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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

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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

Welcome John

BAB is stoked to announce that honorary Kiwi (Australian) John Price is joining the team. At 27, John is part of the new generation of strong all-round climbers – he has been rock climbing since 2009 and alpine climbing since 2010.

John started climbing in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, while living in Christchurch. Since then he has climbed rock, ice and alpine routes in Australia, New Zealand, USA & Canada, including a successful expedition to the Ruth Gorge in the Alaskan Range.

A very competent mountaineer John decided to move to Banff in Canada in January 2012 to focus on improving his ice and mixed climbing skills. He has since managed to accumulate over 100 days winter climbing various Canadian Rockies test pieces up to grade WI6 and M9.

John is a great addition to the team, and someone who will bring endless energy and enthusiasm to whatever challenge is in front of him.

John Price climbing 'Toys in the Atttic'

John Price climbing ‘Toys in the Atttic’

An Update from Backyard and Beyond

A lot has happened since we last posted.

It has been almost six months since Jamie was killed, in a fall on the west face of the Remarkables. We are still struggling with the reality of this, and our hearts go out to Jamie’s partner Jess and their young son Mahe, Jamie’s parents and his brother Sam.

Losing a great mate to an activity that we love takes some getting our heads around. And, in all honesty, we’re not sure that we have. But like any grief, we try to make a little bit of progress each day.

Jamie was a founding member of Backyard And Beyond, and our vivid memories of him are now intrinsically linked with the BAB concept and principles. Because of this, we have decided to continue BAB and broaden it into an ongoing project. BAB will not be the same without Jamie, but we feel a heightened responsibility towards continuing to seek and promote adventure in the outdoors. We think that Jamie would have wanted this.

Despite the epic efforts required to film and produce the documentary of our 2012 transalpine expedition, we now feel so lucky to have such a strong visual reminder of Jamie. Over the past year, ‘One Fine Day On A Mountain’ has screened and been well received at venues around the country, including to a full house of over 300 viewers at Bivouac Outdoor in Christchurch. It received a Special Jury Award at the 2013 New Zealand Mountain Film Festival.

The movie is due for a further screening in Dunedin in March, and will then be posted here online – Jamie is never that far from our thoughts, and we feel it is important to have the movie available for everyone to watch.

Thanks to all those who have encouraged us to continue with the BAB concept. We hope that, in some small way at least, we can help to honour and keep alive the memory of Jamie.

Jamie Vinton-Boot

Founding Backyard and Beyond member Jamie Vinton-Boot.