Alastair is part of our second intake of mentored climbers, coming in for the 2016-2019 period. Since joining he has climbed the South Face/Grand Traverse linkup on Aoraki/Mt Cook, the first ascent of the West Ridge of Taulliraju in Peru, Punta Herron in Patagonia, 4 routes on El Capitan including in-a-day ascents of Freerider and the Nose. His favourite alpine project in NZ was finally climbing the South Face of Mt Hutton. While living in Chamonix for a stint he made a 3 day traverse of Les Drus, and scaled some of the classic North Faces such as the Grandes Jorasses, the Petit Dru and Dent Blanche in Switzerland. On his first foray in the Alaska range he helped establish a new rock route on Mt Barrill in the Ruth Gorge. He also enjoys mountain running and has recently been experimenting with combining running & climbing such as during quick ascents of the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc.
Allan Uren has had more fun climbing in the last 37 years than he would have believed possible. He’s climbed a myriad of new routes in the mountains and at the crag, is a member of the Wanaka Alpine Cliff Rescue team. He lives in Wanaka and makes a living as a painter.
Ben Dare is a structural engineer based in Queenstown. He is a strong climber on rock, ice and mixed terrain, and enjoys the challenge of taking on technical routes – especially in demanding winter conditions. After starting out alpine climbing on the North Island volcanoes of Ruapehu and Taranaki he moved to Queenstown in 2008 he has progressed rapidly since. In the process developing a passion for climbing in the local ranges, with a main focus on exploring the unknown and targeting new routes.
He has since developed an impressive record of hard new routes in New Zealand and has also climbed and established first ascents in the European Alps, the Chilean Andes and the Khumbu Himalaya in Nepal. This has given him the opportunity to travel to unique corners of the globe and experience new and diverse cultures while climbing abroad. But it has also allowed him to appreciate the wealth of terrain and the opportunities still available to local climbers within New Zealand, highlighting the fact that we do not need to look far beyond our own back door step to seek out top international level climbing objectives!
Ben is a keen climber originally from bonny Ireland but now based in Christchurch. He joined the team in the 2019 intake. He is a mountaineering all-rounder has welcomed the chance to join the team and build his technical skills.
A passionate alpine climber who travels extensively making multiple expeditions to North & South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Daniel has helped establish some of NZ’s hardest winter climbs with multiple water ice and mixed routes of high grades in areas such as Mt Cook, Fiordland and his local alpine area the Remarkables. He also enjoys all forms of rock climbing making multiple trips to the alpine rock and big wall destinations of the world like Patagonia, Bugaboos, Yosemite and Chamonix. Back at home Daniel has helped establish long & challenging rock routes in the Darran Mountains of Fiordland most notably on the Kaipo Wall and South Face of Marian. Some overseas ascents include, a free ascent of Free Rider on El Capitan, Cerro Torre via the Ragni Route, North Pillar of Mt Fitz Roy, North Face of Cholatse, North Face of the Grandes Jorasses in winter via the Walker Spur (18 hours) ,Colton McIntyre & Croz Spur, a winter ascent of the North Face of the Eiger, Onsite one day ascents in winter of the North Couloir Direct and Lesueur on the North Face of Les Drus.
Born and bred in Queenstown, Gemma started climbing in 2013 and hasn't looked back since. She studied nursing in Dunedin and loves all types of climbing - sport, trad, mixed, ice and mountaineering - wanting to use them all to climb hard technical routes up mountains.
After finding it hard to find climbing partners who are into technical mountaineering she is psyched to be part of a group who are! Also she thinks that to be mentored by some of the best climbers in NZ is a huge privilege. She is part of our second intake of mentored climbers, coming in for the 2016-2019 period.
James is a keen climber based in Christchurch who joined the team in the 2019 intake. Born and raised in Canterbury, he was introduced into the mountains at a young age tramping and hunting in Arthur’s Pass with his uncle and Grandmother from the family batch at the Bealey. Christchurch being a small place was easy to find friends to learn the skills he could take to places like Arapiles and Yosemite. Wanting to progress further into the mountains he was very keen to join the NZAT and is very excited for his climbing future. He reckons having a short attention span gives him the eagerness to not focus on one but all forms of climbing.
Jaz was introduced to the hills tramping in the Tararuas, north of his childhood home in Wellington but didn't take to the mountains seriously until moving to Dunedin in 2008 and joining the Otago University Tramping Club. Long transalpine tramping trips in the Olivine Wilderness and Fiordland led to an interest in mountaineering, and in the last few years Jaz has climbed his way around the Southern Alps.
Since joining the NZAT he has climbed in Peru, France, and Australia. More recently he was been climbing extensively in Canada and the USA, where he lived out of a small minivan. A changeling, he began his technical climbing by exploring the frozen turf of the Darrans, but these days prefers clean finger cracks in Squamish granite. Jaz was selected for the New Zealand Alpine Team in 2013 and completed a period of mentoring from 2013 to 2016.
Jono Clarke is one of NZ's leading ice and mixed climbers. He has been instrumental in pushing the grades of traditionally protected ice and mixed climbs in both the North and South Islands. Jono has made numerous first ascents many focused in and around the Mt Cook Region.
Karl Merry Schimanski
Merry is one of NZ's best trad climbers, having freed world famous routes like Free Rider on El Capitan, and also making a one day free ascent of the regular NWF on Half Dome. Merry has also helped establish NZ's hardest multipitch Weather Spell (30). A solid rock climber who relishes the alpine environment and enjoys transferring his skills to ice and mixed. Merry joins the team to help mentor & provide a valuable link to the up & coming youth potential in our upper north island.
After a lifestyle of travelling the globe climbing and pursuing adventure, he has recently committed to studying para-medicine in Auckland and looks forward to using the time based in one place to hone his alpine skills further with a regular training regime and shared motivation.