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Hillary Expedition Sees Return To Scene Of Near-Tragedy

7 January 2013
Media release

Hillary Expedition Sees Return To Scene Of Near-Tragedy

Sarah Wilson has commenced her Cook to Cook Hillary Expedition and is currently climbing Aoraki/Mount Cook; a place that could have claimed her life when she was buried in an avalanche a couple of years ago.
In November 2011 Sarah and her friend Cat Shand managed to climb New Zealand’s highest mountain, as the first leg of an expedition that was also meant to involve cycling up the South Island and kayaking across Cook Strait. But unfortunately the pair struck trouble on the descent from Mount Cook.

“It’s quite a hard climb but we reached the summit,” says Sarah, “Then on the way down we were caught in an avalanche. Cat dug me out and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her. We managed to walk out.” They both got frostbite and weren’t able to complete the cycle ride and kayak as planned.

So now it’s a case of unfinished business. Sarah is undertaking the ‘Cook to Cook’ expedition again as part of the Hillary Expeditions.

The Hillary Expeditions are funded by Sport New Zealand and Chief Executive Peter Miskimmin says this expedition is a great example of Kiwis making the most of what New Zealand has to offer, something that he says can be taken for granted.

“Sarah’s expedition is inspirational in a number of ways, but especially because it shows great Kiwi courage and determination to achieve a goal,” says Miskimmin.

“Sarah’s also proving that we can all get out there and take on our own expeditions. New Zealand’s great outdoors are famous for having some of the most accessible and aesthetically stunning landscapes in the world. Kiwis are blessed because it’s there for all of us. No matter what level of expertise we might have, all the resources are there for us to safely plan our own expedition. I encourage every Kiwi to prepare well by doing their due diligence, perhaps look at and then get out there.”

The Cook to Cook expedition is one of two Hillary Expeditions based in New Zealand. Sarah says she’s thrilled to have her Exhibition associated to the Hillary Expeditions and Sir Edmund Hillary.

“He’s a hero of mine and I hope he would be proud of us, doing something similar to how he started out in New Zealand. And Kiwis can do that, get out there and make their own adventures, they don’t have to go overseas to have a world-class adventure expedition.”

Sarah plans to arrive at Titahi Bay between 20-23 January. She is being supported in her expedition by Bridget Janse (climb and cycle legs), Bronwyn Ward (cycle leg) and her nephew Luke Wilson (kayak leg).

To view Sarah’s itinerary and watch her progress via her Spot Tracker, or for more information on the Hillary Expeditions, go to


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