Mountaineer turned tourism operator and guide “Canada Free Press”
Posted on: October 5, 2017
Written by: Canada Free Press
Wild, wet and 450 metres high – Wildwire Wanaka’s Lord of the Rungs is the world’s highest via ferrata waterfall climb and New Zealand’s newest adventure thrill. It opened in September.
Alongside the spectacular Twin Falls shooting down a sheer rocky hillside, near the South Island alpine resort town of Wanaka, the via ferrata system of rungs and cables rises a near perpendicular 450m above the valley floor, taking climbers on a six to seven-hour adventure that ends with a heli flight descent.
The route to the top follows a kilometre of cables, weaving over, above and behind the waterfalls, and crosses a 35-metre Tyrolean traverse* using a pulley. Add the breathtaking backdrop of sweeping views of the valley below and the surrounding mountains to the exhilaration of being on a mountainside – there’s drama at every twist and turn.
Mountaineer turned tourism operator and guide, Mark Morrison, has been working on his latest adventure activity for a couple of years, and is now poised to launch the third stage of his Wildwire Wanaka climb. Climbing experience is not necessary, Mark says, but the climb “does demand a reasonably good level of fitness and some upper body strength, as we climb through some very exciting overhangs.”
Clients, he says, “will have to be keen and come with a very good head for heights and adventure!”
After years of climbing, mountain guiding and safety assignments around the world, Wildwire Wanaka is “a coming home, settling down with a family opportunity” for Mark and his business partner and wife, Canadian-born Laurel.
The couple, who originally met in Antarctica, worked together around the world until setting up their new business in Wanaka three years ago. Now the parents of two children, Mark says Wanaka is their “perfect lifestyle choice.”
Wildwire Wanaka has exclusive access to Twin Falls, which sits on a private farm about 20 minutes by road from lakeside Wanaka. Nearby Aspiring Helicopters are also on hand to fly in clients from around the Otago region and, in the case of Lord of the Rungs climbers, return them to terra firma.
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