New book celebrates our strong mountaineering heritage
THE GREAT UNKNOWN: MOUNTAIN JOURNEYS IN THE SOUTHERN ALPS BY GEOFF SPEARPOINT
Published by Potton & Burton; October 18, 2019; RRP: $59.99
‘The mountains speak. They draw us in, take us on missions into unseen corners, cast spells and sometimes let us on their summits. They throw us into gorges, stun us with their peaks, drag us into heroic struggles, forge fantastic friendships, and change our lives forever. To those with their eyes open, mountains can lead to a new reality.’ – Geoff Spearpoint, The Great Unknown
New Zealand has a proud 120-year-old tradition of tramping and mountaineering. The gear people wear and the provisions they take may have changed beyond recognition, but the mana of trans-alpine adventures and the respect the Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o te Moana command, remains constant.
Geoff Spearpoint is renowned in outdoor circles; a highly skilled and experienced trans-alpine tramper and mountaineer, who has been venturing into the Southern Alps for more than 50 years. His decades long love affair with her most wild and remote reaches are the springboard for The Great Unknown: Mountain Journeys in the Southern Alps – his most personal book to date.
Told from both a tramping and mountaineering perspective, Spearpoint shares many of his stories and adventures undertaken in the Southern Alps. He also touches on the history and character of each area explored, celebrating the rugged beauty and majesty he finds, as well as the exhilaration he experiences in the backcountry – the storms and floods, rockfall and river crossings, camps and climbs.
Through words and high-quality photography, Spearpoint pays tribute to 14 regions in the Southern Alps – from Kahurangi to Fiordland – which the reader discovers through four thrilling mountain journeys in each. Less well-known wilderness areas such as the Bracken Snowfield, Garden of Eden Ice Plateau, Mt Hooker, the Olivine Ice Plateau and northern Fiordland are covered, as well as more travelled places like the Hokitika area, Tasman Glacier and Aoraki/Mt Cook.
Throughout, Spearpoint focuses on the ‘joy of being alive in the mountains’ and challenges us to reassess our relationship with the backcountry – the wildlife and flora – reflecting that in the longer-term, nature will be in charge of the planet, rather than humans. Our role in the mountains is to be guardians of their mana.
The Great Unknown: Mountain Journeys in the Southern Alps celebrates our iconic New Zealand wilderness and makes a significant contribution to our canon of mountaineering literature.
GEOFF SPEARPOINT began his outdoor apprenticeship in the Tararuas and has an extensive knowledge of our backcountry. He was a guide for television programmes ‘Explorers’ and ‘First Crossings.’ One of his current passions is backcountry hut and track restoration, and he is on the Board of the Backcountry Trust. Geoff has written for club journals, Wilderness, authored
a book called Waking to the Hills, edited several editions of Moirs Guide North, co-authored a transalpine and climbing guide The Canterbury Westland Alps for the NZAC, and co-authored two hut books, Shelter from the Storm and A
Bunk for the Night. Geoff lives in Banks Peninsula.