For 72-year-old Pauline Carr, reaching the summit of Mt Taranaki was the second best day of her life.
Mrs Carr completed the summit climb for the first time in her life as part of the Taranaki Alpine Club Open Climb at the weekend.
She was ecstatic about the achievement.
"It was like 10 birthdays in one. Apart from my wedding day, it was the best day of my life."
Mrs Carr moved to Taranaki from Otaki two years ago and saw an ad in the newspaper for Taranaki Alpine Club's Open Climb.
"I thought, ‘I want to do that next year'."
She lived in Manaia at the time and began walking to church each Sunday, a 30km round trip.
She said the sight of an older woman walking along the road alarmed locals, including the police.
"Even the local policeman wouldn't let me walk, he said it was too dangerous."
She contacted the alpine club to arrange a porter to assist her, but was told if she could not get up on her own with her own pack, she could not come.
But Mrs Carr was not deterred.
She continued her training, walking up the Hawera water tower and various tracks on the mountain.
The week before the Open Climb she did the 500 steps at the start of the summit trail which convinced her she could make the summit.
She said she would not have made it without the help of the club and the other climbers.
"I'm not very tall and was trying to get up a rock. There was a woman helping me up and a man behind me. He started pushing my feet and I said: ‘No, no, the bum!' He was chief bum pusher."
Mrs Carr plans to repeat her summit climb next year.
She said age and blood pressure were no excuse for sitting around.
"Turn the bp around into pb (personal best). Whatever you do, just try to do a little bit better every day."
Taranaki Alpine Club President Jonathan Crane said club members were blown away by Pauline's determination and joyful spirit.
"What a testament to how much you can achieve if you put your mind to it, regardless of age."
He said all the climbers stood on the balcony of Tahurangi Lodge and applauded when she successfully completed her summit climb.
"She was the darling of this year's Open Climb."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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