Mt Ruapehu amputee William Pike to summit Antarctica's Mt Scott to inspire other Kiwis

Almost 10 years after he lost his leg during a Mt Ruapehu eruption, William Pike will summit a mountain in Antarctica.

The 32-year-old motivational speaker leaves today with three other Kiwis for the Antarctic Heritage Trust's second Inspiring Explorers' Expedition, which is about encouraging young people to connect with the continent's history and the spirit of exploration.

The group, including journalist Isobel Ewing, film-maker Simon Lucas and Air Force officer Sylvie Admore, were picked from more than 100 applicants.

Pike, who was a teacher at Murrays Bay Primary School, had his right leg amputated below the knee in 2007 after a volcanic blast sent debris and crater lake water into the Dome Valley Hutt where he was sleeping.

He was trapped and his right leg crushed. His friend, James Christie, was unable to free him and walked an hour down the slope to raise the alarm.

Pike is now the director of the William Pike Challenge Award, a youth development programme for students in Years 7, 8 and 9.

And he has returned to Mt Ruapehu several times since the eruption.

The Antarctica trip will see him and his companions climb the 880m Mt Scott, continuing the legacy of early explorer Robert Falcon Scott, from whom the mountain takes its name.

"It is 10 years since I lost my leg on Mt Ruapehu and I'm going to be stoked to celebrate that milestone on Antarctica," Pike said.

"I can't wait to go and retrace some of their footsteps and see it for ourselves."

The group will fly to Ushuaia in Argentina before boarding the Akademik Ioffe, a 117m vessel, which will take them to the Antarctic Peninsula for two weeks.

In partnership with adventure cruise company One Ocean Expeditions the group will be led by the trust's executive director, Nigel Watson.

Watson said it will be an "unbelievable trip".

"The Peninsula is a very special part of Antarctica - the wildlife and scenery there is incredible.

"It is also home to several international research stations."

He said the peak of the trip will be an attempt at climbing Mt Scott.

Part of the trust's work is conserving heritage sites in Antarctica, including Captain Scott's huts. It most recently restored Sir Edmund Hillary's Hut at Scott Base.

"All of our participants will be working hard to share the story of their Antarctic adventure both online and in person - it is this outreach that we hope inspires other Kiwis to make the most of this fantastic world we live in," Watson said.

- NZ Herald

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