Fostering the Back Country

5 Aug, 2023

Mandy Lamont

K7, Expedimage

K7 Adventures has been operating in the Snowy Mountains for over 16 years. This outdoor adventure company was founded by Pete Cocker and Acacia Rose, who are both well-known in the region for their knowledge and experience of the mountains.

Over the years, Pete and Acacia evolved their love of the outdoors into a successful guiding business with a strong culture of collaboration and a highly regarded reputation in the eco-tourism community. K7 Adventures now runs as a mountain guide collective, with top-tier guides running their own successful operations under the K7 banner. This team of experienced adventure lovers cover a variety of mountain activities from climbing and abseiling, mountain biking and hiking in the Summer; to cross-country skiing, mountaineering, snow camping and backcountry tours in the Winter.

After 16 years of operation, Pete and Acacia have decided it’s time to step back, retiring into a new life of well-earnt adventure between the mountains and the coast. The business was sold to the local brother and sister team Leah & Lewis Foster, who has worked closely with K7 in different capacities over the last few years. With big shoes to fill they are up to the challenge, as they bring in new skills and fresh energy to this well-established tour operator.

Lewis started working for K7 five years ago as a Snowshoe Guide and Ski Tour Guide before running the Backcountry Day Tours. He has also had hands-on experience leading the Rock Climbing and Abseiling Tours over Summer. “Guiding has always been second nature to me”, Lewis tells me, “I’ve had experience with running my own operation but managing the company will certainly be a new challenge. Fortunately, Leah has been helping K7 with their website and marketing for a few years now so she understands our booking systems and brand – she also has six years of experience running her own design studio and helping local small businesses get off the ground. So together our skillsets are really complimentary to running a company like K7 Adventures. We’re really looking forward to building on the foundation that Pete & Acacia have created for us.”

Born and bred in the mountains, Lewis and Leah grew up in Thredbo Village and now both live on the Alpine Way. Their parents Ian and Jill Foster, who ran Lantern Apartments for over 30 years, are still solid members of the Thredbo Community. As mountain kids, both siblings learnt to ski as soon as they could walk and now both can be found split-boarding, ski-touring or snow-shoeing – depending on the day. Lewis states “It totally depends on the conditions and my clients. If I have split boarders and skiers, I usually end up on a split board because the touring ski is less complicated, but for myself personally, when I’m going down steep terrain like the Western Faces, I’ll take a snowboard because I’m more confident on steep, icy terrain with a snowboard. I did seasons in Verbier and have spent a lot of time on steep terrain with my board.”

If Lewis is looking to get further, faster he will always opt for his ski touring set-up. “It’s extremely light. I love endurance days on the skis. “One of my favourite days in the Australian backcountry was skiing the 10 highest peaks in a day. It’s a loop that K7 Adventures guide in the Winter and Summer often over three days and covers 42 km and 2,000-something meters of vert. On the really icy fast days, when there’s no joy in turning because the whole range is frozen, I enjoy getting the skis out and covering a lot of distance.

I’ve got my sights set on the K to K this season, the Kiandra to Kosci. The backcountry is so expansive and interconnected, which is really cool. It’s a different experience in Victoria, they’ve got really nice huts but they don’t have large open areas as much, more individual peaks. Whereas we have this huge Alpine plateau, which you can just travel on for days. I love it out there.”

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