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How Mt Haast lost its top and why the Southern Alps will do the same

SEO 3 headlamp worth $70 (See p34)

Pest free NZ

Is the dream of conservationists ever likely to become reality?

Climber's high

With a syringe and vial of steroids, reaching the summit has never been easier

Winter huts

Three cosy huts to beat the cold in

Reviewed 5 lightweight down jackets tested

» Four weekend

trips to try right now!

» Food for long july 2013 NZ $8.95 Aust $8.95 incl GST

distance trails

» How to wash your

sleeping bag

» Sandflies – NZ’s best keep secret

contents July 2013



28 Pest free New Zealand Can New Zealand protect its surviving native species by ridding the country of pests forever? 36 Collapse!

Alpine landslides are occurring more often – and a warming climate is being blamed

42 Climbing highs

Are climbers who use performance-enhancing drugs cheating

their way to the top or simply trying to survive the extreme environment found at high altitude?


Mt Ngauruhoe, Tongariro National Park

14 See more

Three places to see rifleman

16 Top 3

Warm winter huts




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Your trips, your pix

What did you get up to last weekend?

Members of Torbay Sailing Club did the ‘Kepler Shake’ at Iris Burn Falls on the Kepler Track

Natasha, Kirsty and Juliet enjoyed the view from Mt Matthews in the Rimutaka Range

Julien, Sandy and Eoin (taking the picture) walked up to the pylon on the Cascade Saddle route

Dennis Price climbed Mt Egmont

Carron and Emmeline tried to stay warm at Rangipo Hut, Tongariro National Park

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Will, Henry, Joe and Josh climbed Mt Xenicus in Mt Aspiring National Park

Caroline Gates climbed the three highest summits in the North Island

Naomi Begg took her dog for a walk along the Central Otago Rail Trail


Get your ‘Las t weekend’ photo publishe d here and you’ll rece ive an original Spork courtesy of www.ampr Head to www.wilderne – se ‘last weekend ’ – for full subm arch ission criteria . Diane Glennie kayaked in Pelorus Sounds

6 july 2013

Mieke van Drunen cooked breakfast on top of Mt Lodestone, Kahurangi National Park

Adrienne Cooper and Elizabeth Hannah walked the Nydia Track in Marlborough Sounds

Jenner Johnson tramped in Craigieburn Forest Park

Approaching the summit of Tara Tama with the summits of upper Griffin Stream and lower Taramakau Valley beyond

18 july 2013

Tough time on Tara Tama Third time proves a charm for Pat Barrett as he snares an elusive Westland peak


Auto resetting traps are the latest tool to combat predators – more such innovations are needed to make total predator eradication possible

28 july 2013

New Zealand’s

greatest challenge Every year introduced predators kill an estimated 26 million native birds, yet ending their reign of terror might be easier than you think, writes Josh Gale

or the 850 residents of Great Barrier/ Aotea Island there are two main topics of conversation: crap and rats. “We’re off the grid out here so we manage everything ourselves,” says local Judy Gilbert. “Waste is a big issue for people and so is the impact of rats on our houses which is something incredible. “They eat their way through the walls, live out of your pantry and ravage your gardens. “They are here in extraordinary numbers and are highly tenacious.” In the last 14 years in one corner of the 285km² island, a conservation project Gilbert manages, the Windy Hill Rosalie Bay Conservation Trust, has trapped 40,000 rats and poisoned unknown scores more. But this has hardly made a dent in the island’s total population. “The rat is king on the Barrier,” she says. In the early 1970s when Gilbert was a 19-year-old student hippy she and a group of flower power friends decided to return to nature. Together they purchased a 230ha block of land on the island in the south-east corner called Windy Hill. They were attracted to the island’s alternative communities and dreamed of starting their own collectively owned one. But Gilbert never expected they’d be living alongside a thriving rodent community. “From the moment we set foot on the island we were affected by rats,” she says. “In the place we rented while we built our house we had rats running around our bed at night. “It was just hideous.” Disgusted, Gilbert placed five traps under her house and caught 60

rats over two autumns. “I thought if this is how many are around my house then how many more must be out in the bush,” she says. In 1998, her five traps jumped to 100 after she received the go ahead from the Little Windy Hill Company to start a predator control project on its land. With no clue about what she was doing and with only one worker to help, Gilbert laid the traps in a grid. One of her neighbours was inspired by what he saw and joined the project. “Then it morphed on me,” Gilbert says. In 2000, the Ministry of the Environment released its New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy and a year later opened its contestable biodiversity funds specifically to encourage the management of indigenous biodiversity on private land. This funding, plus more from Work and Income, ASB Trust, Auckland Council and lotteries has meant Gilbert’s trust could pay workers, a boon on an island where volunteers are thin on the ground and unemployment is historically high.

What started as one woman doing her bit for biodiversity is now a community-wide project with eight employees. Two landowners became 14. The area expanded to 620ha. It includes 80km of tracks and 5000 trap and bait stations. In 2004, after an absence of 140 years, the trust released North Island robins into its land. The number of kereru and kaka has increased. The project’s success surpassed Gilbert’s wildest expectations. But, while pockets of the island are now bird havens, the bad news is avian life on the rest of it is facing annihilation. Great Barrier Island Trust chairperson and conservationist John Ogden recently estimated cats and rats slaughter 86,500 native birds on the island every year. “The forests of Great Barrier Island may still look beautiful to visitors,” Ogden wrote recently, before quoting Victoria University professor of ecology Charles Daugherty. “But, ‘basically our forests are dead. Yes, there are still trees in them, but they’re quiet’.”


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34 july 2013

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Anna Seybold on Aoraki/Mt Cook the day after the Haast rock slide

36 july 2013

C ol p e mark watson

Are the Southern Alps coming down around our ears? Climber and photographer Mark Watson, one of three climbers on the slopes of Aoraki/Mt Cook during the massive rock avalanche off Mt Haast, looks at the causes of alpine landslides




Climbers at high altitude between Camps 3 and 4 on Mt Everest

42 july 2013


Adventure Consultants

i g h

Are climbers who use performanceenhancing drugs cheating their way to the top or simply trying to survive the extreme environment found at high altitude? Paul Hersey investigates



Grant Helgeson airing out his Ascension skins at the Basin Hut, Purcell Mountains, British Columbia.

For more information go to: or call 0800 335 000

HANGING OUT Ascension Climbing Skins


Wilderness July 2013 preview  

Preview the July 2013 issue of Wilderness