Hillary Challenge

This is the ultimate, outdoor adventure challenge for year 11-13 students.


Open to all Year 11 – 13 school students regardless of experience. The Hillary Challenge is a great introduction to adventure racing and a perfect step up from our Torpedo7 Get2Go Regional challenges.

There are two challenges held each year – one in the North Island and the other in the South Island.

NO prior experience is necessary as these challenges are designed to attract students of all levels so you don’t need a high level of skill and experience to join in and have an awesome time. Perfect for students in that senior Outdoor Education and P.E class who want to test their teamwork skills and fitness in unique way. 

 REGISTER your team today!

  • Teams of 8 represent their school(s) in one of four categories: All Girls; All Boys; Mixed; and, Mixed Open. Only Mixed Open team entries are eligible for a place in the National Finals. Note: Teams can be a mix of Year 11-13 students, Mixed Open teams must include a minimum of four biological girls who identify as girls, the remainder of the team can be made up of students that identify as boys, girls, or gender diverse.
  • A maximum of two schools may join together to form a team (this applies to ANY school and can include single sex and co-ed schools joining together).
  • The Hillary Challenge is a navigation-based outdoor team challenge on both foot and mountain bike. They generally have a ‘rogaine’ element to ensure all teams finish at approximately the same time. The checkpoints can be a mix of optional and compulsory. Points are scored for checkpoints visited and each teams objective is to build the biggest score they can. There may also be mystery team challenges along the way that can earn teams bonus points.
  • The challenge generally runs between 9.00am and 3.00pm and teams need to arrange their own transport to/from the challenge and to any transition points on the course. More information will be sent to your Team Manager one week before.
  • There is a limited capacity of 30 teams at each challenge, with teams taken on a first in, first served basis. Don’t miss out – register early!

This is a challenge taking place in the outdoors at the start of winter.  The New Zealand weather can do anything at any time, so we want to know that you are prepared for whatever it throws at you and your team-mates.  The weather could be clear and warm or wet and extremely cold. Ensure you have multiple changes of clothes and be prepared to wear all of them at some stage. You need to be able to move around quickly and comfortably during the day. Below is the minimum gear that you will need to have with you at all times throughout the day.  Your team will need 8 mountain bikes and helmets (in good working order) plus things like a puncture repair kit, spare tubes, pump…etc for your bikes. Note – no e-bikes are allowed!

Every team member must carry or wear (as a minimum) –

  • A windproof/waterproof parka or raincoat with a hood
  • 1 x long sleeve polypro or woollen base layer top.
  • 1 x long sleeve fleece or wool insulation layer top.
  • 1 x long john’s/pants. Polypro or woollen base layer.
  • Suitable shorts, tights to race around in.
  • A warm hat/beanie. BUFFs are ok for this.
  • Poly-pro or wool gloves
  • At least 2 litres of water
  • Energy snacks or bars to keep you going
  • Personal medication e.g. asthma inhalers, bee sting pills…etc
  • A pack to carry everything in
  • One pair of running/trail shoes

Each team needs to carry –

  • At least 2 compasses
  • At least 2 pencils for writing down information on waterproof paper
  • A team first aid kit including a minimum of – 50cm strapping tape for ankles/knees, pain killers, 2 x large crepe bandages (minimum 4cm width), 1 x tri-angular bandage, 6 x non-adherent dressing or gauze pad, 6 plasters.
  • At least two charged up cell-phones, ideally on two different networks (to be used only in the event of an emergency, if you need assistance from a marshal) Make sure these are in a waterproof bag
  • At least 2 watches
  • At least 2 whistles
  • At least 2 headtorches
  • At least 2 survival blankets (the thin silver ones)
  • At least 2 High Visibility Vests for the front and rear member of the team to wear on the MTB stage.

Missing some gear? You can shop our Gear Lists at Torpedo7. Every purchase made via this link means proceeds from your purchase will go to Hillary Outdoors and support getting more youth into the outdoors.

Each year we have many schools that use these challenges (as well as our Hillary Outdoors Rogaines) to work various Achievement Standards into their curriculum to enable their students to gain credits. These have included:

Level 1 – 1.1 (90962), 1.5 (90966), 1.7 (90968), 1.9 (90970)

Level 2 – 2.6 (91332), 2.7 (91333)

Level 3 – 3.3 (91500)

We use the regional Hillary Challenges to help us select the best teams from around the country to take part in the Hillary Challenge National Final held at our Tongariro Centre at the end of Term 3.

This is a big deal, so if your school is keen to grab one of the limited places in the Final you must first gain a top placing in one of the 2 qualifying regional events (North Island or South Island). From each of these two challenges the top scoring teams in the Mixed Open category will receive an invitation to take part in the final and go up against the very best secondary school adventure racing teams from around New Zealand.