Peak to Peak 2013 – Meet the team!

‘Peak to Peak 2013’ is not about doing an expedition with a huge budget and a lot of support.  In-fact we have made a conscious effort to do away with support vehicles and vessels and instead focus on selecting a small team of super-experienced people to get the job done.  It’s an interesting exercise in team management  – choosing the right people for the right job.  I am pleased to introduce the team below:

Jim Morrow

jim morrowI had the pleasure of getting to know Jim Morrow during an expedition to the North Ridge of Everest in 2011.  The first thing that I remember noticing about Jim was how fit he appeared.  After meeting him and getting to know him, I quickly realised Jim was a great companion.  Tough, dependable, super-experienced and down to earth.  We spent much of the expedition walking or climbing between camps together.  Jim is aged 63 and started outdoor adventure at age 13 with his school tramping club.  Since that time he has amassed an incredible amount of experience in the ranges and mountains around New Zealand and Nepal.  And it isn’t over yet! Jim joined the Auckland Tramping Club after leaving school and covered much of the NZ back country with the club.  His love for tramping, climbing and ski-ing has seen him climb all North Island mountains more times than he can remember.  He is a member of the unofficial “Three in a Day Club”(membership requires climbing Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe Tongariro, and returning to base within 24 hours).   Jim summited Mt Cook in 2002 and moved on to five Himalaya expeditions. In 2005 he successfully summited Lhakpa Ri, 7045m, sled hauling from the Rongbuk Glacier to the Kangshung.   In 2007 Jim attempted Cho Oyu ( 8200m), but was turned back by a storm.  In 2009 he made the first known ascent of the north side of Himlung, 7126m. In doing so he became the first kiwi to summit Himlung by any route. In 2011 Jim attempted Mt Everest and turned back at 8550m in very strong winds.  Jim was the 2012 leader of the Auckland Tramping Club team to Saribung Peak, 6328m and Mustang Kingdom trekking.

Jim is a key team member of Peak to Peak 2013, being the transport support to get us from Auckland International Airport to Mt Ruapehu and he will also be joining us on our climb to Tahurangi – the summit of Ruapehu – something Jim likes to do at least once every year.

Alan Silva

Alan at Unwin Hut Feb 2011 Photo Grant Rawlinson Collection-001‘Quiet achiever’ would be the best term to describe Alan Silva.  I first met Alan while rock climbing.  Alan was rope soloing (climbing by himself, using a rope for safety which he controlled himself – not a particularly straight forward thing to do).   It was very impressive to see the ease and confidence he scampered up vertical rock, belaying and rope handling  himself.

In his own words Alan is a wrinkled old fart who enjoys nothing better than dragging his battered old & wrinkled carcass on another of life’s wondrous journeys. He is constantly amazed by the great adventure to had by simply by putting one foot in front of the other particularly when all have decided that maybe stamp collecting poses a lesser risk. While ever there is still a glint in his eye and a taste of adventure to be had, be it a little vertical foolishness on the pointy end of a rope, a mountain-bike dash down an expanse of black tarmac/bush track or a paddle between distant islands he’ll be hard at it.

Australian born Alan, 52 has bushwalked, climbed, caved, canyoned, kayaked, cycled since humping a backpack at 8 years old and shows no sign of letting go… with two Everest summits (in one week), a solo climb of the North Face of the Eiger and 9 of the Seven Summits under his feet – all going well; the Peak to Peak trip will be his 7th time to view Aotearoa (New Zealand) from the top of Aoraki/Mt Cook .

Alan is a professional structural engineer by training and a dad to two daughters, Rana and Tashi.  When not adventuring Alan currently resides in Como, Sydney – Australia.

For such an accomplished mountaineer and climber, Alan prefers to fly under the radar and you will struggle to find his name in magazines/websites or media.  One of the few books he does make an appearance was written by the well known ‘TV adventurer’ – Bear Grylls, who much to Alan’s disgust spells his name wrong.     “I keep reading about this mythical Aussie climber by the same of ‘Allen’ Silva written in a few books by the adventurer & TV personality Bear Grylls.. Fuck, am I happy not to be that fella – but then again if I was I would have done the world a favour and pushed Bear off the summit of the Big E to shut him up…!”

Alan will be taking part in the full length of the ‘Peak to Peak 2013’ and his extensive expedition experience, especially on Mt Cook will be invaluable.

Tim Taylor

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATim Taylor will be joining ‘Peak to Peak 2013’ for the kayak leg across the Cook Strait.  Tim will be supplying the kayaks and also joining us on the paddle.  Tim began kayaking at the age of 12 while in his first year of high school. He was very fortunate to become involved in the sport through the strong whitewater slalom team at his school and quickly grew into a good paddler under the guidance of coaches and senior paddlers. Within a few years Tim was selected for the New Zealand Slalom team and was competing at a national and international level. Tim also participated heavily in extreme whitewater in a sport that we now call ‘creaking’ (it didn’t have a name back then).
After high school Tim stopped paddling for a few years and concentrated on study at Lincoln university, ultimately qualifying with a Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology (winemaking). After graduating he worked, traveled, and got back into kayaking seriously when he moved back to Tauranga. After a stint in Europe, Tim came home with the idea of circumnavigating New Zealand in a Sea Kayak. This was a distance of roughly 5500km and had never been undertaken in one continuous journey. A few people had paddled around the individual islands but no one had ever attempted in one go and many said it was impossible.
In Christmas 2013 Tim left his job and committed himself to a year of full-time training and preparation for the New Zealand expedition. Paddling an average distance of 40km per day, he gained an immense level of fitness and skill. This served him well when he began his trip on November 29, 2010. During this trip Tim paddled up to 80km a day, following the coastline and camping on the beach at night. The summer of 2010/2011 was extremely bad for weather and Tim spent long periods of time stuck in remote locations. He ultimately had to finish his trip on May 2011 at 90 mile beach, as he was unable to round Cape Reina in the rougher winter conditions. Tim returned in February 2012 and finished the final leg back to Tauranga in just under 1 month.
With the experience that Tim gained from the New Zealand trip and also his whitewater background, Tim is in a position where he is considered as one of New Zealand’s top kayakers.   He has grown to love the freedom of the kayaking lifestyle so traded jobs and became a full-time kayaking guide. Eventually he started his own kayaking company (click here) that specialises in remote kayaking and fishing trip.  He will release his first book later this year on Kayak fishing.

Robert Mills

rob mills hunting march 2010 006

Robert Mills is happily married to Denise and the father of 2 young boys, Liam and Matthew.  Robert resides in Stratford, Taranaki, New Zealand.  Robert grew up on a sheep farm in the remote eastern Taranaki hill country and moved away to boarding school at age 12 then onto University where he graduated with a degree in Law and Accounting.  Robert has long enjoyed the outdoors, unfortunately not always in my company.  In 1996, Robert and I walked the Routeburn and Greenstone tracks in the South Island of New Zealand.  It was  a walk where we encountered torrential rain and carried much to heavy packs.  I had been in charge of the food, and had assigned Robert one fully cooked roast chicken to carry for dinner on the second night.  All of our feet became very sore and compounded with the heavy packs resulted in Robert informing me in no uncertain terms this would be the last trip he ever made with me.

Fortunately time has a way of dulling the memory of pain, and Robert has agreed to join ‘Peak to Peak 2013’ for the start of the journey on the climb to Tahurangi (the summit of Ruapehu), this time without the roast chicken. Robert has been training hard on the slopes of Mt Taranaki and also hunting trips in the build-up to December’s climb.  Robert is also a volunteer fireman with the Stratford Volunteer Fire Brigade.  He drove the fire engine to the scene of my sister Debra Avery’s horrific car accident in 2012(read more here).  Along with the rest of the emergency crews which responded and helped to save Debra’s life, Peak to Peak 2013 plan to present Robert a NZ$1000 donation on the summit of Mt Ruapehu – to be shared between the volunteer emergency services which attended the accident.

Jack Rawlinson


Jack Rawlinson is a 71-year-old hill country sheep and beef farmer from Eastern Taranaki.  Jack was born in Taranaki and has worked and lived on the family farm that has passed down through the generations, with Jack being the 3rd generation Rawlinson to run the property.  A ‘man of the land’ literally, Jack left school at 16 and has been on the farm ever since, his favorite place in the world.

Jack has recently acquired two brand new knees (i.e full knee re-constructions) and was very eager to try these out by joining Peak to Peak 2013 for the climb of Ruapehu.  However he has also been slightly under the weather and will be undergoing surgery on his hand next week, so it appears he may be joining as the expedition cook for the first evening of the expedition only.  Jack also happens to be my father so I have tasted his cooking many times.  I can confirm it is very nice so we are all happy with this arrangement.  Jack will also take our bikes from Taumaranui and deposit them at Whanganui town at the bottom of the Whanganui river at the end of our 240km paddle.

Greg Moore


Greg Moore, is a long-time friend and supporter of my adventures and grew up in South Canterbury, New Zealand.  After working in New Zealand for many years he has spent the last major period of his life working in remote locations in Indonesia as a construction manager.  Greg spent many years exploring and climbing around the Southern Alps in New Zealand in his younger days with a core team of buddies.   Greg is married to Yoke, with three daughters and a young granddaughter. Greg hung up his climbing gear a few years back but now enjoys other passions in his life, including geocaching.  He is also a fulltime All Black supporter and loves travelling to exotic destinations with Yoke during their time off and even the occasional beer.

Greg is familiar with the route the Peak to Peak 2013 expedition will be taking, especially in the South Island section, so has kindly volunteered to update the expedition blog while we are en-route.  Greg will post updates as I call them into him by Satellite phone.  Much of the area we will be travelling through will have no mobile phone access.

Grant Rawlinson


Finally there is me. Grant ‘Axe’ Rawlinson, 39 years old, born and bred in Taranaki, New Zealand, and now living in Singapore where I work as an inspiring keynote speaker and a regional sales manager.    I have long enjoyed taking part in unique expeditions to remote corners of this beautiful earth and have climbed in amazing locations such as Patagonia, the Andes, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakstan, Pakistan, Nepal, Russia, Africa, Tibet and Iran.  One of my favorite places to climb and adventure is still New Zealand and over the years I am firmly in the belief that if you can climb and look after yourself in the rugged and tough conditions in New Zealand – then you can look after yourself anywhere.

‘Peak to Peak 2013’ is my brain child and is really an excuse to have an adventure with some good mates, whilst trying a completely human-powered adventure. I  am extremely interested in human-powered adventure and just how far we can take this concept.

The major objective of any of my adventures is to come home safely, so responsible risk-taking and wise decision-making will be at the forefront of our approach.  We hope you will enjoy following our progress!

Posted on November 10, 2013, in Peak to Peak 2013 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I have just shown Phil your dad’s photo and he just can’t believe he is 71 unless the photo is an earlier edition ! I must say I agree with him. It must be all that fresh air a farmer gets. By the way is your sister fully recovered from that dreadful car crash ? Cheers Kate


    • Hi Kate – the photo is about 3 years old so he does look slightly older now 🙂 Yes the fresh air must be good for him I agree! Debra had another operation two weeks back for more bone grafts and a new rod in her femur – lets hope this one works better! Thanks for asking and hope all is well with you and the family! Cheers.


  2. Ah my old neighbour Rob Dobalina. Good luck.
    Ps. Lay off Bear, he is cool.


  3. reads like a superbly skilled team to keep the serious and fun in equilibrium… have a super time adventuring.


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