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Age Defying NZ Mountain Climb

Age Defying Mountain Climb

Two intrepid Kiwis are about to prove that age is no obstacle by climbing 50 of the South Island’s major mountains at age 50.

Save the Children President Martin Hawes and professional mountain guide Paul Scaife aim to climb 50 mountains around Mount Cook in just 4 weeks, beginning October 10.

Hawes, who is also New Zealand’s best selling business and finance author, says a “wake-up” call on his 50th birthday prompted him to get in touch with Scaife to set a date for the climb.

“For years, Paul and I had discussed climbing the 50 peaks together. When I turned 50 I told myself I only have 20 good summers left, so now is the time to do all the things I’ve ever dreamed of doing,” says Hawes.

Scaife believes that in order to stay young, you must keep pushing yourself.

“By the time you reach 50, life’s big challenges are usually over and it’s easy to start coasting”, says Scaife. “But to keep your mind, body and spirit young, you’ve got to keep pushing the horizons. You’ve got to live life to the full.”

In 1976, Scaife with the late Dave McNulty climbed the 50 peaks in 6 weeks. Since then, only one other team has achieved this feat.

“As one of the most exposed and rocky ridges in the country, the climb is both technically and physically demanding,” says Scaife. “Technically, it’s more challenging than any traverse in the Himalayas because of large amounts of exposed rock.

“Climbers don’t need to go to the Himalayas to be challenged,” says Scaife. “The Southern Alps are on the same scale. We’ve got it all right here in New Zealand.”

Based in Central Otago, Scaife and Hawes have been climbing together in the Southern Alps for over 35 years. Mark Inglis, the famous disabled mountaineer, will join Hawes and Scaife on October 10 to climb the first mountain.

But Hawes and Scaife aim to do more than raise a flag on each mountain peak. The intrepid duo are also raising funds for Save the Children’s Appeal Week (14-20 Oct), which coincides with the start of the climb.

“Save the Children was the obvious choice, as the charity guarantees that every dollar given to its appeal reaches children in need, without deductions for administration,” says Hawes.“All money raised will support programmes such as educating children about HIV/AIDS in Mozambique, providing medical supplies to hospitals in Iraq and training street children in Cambodia to take up a trade and become self-sufficient.

“We’re very grateful to our corporate sponsors Kathmandu and TelstraClear for supporting the 50@50 Mountain Challenge.”

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