Resilience and grit spurred the team of six young New Zealanders who completed a gruelling 50-kilometre track along ther Harris Mountains on September 3.

After several delays due to snow conditions and Covid-19, the six-person team that made up the Inspiring Explorers Expedition was Isaac Giesen, Emily Wilson, Ana Ross, Libby Clifton, and Wakatipu High School pupils Zoe Crawford and Sam Davis.

The team’s alpine route ranged between Treble Cone and Coronet Peak with the complete journey taking five days.

Aiming high . . . Sam Davis standing at the top of Treble Cone during the start of the expedition.

The journey was led by Antarctic Heritage Trust director Nigel Watson.

“It was amazing to see our Inspiring Explorers step out of their comfort zones, overcome challenges and work as a team – all things the early Antarctic explorers had to do,” Watson said.

The team’s anticipation to get the skis on the ground and make the trip happen was potent, and translated to excitement through the journey.

“The group had resilience and grit, truly embodying the spirit of exploration,” he said.

The team was made up of young people aged 18-30 from across New Zealand, including the two high school pupils.

Year 13 pupil Zoe Crawford said the steeper terrain was the biggest challenge.

Steep challenge . . . Wakatipu High School year 13 Zoe Crawford preparing her skis in the Harris Mountains during the expedition.

“The biggest challenge I faced was on the steeper terrain where I wasn’t super comfortable, but I knew I was safe, we had good equipment, and experienced guides, and that really helped me through that. To push outside my comfort zone is definitely scary but I’m super proud of myself for overcoming any fears I had,” she said.

Mountain Turk Club founder and brains behind the Mahu Whenua Traverse Erik Bradshaw travelled with the team.

“The Mahu Whenua Traverse is a world-class alpine route through Coronet Peak Station and Public Conservation Land. It is serviced by five Turk huts, which are all positioned on Coronet Peak Station, meaning adventurers are never too far from safe shelter should weather conditions deteriorate,” Bradshaw said.

The Turk accommodation — 26,000 litre water tanks converted into huts — was used for the expedition and created by Bradshaw.

He helped the Antarctic Heritage Trust with the first Turk huts introduced to Antarctica.