The original 52 Peaks Challenge. A film and blog, documenting a personal challenge of growth by running up 52 mountains across New Zealand, all within a calendar year (2013).

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  • The Project is GO!

    So I’ve been thinking about a project that I can totally commit myself to in 2013.  I’m based in New Zealand now and need to focus if I’m going to reach my running potential.   52Peaks is just a part of this key thinking for the next year and I’m going to run 52 peaks…

  • Peak 1: Devil’s Rampart

    I headed off to the mountains near Lewis Pass for the first of the 52 peaks this weekend; The Devil’s Rampart (1740m). Being the first peak in the 52 Peak challenge, I wanted it to start with a bang and in stunning weather. It totally came true, it was beautiful weather (30C+) and there was…

  • Peak 2: Mt Thomas

    This weekend I’ve travelled across the Canterbury Plains to Mt Thomas, a small peak (1023m) overlooking the sea and basically is one of the foothills that makes up the start of the Southern Alps from the east, second in line out of 52 peaks. This route started at the Wooded Creek Campsite and quickly climbed…

  • Peak 3: Roy’s Peak

    Peak 3: Roy’s Peak

    From the wine country of Hawkes Bay for the orienteering Sprint the Bay competition, straight to Wanaka – one of the most picturesque places in New Zealand for the peak number three; Roy’s Peak.

  • Peak 4: Mt Alford

    Peak 4: Mt Alford

    This weekend I headed to the plains of Canterbury to complete a peak closer to home, number 4 of 52 peaks. Mt Alford, standing at 1171m is the largest of the mountains in the Alford range, nestled between Mt Somers and Winterslow to the south-west and the Mt Hutt range to the north

  • Two peaks with a twist…

    I’m currently processing all the video footage and photos from my latest 52 Peaks trip to the West Coast – north of Reefton to the brand new DOC trail (yet old mining trail) the Old Ghost Road, and south towards Greymouth to the famous biking trail the Croesus Track. The two peaks in question are…

  • Peak 5: Rocky Tor, Old Ghost Road

    Peak 5: Rocky Tor, Old Ghost Road

    What a weekend to remember. Not only did I manage to complete two peaks in a weekend, but I also managed to ride in a helicopter, mountain bike up to 1200m and spent the weekend camping with some good friends. The Old Ghost Road trail runs 85km from Lyell to Seddonville on the north end…

  • Peak 6: Croesus Knob

    Peak 6: Croesus Knob

    After the previous peak (5/52 Peaks) at the top of Old Ghost Road we set off to the south west, along the coast towards the Croesus track, an 18km track from Blackball village over the range to the Tasman Sea. The plan was to bike the 10km to Ces Clark Hut and then run the…

  • Peaks 7 & 8: Hamilton Peak, (Nervous Knob) & Sunny Peak

    Peaks 7 & 8: Hamilton Peak, (Nervous Knob) & Sunny Peak

    So something slightly more epic this week; running from Broken River camp ground all the way up to the top of the Craigieburn & Broken River skifields, along the ridge and down again for both the 7th and 8th out of 52 Peaks. This was a little bit more adventurous, off the trails and purely…

  • Peak 9: Dumblane

    Peak 9: Dumblane

    Off to Hanmer Springs, an alpine village about 140km north of Christchurch. Famous for hot springs, a mountain biking mecca and the ‘local’ ski field… and it was here that I’d planned the 9th 52 Peaks summit.

  • A Week of Rest

    After completing nine of the 52 Peaks, I decided to take a weekend off to rest and recuperate after a busy start to the year.

  • Peak 10: Rabbit Hill

    Peak 10: Rabbit Hill

    So apparently it does rain in New Zealand… after months of sunshine and blue skies for the 52 Peaks, the clouds were upon me this weekend. The cloud base unfortunately was sitting at sea level and cleared at 1800m, so I was definitely in the midst of the cloud and drizzle at 1251m…

  • Peak 11: Kapakapanui

    The beautiful North Island is this week’s location for a 52 Peaks Challenge… this time in the Tararua Range of mountains, which is split into two halves creating both a northern and southern crossing. The peak I’d chosen to go for is called Kapakapanui, on the west side of the range overlooking Kapiti Island and…

  • Peak 12: Big Ben

    Back to Canterbury this week with another peak from the Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park, this time for number 12 out of 52 peaks… Big Ben (1416m).

  • Peak 13: Mt Cloudsley

    Peak 13: Mt Cloudsley

    So a trip to Castle Hill Village for the weekend. The ideal break from the city life and a great time for… a spot of mountain biking along the Hogs Back and of course some 52 peaks running time (!) all next to the world famous Kura Tawhiti (Castle Hill).

  • No Peaks, Just Orienteering Nationals

    So I decided after a few years out of the sport and having raced Sprint the Bay earlier in the year to head to the National Orienteering championship. Conveniently they were taking place in Christchurch so… and why not! Having not really raced in terrain for a while (trail running is so different to tussocks…

  • Peaks 14 & 15: Mt Lyndon and Cloudy Hill

    Winter is coming. That’s what all ‘Game of Thrones’ fans are shouting at the moment – but it’s also true of New Zealand’s seasons for the 52 Peaks Challenge. This weekend we had the first dump of snow in the Torlesse and Craigieburn Ranges, not a lot but enough to sugar coat the peaks above…

  • Peak 16: Mt Bovis

    Ah the West Coast. To some this is a rainy place. A place of grey misery, forged out of coal mining pits and historical misdemeanors – reached only be a single track that winds it’s way up the rugged coastline. They’d be totally right… but when the sun does come out, the beauty of the…

  • Peaks 17A, B & C – The Dunedin 3 Peaks

    After a week recovering from something I picked up in Punakaiki (was it a bug going round, that venison burger I had from the cafe or nature’s sign that I needed a rest…) and as I’d stopped the vommiting, it felt like I was taking to turn for the better. I decided I was well…

  • Peak 18: Mt Sinclair

    Mt Sinclair sits a long way back (part of the Sinclair Range) next to the Two Thumbs ski range, north of Lake Tekapo and is a chain of peaks over 2000m in altitude. Mt Sinclair itself, named after Dr Sinclair, who, back in 1861 was Colonial Secretary to the New Zealand Government. He, along with…

  • A Rest: Hanmer Half Marathon and MTB Circuit

    So instead of doing a peak this weekend, I turned my attention to a last minute entry into the Hanmer Springs half-marathon; a hilly, trail half marathon in the foothills of the Lewis Pass Range. I was offered a lift to Nelson with JJ and Richard Ussher (who were competing in the Rollos 24hr Adventure…

  • Peak 19 (Attempt): Mt Armstrong – a peak too far?

    “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” Once said by Sir Edmund Hillary about climbing a peak. On Sunday, I felt the same.

  • Peak 19 (Complete): Foggy Peak

    Gratuitous peak of the week. After not successfully completing a peak for two weeks now, I decided to bag a classic. Foggy Peak (1741m) lies next to Porter’s Pass, the gateway to the Southern Alps from Christchurch…

  • Peak 20: Mt Isobel

    So Peak 20! How time flies… and up to Hanmer Springs once again (the alpine village holds numerous sporting events in the area throughout the year). The Mt Isobel Challenge was on today’s menu, a mountain/trail duathlon.

  • Peak 21: Mt Robertson

    It’s June 1st and it’s the official start date of Winter and time for Peak 21. Winter…? What Winter?

  • Peak 22: Ben More

    Woohoo! Back in Canterbury and ready for another peak. This time my old favourite, Ben More. I’ve tried on 2 previous occasions to tick off this mountain and it seems reluctant to want to be bagged… so I thought I’d try again this weekend.

  • Peak 23 (Attempt): Mt Somers

    So as New Zealand gets some of the worst snowfalls in the last two decades, the 52 Peaks Challenge must go on. With the rain pouring down in Christchurch, we set out early this weekend to try and conquer the snow and another summit. With cross-country skis (for some) in tow and snow chains packed…

  • Peak 23 (Completed): Black Hill

    After the heavy snows of the last week in June left a lingering sense in the air. I needed to take advantage of these conditions and get back into the mountains ASAP for an epic adventure. The plan was worked on throughout the week with Dave (currently striving for twelve 2000m+ mountains in the year)…

  • A week of earth, wind, rest and rain

    After the first heavy snowfalls the skifields were screaming. Not only did avalanches destroy a lot of the club field’s lift tows, but there were numerous stories of worse weather to come… and it always comes at the weekend to annoy those who work 5 day weeks!

  • Peak 24 (Attempt): Mt Richardson

    After last week’s rest and gap due to terrible weather in the mountains, I decided to get an easier peak, hopefully managing to run the whole thing too instead of wallowing in deep snow. So the peak chosen was Mt Robertson (1047m), part of the Oxford range of hills near the Ashley River north of…

  • Peaks 24, 25 and 26: Hogs Back, Bridge Hill and Helicopter Hill

    Getting my act together over Winter has been an interesting challenge. In the height of Summer I didn’t even regard Winter as a challenge (as we’d had a good 5 weeks of blue skies in January) so thought that I’d be able to manage it all the way through with no issues. How wrong I…

  • Peak 27: Manakau

    The mountains are calling you… well that was the talk in the office this week. After copious amounts of persuasion (thank you Silvia) I decided to take on the task of climbing Manakau (2608m) with a couple of friends (in the end there were seven of us), the highest peak in the Seaward Range of…

  • Peak 28: Peak Hill

    After a week of recovery from Manakau, and with bad weather on the horizon, I decided to make the short trip to Lake Coleridge for another running peak, this time slightly less climb to Peak Hill (1240m), a classic Canterbury day walk.

  • Peak 29: Ben Lomond

    A weekend away is always nice, especially into the mountains. Queenstown was the destination for a spot of mountain running, luging, frisbee golf and drinks thrown in too. A gathering of friends from around the world was an opportunity not to be missed. So there it stood on a Sunday evening, to the north… somewhere……

  • Peak 30: Nervous Knob (Yes Really!)

    What were they thinking, naming a peak Nervous Knob? a quick Google search on the subject might not be the best idea… but I decided a Winter ascent of the peak was in order this weekend, standing at 1820m, it’s a peak of a pretty high order too. Having run across the ridgeline earlier in…

  • Peaks 31 & 32: Mt Cheeseman & Mt Cockayne

    Another week, another peak in the Craigieburns! Some great (ish) conditions led me to head out with a group of mates & Caralyn across the top of the ski fields towards Mt Cheeseman (2031m) and join them for some ski touring.

  • Peak 33: Mt Richardson – Finally!

    A gorgeous weekend where some of my friends went to the West Coast to tick off Mt Adams, I decided to have a weekend in Christchurch and complete a peak I’d tried once before, Mt Richardson (1047m). After hearing about the stunning conditions on Mt Adams, I’m a bit gutted I didn’t go but happy…

  • Peak 34: Mt Murchison

    Who wants to walk in for 9 hours up a river valley into snowy and freezing conditions for the weekend? Yes, you guessed it… Peak 34 was a planned 3 day trek into Barker Hut in Arthur’s Pass National Park and a go at Mt Murchison on the middle day and Mt Harper on the…

  • Peak 35: Mt Somers (Completed!)

    After Mt Murchison, and a weekend of rain throughout the whole of New Zealand, I felt the need to get back into running now that the snow had apparently ceased falling. So there it was; yet another work-week full of rain in Christchurch and one of proper Springtime temperatures and Mt Somers seemed like a…

  • Peak 36: Mt Charon

    After Mt Somers being yet another trip in the snow and the cloud, Mt Charon was a little different!! No clouds, scorching temperatures and blue skies (although the drive started out in thick fog!). I had planned to run up a mountain on the north side of the Clarence River just north of Hanmer Springs.…

  • Peak 37: Mt Royal

    After yet another break with poor weather in the mountains I headed up north for some brighter skies. Marlborough was the ideal location, with the forecast being super blue skies and very much a lack of wind below 3000m – Amazing!

  • Peak 38: Mt Fishtail

    After the previous day on Mt Royal and the weather going to be even warmer for longer, I decided to take on the peak that was haunting me all the way to the summit yesterday… Mt Fishtail.

  • Peak 39: Mt Oxford

    The last peak within an hours drive of Christchurch was today’s destination and Mt Oxford (1364m) was going to get the 52 peaks treatment.

  • Peaks 40 & 41: Huatekerekere & Mt Peel

    What a day for two peaks! Canterbury doesn’t disappoint with weather like this. A previous night of rain followed by no cloud, blue skies and warm temperatures – what more could you ask for?

  • Peaks 42 & 43: Mt Barossa & Mt Guy

    Another amazing week in Canterbury – the Summer is coming on strongly and I made the most of it by heading into the Hakatere Valley towards Lake Clearwater. The weather was cloudy over Canterbury but breaks of blue sky for the rest of mountains – ready for Mt Barossa and Mt Guy.

  • Peak 44: Mt Aicken

    Arthur’s Pass. Popular, yet totally unpopulated. My run up Mt Aicken (1858m) left me stunned at the lack of people who are on the east side of the valley in this tourist centre for mountains, stunning day-walks and (of course) the occasional Kea.

  • Peak 45: Mt John

    Road Trip! A 5 hour car journey in a warm metal box all the way to Tekapo & Mt John… but hey, what a drive! I actually love the drive towards Wanaka, it’s one of those magical trips right out of Lord of the Rings.

  • Peak 46: Breast Hill

    After summiting the previous day, on the way down to Tekapo (Mt John), we continued our travels to Wanaka in the heart of Otago for Peak 46, Breast Hill. Horrendous weather on the drive across the Lindis Pass left us worried about the conditions for the next couple of days – but thankfully as we…

  • Peak 47: Red Hill

    What a great feeling on a mid-week peak. After driving out from Christchurch at 7am in the pouring rain to finishing the run in the scorching sunlight of a blue sky day. Canterbury outdoes itself yet again.

  • Peaks 48 & 49: Mt Ngauruhoe & Mt Tongariro

    Mt Ngauruhoe (2287m) and Mt Tongariro (1967m) are both along New Zealand’s active faultline and have both erupted within the last five years. Mt Tongariro’s last eruption was in fact November 21st 2012 – and it’s still streaming from the Te Mari vent when we ran the crossing.

  • Peak 50: Woolshed Hill

    Woolshed Hill (1429m) had been on the list for a while as a backup peak, and that was was I dearly needed. The weather around Christmas had been abnormally average and numerous storms were moving across New Zealand

  • Peak 51: Mt Bruce

    9 days to do only two peaks… Onwards to Cora Lynn and the next peak, Mt Bruce (1630m) at the back end of the Cass-Lagoon Saddle Track.

  • Peak 52: Avalanche Peak

    Peak 52. Wow, I never really thought I’d get here, especially looking back at the first few peaks, basking in the glorious sunshine that last summer offered. I’d never really contemplated the whole challenge, never thought about the winter months and hadn’t for the life of me forged a plan in my head to have…