There were some questions raised when the phrase ‘through-hike-spear-rafting’ was read out to The North Face Adventure Grant panel – one of the latter being, how can we get involved? This year The North Face Adventure Grant has been awarded to an eclectic group of everyday adventurers who have big plans to explore the Fiordland in New Zealand, by means of their own new multi-sport discipline. And they’re still open to name suggestions.

Feature photo by Sam Wild.

Mitchell Scanlan-Bloor, John Pengelly, Coralie Fleming, Sam Wild, and Hayden Griffith are setting out in July with an aim to link up two of New Zealand’s most spectacular coastal features – Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound. They plan to do so unassisted, living off what they can carry and what they can catch, using their freediving and spearfishing skills to supplement their food supply. The distance is 200km of coastline, which they will cover by hiking and packrafting.

The team received the news shortly before Christmas.

“Hearing that we’d won The North Face 2018 Adventure Grant ranks as a strong number one as the best Christmas present I’ve ever received. Knowing that a company that supports the adventurers we look up to will be backing us is a huge honour and we’re incredibly grateful.

Our dream is to pioneer a multidisciplinary method to link two of New Zealand’s most spectacular coastal features, Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound completely unassisted and using only muscle power.

We’re far from elite athletes. We weren’t blessed with mutant genetics, or coached to greatness from an early age. We proudly represent the common everyday folk who strive to feed the primeval connection between Mother Nature and humanity. We hope by capturing our journey we can inspire more everyday human’s to dream big and send it.” – Mitchell Scanlan-Bloor


MEET THE TEAM

Mitchell Scanlan-Bloor

With a strong background in rock climbing, Mitch has climbed some of Australia’s most inspiring lines. Between climbing, he’s hiking, kayaking and spearfishing, or capturing the radness with his camera. Mitch will be bringing his passion for the multi-sport adventure, hoping to push the boundaries of different disciplines by combining them to create something epic.

Achievements

  • Climbed up to grade 30 (5.13c)
  • Onsighted multiple mixed routes up to grade 25 (5.12b) including the infamous Totem Pole.
  • Completed a winter trek of one Australia’s most difficult hikes, Federation Peak
  • Multiple winter hikes in Alaska’s Chugach Mountains, and the Alaska Range
  • Survives the perils of an office job on the daily

John Pengelly

Spearfishing and freediving has been a huge part of John’s life for the past 11 years. In his words, “The ocean has been a major part of my life during this time, it’s where I go to seek adventure, food, a quiet place to think, and mostly share memorable experiences with others. With the world changing as fast as it is these days I like to use my time in the water to share not only my experiences under the ocean that few people take the time to see but also my thoughts on sustainability and respect for the environment around us.” Out of the water he’ll be skydiving, snowboarding or kayaking.

Achievements

  • 2x IUSA World Record Holder
  • 5:25min static breath hold
  • 172m Dynamic freediving discipline
  • 62m depth constant weight freediving
  • PHD in finding the funny side to all disasters

Coralie Fleming

With a background as an accomplished ultramarathon runner, Coralie has used her fitness and love of the extremes to pursue adventure in backcountry Alaska and New Zealand. She’s no stranger to tough terrain, extreme climates and the need to train hard to adventure harder. She is a proud everyday athlete and a “jack of all adventure trades,” which means she never says no to learning a new skill and applying it in the wild. She divides her time between training, travelling to remote locations and pursuing a career in youth leadership.

Achivemenents

  • Completed multiple winter ascents and traverses in the Alaska range, Chugach Range and the Talkeetna Mountains solo and unassisted
  • Wilderness first aid trained with experience as a bush first responder
  • International leadership expert and public speaker
  • Jet Boil gourmet chef

Sam Wild

Sam Wild is a marine biology graduate, currently pursuing his love for underwater videography – a passion that has taken him into Fiordland multiple times for spearfishing whilst capturing the adventure for several television shows. Between dives Mr. Wild is snowboarding, kayaking or instructing SUP.

Achievements

  • The most meritorious fish and biggest snapper at the 2015 NZ nationals.
  • Admin of the NZ online spearfishing community.
  • Voted by the team as the best looking man in a wetsuit

Hayden Griffith

Working full-time as a freelance photographer and filmmaker, Hayden specialises in operating in the most remote and challenging environments. His expansive technical skills aid him in pursuing his passion to document the wild and educate the next generation through stills, film and live streamed classes.

Achievements

  • 1000’s of nautical miles in sailing experience
  • Ultra-good at back-country skiing, climbing and surfing
  • Half a pilot’s license
  • Strong beard game

From the team:

“We’re stewards of our natural world and it’s our foremost desire to be immersed in truly wild places and inspire the average joe to step beyond the everyday.

As individuals the task seems impossible, but as a collective we have the skills, experience and support to achieve it. An expedition in its truest form, together we’ll be proving to the world that you don’t have to be the best to be an explorer.”

We look forward to working with this team to help get them expedition-ready for July 2018. Stay up to date with their progress through our Facebook and Instagram