Who We Are

Don Jurries: Founder and Editor of Southern Ascent, Don started with the Southern Ascent affiliate The GearCaster before branching off to expand coverage to Australia and New Zealand.  Don is passionate about the mountains – hiking, trekking and climbing during the warmer months and skiing and snowshoeing during winter.  Originally from the United States, Don is a former “All America” track and field athlete and was a member of the US Touch Rugby National Team at the 2003 World Cup in Japan.  He has an MBA from the University of Colorado and a Masters Degree in Climate Change from the Australian National University in Canberra.

Southern Ascent - Website (Demelza Clay - Surfing)



Demelza Clay:  Demelza is a Contributing Writer and Gear Tester for Southern Ascent.  A Surf Guide, Heli-Ski Guide, and former member of the Australian National Demonstration Ski Team, Demelza brings her athleticism and infectious attitude for life to Southern Ascent.  Currently working in Surf Tourism in the Maldives, as well as Ski Tourism in Hakuba, Japan, Demelza is actively involved in training and coaching clients in sport, health and lifestyle.  She is also an Ambassador for  1% for the Planet.  Demelza has a Bachelor’s Degree from RMIT University in Applied Sciences, focused on Human Movement.

Cecilia Dowd: Cecilia is a Contributing Writer for Southern Ascent, with her primary focus on fabrics, apparel, and sustainability in the Outdoor Industry. A hiker, camper and skier, Cecilia has spent nearly a decade overseas living, working, studying and writing in Hong Kong, Japan and The Netherlands.  Cecilia has a Masters Degree in Environment and Resource Management from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, as well as a BSc in Microbiology and Biochemistry from the Queensland University of Technology and a qualification in Intellectual Property Law at the University of Technology Sydney.

Amy Jurries: Founder and Editor of The GearCaster, based in San Francisco, Amy provides a connection to manufacturers and companies in the US and Europe with an interest in Australia and New Zealand. Started in 2009, The GearCaster is now considered one of the top 10 influencers for gear in the Outdoor Industry in the US. Amy is an avid ice climber and mountaineer, reaching the summits of Mont Blanc, Kilimanjaro, Mount Elbrus in Russia, Aconcagua in Argentina, attempted Mount Denali in Alaska, and has trekked to the Advanced Base Camp on Mount Everest.  Amy also adds a background in technology, with a Masters Degree in Systems Engineering and has an MBA from the London Business School.

Philip Sawyer: Phil is a Southern Ascent gear tester, helping us expand into triathon gear and equipment. He is an avid cyclist, runner and swimmer and has completed the 2013 and 2014 Ironman Asia Pacific Championships held in Melbourne, and the 2015 Ironman Canada held at Whistler, British Columbia. He also competes regularly in numerous endurance events including the Melbourne Marathon, Gold Coast Marathon, Shepparton Half Ironman and the Torquay Half Ironman. Aside from training for the next event, Phil is the Founder and Managing Director of Synergy Audio Visual, a premium importer and distributor of HiFi equipment into Australia.

One response to “Who We Are

  1. Hi, Blackbox Services is the Australian & New Zealand distributor for the patented, award winning Duvalay memory foam sleeping bag and we are looking for a company who is interested in helping us distribute the prodcut in New Zealand. Please visit our facebook site Duvalay.net and our website (temp) http://www.duvalay.net for more info. If this is something that Southern Ascent maybe interested in please do not hesitate to contact us at info@duvalay.net

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