Four Kiwi women prepare to traverse the Southern Alps in New Zealand

Four kiwi women are currently preparing for a month-long traverse of the Southern Alps, from Arthur’s Pass to Mount Cook. The team is comprised of Dulkara Martig, Ingrid Booiman, Tara Mulvany and Anna Loomes. They are all aged between 27 and 29 and have spent the majority of the last 10 years working within the outdoor industry.

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Their main motivations for the traverse include fun, personal challenge and deepening a connection to a place that is special to each of them. They’d also like to use it as an opportunity to share stories of kiwi women in the outdoors and perhaps inspire other young women from New Zealand to pursue careers – and lifestyles – in the outdoor world. They’ll be sharing some insights into the planning process during the build-up to their trip and their journey will be tracked live online for people to follow while they’re in the mountains. They also plan to put together a short film on their adventure. Follow our Facebook page for updates.

The idea of traversing the Southern Alps had been an individual dream of each team member before they crossed paths. A decade ago it seemed like a faraway dream, something that seemed almost impossible to attain. The idea became more serious three months ago, in March, when Dulkara and Inga spent a month working together in the Kahurangi National Park.

“We were working with a group of university students on a month-long bush expedition and we found ourselves getting more and more excited about doing a longer personal trip in New Zealand. We found ourselves lying in our tent each night talking about traversing the Southern Alps. Each day it became less of a vague idea and more set in stone. By the end of our trip in the Kahurangi we had decided to commit. We had the motivation, the skills, resources (money, time and equipment) to pull it off. We just needed to find another two people to join us. We could have gone just with the two of us but it seemed preferable to have two rope teams of two for glacier travel. Being in a group of four tends to work well with equipment, sharing expedition tasks such as cooking and setting up camp. And it’s good for safety, especially in more technical terrain.” Dulkara said.

With two women committed, they decided it would be awesome to try and pull together an all-girls team. A few weeks later they had recruited two other friends, Tara Mulvany and Anna Loomes. Coincidentally, three of the women had studied outdoor recreation through Aoraki Polytechnic (now known as ‘Ara’) in Timaru, although in different years. All of them have spent the last decade working within the outdoor industry in New Zealand and overseas.

Their overarching goal is to complete a traverse from Arthurs Pass to Mount Cook. They plan to explore where they can in between, with a particular focus on the Garden of Eden and the Garden of Allah. They’re in the process of confirming a “plan A” route. The trip will include a mixture of travel on DOC trails, off-trail in the bush, glaciated terrain, peaks and rugged mountain passes. They will have around three food drops along the way.

Departure date is 22nd November and they’re planning to be out by Christmas Eve, giving them 32 days for the journey. With just under four months to go, planning is in full force via Skype, Google Drive documents and a Facebook group. Logistics have been made more challenging by the fact the team are currently spread across four different timezones!

Brief background on team

Dulkara has just completed a mountain and packrafting expedition in SE Alaska and is currently in Colorado working, training and adventuring. Next month she’s heading back to Alaska for a two week packrafting trip in the Gates of the Arctic National Park. Then she’ll be back in Colorado for another month before returning home.

Anna is currently based in Queenstown over the winter where she’s enjoying her first season of ski guiding. She’ll be heading back to Mount Cook Village after the ski season for a summer of glacier and trekking guiding.

Tara is sea kayak guiding in Norway over the New Zealand winter before heading to Western Australia to work on a farm for a month. After the Southern Alps traverse she’ll be heading to Antarctica to work as a sea kayak guide on a cruise ship, her second season down there.

Inga has just finished working a NOLS (a US based outdoor school) mountaineering contract in Alaska and is about to spend a month working on a hiking course in Montana before returning to New Zealand for the summer.