TODAY |

Queenstown freeskier helping to plant trees around the world

A Queenstown freeskier is climbing mountains daily, and for every vertical metre he reaches a new tree is planted in parts of the world that need it most.

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Pete Oswald has planted a tree for every metre of Coronet Peak, which he climbs almost daily. Source: 1 NEWS

Pete Oswald tackles Queenstown's Coronet Peak for a good environmental cause.

“I think today, actually, I've just done three times the height of Everest.”

He tracks every metre and keeps a tally online because donations for his efforts go to forestry restoration in places like Madagascar.

“One vertical metre climbed will equal one tree planted,” he said.

Around 90 per cent of Madagascar's original forest has been destroyed. It is home to species not found anywhere else in the world.

“They are being threatened on a daily basis from deforestation, so the work we are doing is absolutely instrumental in not only restoring the land but also the lives of the people,” says Debbie Crawford from Eden Reforestation Projects.

Oswald has visited the African island and seen his donations going directly to the project.

“Eden Projects employs the local people to plant the trees and it breaks the poverty cycle.”

His original target was 20,000 vertical metres, but the giddy heights keep on calling. His new target is 50,000 vertical metres.

“Skiing is a hell of a privileged thing that we get to do here, and if you are able to go skiing then life is not bad. So if you can help someone at the same time, then it's even better.”

His campaign has local backing too.

“I appreciate, too, that he loves skiing and getting into high places, so he is getting the bonus of enjoying all of that as well to get the money for the cause,” says Barb Simpson from Wakatipu Reforestation Trust.

Oswald says, “I will do my level best to climb as many metres as I can but if the donations means the tree count runs away on me then I am happy as Larry.”

You can find out more at https://www.peteoswald.co.nz/ski-for-trees.