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Brodrick Pass

My parents are hippies. For example, they went to the University of the Americas (Universidad de las Américas) in Mexico City where this one time my dad, who failed Spanish accidentally ate 8 piles of 8 different kinds of mushrooms (ocho piles) instead of just a single mushroom from each pile (ocho pares) because again, he failed Spanish, and anyway the way my mom tells it he was out cold for about two days and basically unconscious until the morning of day three when he opened his eyes but still couldn’t move; by day four he was making guttural noises and sucking a damp cloth soaked in potable water. Also, from the moment I can remember he bought ALL his footwear and boots at the Renaissance Fair. And my mom, let’s see, well when she wasn’t Transcendentally Meditating—before you judge though she was a Sidha and those bitches are bad-ass, they can hop or semi-fly and eventually they can walk through walls and photosynthesis sunshine instead of eating food—she was feeding me regurgitated seaweed and brown rice and backpacking naked. When I was born they named me Frodo, but that’s not why we went to New Zealand.

We chose New Zealand and the Southern Alps for the first Dead Reckoning Expedition for several reasons.

  1. We wanted to begin this project immediately and New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere where, supposedly, it’s Summer during our Winter.
  2. The Southern Alps, best known for Mt. Cook, Mt. Aspiring, Queenstown, Wanaka, Helicopters, the Franz Josef Glacier, Bungee Jumping and Mordor, are remote and rugged, and perfectly suited to creative Overlanding. You see, it’s our contention that Overlanding is a lot like Skateboarding—as anybody who’s ever tried to heelflip a bench to pop-shovit to wallie a planter box to kickflip 5.0 a 12-stair handrail to 360 ollie off a curb into the street will tell you… you’ve got see it in your head first. And then, if you see you it hard enough, eventually you’ll make it.
  3. We knew a guy. And knowing a guy, especially a guy like the guy we knew, makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE to planning and coordinating a successful campaign. Side note: To be 100% accurate, we knew a woman, who knew a guy, about which guy she spoke VERY highly. But to be clear, we didn’t actually know the guy until she introduced us to the guy via email. And but even then, after three months of several dozen email threads featuring detailed plans and reports and contingencies and outlines and options regarding possible routes, in search of, the whole time, the “perfect” coast-to-coast trans-alps route, one that was ambitious-maybe-audacious, we hadn’t “all the way” met our guy. We had Skyped several times but, due to connectivity issues, audio only. Paul was probably was a real person. I mean, he had a website, we saw photos… we emailed…


The Evolution of the Brodrick Pass Expedition in the Form of Email Highlights


  1. 11/13/14 | Paul: “Rosara Joseph passed on your email as she thought I’d be interested in the guidebook project you are doing for Yonder. I can see something that includes wild beaches, glaciers, native bush, and alpine crossing, gold mining history, barren tors, kiwi farmland, a city (Dunedin) and finally out to a Gannet colony on a peninsula. It’d take in road, old goldmining tracks, native bushbashing, bike hauling, high country trails and lots of gravel.”
  2. 11/18/14 | Paul: “Any further south or north and you end up hitting 3000+m at either Mt Aspiring or Cook – not somewhere I’d want to try to take a bike! Need to avoid National Parks too – they really don’t like bikes in those. There’d be a fair bit of bike hauling, but there are also plenty of helicopters set up around there to help get over the real grunty bit. I’m not what you’d call a climber or alpinist for sure! Anyhow, crossing somewhere over there from the west coast glaciers ends up getting to Mt Pisa and the area inland of Cromwell – which is my favourite part of the world – all barren plateaus and gold mining remnants. There are a whole load of stories about the early kiwi pioneers who made the first crossings over that area (mostly in search of and finding fist-sized lumps of gold) – and even earlier Maori routes over the mountains.”
  3. 12/11/14 | Paul: “But that is messy and might take us a week of bashing through thick bush to get anywhere. Routes like that can be seriously impassable – and if we catch a rainy time (quite likely) the rivers will be brutal. Inland of there there are loads of great options – but they tend to follow a big loopy path – the ranges run north-south so travel east-west means days of big ups and downs. The whole thing – coast to Dunedin is probably a 10 day trip.”
  4. 1/3/15 / Paul: “We might have a route. Exciting! Now. Here’s another option that came up just yesterday. Mainly because the rafting people I was talking to will be down on the Landsborough at the right time and keen to help out. Note – the Broderick pass section will be tough going – but should be easy do-able from Ohau to Landsborough in 2 days. Dunedin (east coast). Taieri Gorge train to Pukerangi. Rock and Pillar Range to Naseby. Hawkdun Range to Omarama (high mountain doubletrack). Lake Ohau. Hiking route in to Brodrick Hut via Huxley. Over Brodrick Pass into the Landsborough River. Meet rafters at airstrip at the Landsborough and raft out towards highway 6. I reckon the heli could transport our bikes to the rafting get-out. It’ll be one day on an awesome remote NZ river.. Train out, then two days riding over the ranges to Ohau.”
  5. 1/14/15 | Paul: “The rafters have suggested 9th ties in with them. Which means us riding from 6th. Any chance you guys could make it a day earlier and we ride from 5th? I’ll get costs together. But it is looking awesome! We HAVE TO MAKE IT TO THE PUT-IN by the morning of the 9th. The whole ride depends on it. So we better build in some extra time just in case.”

The final route was settled. What made it possible was timing our crossing of the divide, the crux of our entire trip, Bordrick Pass, so that we’d meet a commercial outfitter on the far side, the Western Slope, of the Alps, at which point they’d float us out of the wilderness on the Landsborough and Haast Rivers until about 30k short of the coast, where we could pick-up trails again, and eventually paved roads. The plan was solid but:

  1. There are no roads on the western slope of the Alps in the area. So, the rafts and our guide, and all the other rafters/clients/guests would have to be helicoptered in.
  2. If the weather is bad, and the weather is often bad, helicopters can’t fly. If helicopters can’t fly, there is no way to get rafts to the put-in.
    The whole way from Dunedin to the crux of our route, Broderick Pass, we had roads, double track, trails and, at the very least, semi navigable river beds to follow. From the bottom of the East Slope of Broderick Pass to the top, the Pass itself, there was a very primitive semi-navigable bush trail to follow. Once over the top, down the West Slope, the trail became, allegedly, even less established.
  3. The point is, once over the Pass, the only way out, especially with bikes, was a raft. Once over the Pass, we were 100% committed.
  4. Because of that, possible weather, and the “timing” factor, the plan was to call the Rafting Outfitter the evening of the 8th to confirm everything.
  5. Spoiler Alert, on the evening of the 8th, we were unable to reach the Rafting Outfitter and, it turns out, it had nothing to do with the storm.
Seat Bag

Porcelain Rocket Mr. Fusion—this is the best spot for bulky but light gear like your sleeping bag, clothes and camp shoes.


Specialized AWOL: fast on the roads, comfortable all day, descends like a falcon.

Handlebar Bag

Porcelain Rocket MCA—put your frequently needed items here, plus anything cylindrical: tent, sleeping pad, active layers, snacks, phone, camera. Great accessibility with a small zippered pou


Specialized Ground Control. Upgrade to tubeless—trust us!

Frame Bag

Porcelain Rocket—this location is best for heavy/dense gear. Remove your cage mount bolts and cover the holes with tape to protect your bag.

Seven FYIs

  1. Put things in bags, keep things in bags, bags are your friends. Especially dry bags and ziplock bags.
  2. Use lightweight dry bags (Sea to Summit eVac) in place of “regular” nylon stuff sacks for electronics, clothing, sleeping bag, basically everything. A dry bag is mandatory for your sleeping bag.
  3. Separate food by meal by day. Pack each day separately but organize together, as a unit—smaller ziplock bags within larger ziplock bags.
  4. Like objects with like objects, store in a bag. Pack all your camp clothes into one drybag. Keep bike tools in one bag.
  5. Pack expecting wide temperature swings, we encountered snow, rain, and desert heat.
  6. Water is readily available on this route.
  7. Reprovisioning is available at the towns along the route.
"Triathlobros & endurobros are NZ's second most invasive species after the blood possum."

Benedict "Poppi" Wheeler [According to recent, but uncited, research.]

Packing List


  • Dehydrated Backpacking Meals 1/day Mountain House ProPak
  • Granola 8oz/day Package in individual days
  • Powdered milk 4oz/day Put directly into each granola bag
  • Bar #1 2/day Clif Mojo
  • Bar #2 2/day Clif Kit's Organic
  • G.O.R.P. 4oz/day Bulk or homemade
  • Jerkey 3oz/day Teriyaki, Hot & Spicy, or Mango
  • Candy 3oz/day Haribo Gummy Bears
  • Chips 2oz/day Kettle Salt & Pepper (crushed for packability)
  • Flour Tortillas 1-2/day Large taco size
  • Extra Sharp Cheddar 1-2oz/day Tillamook
  • Salami 1-2oz/day Artisanal
  • Hot Cocoa Mix 1/day Swiss Miss
  • Coffee ~45g/day Stumptown, DUH!
Packing List


  • Padded Bibshort 1 Specialized SWAT
  • Stretch-Woven Overshort 1 Mission Workshop The Stahl
  • Gloves 1 Specialized BG Ridge
  • Merino Socks 2-3 Icebreaker
  • Shoes 1 Specialized RIME Expert
  • Helmet 1 Specialized S3 Mountain
  • Cycling Cap 1 Attaquer
  • Warm Cap 1 Round-billed cricket-style
  • Shell 1 Mission Workshop Orion
  • Packable Down Jacket 1 Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer
  • Merino Tee 1 Mission Workshop Linear
  • Merino Underwear 2 Icebreaker
  • Merino Long Johns 1 Icebreaker
  • Merino LS Base Layer 1 Icebreaker
  • Camp Hat 1 Whatever makes you happy!
  • Camp Shoes 1 Slides
  • Glove Liners 1 Cheap
  • Camp Shirt 1 Any comfortable cotton t-shirt
  • Camp Shorts 1 Lightweight + quick drying
  • Camp One-PIece Suit 1 Snow Peak Field Suit
Packing List


  • Seat Bag 1 Porcelain Rocket Mr. Fusion
  • Frame Bag 1 Porcelain Rocket
  • Handlebar Bag 1 Porcelain Rocket MCA System
  • Small Backpack 1 Mission Workshop Hauser
  • Hydration Setup 1 Small and not leaky
  • Mini Tool 1 Specialized EMT PRO MTB
  • Patch Kit 1 Rema, of course
  • Tubes 2-124 Fresh ones only!
  • Tire Levers 2 Whatever is chilling in your toolbox
  • Bottles Lots From your home library
  • Mini Pump 1 Specialized Air Tool Flex Pump
  • Spare Parts 1 (shared) Chainring bolts, bailing wire, spokes, pliers, brake pads, assorted nuts & bolts, tire boots, zip ties, etc.
  • Tent/Shelter/Bivy 1 Snow Peak Lagos
  • Sleeping Bag 1 (30° or warmer) Mountain Hardwear Phantom
  • Waterproof Stuff Sack More the merrier Sea to Summit EVAC
  • Sleeping Pad 1 Therm-a-Rest NeoAir X-Lite
  • Knife/Multi-tool 1 SOG
  • Headlamp 1 Snow Peak Mola
  • Headlamp Batteries 1 set Brand new, not stolen from your smoke alarm, and name brand
  • Cup 1 Snow Peak Titanium
  • Spork 1 Snow Peak Titanium #sporklife
  • Bandana 1 Manual for Speed or Yonder Journal only!
  • Teeth Stuff 1 set Everybody has their own program
  • Paperback 1 "Like You'd Understand Anyway" by Jim Shephard
  • Reservoir 1 MSR Dromedary
  • Lighter 1 Bic (in Ziplock)
  • Lip Balm 1 Aloe Gator
  • Sun Screen 1 Waterproof and super-high SPF
  • Sunglasses 1 Oakley Frogskins
  • Repair Kit 1 Needle and thread, sleeping pad patches, etc.
  • Sharpie 1 Wrap some Gorilla Tape Around it
  • Wet Wipes 1 soft pack #luxury
  • Waterfilter 1 per 2-3 people Sawyer Squeeze Mini
  • Soap Personal Judgement Dr. Bronner's Almond
  • Canister Stove 1 per 2 people Snow Peak GigaPower
  • Fuel 2/week/stove Snow Peak GigaPower
  • Cord 50ft Paracord
  • First Aid 1 per 2-3 people Homemade
  • Satellite Phone 1 per group Optional, please consult the internet and use your best judgement
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