Tramping: Climber's peak on ice to be her sixth summit

By Gary Hamilton-Irvine

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It's a simple equation of five down and two to go for Te Arawa climber Annie Doyle, who is off to Antarctica to tackle Mt Vinson.

Doyle's aim is to climb the largest mountains in all seven continents, a challenge known as Seven Summits.

She will be the first Maori woman to complete the feat if she climbs Mt Vinson next month and Mt Everest in 2014.

Doyle, now in her 50s, has already reached the summit of five peaks - Mt Kosciusko, Australia; Mt Elbrus, Europe; Mt Aconcagua, South America; Mt McKinley, North America; and Kilimanjaro, Africa.

Despite the difficult circumstances that cancelled her climb to Mt Everest in June this year, Doyle has not stopped training and will keep her dream alive when she tackles Mt Vinson.

"We had planned for this climb to be my last. So coming back from Everest, earlier this year, without reaching the summit was a bit disappointing."

But she said it happened for a reason and she would push on with her goal.

"I've never been to Antarctica before so it will be awesome," she said.

She said she expected to face many of the same challenges as she did climbing Mt McKinley, Alaska, with harsh weather and slippery ice underfoot.

Doyle said she would be travelling with a group of five people, including one guide, and each climber would carry 25kg packs on their back and pull a 25kg sled.

Sydney-based Doyle will leave on January 7 and fly to Antarctica via Chile, landing on an ice runway at Antarctica's Union Glacier. She is expected to return to Sydney on January 24, with the climb taking about 11 days.

While Mt Vinson is not considered by climbers to be as technically difficult as other mountains, the biggest risk is the extreme weather. Risks to Doyle's health will include frostbite, hypothermia, altitude sickness, hurricane-force winds, avalanches and shifting glaciers.

She is also focusing on raising money for her non-profit organisation Sunnyfield, which supports people with intellectual disabilities.

Apart from climbing, she is a mother of two, a post-graduate diploma in law student at Sydney University and the current Sunnyfield chief financial officer.

As a child, she spent two years living with her aunty in Rotoiti before moving to the Netherlands.

People interested can track her climb and donate to Sunnyfield at www.everydayhero.com.au/ontopoftheworld

- Rotorua Daily Post

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