35 year old four-peaks record broken by New Plymouth teenager

Shaun Palmer at the top of Paritutu rock.
Jeremy Wilkinson

Shaun Palmer at the top of Paritutu rock.

A record set 35 years ago for climbing four of Taranaki's main mountain summits has been beaten by a New Plymouth teen. 

Francis Douglas Memorial College old boy Shaun Palmer, 18, also smashed the five peaks record set only last year by three New Plymouth teenagers.

Starting at Dawson Falls Visitor Centre at 7am on  February 11 and running to Fanthams Peak, Mt Taranaki, Pouakai and Kaitaki summits, Palmer finished at New Plymouth's Paritutu rock 50 kms later.

Palmer's time for the four peaks record was 9 hours 58 minutes, 12 minutes faster than the previous record while his five peaks record was a close shave at 7 minutes faster than the 12 hour record. 

Having to take a GPS tracker with him as well as a photo of himself at each summit, Palmer's records are undisputed and will go down in history on the Taranaki Speed Records website. 

READ MORE: It's high fives all round Taranaki for this teen trio

Palmer has been doing adventure racing for a number of years but Thursday's run was his first attempt at either record although he had plenty of practice running the peaks individually.

"I think a few people have tried to break the four peaks before but haven't planned their route well enough," he said.

"I was very particular about that aspect because it does save time and stress knowing exactly where you're going."

Palmer said he was "feeling great" after the first three peaks but the slog up Kaitaki summit hit him quite hard.

"I just had to put my head down and focus on that record," he said. 

Despite running almost 50kms Palmer was back walking the Pouakai's the morning after to search for a borrowed tramping pole he lost somewhere near Mangorei Rd. 

"It was probably good to get the blood flowing again, I could barely walk the night after," he said. 

Palmer's father and a few friends met him for the last leg at the top of Paritutu rock, but instead of stopping and relishing in his achievement the teen was reminded he needed to make it to the bottom to complete the record. 

"It was a pretty mad dash in the end but I made it down in about three minutes," he said. 

Palmer has his sights set on a few more summit records around the region including walking backwards to the Mt Taranaki summit. 

The 1981 four-peaks record was set by Taranaki mountaineer Ian McAlpine but he was unable to reached for comment. 

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers
Ad Feedback