit surrounded by the splaendour of Fiordland.”
While Morris and Co are battling the face of Castle Mount, another party led by Elisha Nuttal, of the New Zealand Rogaine Association might be passing below them, heading up the Castle River to explore the wild country around Lake Quill and the Light and the Dark rivers. If only the hordes on the Milford Track (close as the kea flies but oh so distant one valley to the north), could see the deprivations and delights that these parties will suffer and encounter.
Further north a Canterbury University Tramping Club party consisting of: Hans Philipp Sueltrop, Christian Ruegg, Jacob Klenner and Phillip Wallace have put forward a challenge of running from St Arnaud to Lewis Pass via several of the mountain ranges, a proposed trip of 215km, with 7800 metres of altitude gain over 5 days. They point to their clubs TWALK adventure navigation race, which this year had its 50th anniversary as part of their inspiration of pushing the limits of what is perceived as doable in the mountains.
Last, but certainly not least, a party lead by Max Truell of the Western Springs College Tramping Club, and including Jack Naish, Thomas Vandersluis and Anthony Cummings will attempt to traverse from Arthurs Pass to Lewis Pass via a rarely travelled route through the Poulter and Cox headwaters, sneaking into the South Hurunui. Western Springs College Tramping Club have built up a great relationship with the Auckland Tramping Club, and its great to see them extending their experience to some of the less known parts of the South Island.
FMC and the FMC Forest and Mountain Trust congratulates all these successful parties and thanks all who applied, and the volunteers that run the process and consider the applications: Dennis Page, Tania Seward, Phil Glasson, John Simpson and Geoff Spearpoint