5 steps to an epic volcano-climbing adventure (without making my mistakes)

460Just over two years ago I came up with a crafty idea. I thought, why not set myself the ambitious quest to climb 40 volcanoes by the age of 40 – a feat that needed to be achieved in a five-and-a-half-year time frame?

It was a bold, daring plan, borne out of a fascination of lava and plate tectonics… and the itchy-feet desire to make more of my life and challenge myself. I’d just quit my pharmaceutical journalism job of five years to go freelance and I needed a new purpose. I chose adventure. Continue reading

Volcano number 7: The successful New Zealand volcano

20170316_124710_resizedFinally, a day of sunshine!

I almost couldn’t believe it – I had to pinch myself to make sure – but there it was, crisp blue sky and a white-gold orb coating my immediate world in warm rays of sunshine. No rain to be seen; not even a cloud.

It was rejoice-worthy.

The majestic-ness of the day was in stark contrast to a mere few days ago when a weather bomb had hit New Zealand and put paid to my attempts at climbing the volcanoes Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Taranaki – what should have been volcanoes seven and eight in my quest to climb 40 volcanoes by the age of 40 (#40by40).

But finally, the weather gods were in good moods – today I was going to climb Rangitoto.  Continue reading

Another epic weather fail

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe rain on the tent sounded like an army chucking thousands of buckets of water over it. It had sounded like that all night; a constant drumming as the torrential rain pelted the tree above us, which jettisoned the water directly onto our tent. To say it was wet was an understatement.

We’d completed the three-day Tongariro Northern Circuit trek the evening before and had set up camp in Whakapapa Village (it had already started to rain by that point). I was still gutted that I hadn’t been able to climb Mt Ngauruhoe – what should have been volcano number seven in my quest to climb 40 volcanoes by the age of 40 (#40by40) – because of the crappy weather. But this would be rectified – the plan today was to make the drive west towards Mt Taranaki, the 2,518m peak that pokes out the side of the west of New Zealand’s North Island. Tomorrow we would climb. Continue reading

A new approach to #40by40

Back when I first started dreaming about this quest to climb 40 volcanoes by the age of 40, I

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Mt Ngauruhoe in the background – on the list for next year

spent an age on Google getting whipped up in the excitement of rugged volcanic landscapes, bubbling lava, snow-capped cones, and wilderness and vistas as far as the eye could see.

 

I put together a grand list of 40 volcanoes – they were dotted on practically every corner of the globe; some on islands in the middle of the ocean, others in remote and often exotic locations, requiring days of trekking to reach. Many were active, with lava lakes or hissing vents. And more than several were majestic in their height, taking on the craggy peaks in the French Alps, and promising winter mountaineering experiences.

It was a dizzying list. Just looking at it made me giddy, bursting with adrenalin and excitement. Continue reading

Volcano number 2 update

Lizard Point – most southerly part of the UK
It’s all rather busy at the moment. My folks from New Zealand are currently visiting the UK. After a delightful week and a half of entertaining them in Londonthey have gone off on a road trip of England. I decided, right at the last minute (after having a mini meltdown), that I would indeed join them for a few days to enjoy the sights of Cornwall. It was bliss.
Eden Project
 Now I’m back in London and I have three days before I jet off to St Kitts and Nevis – a two-island nation in the west Caribbean featuring beaches, volcanoes, rainforests, monkeys, former sugarcane plantations, and thankfully no Zika virus (yet). It is here that I will be climbing volcano number two in my #40by40 quest.

Continue reading