Five peaks in five days

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

[email protected] Eight South Can­ter­bury climbers are near­ing their $5000 fundrais­ing goal for men­tal health in their pledge to con­quer five South Is­land peaks in five days.

More than $4700 has been raised for the Men­tal Health Foun­da­tion of New Zealand by a group of six men and two women who have em­barked on a stiff chal­lenge of back-to-back treks.

The treks are, from yes­ter­day un­til Tues­day, Avalanche Peak near Arthur’s Pass, Alex Knob near Franz Joseph, Dragon­fly Peak near Wanaka, Ben Lomond near Queen­stown, and Mt Ol­livier in Ao­raki/Mt Cook Na­tional Park.

The re­volv­ing sched­ule of drive­hike-drive-sleep would pro­vide a men­tal and phys­i­cal chal­lenge hoped to in­spire those bat­tling de­pres­sion, climber Wil­lie Stone said.

‘‘The mes­sage is if you’re feel­ing that way, get busy,’’ he said.

Stone was grate­ful for the com­mu­nity’s sup­port – es­pe­cially the woman who do­nated enough snacks to keep all eight climbers fed on every hike.

An­other no­table do­na­tion was a scenic flight around South Can­ter­bury, avail­able as a prize to be won by those who donate.

He en­cour­aged peo­ple them on the fi­nal hike to join to Mt Wil­lie Stone Ol­livier’s peak, the place of Sir Ed­mund Hil­lary’s first ma­jor climb in 1939, and es­ti­mated about 50 would be there at 9am on Tues­day to give it a go.

‘‘It will be awe­some to see some fresh faces to help us get to the top of that last one.’’

He was ‘‘def­i­nitely a bit ner­vous’’ about how his body would cope with the min­i­mal re­cov­ery time be­tween climbs, but the over­whelm­ing emo­tion was ex­cite­ment.

‘‘We’re re­ally amped just to get into it,’’ he said.

To sur­vive the chal­lenge, Stone will be drink­ing a litre of water be­fore each peak and keep­ing his feet dry by switch­ing socks at the top, to ward off blis­ters.

‘‘Any me­chan­i­cal in­jury can stop you. It’s about mak­ing sure we make the right choices,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ll be work­ing to­gether to over­come all that.’’

Steve An­der­son, broth­ers An­drew and Hamish Nor­ton, Josh Drum­mond, Rymi Sakimura, Becky Tal­bot, and Hamish Race will be tack­ling the chal­lenge along­side Stone.

They will be doc­u­ment­ing their jour­ney on the Facebook page 5 for Health, which in­cludes a link to the group’s do­na­tion page. Emer­gency ser­vices have so far de­clined to say how a sus­pi­cious Ti­maru fire started on Tues­day night.

The fire ripped through a wing of the for­mer St Vian­ney’s Home of Com­pas­sion com­plex in Mor­gans Rd.

De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Richard Quested, of Ti­maru, would not con­firm yes­ter­day how the fire started.

‘‘All I can say is it ap­pears it’s been de­lib­er­ately lit.

‘‘There’s no elec­tric­ity in­side the build­ing so there’s no way it could have been sparked by that.’’

Fire in­ves­ti­ga­tor Craig Cham­bers said due to the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion he could not con­firm how the blaze was lit.

‘‘It was def­i­nitely in­ten­tional,’’ he said.

Cham­bers said the blaze was con­tained in the eastern wing of the com­plex.

‘‘The whole top level of the wing is de­stroyed, plus a por­tion of the se­cond level where the de­bris has dropped down and started a fire,’’ Cham­bers said.

The fire started just min­utes af­ter a se­ri­ous home in­va­sion oc­curred at a neigh­bour­ing prop­erty.

Po­lice are search­ing for two men in re­la­tion to the as­sault.

Quested said as part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into both mat­ters, a link was an ‘‘ob­vi­ous av­enue’’ to ex­plore.

DOUG FIELD/STUFF

Tack­ling a five-peaks-in-five-days chal­lenge to raise money for the New Zealand Men­tal Health Foun­da­tion are, clock­wise from left, An­drew Nor­ton, Steve An­der­son, Wil­lie Stone, Hamish Nor­ton, Josh Drum­mond, Becky Tal­bot and Rymi Sakimura.

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