Want to upskill your tramping or mountaineering? A WTMC scholarship might be just the thing!

Launched in 2018, the WTMC scholarship programme is about supporting club members to gain experience and skills. 

We often think of the club’s courses in leadership, bushcraft and snowcraft or the local alpine club section courses. These are great courses and an excellent first step on your tramping and mountaineering journey, so be sure to start there. 

But if you have done those, what’s next? Maybe you need more opportunities to put those skills in practice, a chance to dive into the technical side of the skills, on the ground practice with more experienced people to increase you knowledge, or an opportunity to try the next level up in a safe environment.

The WTMC scholarship can help you do just that. 

You can get up to $500 to attend a professionally guided trip or course. And you can use the funds for registration fees, travel or gear hire. 

And the scholarship can be used for any tramping related activity that may involve more technical skills where the club has limited resources to lead or offer these types of trips. Think canyoning, mountaineering, packrafting, climbing, ski touring, bike packing, sea kayaking or any other outdoor adventure activity that the club doesn’t have substantial skills in.

Person in snow
Backcountry avalanche course

Need some ideas? Check out what WTMC club members have done so far:

  • Emily Shrosbree organised a private glacier travel and crevasse rescue training with Hilary Outdoors (also see their Alpine instruction and avalanche course list) at Ruapehu for her and 5 WTMC friends. She’s planning on using those skills for some adventures around Mt Cook, the Garden of Eden and beyond.
  • Megan Sety did a 4-day backcountry avalanche course (based on the Mountain Safety Council curriculum) at Arthur’s Pass organised by the national office of the NZ Alpine Club (see a full list of Recreational Avalanche Course providers from the Mountain Safety Council). She used those skills on a WTMC alpine trip to the Craigieburn Mountain Range, a trip to the Remarkables and more.
  • Stuart Meiklejohn did the Level 1 Ski instructor course and certification at Ruapehu. He’s offered intro ski sessions through the club at the lodge and used those skills on WTMC ski touring trips.
  • Mike Wilson, Caryl, Fiona Elliot and Brendan Eckert organised a 2-day lead the canyon course through the NZ Canyoning School. They’ve used those skills on canyon trips and to help out with past WTMC canyon intro sessions.
  • When there wasn’t anyone offering a packrafting course on the North Island, our chief guide Richard House stepped in to organise Packrafting NZ to deliver a course on our local rivers. A heap of members received scholarships to participate, for many getting their first taste of packrafting! In fact it was so successful, Richard organised a second training. Some of our members have gone on to take additional courses through Blue Duck Packrafting and Packrafting Queenstown.
  • Our current Chief Guide, Anne de Ferron did a mountain skills for trampers and climbers with NZ Snow Safety Institute at Arthur’s Pass to refresh and strengthen her skills to get ready for the alpine season.
People watching a packrafter on a river

While all of these options involved courses, you can also use the scholarship to go on trips. Maybe you’d like to get some time with a guide putting your skills to practice, or maybe you’d like to try a new skill before you commit to the expensive course. Those are all good options!

You could:

  • Ask previous scholarship winners if they would recommend their courses or course instructors.
  • Contact a professional company or guide to see what courses or trips they have scheduled.
  • Can’t find the course or trip you want? Organise a professional guide to come to Wellington and surrounds to deliver a course or a professionally guided trip (talk to the Chief Guide about offering the event as part of the WTMC schedule).
  • Get a group of friends together and book a professional guide for a trip or course.
  • Ask the WTMC forum or WTMC facebook group for recommendations.

A key goal of the scholarship programme is for WTMC to acknowledge volunteers who give time to the club and for WTMC to encourage members to develop the skills to help others get out in the backcountry. Check out the WTMC scholarship programme details to see more about the programme, check if you’re eligible and apply. If you have questions about eligibility or need help about whether a course or trip would fit, contact the coordinator, Megan Sety.

[Photo credits Megan S]

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