EVOCATIVE: Hastings backpacker Joe Hopkirk captured this photograph of the erupting Mt Bromo.

HB climber snaps fury of volcano

Mountain man Joe Hopkirk finds himself in an Indonesian hotspot.

A Hastings backpacker with a passion for rock climbing was on hand to capture Tuesday's eruption of Indonesia's Mt Bromo, which killed two people as rocks the size of footballs were hurled from the mountain's crater.

Joe Hopkirk, 23, of Rimu Street, was there with his camera when thick plumes of smoke erupted from the volcano 75 km south of Surabaya, the capital of East Java and Indonesia's second largest city.

The volcano is one of 100 forming the Pacific "ring of fire" which Indonesia sits astride.

Joe, who completed his schooling at St Patrick's School and Colenso High School in Napier before earning a philosophy degree at Victoria University in Wellington, had been in Indonesia as part of a mountaineering trip a month before the eruption. He will continue on to Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, London, Spain, France and South America.

His mother Jan Bevan, a teacher at St Patrick's, said Joe kept her up to date with regular e-mails.

"He's been sending home the most incredible photos for the last 18 months or so," she said today.

The motivation for his trip is to scale as many mountains across the continents as he can.

"He just loves climbing," Ms Bevan said of her son, who has also worked as a rock climbing instructor.

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This page last updated on June 14, 2004