Third chance for the mountain feat

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The rule of three came true on Saturday for the Wanaka Elise Stables firefighter fundraiser.

On her third attempt, she conquered three mountains with full firefighting gear.

Each time, she reached the summit in less than three hours – a perfect result after months of training.

Miss Stables (22) first planned her bid to raise money for the CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Research Trust taking place on May 28.

But she postponed when she found out she had to take her commercial helicopter pilot’s license flight test on the same day – and yes, she passed.

She caught Covid-19 just before her second attempt and postponed again.

After traveling to Canada and the United States to visit family, Miss Stables returned to Wanaka two weeks ago and set August 13 as her third and final chance before moving to Western Australia to start work as a junior pilot for a rally company.

Miss Stables brought down Mt Roy (1578m), Mt Isthmus (1386m) and Mt Iron (548m) in one day, supported at every step by friends and firefighters.

“I’m in a bit of pain now,” she said yesterday.

“I didn’t sleep the night before. I was nervous, thinking I didn’t want to go. I was terrified that I wouldn’t.”

Personal trainer Lucy Hunter picked her up before dawn on Saturday and drove her to Mt Roy.

Miss Stables found the breathing apparatus pack to be quite hard on her shoulders.

“The BA has a heavy hip strap that took a lot of the pressure off the shoulders on the way up, and it worked quite well. But coming down was a bit more painful,” she said.

Once off Mt Roy, she headed towards Mt Isthmus.

“I thought, ‘well, a bigger one’… When I started Isthmus, I thought, ‘oh no, I don’t know if I can do that’.

“It was also covered in snow and it was dry and packed compared to Roy. It took two hours and 59 minutes. I was happy to do that in under three hours.”

Up to 20 people joined in the final push up Mount Iron.

“All the boys were there in fire engines with sirens on. It was super cool, really cool. I didn’t think I was going to get that.”

More surprises awaited her as she approached the summit of Mount Iron.

Friends jumped from the bushes with party poppers and he was given a bottle of champagne to spray on the crowd.

Ms Hunter also completed the 36.5km triple-peak trek with Miss Stables, but without the breathing apparatus, heavy boots and other firefighting gear.

“She was amazing,” Ms Hunter said of her charge.

“She is exceptionally fit. Always up for a little adventure, ready for a challenge, she absolutely does not back down…I had to train. It was absolute work for me and an honor to do it at its ratings. “

Miss Stables has raised around $5,500 for the CatWalk charity. The online fundraising page is open for another week.

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