Brothers need peak form for 21 days

Last updated 13:00 11/02/2013
Watson brothers
Gruelling challenge: Nathan, left, and Nigel Watson plan to climb 21 peaks in 21 days.

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The Watson brothers are about to find out if weekends spent lugging heavy packs up hills to get "pack fit" has been enough preparation for their daring physical challenge to climb 21 mountains in 21 days in Nelson Lakes National Park.

Nathan Watson, 27, and his brother Nigel, 25, started their quest from the Matakitaki Valley yesterday. They aim to summit all 21 peaks higher than 2000m in the national park in as many days.

Nathan said the adventure was about challenging themselves and getting into the great outdoors and they hoped to inspire others to get into the outdoors in the process.

"We are doing it because we love it. Why wouldn't you want to get out there and do something like this?"

The brothers have been working towards this trip for eight months with hours of strength training in the gym and a fitness regime which saw them marching around hills near Wellington and Christchurch with heavy packs to replicate the loads they will need to carry.

The pair will cover 220 kilometres and climb a combined total of 16,000m over the journey, Nathan said.

The adventure was also to raise money for, and the profile of, the Kea Conservation Trust, and to bring attention to the decline in the numbers of kea, an alpine parrot native to New Zealand.

"The kea population has decreased by 80 per cent in the Nelson Lakes the past 10 years. The population is around 5000 but it is so hard to know [exactly how many], it could be a lot lower than that. We want to do something about it sooner rather than later."

Nathan said the brothers grew up in Christchurch and were part of a family who spent a lot of time in the outdoors tramping and camping, particularly in the Nelson Lakes area. Since then they have both worked extensively in the wilderness, as outdoor instructors in New Zealand and overseas.

To sponsor the brothers and follow their progress go to: facebook. com/21peaks 21days.

The Watsons' expedition is one of seven Sport New Zealand Hillary Expeditions marked for 2013.

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- The Nelson Mail

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