Adventures With Tupperware – Ruapehu Highest Game Of Croquet
I suppose it was as strange as it sounds.
On the 20th of November my friend Kristian and I really did play New Zealand’s highest ever game of croquet! The location of this (if only amongst croquet circles) momentous feit, was the summit plateau of Mount Ruapehu. A whopping 2600 metres in altitude. It was undoubtedly a very fun expedition, only the exact inspiration for this whacky stunt is still, one week later, under debate. Neither of us really play croquet so I don’t know what prompted me to suggest it one night whilst brainstorming expedition ideas. I suppose it’s because we love a good challenge. And making croquet extreme, a sport usually associated with posh englishmen, was definitely a challenge.
On Thursday the 19th we drove to the central plateau. The boot loaded with an unusual assortment of ice axes, crampons, backpacks, croquet wickets, mallets, and balls. Our original plan was to climb the mountain that day, however, a combination of gale force winds and zero visibility, was decidedly not ideal croquet conditions. All was well though, as we found a homely public bathroom to spend the night. For dinner we cooked a wicked vegetable curry.
The Heat ‘N Eat was extremely handy.
Not only did it serve as a lightweight bowl, but the leftover curry could simply be sealed in the Heat N’ Eat, and carried up the mountain for a tasty snack the next day. Previous expeditions have seen me forcing the leftovers down my throat. As when you are in the wilderness, unless you’ve brought something reliable to seal the extras in, there is nowhere else to put it but your stomach.
We woke the next day to beautiful stillness, and our croquet court poking clearly through the clouds 2600 metres above us. I must’ve been a curious site for the workers up there. Scrambling up the mountain with two large croquet mallets protruding from the water bottle holders of my pack. Meanwhile, poor Kristian was lugging up 5 kgs worth of metal croquet wickets. After four hours of clambering up rocks, and ascending steep ice walls, we finally reached the enormous glacial plateau. We were utterly exhausted. We kept ourselves hydrated using the 1 litre eco bottles which were the perfect choice for this adventure. Not only are they BPA free, but I trust its seal more than any other bottle I own. This is so essential. Especially in an alpine environment, where any water leakage on the warm clothes in your pack would be an absolute disaster.
The actual croquet game was one of the most peculiar experiences of my life. Playing such a modest, suburban game surrounded by a huge expanse of ice, and towering rocky ridges, felt incredibly odd. We began the game with a jovial, careless attitude. However, after realising the winner would claim the prestigious title of victor for New Zealand’s highest game of croquet, the atmosphere changed to one of great tension. Some brilliant shots were played as well as some horrendous ones. The trick was to avoid the foot prints our boots had left in the snow, which acted the same way a sand trap does in golf. The final moments of the game were incredibly strained. With Kristian on my tail, and two metres from the finish stake, I gave my ball one final smack and just managed to clip the wooden pole. Securing victory!
We celebrated the record with quesadillas for lunch. The Tupperware microfiber cloth was ideal for cleaning up. The best part is it’s three items in one. Not only is it scratchy on one side for scrubbing, and soft on the other for drying, but the microfibre fabric means no detergent is necessary. Multi-purpose gear like this is ideal when adventuring as it allows you to pack light, which is so important, especially when carrying a ton of croquet gear!
In order to call this an extreme sport we decided there was one more thing we had to do. For our game of croquet to truly rank amongst base jumping, shark diving and big wave surfing, this was the final step. So before descending down the mountain we stripped off, and played one last game barefoot on the ice, wearing only our jocks. We knew in our hearts then we had done it, croquet was now an extreme sport! Very soon there would be Red Bull sponsored croquet players, and it would surely feature in the next Point Break.