Mt Cook in a day, on four jet-planes

20:46, Dec 24 2013
Grant Rawlinson
JET FUELED: Grant Rawlinson on the peak of Mt Cook on Sunday.

Four jet-plane lollies were all the fuel needed to summit New Zealand's highest peak for an adventurer who has battled the literal highs and lows of New Zealand.

Grant Rawlinson, 39, and Alan Silva, 52, began their "peak to peak" journey from the peak of Ruapehu, the North Island's highest peak, on December 1.

They completed their quest on Sunday by climbing New Zealand's highest peak, Aoraki/Mt Cook.

Between the two peaks they cycled and kayaked the route, including paddling Cook Strait.

"We wanted a very challenging adventure, which was unique, close to home and did not bust our bank accounts," Rawlinson, who is originally from Taranaki but lives in Singapore, said.

The pair cycled seven days from Picton to the base of Mt Cook.

"We had tired legs when we reached Mt Cook, and standing at the base looking up to the summit over 3000 metres above our heads was a bit daunting knowing we had to climb it," Rawlinson said.

The pair spent 21.5 hours climbing to the summit of Mt Cook and back down on Sunday.

They were the only people on the mountain and had to deal with "huge crevasses" in the dark and icy conditions at the top. In addition, Silva had a stomach virus.

After a 12-hour climb, the pair reached the top, staying just five minutes before heading down again, Rawlinson said.

"I was pretty scared about the descent. I knew we were quite late, and the route is heavily threatened by avalanches.

" I made a promise to my wife from the summit, that if I got down safely, I would never return and climb Mt Cook again.

"And the descent was dangerous; we were getting rained on by ice falling from ice cliffs and had to cross a lot of fresh avalanche debris – it really felt like something big was going to drop down us at any point.

"When we got back to the safety of the hut we were pretty tired. I had only eaten four jet-plane lollies and 750 millilitres of water over the last 21.5 hours."

The adventure raised money for the Stratford and Toko volunteer fire departments in Taranaki, which helped save Rawlinson's sister's life after a car accident in 2012.


Grant Rawlinson
JET FUELED: Grant Rawlinson on the peak of Mt Cook on Sunday.