Brothers take on 21 peaks for kea

FAIRFAX AND RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 05:00 12/11/2012

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Two Cantabrian brothers intend climbing 21 peaks in as many days to raise money for the endangered kea.

Christchurch-based Nathan Watson, 27, and his Wellington-based brother Nigel, 25, will summit the 21 named peaks over 2000m in Nelson Lakes National Park in 21 days.

The siblings will start their 220-kilometre expedition in mid-February. To succeed, they will have to sling themselves along razor-backed ridges, tackle dizzying descents and negotiate tricky terrain. They need to walk up to 10 hours a day - most of it above the bushline, exposed to the elements and days from civilisation.

Nathan Watson, who is New Zealand Girl Guiding's national outdoor programme co-ordinator, said the brothers were looking for a new adventure that would inspire others and help the environment.

Bivouac Outdoor and the Conservation Department are sponsoring the expedition, which has been shortlisted for the Sport NZ Hillary Expedition grant.

The brothers hope businesses, individuals and organisations will sponsor a mountain, contributing a peak's height in dollars.

If they can secure backers for each, the aggregate height of the 21 summits means they could raise $46,295 for the Kea Conservation Trust.

They will be equipped with satellite phones and locator beacons, but isolation means the pair will need to be self-sufficient, even with the backing of a three-person support team who will meet them at resupply points when their nine-day food rations run out.

Watson said he and his brother, who works as a Wellington Free Ambulance paramedic, were fit enough to complete the challenge, but would be at the mercy of the weather.

They had scoured through the trip plan and highlighted Mt Una and Mt Humboldt as the most challenging climbs.

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- The Press

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