Balloonist Attempts to Beat Cook 2nd Time Around
Balloonist Attempts to Beat Cook, Second Time Around
Balloonist Rick Walczak is set to conquer Mt Cook in the 'Egg A Day Is Now OK' balloon tomorrow morning, Thursday 29 September, with the help of sponsor, Eggs Incorporated NZ.
Walczak's efforts to reach the summit in April 2004 were scrambled by the weather just as the balloon was nearing the summit. However Walczak was able to crack two more hot-air ballooning records during the attempt - a new New Zealand record for altitude was achieved at a staggering 13,500ft and a New Zealand balloon speed record of 72.8km/h was achieved.
Despite his success, people keep egging him on to go over the top, says Walczak. His second attempt is scheduled for late September or early October, weather permitting, with the planned take off spot being the Franz Joseph Glacier
"I just want to prove that the team can do this," he says of the second attempt.
"Each mountain has its own little complexities and is always a fresh challenge. I would even give Mt Everest a crack if I had the sponsorship required."
Rick, who is afraid of heights, will have a crew of 25 people helping on the day including the aid of a helicopter pilot.
The Mount Cook National Park encompasses 70,000 hectares, of which one third is snow covered all year round. 19 peaks stretch 3,000 metres with Mt Cook standing at 3755m (12,800ft).
Walczak recently became the first balloonist to fly over the summit of Mt Ruapehu when he took the 'Egg A Day Is Now OK' balloon soaring over the summit on 22 August 2005. He also holds the record for the first balloonist in New Zealand and the world to traverse over Mt Taranaki and the Tararua ranges.