Record year for leading NZ expedition team
January 2, 2006
Record year for leading NZ expedition team Adventure Consultants
Leading New Zealand mountaineering expedition team Adventure Consultants (AC) has posted a record year with its busiest and most successful season since inception.
AC, based in Wanaka, completed their first ever guided Seven Summits in one year. The Seven Summits are ascents of the highest mountain on each of the seven continents.
The summits were a difficult feat for anyone and to be able to guide all seven successfully was ``a real buzz for us’’, AC managing director Guy Cotter said today.
Another highlight was Cotter’s own completion of the Seven Summits, after obtaining permits for Carstensz Pyramid in Western Papua after a 10 year spell of the peak being closed. AC experienced its busiest year ever in the history of the company, Cotter said.
``In the 10 years since I took over AC in 1996 the growth of the company has been huge.
``When I worked with Rob Hall and Gary Ball in the early 1990s we ran four expeditions a year and now we operate around 25 expeditions a year across the globe.
``This year we launched our Polar Journeys adventures with a ski traverse of Greenland. This involved a month-long odyssey where the group travelled on skis hauling sleds from one side of Greenland right across the icecap to the other western shoreline. Ski traverses to the South Pole in Antarctica and the North pole will follow next year.’’
Cotter said the most difficult part of the year was having their AC group make the decision to turn their backs on the summit of Everest due to bad weather forecasts and the issue of the Khumbu icefall breaking up during the warmer conditions.
The weather foiled all summit attempts in May, and the decision was made to leave the mountain to avoid the likelihood of a serious accident in the icefall on the way down from the summit.
To know that other groups were prepared to take the risk and successfully reach the summit was especially difficult as our clients were particularly disappointed not making it themselves, Cotter said.
``However, it can be an easier option to follow the herd and not make a conservative decision when you know you should than to have the maturity to stand behind your decisions.’’
In the last year, AC guided 245 clients on trips running from days to months across every continent in the world. For the first time next year, AC are running a month long expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula. They will run another Everest expedition which is an annual event and still the most involved and complicated expedition.
They will also run their first South Pole expedition, skiing from the edge of the continent to the pole in 60 days.
As a result of this growth, AC has have been improving their business every year.
``It’s different from the old days when myself and Suze Kelly (business manager) did all the marketing and sales, organised the logistics and planning, then hopped on a plane rather ragged, to run the trip. It was a bit like being the All Blacks manager, coach and team all in one.
``We are a company that is geographically removed from our market and yet we are considered internationally to be one of the top players in our field.
``This is amazing considering we are competing against companies that are right there among their client base and in the same time zone even,
``That people are so keen to join us on expeditions is based, I believe, on the legacy left behind by Rob Hall and Gary Ball and complemented by the efforts we have made since to develop our standards further.
``I am heartened by the fact that AC was once a very small operation and it has now grown into a company that supports many people from all walks of life all across the world.’’