19 May 2016
Departing on the 27th May, the Expedition Climbers’ Club (ECC) 2016 Peru Expedition will be the largest international climbing trip to leave New Zealand in the last 40 years. The expedition will be based in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca mountain range, with members of the 12 person group attempting to climb a variety of unclimbed routes on the many 5000 and 6000m peaks in the area. The expedition is also the pinnacle of the ECC’s 3-year elite youth development program; the New Zealand Alpine Team.
South America, and Peru in particular, was the scene of a plethora of historic New Zealand first ascents during the 1960s, including the first ascent of Nevado Cayesh, multiple new routes in the Cordillera Vilcabamba, and a new route on Taulliraju in the Santa Cruz Valley in 1989.
Three young New Zealand alpinists seek to draw upon this rich New Zealand history in their attempt at the first ascent of the West Ridge of Taulliraju. Rose Pearson (26), Jaz Morris (25) and Peter Harris (23) have been mentored in the New Zealand Alpine Team for the past 3 years, with training trips throughout New Zealand, as well as to the French Alps, Canada, Yosemite and Alaska.
With extensive support from Macpac, Sport New Zealand’s Hillary Expedition Grant, and the New Zealand Alpine Club Expedition Fund, the trip to Peru is the culmination of their tenure as mentees in the Team. On their intended objective of the West Ridge, Mr Harris notes:
“It’s an ambitious climb which will certainly test us in an inhospitable and perilously exposed environment, but with the range of abilities the three of us bring to the table, coupled with the extensive mentoring we’ve had from New Zealand’s top alpinists in the Team over the past three years, we’re excited to attempt such an aesthetic line.”
Sport NZ Chief Executive Peter Miskimmin, who sat on the selection panel, said the adventure planned by the team is truly inspiring and he hopes it will encourage other Kiwis to take on the outdoors.
“Sir Edmund Hillary inspired us as a nation, and our Hillary Expedition grants honour that history. The adventurers we’re funding on these expeditions are like the high performance athletes of the outdoor sector,” Miskimmin said.
“We are an adventurous and pioneering nation. Kiwis set their sights high and these expeditions are a great example of that. Each person will need to be physically and mentally tough to succeed. They’ll need to plan well, yet be ready to deal with the unexpected. I hope that, like Hillary, these adventurers go on to create their own inspiring stories for other New Zealanders to share.”
The Expedition Climbers’ Club was created in 2013 as a vehicle for getting New Zealanders alpine climbing, both at home and in the greater ranges. To achieve this, the Club runs the Remarkables Ice & Mixed Festival to facilitate the meeting of like-minded climbers, the Expedition Capital Fund to help support yearly international Club expeditions, and the New Zealand Alpine Team to mentor the best up-and-coming young alpinists.
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