A new series, unlocking some of NZ’s best adventures…with a snowboard. Enjoy NZ’s ultimate adventure man, Roland Morley-Brown as he takes us on some of NZ’s best and least grammed adventures this season.
Watch the first episode below, and dive into some words from the adventure himself, RMB for a deeper insight into mission number one.
Queenstown, New Zealand, a haven for adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts. This dream destination offers an excess of exciting activities against a backdrop of stunning landscapes.
Rising up some 1978m from the shores of Lake Wakatipu, the iconic Cecil Peak sits directly in view from the downtown waterfront in Queenstown. Its very prominent presence is hard to miss.
Since travelling to Queenstown for the first time 20 years ago, Cecil Peak is a mountain I’ve always wanted to experience and for one reason or another, over the years, the correct opportunity had never presented itself.
Until this season..
As I’m a huge fan of incorporating alternate forms of transport into my snowboarding missions.
And among many other wacky ideas over the years, I’ve had this unique concept for an expedition to Cecil Peak burning in the background of my mind for a few years now.
Combining kayaking, hiking, camping and snowboarding into an adventure that I was pretty certain would be 100% challenging with a potential for very little reward.
Although you can easily access Cecil Peak by boat, the idea of beginning my approach to the foot of the mountain via paddling across Lake Wakatipu in a kayak really excited me and definitely added an extra element to the expedition. This initial leg of the journey provided not only breathtaking visuals but gave me an incredible feeling of connection to the mission I was actually embarking on.
But hey, I have to be honest. I was very nervous about the whole thing. Planning a route that involves a 3.5km paddle across open waters, then once on land again beginning a 5.5km hike which also consists of a 1.6km vertical rise in altitude was insanely daunting, to say the least.
My ultimate goal on these expeditions is to always go snowboarding, but with such an extensive journey just to reach the snowline, I knew I would have to be camping overnight somewhere up in the high alpine, couple that with never have set foot there before the feeling of excitement for the unknown was high.
With that in mind, I focused on finding a line off the summit that was somewhat north/northeast facing so I could make the most of the morning light and allow myself plenty of time to hike back down to my kayak the following day.
The campsite would dictate itself off this approach and after an absolutely breathtaking (exhausting) hike throughout the day, I found a cosy nook on the ridge with a perfect view of both the setting sun and what would be the sunrise.
Obviously, I add been doing my due diligence and analysing every weather forecasting site I could think of in the lead-up to beginning this mission but nothing really prepared me for the gale force winds that greeted me at sunrise that following morning. It was legit so hectic up here it almost immediately put me in the mindset of packing up my kit and instantly beginning the hike back down.
It was pretty gutting to think that after all that effort I wouldn’t be completely my goal of summiting Cecil Peak and riding off the top. There were even thoughts of rebating the mission.. My mind was racing with scenarios of coming back another day to complete it.
As if I wanted to repeat that 9km slog again. I had to snap out of it and after some pretty serious evaluation, I still believed I could pull it off. With dark clouds quickly approaching and a wind that would put the big bad wolf to shame I knew I had to hustle if I wanted that summit.
10m from the top the clouds smoked in and visibility when to down to around 3m, just perfect for a ride off the summit haha.
The insane thrill and undeniable feeling of accomplishment upon reaching the summit actually outweighed the fact that I couldn’t see a thing and the gusty winds were making it very dangerous to stay up there any longer than I needed to. I rode down off the top with a huge smile on my face.
The 100% challenging mission quickly became 1% challenging / 99% rewarding as I began the hike back down below the snowline and onto the farmlands, I thought, thank god that’s over because I’m never doing it again.
Stay tuned for episode two, dropping soon!