Surviving is thriving
An eruption on Mt Ruapehu almost took William Pike’s life. He celebrated the 10th anniversary of that event by returning to where it all happened.
Pike was trapped beneath debris from a lahar that swept through the Dome Shelter on Mt Ruapehu after a volcanic eruption in 2007.
In the days after, in Waikato Hospital, Pike was battered and bruised and coming to terms with the loss of his leg, just below the knee. So he started setting goals.
He wanted to walk again, to get back into the classroom teaching, and to get back to the Dome Shelter.
On September 17, Pike  was able to tick the third, and final, goal off that list.
‘‘I didn’t know if I could do any of them,’’ he said. ‘‘But I promised myself I would.’’
Pike had actually returned to the Dome Shelter in 2012 with James Christie – the man who he was with during the eruption – but he had yet to return in snowy winter conditions.
He had talked with Christie for a long time about returning to the Dome Shelter but as September wasn’t a good month for Christie, Pike’s brother went along instead.
The brothers made their way to Whakapapa skifield where they stayed the night in one of ski clubs but the weather the next day was