The September Issue
Take time to follow your dream - Brian Dagg
Brian Dagg (58) has come down from the mountains with a message to share – Don’t let anyone discourage you from doing what you want to do.
In May this year, Brian climbed to the summit of Denali (formerly Mt McKinley) which rises to 6,190m in the Alaska Range, North America.
His journey began in 2011 when he scaled Tanzania's Mt Kilimanjaro and has seen him summit the highest peaks in each of the seven continents - taking in Mt Aconcagua, in Argentina, Mt Elbrus, in Russia, Mt Vinson, in the Antarctic, and Mt Carstensz, in Indonesia as well as Everest.
The Queenstown high country shepherd only began serious mountaineering with the climb of Kilimanjaro.
“I think I’d been reading too many Wilbur Smith novels.”
And says he did not set out with any "real goal” to climb all seven summits.
“They just happened.”
Brian was 19 when he went farming with his brother and father on Coronet Peak Station.
He farmed all-up for 22 years, in later years on his own account, but came to realise there had to be “life after farming".
As often happens circumstances came together to make that happen.
“A lot of things conspired …a guy came and offered to buy the station.”
He spent a stint coaching rugby in Canada and later coached the under-19 Malaysian side.
On returning to New Zealand he became a casual shepherd.
“I’ve got the dream job …all care and no responsibility.”
Living and working in the high country has been the perfect conditioning for mountaineering.
He trained for only two weeks - on a rowing machine each evening - to climb Everest.
His days were taken up with work leaving few extra hours for any specialised regime.
“The high country gives you a great base fitness...and muscle memory.”
Denali - which he climbed with two professional guides the same age as his sons - proved to be the toughest peak.
Battling Arctic conditions, the journey began with a 21-day, 50km trek across a glacier hauling equipment and food to an altitude of 4300m and a wait for a window in the weather before the climb itself could begin. It was his third attempt.
Brian maintains mountaineering is not all about going up and coming back down again.
What made it meaningful was the “whole experience”, the preparation, getting there, meeting people.
Every mountain was different, every experience had. . .
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