Passion of My Life
did I get into climbing mountains?
When I was
younger, (like 43!) I was actually frightened of heights.
I say 43, as that is when I started climbing, which was to become “
The Passion of My Life “
1974, when my wife Fleur left me. I was devastated. I guess I must
have loved her. I seemed to have a death wish. Drinking too much,
crashing cars, & the like.
I found” The Mountains” & “Mountain People” My life
soared since then.
go back to the beginning of my introduction to the mountains, I was
minding my own business one day & the phone rang. It was a
friend, who said “how about joining us to do the Copeland pass.
This meant nothing to me, could it have been a new ball game, or
perhaps some sort of dance?, but found out this was climbing. Being
in a low mood, & known to “have a go at anything” I agreed.
hired a guide, named Nick Banks. We only found out much later,(as he
didden’t say much about himself) that Nick was the second Kiwi to
have sumitted Mt Everest after Hillary Wow,, what company
set forth early in the morning from The Hooker Hut to climb up to The
Pass. Straight off I decided I didn’t like this climbing lark, as
it just looked like hard work to me. Bit like on the farm aye. But
very soon Nick & I gelled. He told me I could climb,,,, so I
did,,,, & have done so ever since, all over the world. Nick
his family became friends for life, & though I haven’t climbed
with him a lot, I say to him, “every mountain I climb is due to
your influence”. Nick is a born teacher, & if he says you can
do it,,, you can.
farm was only a “fast hour,” eg. 100 miles, from Mt Cook, &
it often crawled with climbers, due largely to them wanting to , on
wet days , get away from the crostrophobic environment at the
had built a climbing wall inside my implement shed, ( the first one
around those days!) & some of the guides used to come with
clients, stay in the cottage, & train on the wall. Great days.
back now, I am happy to say, “I first climbed Cook as a boy of 50”
Have climbed it 6 times. The last as recently as 11 January this year
( on my73rd birthday,) & have the doubtful distinction of being
the oldest person by 7 yrs, to do so.
ask me, “why do you climb”, I answer, “ climbing is great, but
it’s the mountains themselves, & the people that climb that I
love. One of my old quotes is “The higher the hut, the more
fascinating the people”
think this big climb should be the last of the like.
said, “ I would probably die on a mountain, but as I got away with
this big one,,, in a bed might be nice.