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February 2019 Issue
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Altitude for aid

Hasely Lobb of New Plymouth is an ambassador for this year’s Himalayan Trust Summit Challenge
Following in the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary, Hasely Lobb has thrown himself into fundraising for Nepal.

When New Plymouth engineer Hasely Lobb visited Nepal on his OE, he felt an immediate connection.

The footsteps of Sir Ed were visible everywhere; children on the streets asked Lobb for Kiwi five dollar bills, and faces lit up when he mentioned where he was from.

“Our two countries have had a strong link ever since Hillary conquered Everest,” Lobb says.

When the devastating earthquake hit Nepal in 2015, Lobb was at a loss as to how he could give back.

“I wasn’t in a position to give any money or go and do anything to help, and I found that sad, because I had such a good connection with the country and the people.”

The thinking cap went on, and the idea to climb up and down New Plymouth’s 156m Paritutu rock nonstop over a day was bandied about with a friend.

Deciding it might fail logistically, and fearing it would limit participation, a new idea was born – one that would later become the Himalayan Trust Summit Challenge.

Lobb decided to climb the height of Everest over a month, and pick up sponsorship along the way for his efforts.
“I created an event on Facebook and invited every single one of my friends. Fourteen people did it, but it created a lot of interest,” Lobb says.

The challenge may not seem difficult at first glance, but when you factor in work, sport and social commitments on top of tackling a minimum 285m every day of the month – or 38 summits of Mt Maunganui in 31 days – the scale of Everest comes into perspective.

Lobb – who can’t commit to the challenge every day of the week – knocks off a few 300m climbs on weekdays, and stacks up a further 1000-1200m on his weekends, biking to North Egmont, and walking up to Tahurangi Lodge.

“It definitely helps that I’ve got the mountain close by – it would be a bit harder if I was somewhere with no decent hills,” he says.

In May 2018, the Himalayan Trust came onboard as official organisers of the challenge – a real thrill for Lobb.

“I hoped it would be able to be carried on, and now they’ve done that, it makes all the effort worth it,” he says.

Envisioned originally as an altitude challenge, participants unable or unwilling to climb have set themselves unique challenges, including pushing a sled 8.48km, reading 8,848 pages, and climbing the height of Everest on a gym rope.
“It really helps to spur you on when you see what everyone else is doing,” Lobb said.

This year’s challenge is in March – participants can register here.