December 15, 2009

NEW ZEALAND: Mountain Man Jim

. AUCKLAND, New Zealand / Western Leader December 15, 2009 By Justin Latif, Western Leader NATURAL HIGH: Jim Harrow on top of Mt.Himlung Retired builder Jim Morrow doesn’t let age slow him down. The 59-year-old Te Atatu South resident has just returned from Nepal where he climbed the 7126 metre high Mt Himlung. And thinks he might be the first New Zealander to do it. "I’m laying claim to be the first Kiwi to climb this mountain and if anyone steps forward to challenge that I’d welcome it," he says. "We also think we’ve made the first ever ascent of the north side." UNSCALED HEIGHTS: Mountaineer Jim Morrow believes he is the first New Zealander to have scaled the 7126-metre Mt Himlung in Nepal. Photo: Justin Latif Jim’s trip to the Himalayas was his third and he was accompanied this time by seven Australians. Reaching the top of Himlung was exhilarating. "I wouldn’t have missed it for a million dollars," he says. "And it’s nice knowing it might be something no one has ever done before." The father of two spent six months training at West Wave gym and doing 20km walks every second day. The most challenging part of the ascent was the last 100 metres to the top. "This is the biggest mountain I’ve climbed," he says. "The day spent climbing to the summit was the hardest I’ve ever done. "It was a tough climb and it was high altitude so we were just struggling along." Jim was introduced to the sport by a teacher at high school but was also inspired by Sir Edmund Hillary’s feats. "Ivan Pickens was a teacher at Mt Roskill Grammar in the 1960s and it’s thanks to him that I started this," he says. "We did a lot of tramping through the Waitakere Ranges but also did trips to the Coromandel and to the Nelson Lakes." Jim’s sights are now set on another peak – but not the biggest of them all. "I’m don’t know if I even want to go to Everest," he says. "It costs about $60,000 so I’m not sure it’s value for money. "But I did try to do an 8000 metre mountain called Cho Oyu in 2007 and didn’t succeed because of weather. So I’d like to have another go at it." [rc] © 2009 Fairfax New Zealand Limited