The wild west coast; adventurers dream! Instagram handle: @wildiain and @gingerdogwithajob Fave adventure: Canyoning and a climb up Mt Adams!
Late in 2006 I found myself loading the car and driving south to Franz Josef, en route to a summer contract cutting tracks, maintaining huts, and hazard management in the Franz Josef Glacier valley for the Department Of Conservation.
Little did I know, 12 years later you'd find me still firmly gripped by the allure of the west coast and looking forward to every adventure and challenge that living here brings.
I am Iain Graham, I thrive on the challenge of a good adventure, and over the past 12 years I have been hiking, climbing, canyoning and mountain biking my way around our backcountry. For me, adventure is a way of life and as each one ends there's always one lined up ready for the next like minded adventurer to share the excitement.
I currently work as biodiversity ranger for the Department Of Conservation. My days are spent working with the rowi, one of New Zealands rarest species of kiwi. Its a pretty active job, often spending up to 8 hours hiking through some wild west coast rainforest to track them down. As part of the job I also have two Hungarian Vizslas, Rein and Brew. They are both on the 'Conservation Dogs' program and so undertake some rigourous training and exams to be able to work with and help in the conservation of some of our native taonga species.
As well as working for a living, Rein and Brew are both much loved pets and adventure companions so will accompany me wherever they are allowed to tag along.
Weekends usually see us getting out of the bush, heading for the hills and a change of scenery.
I started climbing soon after moving to Franz Josef. Glacier access was easy and so weekends were spent ice climbing and venturing further up into the mountains of the main divide and even after 12 years there is still a list of to-do's that never seems to be getting any shorter!!
I am stoked to be able to work the crew at Further Faster ! Their 'Get out there' attitude to adventure is something I really agree with and I'm looking forward to sharing some of my adventures and knowledge and inspiring some of you to get out there and start exploring your backyard.
These guys have a real passion and knowledge for the gear they sell and are always keen to help you find the right gear for your next adventure. They might even be able to recommend a brew for afterwards !
Fave bit of gear from FurtherFaster: My Warm Montane Jacket!
Why - It’s a warm layer that has multiple uses!! Ill often carry a down jacket to stay warm when relaxing round camp or at a hut, however it never comes out during the day as its either too hot or I’m too worried to get it wet and not have a way to stay cosy in the evenings.
The Synthetic Primaloft in the Hi-Q luxe will keep you warm even if it gets a bit wet so it keeps me warm round camp but also doubles as an extra layer of insulation that I’m not worried to pull out during the day. No matter what the weather!!
Reins favourite would have to be the Ruffwear Doubleback Dog Harness. Basically when this comes out the adventuring is about to get REAL!!!
Our favourite adventure:
In terms of most adventure for least effort I’d have to say canyoning is pretty up there! You need a fairly good set of rope skills and specialist gear however if you venture into these spots you are rewarded with stunning scenery, cliff jumps and abseils to get the adrenaline pumping, crystal clear swimming holes and this can be all within a few hundred meters of the state highway. If you don’t have the gear or the knowledge there are guided trips to introduce you to this growing sport. You won’t be let down, they’ll make you jump!
My favourite hike / climb would be an overnight trip up Mt Adams on the west coast. This is an advanced hiking route that climbs from the carpark at approximately 80 m above sea level to the summit at just over 2200m. So a big day in anyone’s books. In summer the route can be achieved by anyone with a good level of fitness, some backcountry hiking experience and route finding knowledge. In winter it will require crampons and ice gear and a good knowledge of snow travel. If you obtain a permit, you can bring your dog along on this one and yes it’ll be a big day for them too so make sure they’re up for it.
If you pick the weather right, the night time views up and down the west coast are spectacular. From the summit you can look down the backbone of the south island towards Aoraki – Mt Cook and beyond.
Its highly likely that the only things you’ll have to share the view with are the Kea.