#7 University club culture and falling in love with alpine adventures – Maddy Whittaker

Maddy had never gone tramping before she headed off on an Outward Bound course as an 18 year old. 

It totally changed the course of her life and she has been immersed in the New Zealand outdoor scene ever since. She joined the Otago University Tramping Club, later becoming the OUTC president, and has spent nearly every spare moment in the outdoors during the past three years.

At 20 years old she has just graduated from university and is currently out on a three month traverse of the Southern Alps from Arthurs Pass to Milford Sound. Maddy and a few of her mates have become known as the ‘New Zealand Alpine Kids’ – a bit young to join the New Zealand Alpine Team but absolutely crushing it in the alpine zone in Aotearoa. It’s going to be exciting to see how their adventures evolve in the next couple of years.

In this episode you’ll hear about…

  • Her progression in the outdoors, from going tramping for the first time three years ago to getting into ice climbing and embarking on a Southern Alps Traverse.
  • University outdoor club culture (and how the tramping club totally changed the course of her life)
  • Being part of a small team who climbed a new route on the South face of Mount Joffre in the West Matukituki Valley
  • Spending time in Dusky Sound with the DOC Kakapo team as part of the Sir Peter Blake DOC ambassador programme.

This episode is sponsored by Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand

Southern Alps Traverse (trailer)

Episode links

Episode sponsored by FMC

I thought an episode with Maddy Whittaker would be fitting to start with (for our first episode sponsored by Federated Mountain Clubs of NZ). She’s a 20 year old who is currently on a three month traverse of the Southern Alps, a journey that’s being supported by an FMC Youth Expedition Grant. 

FMC have been offering expedition scholarships on behalf of the FMC Mountain and Forest Trust for the past 10 years. The FMC Youth Scholarship and the Simon Bell Memorial Scholarships are cash grants of up to $1000 to help subsidise longer expeditions into the hills. There are a few different criteria. Trips need to be at least 5 nights long and expeditions that venture into our wilderness areas are encouraged. Longer expeditions help young people hone their skills and develop grit and perseverance – traits that will stay with them their whole lives. The trips don’t need to be hardcore, they support a range of expeditions for people with different levels of experience. The Youth Scholarship is open for people under 30 years old. 

Find out more by visiting fmc.org.nz 

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