Ken Shaffer is a talented videographer and photographer who is currently on our Adventure Guide Program in New Zealand. He is our program ambassador - our media man on the ground recording the weekly goings-on, and taking in the beautiful places they go while learning and exploring.
His next blog covers his group's introduction to rock climbing in New Zealand, enjoying the stunning Wanaka region in Springtime! Read on below...
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I snapped this photo just after we pulled up to our campsite. It was so nice to be in such a peaceful place and feel the gravity of the mountains around us.
Week two we shipped off in our van an hour and a half north-east of Queenstown to a town called Wanaka for our first climbing module. I think we have begun to master the delicate art of packing our van with gear and food for 12 people.
I have been climbing for a little over 4 years so I was psyched to finally get on some New Zealand Rock. Although I knew all the material it was so nice to share in everyone else's excitement who have never climbed before and to meet our instructors. Our first mentor happened to be the founder of Pure Ex. Zach Johnston. He took the crew through the basics of climbing safety and an introduction to climbing gear. I got to spend a lot of time on the wall and behind the camera, which is my favorite type of adventure photography.
Here's a snapshot from my gopro as I was up on the wall taking a photo of ben on his first abseil.
The crew spent the week getting used to climbing on top ropes, getting used to the gear and building confidence in climbing partners. Zach was an incredible instructor. He really made the new guys feel comfortable on the wall and is a wealth of knowledge from years of climbing and guiding.
We climb and learn by day and camp by night. Always good to have a good tent-mate :)
By the end of the week, our crew was confidently climbing on top rope and I had taken about 2000 photos of them doing so. I really love my job, I get to combine climbing, hiking, film and photography while being surrounded by a group of awesome people. It’s only going to get better from here!
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If getting into the New Zealand back country like Ken sounds like something you'd be keen on, please fire through you details below and we can send you a detailed program itinerary to check out.