As I applied for this program I had no idea what I want to do in my life, but I wanted to get more into Rock Climbing and Outdoor Sports in general. Also, New Zealand was on my bucket list for years, so I couldn’t help myself and cancelled the job I had lined up at a husky farm in Norway and booked my place at Pure Ex. And man, I can tell it was a good decision.
I would recommend this program to anybody who is interested in rock climbing, hiking, or generally the outdoors. No matter if it is to enhance your personal skills or learn, how to deal with clients, groups and instruct other people.
The two main aspects this program focusses on are Rock Climbing and Hiking/Tramping.
My experience in Rock Climbing was basic before I came here. I had climbed top rope once outside, had a few lead climbs inside and went indoor bouldering every now and then. But I was just too afraid to go climb outside, because I had no Idea what to do.
Now after this program I’m going out at least once a week and do intermediate (multi pitch) lead climbs and take my friends and can explain them how things should be done.
Also I feel way more confident since we learned almost everything about sport climbing, if it is setting up an anchor at the top, where there are bolts or using a tree – I can do it. I can safely abseil a route to retrieve gear or set up top topes. And I can ensure my personal and the groups safety is guaranteed.
In terms of hiking/tramping I had a bit more experience. I did a 5-day hike and multiple one or two day hikes before I came here. But once covering the topics in the program I realized that what I was doing before wasn’t wrong but I was missing so much knowledge.
The two most important skills I took away from the tramping module was the navigation with map and compass, and making my own weather forecasts. Besides that, we covered plenty of other skills like good, cheap & light food on the trail, group management and leader ship, shelter building, fire lighting, emergency procedures, safe river crossing, how to pack a bag.
Besides all the above we did a swift water rescue course and hand down the best pre-hospital emergency care course!
For me the learning was the perfect mixture between hands on, practical learning, and a bit of theoretical information. And all that was mixed up or during nice trips around the South Island.
With the 3 moth of work experience I would recommend this program to anyone who is thinking about getting a foot in the outdoor industry or is not sure if this is the right path for you. I’m quite sure that after this program you will know it!
And even if you just want to spent a good time in New Zealand and learn a plenty of cool skills, you should join. Be prepared for last minute changes of plans and schedules, because that’s just how it works in this industry.
If you think all this sounds good and you want to join don’t overthink it – chances of meeting a great group of awesome, likeminded people is super high… you might even end up as a climbing/outdoor nerd and invest in your own gear!