Meet Alpacka Packraft Stud Stanley Mulvany (with Podcast!)

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Want to get to know one of the packrafting world’s most ardent — and well-aging — paddlers?

Look no further than New Zealander and avid “packraftineer” Stanley Mulvany, a retired doctor who now stitches together any mission he can as long as it involves taking along his trusty Alpacka packraft.

Nine years ago, Mulvany imported his first Alpacka packrafts to New Zealand. Since then, as with the lightweight rafts he inflates, his expedition tick-off list has blown up as he’s incorporated packrafts into his missions. He’s spent decades exploring the rugged terrain of New Zealand’s Fiordland and South Westland, with most of his routes having virtually no trails or human impact. He is also the first person to complete the now popular Hollyford-Pyke packrafting loop.

Alpacka Packraft Stud Stanley Mulvany
His Stanleyness on one of his missions.

Of course, long, hard-suffering journeys are nothing new to Mulvany. Some of his previous  packrafting expeditions include trips to Greenland, the Himalaya and the Yukon River. He also completed a mostly solo traverse of New Zealand’s Southern Alps.

At 71 years old, he’s showing no signs of slowing down. Retirement enables him to lie in wait for weather windows to make his move. When Alpacka ambassador Dulkara Martig caught him at his home to interview him for this podcast, he had just returned from yet another packrafting trip in Fiordland, arriving home just before the next weather system struck (note the wind howling in the background of the podcast).

A Quick PL Q&A

When did you start pack rafting?
In 2008 when we did the second Gumotex expedition in Fiordland
Were you a rafter/kayaker beforehand?
Yes, I was sea kayaking since the 1990’s
What do you like about it?
I’m an aficionado of mountain-packraftineering, a combo of mountain climbing and packrafting, which opens up some tremendous adventures.
What do you like about Alpackas in general?
I love the Alpacka story, how it originated in Alaska, the blog of Erin and Hig, Roman Dial — real adventurers doing it hard. For me, there is only one packraft — Alpacka, the original and the best. We have four of them at home including the original ones from 2008 and still going strong.
What was your hardest/most harrowing trip?
The two that come to mind are these, one in New Zealand and one in Greenland:
Is pack rafting big in New Zealand
It’s a growing sport but I don’t know how many packrafters there are here. I live in the south close to Fiordland and South Westland, which has the best packrafting here. We have a small dedicated group of mountain-packraftineers that I lead on expeditions there. It’s rare to meet other parties in the mountains but then we go to very remote and difficult places.

 

Check the podcast to hear all about some of Stanley’s trips. Listen here: https://the-packrafting-podcast.simplecast.com/episodes/stanley-mulvany-epic-journeys-under-the-radar-in-fiordland

Read more about pack rafting in New Zealand here:

https://www.alpackaraft.com/rafting/a-packrafters-paradise-south-west-new-zealand-te-wahipounamu/

Check ouStanley’s personal adventure blog.

 

More Alpacka News From Paddling Life:

 

 

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