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New Zealander Pearl Going scored another major milestone in her attempt to be
the first New Zealand woman and along the way the fastest woman in the world to
achieve the one of the world’s greatest sporting feats, to climb the seven summits.
After a successful summit of Russia’s Mt Elbrus (5642mtrs) in August, which saw
her become the frst kiwi woman to tackle the less attempted and more dangerous
north face route of what is the tallest peak in Europe, just her second ever ascent of
a mountain. Going, hailing from Northland's famous Going family carried one of
the most well known names in New Zealand sport to new heights to tick off Africa’s
highest peak Mt Kilimanjaro (5895mtrs) in a spectacular fashion early November.
While Kilimanjaro may be perceived as the ‘everybody’s’ summit, with it’s relative
ease of access and lack of requirement of mountaineering skills such as ice
climbing and rope work, Going’s expedition team set out to achieve a series of frsts
with the ascent sponsored by SONY NZ, adidas Outdoor and Marmot.
“The objective of the expedition was to become the frst New Zealand woman to do
the full traverse of Kilimanjaro (over 149km) which is something that is rarely done
as opposed to going up a more travelled route (usually 89km) and it was a more
challenging way to knock off what many believe to be the easiest of the seven
“We began our traverse up the old Grand Traverse Route heading over the
Lemosho and Shira routes which are highly remote, reaching summit three days
into the traverse to set a new traverse world record of approx four days and nine
“We ascended the summit in a full snow blizzard and fnally made it to the top after
8 hours of trekking from our campsite the previous evening.
Wanaka based Guy Cotter, the Director of Adventure Consultants, who is widely
considered the worlds best high altitude coach is the brains and mentor behind
Going’s mountaineering, coaching her through the overall projects. Cotter has been
the man behind numerous mountain athletes world frst records leading Annabelle
Bond to become the fastest woman in the world to scale the seven summits in just
360 days, at the age of 36yrs. Cotter who was on Mt Kilimanjaro leading another
expedition, met Going at the summit.
“I was met at the summit by Guy Cotter and Suze Kelly. A few kiwi jokes were
traded and he gave me a Perky Banana to celebrate, it was a wonderful feeling to
top out and see them there, I wouldn't be living my dream if it weren't for Guy and
Suze so to share that moment with them was sensational.
Going’s climbing schedule is laid out to give her the best possible preparation
leading into climbing Mt Everest April-June of next year. If successful, 26yr old
Going will also become New Zealand’s youngest woman to step atop the world’s
The next summit on Going’s agenda is the highest peak outside of the Himalayas,
Argentina’s Mt Aconcagua (6962m), in late January 2012. Along with the ascent of
South America’s highest summit, Going will spend her time in New Zealand based
in Wanaka between peaks further honing her mountaineering skills with the
Adventure Consultants team, but the challenges of mountaineering are not all skill
and fnesse on the mountain. How one’s body reacts to altitude or injury is one of the
most serious challenges climbers face.
Something Going discovered after sustaining a serious groin injury heading from
high camp to summit on Mt Elbrus. Going pushed on to summit with an injury, the
recovery from which has set back her climbing schedule causing her to miss the
Vinson Mansif season this year.
“I've been very fortunate to have access to one of the best triaining grounds in the
world in the Southern Alps and I've also discovered that I handle high altitudes
well. I'm looking forward to the possibility of testing myself around 7000mtrs on
Aconcagua next month. I've topped out at close to 6000mtrs and not even felt a
headache so I'm very curious to see what happens to me a bit higher up, it's
essential for my Everest preparations.
“On the mountain, you are at the mercy of many things, what ever God chooses to
throw at you. All the skill and preparation in the world can go out the window if the
weather closes in or your body cannot cope with the pressures that high altitude
Following on from Mt Everest, the remaining peaks on Going's schedule to scale
include; Mt Denali, Alaska, Carstenz Pyramid, West Papua, Vinson Mansif,
Antarctica along with second ascents of Mt Elbrus & Mt Kilimanjaro to continue
her quest to break Annabelle Bond’s record of scaling the seven summits in less
than 360 days and become the fastest woman to do so.
- Maria Steward