MitoQ Ambassador Nick Allen recently returned home from a pretty incredible experience in the far South of New Zealand. A small and wild Island tucked neatly into the bottom of New Zealand; Stuart Island is not for the faint hearted. Covered in rugged granite faces, thick mud and completely isolated, Nick and a group of like-minded friends had one goal for the week. That goal was to rock climb and to climb as much virgin granite as possible.
Read Nick's notes on the trip below:
"I recently safely returned home from nine days climbing on Stewart Island. The trip exceeded every one of my expectations: not only was it astoundingly beautiful and bustling with bird life, but we also accomplished 10 first ascents on a rock spire we discovered — an unbelievable result! Completing a first ascent, climbing rock no-one has ever touched before, is a real rush.
On the way in, our pack were pretty brutal. Stuffed inside and piled on top were our climbing equipment, camera gear and food for 10 days. Each pack weighed over 40kgs. Although the pack itself was comfortable enough, my legs really felt it during the sharp ascents and descents faced as we crossed stream gullies and climbed the Ruggedy Range. I must admit that I was fearful of what this level of exertion and struggle might do to me: my multiple sclerosis can be a bit unpredictable. However, we took it really easy with lots of breaks, and once we established our camp, I was intentional about the essentials: good sleep, healthy food, and steady exercise. Thankfully, we made it through to enjoy a week of epic climbing.
The rock was a pleasure to climb. Amazingly, Stewart Island’s extreme winds and rain leave the granite faces scoured clean. This means that the well-featured rock faces are highly enjoyable to climb and solid – most of the time. We took a few big falls, but always got straight back onto the wall. Standing on top of the rock spire and looking around, I was always blown away by the amount of rock, waiting to be explored: there is enough climbing potential on Stewart Island to fuel a life-time of adventure.
However, the forest on Stewart Island was as dense as it was muddy, and the coastline is rugged and wild. Camping up on Ruggedy Saddle, we didn’t have access to water. Although the lush, temperate rain-forest was wet, we had to descend through the rich moss-covered and mud-pool paths into Waituna Bay to find drinkable water. We had the capacity to store a total of 46 liters of treated water. This lasted us a while, but it was a bit of a beast to carry back up the hill.
Coming back home, I felt exhausted and I realize just how intense the trip had been. While this wasn’t unexpected, it took a long time to get back to normal, with some level of predictability. Sometimes, when I’m feeling really wiped out, it’s easy to feel discouraged and ask: “was the trip worth it?”
Of course, the answer to that question is always, “yes,” because I know that I can count on the essentials to get me going again: stress management, good sleep, healthy food, steady exercise, stretching and a healthy dose of MitoQ. Sometimes it just takes time."