The heights of friendship

Maria Cárcamo climbed Paritutu rock 1000 times in honour of her friend who passed away.  

Last week the 47-year-old made it to the top of the Taranaki landmark for the thousandth time, after making a promise in 2014 to a friend who later died of cancer.

The original promise was to climb the rock 100 times, but once she achieved that she decided she had enough of a fighting spirit to make it to 1000 climbs.

That decision ended up becoming an adventure of discoveries for Maria, and she says she met many, many tourists and locals on the rock, and often encouraged them to finish their climb. 

Over the years she met several people who were experiencing panic attacks on the slope of Paritutu rock and she says she always helped them to get down, and back to a more comfortable level.

During her thousandth climb Maria was joined by many friends and admirers, including a little dog named Sage.

Little Sage gets a treat for climbing to the very top of Paritutu rock. What a good doggo.

The reaction from a public was: “If the dog can do it, I probably can do it too!”  

Maria says she had been overwhelmed with all the support she has received on her quest, and she is already on the look out for her next adventure.

Words and photos by Olena Williams