Gurney and Moffatt press the “pause button”


Gurney successfully summitted Aoraki Mt Cook last week, and Moffatt succeeded in reaching the same point Marmaduke Dixon and George Mannering did, just 200 feet below the summit. But the pair have had to pause for a few days before continuing their journey by kayak to the sea. The climb came at a dramatic cost… Steve Moffatt discovered on reaching the Hermitage at Mt Cook Village that he had frostbite to several of his toes.


“We need to respect frostbite… if we don’t allow Steve’s feet to recover, there’s a good chance they’ll get infected, especially sitting with wet feet in a kayak for 4 days, and then there’s a good chance they’ll need to chop bits of toes off. We don’t want that, so we’ll give them a couple of weeks to heal a bit”



Gurney and Moffatt are on a journey from the top of NZ, Aoraki Mt Cook to the sea, re-enacting the same journey of pioneers Marmaduke Dixon and George Mannering in 1890 when the pair attempted to be the first to summit Aoraki Mt Cook.


Dixon and Mannering came within a tantalizing 60 metres of the summit in 1890, but had to retreat due to bitter cold and failing light. Out of respect for their feat, Moffatt chose to climb only as far as Dixon and Mannering, whilst Gurney pressed ahead to the summit.


Gurney and Moffatt are making a movie comparing the differences between adventure technology, lifestyles, and beliefs between now and the 1800’s.

Moffatt is doing the journey using only gear, food and clothing as Dixon and Mannering did, which includes leather hob-nail boots and tweed suit to climb in. Gurney by comparison has the latest and greatest gadgets.


The frostbite came as quite a surprise to the pair and Gurney commented that “this opens up all sorts of questions now… were the explorers of the 1800’s just picky with the weather and perhaps lucky, or were they clever and more in touch with the mountains than we are? Where they more skilled than us, or just lucky they didn’t fall into crevasses and slide off the mountain? The frostbite truly does validate our investigation into old vs new” says Gurney.


“Before we started I thought the explorers of the 1800’s were tough buggers, but now after walking many miles in their hobnails I now have a huge respect for them!” says Moffatt.

“With these new questions now about tough vs luck, we’re both just itching to finish off the trip” commented Gurney.



The pair plan to continue the trip on Dec14th. They will start at Ball Flat which appropriately, is where Dixon and Mannering took a few day’s break between the finish of the climb and the start of the kayak leg to the coast.


Gurney plans to kayak from the newly formed Tasman glacier lake, as befits the modern method, whilst Moffatt will walk to Birch Stream, as did Dixon and Mannering.


If you’d like more details and comments, please call:

Gurney 021 487639 Moffatt 021 436830

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