BACKYARD AND BEYOND: Seeking and encouraging outdoor adventure


On Our Way…

The packing is done and we are about to board our flights. Shelley and Paul fly out from New Zealand, and John from Australia. We meet in transit at Kuala Lumpur Airport for the final leg to Kathmandu.

For those who are interested, there is an itinerary posted on our Anidesha Chuli page on this blog. We will also endeavor to make posts on our Anidesha Chuli Facebook page from time to time, via a friend in Christchurch whom we can text with our satellite phone. But otherwise we will be out of communication for the duration of the expedition. Take this as a good sign! We will be knuckling down, trying to acclimatize as well as we can and then find the best way to try to climb the mountain. A lot of things have to align (i.e. weather, snow conditions, health of team members) for us to be successful, but be assured we will be giving it our best shot.

Once again, thanks to our three main sponsors: Sport New Zealand, The North Face Adventure Grant, and Bivouac Outdoor – without your contributions this trip wouldn’t have gone ahead. And thanks to everyone else who has also contributed, either with grants or gear, advice or kind words. Your positive thoughts give us strength and determination.
So, wish us luck, and we’ll be in touch when we can.
Ka kite ano.


Only Two Weeks To Go

Well, the countdown is on! It’s only two weeks until we fly out from New Zealand and Australia. ‘To do’ lists are being frantically written and checked off, and weekly skype calls flying back and forth across the Tasman as we finalize what gear to take. Preparation for an expedition of this size is critical – one important item left behind can make the difference between success and failure.

At this stage, we would like to recognize the generous contributions from our sponsors and supporters. Without them, the venture would be a far more costly endeavour to undertake – probably too costly! So a huge thanks to Sport New Zealand, The North Face/Australian Geographic Society and Bivouac Outdoor for major contributions. Also, thanks to Mount Everest Foundation and New Zealand Alpine Club for their grants, as well as Earth Sea Sky, Backcountry Cuisine, Eight Ranges Wines and The Muscle Mechanics for ongoing support. This is all hugely appreciated by the Backyard and Beyond team.

Training wise, the goal is to have a good base but, more importantly, feel healthy and niggle free. A small issue back home can quickly escalate into a climb-ending sickness overseas. And, with excessive weight-loss being an issue during an expedition like this – Paul lost over 15kg during his 2007 India expedition – we are all aiming to be ‘fat-fit’. Of course, this is a good excuse for extra cream in our coffee.

So the final two weeks will be spent walking up as many hills as possible with a heavy pack, eating well, and checking then rechecking our piles of expedition equipment.


Some of John’s gear ready for packing.

One Fine Day On A Mountain – The Film

With only a couple of weeks until we leave for our latest expedition, it seems an appropriate time to publicly release the video of our last adventure. ‘One Fine Day On A Mountain’ received a Special Jury Award at the 2013 New Zealand Mountain Film Festival, and has also had a very positive response from various screenings around the country.
For us in the BAB team, this documentary is also a personal, poignant and lasting memory of one of our founding members Jamie Vinton-Boot.

Sport New Zealand Hillary Expeditions Support Anidesha Chuli Attempt

Backyard and Beyond is delighted to receive a grant from Sport New Zealand’s Hillary Expedition Fund.

Sport NZ Chief Executive Peter Miskimmin says he hopes this expedition will help inspire another generation of great outdoor Kiwi adventurers.
“One of the reasons the Sport NZ Hillary Expeditions exist is because we want these adventures to inspire New Zealanders to get out there. The White Wave story is already intriguing after what was a strong attempt by the 2013 team. They are talented climbers and they were unlucky, but it also emphasises that this isn’t a simple expedition. Paul and Shelley are now taking on the mountain and we wish them well.


Thanks Bivouac Outdoor

With the start of our next expedition only two months away, Backyard and Beyond would like to extend a sincere thank you to Bivouac Outdoor for its ongoing support.

Bivouac has been there from the birth of the BAB concept, supplying us with great gear and advice and helping make our adventure dreams a reality. And the Christchurch store put on a brilliant evening last year during the premiere screening of our documentary ‘One Fine Day On A Mountain’.

For those who don’t know, Bivouac is the chain of outdoor stores in New Zealand to head to if you need the best in outdoor adventure equipment and advice. While other outdoor stores have tried to broaden their appeal – by either chasing the dollar of the mass market or attempting to cover too many outdoor activities without doing any well – Bivouac has stuck to its core range, and valued customer base, for tramping and climbing. BAB applauds owner Wayne Martin and the company for this, especially given the challenge of a growing proliferation of online buying options from overseas.

Outdoor retail in today’s market is tough, yet Bivouac still sees the worth in supporting home-grown adventurers. Double thumbs up Bivouac! We are stoked to have you as part of our team. Your stuff rocks!

A crowd at Bivouac Outdoor store

A crowd gathers at Bivouac Outdoor’s Christchurch store to view the premiere of Backyard and Beyond’s film ‘One Fine Day on a Mountain’.

The North Face Adventure Grant

Great news! BAB team members Shelley Hersey, John Price and Paul Hersey have been awarded the 2014 North Face Adventure Grant for their upcoming expedition to climb Anidesha Chuli.

Expeditions to the greater ranges of the world are always expensive, and picking up a grant of this significance really helps with covering the costs of logistics and gear.

BAB would like to thank The North Face, Australian Geographic Outdoor and the Australian Geographic Society for the grant, and acknowledge that there must have been many other worthy applicants.

The North Face Adventure Grant

Anidesha Chuli 2014 Expedition (White Wave 6815m)

The Next Great Adventure

Anidesha Chuli is a stunning, and unclimbed, Himalayan mountain in the Kangchendzonga region of eastern Nepal, bordering both India and China. In April/May 2014, New Zealand climbers Shelley and Paul Hersey and honorary Kiwi (Australian) John Price will attempt this peak, also known as White Wave, via the remote Ramtang Glacier and a combination of the mountain’s North East Face and East Ridge. After a period of acclimatising and route finding, the actual ascent from base camp and return (around 2000 vertical metres) will likely take 6-8 days.

If successful, this will be the highest unclimbed mountain ascended by a New Zealand led team for a number of years, and possibly the highest unclimbed mountain ever by a Kiwi woman. At 27, John could also possibly be the youngest Australian to be successful on an unclimbed mountain of this altitude.

A strong New Zealand team, led by Rob Frost, attempted Anidesha Chuli in 2013. Initially part of that team, Paul and Shelley were forced to withdraw after losing their home during the Canterbury earthquakes. During the 2013 attempt, one team member fell and was injured while on lead just below the East Ridge. He was evacuated from the mountain, and the rest of the team abandoned the climb. Rob and the other team members have been very supportive of Shelley, Paul and John’s upcoming attempt, offering invaluable information and advice to help increase the chance of success this time.

The 2014 New Zealand Anidesha Chuli Expedition will be part of the ongoing Backyard And Beyond project started by Shelley and Paul, along with Jamie Vinton-Boot and Troy Mattingley, in 2010. The success of the team’s 2012 Southern Alps transalpine expedition, and the documentary One Fine Day On A Mountain, encouraged the team to consider a new challenge. One Fine Day On A Mountain won a Special Jury Award at the 2013 New Zealand Mountain Film Festival, and has been warmly received by audiences around the country. After Jamie’s recent tragic death, Shelley and Paul feel a heightened responsibility towards continuing the BAB project.

Paul sees an attempt on Anidesha Chuli offering considerable logistical challenges. ‘We’re really appreciative of the support from Rob and the other guys,’ he explains. ‘Their efforts this year, while not successful, have provided a lot of vital information that, hopefully, we can take advantage of.’

The 2014 team will film the expedition to attempt Anidesha Chuli, with the plan of producing another documentary. ‘After the success of our first film, this seems like a great way to communicate what adventure is all about, and hopefully we can inspire others to get out there,’ Paul explains.

This will be the first time that any of the team members have climbed in Nepal.

Anidesha Chuli, Eastern Himalaya

Anidesha Chuli, Eastern Himalaya


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.