Sunday, 27 April 2008

Jakarta, Singapore, Amsterdam,Geneva, Kuala Lumpur

It's been a whirlwind of a week as I had to go to Geneva for meetings on the future of our Tsunami operation in Indonesia. With Avian Flu threatening to mutate into human influennza at any time, and HIVAIDS on the increase, I also discussed the scaling up of these programmes amongst many other issues. Had a day in Singapore on the way and time to look at Mont Blanc and the Alps from Geneva. Got back last night dog tired. No energy for a story but a few photos and a poem at the end.
Singapore is so charming by night.

Many of my old favourite Chinese buildings I first saw in the early 70s are still there and being tastefully restored.

It was sad to see how prostitution is so out in the open, something that was unseen in the 70s and 80s.

Amsterdam. I never got out of the airport but sampled the wine, food and admired Van Gough paintings on display and the superb copies for sale.
Geneva was pretty as ever and to the east, Mt. Blanc was visible on Friday and Saturday.
Close up of Mt. Blanc I took last year.

Below is a poem I wrote about Geneva a few years ago.


A lonely chime
Rustles life into
Slumbering insects
In fallow fields
Where Knox and Calvin
Wandered deep in thought

A lazy chime
Rolls over a
Once puritanical city
Drained by the Rhone
And gathering greed
Veiled by a humanitarian face

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Fox Glacier Reunion and Joe Fluerty

The view that Joe Fluerty had when he visited Lake Matheson and looked up at Horo Koau, Mt. Tasman.

This weekend Mike and Carrol Browne are having a gathering of all former mountain and glacier guides who worked at Fox Glacier. I wish them every success for a memorable weekend. One man who has travelled over most of these glaciers. peaks, valleys and rivers, was a little known Maori from Tai Pountini, the West Coast, Joe Fluerty. Let's raise a glass to him. I would like to talk a little about Joe who was a great inspiriation to me as a young climber.

Joe Fluerty in the middle of the back row, standing, with fellow guides taken in 1925. Seated left to right Peter Graham, Frank Alack, Alec Graham. Back row Jack Pope, Joe, Tom Sheeran

In 1926, some entries began to appear in the Glacier Hotel visitor’s book under this name; the comment ‘packing stores’. Thus starts the illustrious guiding career of George Bannister’s cousin, a larger-than-life character, with a quick wit who soon became a master of step-cutting, learning much from Alec and Peter Graham. Surviving movie film footage shows the sheer brilliance of Joe’s step cutting in one sequence as he cuts up a vertical ice wall. The other outstaFluerty who was a master of all climbing skills.”
nding mountain guide of the 1930s,Jack Cox, pays tribute to Joe’s skills, “I learned the art of step cutting on the daily glacier trips, with much help from Joe

A climber on skiis on Pioneer pass at the head of the Fox Glacier

People liked Joe Fluerty. His trips were fun, safe and comments in hut books written by his clients, record greatenjoyment and fun on his trips. There is a wealth of information available on Joe Fluerty, who in his 18 year guiding career, touched the lives of so many people.Joe started off his career by packing tins of kerosene and food to huts, glacier guiding and guided ascents of peaks like Moltke, Roon, Drummond and St Mildred, before graduating to the high peaks.Horo Koau, later named Mt Tasman by European settlers, is a mountain of special significance to the Maori
people of South Westland. It stands supreme over all the others, including Aoraki (Mt Cook) and is clearly visible from most parts of South Westland on a fine day. As a boy and young man, the view of Horo Koau became part of Joe Fluerty’s daily vista. Unlike Aoraki, which he considered tapu and once turned back close to the summit, Horo Koau was a mountain he wanted to climb.

Chancellor Hut overlooking the lower Fox Glacier

On 10 March, 1932, Joe Fluerty, together with fellow guides Jack Cox and Jack Pope, did the first ascent of Mt Tasman from the West Coast side of the Divide. The Christchurch Press of 12 March describes the climb.
‘The party left the Glacier Hotel on March 8, for the Almer Hut, next day crossing over Newton Pass to the bivouac on the Pioneer ridge at the head of the Fox Glacier. On Thursday morning the party set out at 3AM, crossing the Fox Glacier neve, and ascending the steep couloir between Mt Tasman and Mt Lendenfeld, and reaching the Divide at Engineer’s Col. From here, except when negotiating an awkward schrund below the shelter of Mt Tasman, where the party was forced out on the east face, the main north-east arĂȘte was followed for its entire length, the ridge between the shoulder and the summit being exceedingly narrow.

Mt. Tasman with Engineer col on the left.

On the descent the party deviated from its route at Engineers Col and made the complete traverse of Mt Lendenfeld to the bivouac… The whole climb occupied 11 hours 20 minutes.’
Next year Joe played a key role in the rescue of Mark Lysons, who broke his leg on Mt Goldsmith.

Low peaks on the true left of the Fox Glacier

In the one day, Joe helped carry Mark Lysons back to Almer Hut from near Teichelman’s Corner, splinted his leg in the hut, went to Franz Josef township to get a doctor and rescue party and returned to Almer Hut the same day. The next day he helped carry Mark out to the road. In January 1935, Joe, together with Mark Lysons, guided Molly Williams on the first traverse of Mt Haidinger, a long 21 1/2 hour climb.16 The following year Joe guided a Dr Bradshaw on an ascent of Lendenfeld.
Apart from the numerous guided ascents achieved by Joe Fluerty, the one quality that fellow guides commented on was his uncanny navigation skills.

At Point A on the Chancellor ridge, with my daughter Aroha, with Fox Glacier, Mt. Tasman and Aoraki Mt. Cook in the background.

Gar Graham, who still resides at Okarito, recalls a crossing of West Hoe Pass in 1936, with Joe and two clients: “Joe led us over West Hoe Pass in complete white-out conditions and with an unerringly accurate sense of direction, led us to Chancellor Hut,” said Gar Graham.
Gar also recounted the dark night that two tourists failed to turn up for dinner at the hotel, and Joe led Gar out to find them. “Around midnight Joe discovered the cold couple sitting under a bush, off the track up near the Callery River. He had found them without using a torch and to lead the couple back, he picked up a handful of glow worms, put them on his shoulder and told them to follow the lights back.”
As a teenage climber I remember older mountaineers who knew Joe Fluerty, saying that he was able to smell his way to Fox or Franz out of the high mountains. Dorothy Fletcher recalls her father, Alec Graham, saying that Joe knew whether people were in the hut or not, when he was some distance away. He would tell Alec that he could smell them.

Dr. Teichelmann and Herman Osmars on the Pioneer ridge, Upper Fox Glacier.

Jack Cox also talked of Joe’s keen sense of smell and superb navigation skills.Hundreds of quotes on Joe’s humour abound, and a typical one comes from a former client of his, the Rev. Bower-Black:“At my request, the Maori guide Joe Fluerty was assigned to us, and to say that we all liked him is a mild way of putting it. He is one of the senior guides, and has the Maori unfailing patience and good humour. He is capable and reliable, and his sturdy figure striding on ahead gave us a feeling of confidence and security. Joe was full of mischief and as ready as an Irishman with his tongue. ‘Why do you wear those pieces of cloth round your ankles?’ asked a rather gushing lady at one of the huts. ‘To keep the dust out of my eyes,’ retorted Joe. Whereat the boys gurgled gleefully and the lady took it in good part.’
The Second World War disrupted the proud West Coast guiding tradition. Joe Fluerty enlisted, together with Mark Lysons. Joe never returned to Franz, and his fellow guide Mark Lysons, with whom he shared so many memorable climbs, was killed at Monte Cassino.

The Fox Glacier

Here is a more formal summary of Joe's life written by historian TRISH MCCORMACK Joseph (Hohepa) Fluerty was born at Arahura, near Greymouth, on 1 May 1903 to Toihi Te Koeti of Poutini Ngai Tahu and Robert Fluerty, a goldminer of European and Ngai Tahu ancestry. His great-grandfather, Tutoko, was one of five Ngai Tahu and Ngati Mamoe chiefs who in the early nineteenth century laid siege to the West Coast and established the foundations of Poutini Ngai Tahu. Fluerty attended schools at Arahura and Jacobs River.

Joe Fluerty was to become a well-known climbing guide in the Southern Alps, where he achieved a number of first ascents for Maori. In this he was continuing a family tradition of adventure. His uncle, Pahikore Te Koeti Turanga, had been a noted mountain guide in Westland. His grandmother, Ripeka Te Koeti Turanga, also known as Kawaipatiere or Hera Ripeka, and great-aunt, Te Ruaakeake (Mahi), completed an epic swim of Lake McKerrow near their village in south Westland.

In Greymouth on 7 July 1930, Fluerty married Florence Smith, a domestic worker, with whom he had one son, Neville. They divorced in 1938. Fluerty's subsequent failure to pay his wife child maintenance got him into trouble with the law. The couple remarried at Nelson on 17 February 1945. Neville died three years later.

Fluerty's mountain guiding career was ended by the Second World War. He enlisted and served on guard duty at Rongotai airbase in Wellington. He later moved back to the South Island to work at Woodbourne airbase near Blenheim, before retiring to Nelson. Joseph Fluerty died there on 25 December 1977. Florence had died in 1973.

As the weekend and the stories unfold, I will be thinking of Joe Fluerty, Jack Cox, Alec and Peter Graham, Franl Alack, Franz Barta, Peter McCormack and Mick Sullivan. I will also think of my early climbs, and especially my my first climb of a 3000 metre (10,000 foot) peak in New Zealand. Photo below.

On top on Malte Brun in 1967 with Aoraki Mount Cook in the background.

We all have our gurus. When I was 17, I met Jim Cowie who was a year older than me. With a VW, skis on his roof rack, and climbing and rugby gear in the back seat, we met in a pie shop in the North-East Valley in Dunedin in 1966 and very soon I had found a soul mate and climbing partner. Jim taught me to climb. Cowie, McLeod. McIvor and McKerrow (the Scots are we were called) became a formidable climbing quartet in the Mt. Cook region in the late 60s and early 70s. Together or in pairs we climber most of the 10,000 feet oo 3,000 metre peaks in NZ. Unfortunately Keith McIvor died in the winter of 1973 when attempting the first winter ascent of the Caroline face of Aoraki Mt. Cook. That was a big blow to our climbing team. Keith stayed in my house at Mt. Cook village the night before he set off on that fated climb.

Jim Cowie and Bob McKerrow taken a few years ago<.

My second guru was Mike Browne. He is leading the celebrations at Fox Glacier this weekend. The toughest trip I did with Mike was up the Fox Glacier, to the Franz, into the Spencer, Callery and the Burton, over Whataroa saddle into the Whataroa valley, with Mike Browne, Peter Dawkins and Don McFadzien in 1986. We climbed Eli de Beaumont and peak 5555 feet on the Burton ridge.

Mike Browne and Bob

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Love of light and shade, form and texture.

From the Fritz Fange looking over the Franz Josef Glacier and to Eli de Beaumont left and the Minarets right..

Last week I read Pete McGregor's blog where he was discussing black and white, as compared to colour photography. I thought of Ebenezer Teichelmann when I read the lines "to see in black and white is mostly a matter of imagination. To look at a landscape, a street scene, or—much harder—a flock of brightly coloured parakeets and to be able to visualise what a photo of those subjects might look like in black and white differs hugely from the knack of knowing these would make lovely colour photos."

Ebenezer Teichelmann,(pictured above) the most brilliant New Zealand mountain, landscape, place and people photographer of the early 20th century, was recently described by my friend Bruce White of Hokitika, as having "a love of light and shade, form and texture." You can see it in his photographs. Look at the light, composition and his sheer artistry.
But because he lived on the remote West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand from 1897 to his death in 1938, he has never been fully recognised for his stupendous contribution to New Zealand as one of our greatest mountaineers, surgeons, conservationists, photographers, soldier/doctor, humanitarian and gardener. He also pioneered the term 'knowledge sharing' when he set up the Carnegie library and the Westland Institute in 1905.
Lake Mahinapua

The East Ridge and East Face of Aoraki Mt.Cook

The art of photography had fascinated Ebenezer Teichelmann ever since he was a young man, and after his arrival in New Zealand in 1897, he was inspired to compose and record what he saw. When exactly he had acquired the knowledge and equipment is not clear, but by the time he arrived in Hokitika he had both. Strongly in love with the curves and angles of nature, he set about creating a huge collection of images that reveal today the extent of his love of light and shade, form and texture.
Another great alpine photographer and later friend of Ebenezer's, Canterbury’s Will Kennedy, describes Teichelmann’s ability with the camera:
Though the Doctor possessed a number of cameras most of his photographic work was done with 5 x 4 film and a whole plate camera. The few who now-a-day know what a weighty and cumbersome thing a whole-plate camera is with all its attendant paraphernalia including supplies of heavy glass plates, will understand why the porters (used only on the lower levels) regarded with askance, and tried to dodge those swags containing the heavier parts of this photographic outfit.

Red Lake with Mt. Cook in the background. The weather is not that good so look how he places a man to get a reflection in the lake.

Yet, that whole-plate camera found its way, in spite of all its drawbacks, up the Franz Josef Glacier to Cape Defiance and on to the summit of Halcombe Peak; up the Fox Glacier as far as the Pioneer Ridge; up the Cook River Valley to near the head of the La Perouse Glacier, and up on to the Balfour Range; up the Waiototo Valley and on to the Therma Glacier; up on to the Sealy Range; and up the Tasman Glacier to the Malte Brun Hut.

The west face of Mt. Haidinger

This camera which he kept to the end of the chapter reflects much of the finest photographic work the Doctor produced, both alpine and otherwise.
Remarkably fine photographic results were obtained from about the heads of the more southerly sub-tributaries of the Big Wanganui namely the Lord and the Lambert, and from the Divide Peaks of Malcolm, Snowy and Tyndall, and these photographs later proved of great assistance in the mapping of this country.

Newton Peak

On the eastern side of the Main Range with the Hermitage as centre, the Doctor did additional fine camera work from the Sealy Range, Footstool, Haast Ridge and Malte Brun Range. Though he ascended Mount Cook (third ascent) via the Linda Glacier, owing to adverse weather conditions no photographic records were taken. From all his alpine standpoints the Doctor made it a practice to secure panoramas as nearly complete as possible.

Dr. Teichelmann taking a photograph on the Upper Fritz Range, Franz Josef Glacier

The diversity of his photography is illustrated in the Department of Lands and Survey, Extract From The Annual Report On Scenery — Preservation For The Year Ended 31st March 1930, written by Dr L. Cockayne C.M.G.F.R.S, and Dr E. Teichelmann, Member of English Alpine Club. There is a selection of nine of his photographs ranging from a close-up of crape ferns to forest and mountain landscapes. Many of his photographs appeared in New Zealand Alpine Journals, various climbing books and were used extensively by the New Zealand Tourism Department to promote the West Coast overseas.

The successful party after the third ascent of Aoraki/Mt.Cook in 1905. Teichelmann sitting on the right.

His photographic work was acknowledged publicly by the Chairman of the Westland County Council, Mr W. J. Jefferies, in a farewell speech in 1926: “The Doctor’s work in booklets and pamphlets had gone all over the world and he had not spared himself in his efforts to extol the beauties and attractions of Westland.”

How long did Alec Graham have to wait before Teichelmann got the right light and composition in an ice hole on the Tasman Glacier?

The mayor at the time, George Perry added, “He had taken a particularly prominent part in advertising the district, especially its alpine attractions. His photographs were excellent and the record he possessed was a tribute to his pluck and skill.”
It is quite clear that Teichelmann’s photography was a key element in raising public awareness for the early scenic reserve status given to Lake Kaniere, Punakaiki, Arthur’s Pass and the four Glacial Scenic Reserves that eventually made up the Westland National Park in 1960. Punakaiki (Paparoa) and Arthur's Pass also became National Parks.

South Face of Aoraki/Mt. Cook from Hooker valley

But photographic skills do not arrive overnight, nor from reading a book. They are acquired through trial and error. Alpine photography requires a keen sense of light values, and Peter Graham recalled that the Doctor's first attempts on the Spencer Glacier were all over-exposed. Fortunately he learned from the experience and went on to become one of the best of his era.

Landing supplies at Bruce Bay

The Doctor was very keen to see the International Exhibition being held at Hagley Park in 1907, for it contained many of his photographs. At the Hermitage that year Teichelmann was met by Mr Longdon, the director of the British Art Collection, who had travelled to New Zealand to see the exhibition. Longdon was also a mountaineer, and was checking out climbing possibilities whilst in New Zealand. They enjoyed each other's company in the Mount Cook area, before Teichelmann set off to Christchurch for the exhibition while Newton and Graham continued climbing.
Teichelmann’s close friend and mountaineer Will Kennedy, some six years his junior, first met Ebenezer at the 1907 International Exhibition in Christchurch where Kennedy had been taken with magnificence of Teichelmann’s photography.
Among the photographic exhibits adorning its walls were displays of many whole-plate photographs of Westland scenery bearing his name. The outstanding beauty and excellence of these photographs attracted my attention so tremendously that I longed to know the man who was responsible for them.
Kennedy was President of the Canterbury Mountaineering Club and an active member of the New Zealand Alpine Club. They shared a common interest in mountaineering and photography. But the Doctor’s lack of a system prompted Kennedy to help him.
On one occasion, during one of his many visits to Teichelmann’s home in Hokitika, Kennedy, always a methodical man, decided to tidy up the Doctor’s photographic records by cataloguing them properly. From that day on it was Teichelmann's humorous lament that he could no longer find anything.

Looking down the Wanganui River, South Westland

When I returned to New Zealand in November 2003 to do some finishing touches to this book, an album of 600 prints of Ebenezer Teichelmann had been recently discovered in a garage in Christchurch. I trembled as I opened this book on Colin Monteath’s table in his library as if I was opening a door for the resurrected Doctor. The album was divided into 11 sections and each print was a 5 inch by 4 inch contact print of his large format negatives. Each photograph had a neat white border around it, with a number and a brief but accurate caption. Who had put this album together? Ebenezer Teichelmann himself, or was it Will Kennedy working with Teichelmann to get his photographs into a tidy collection? One clue is the caption to the photograph captioned Alf Day, followed by a question mark. Day should have been Alf Dale. Teichelmann would never have made a mistake with a name on a fine and much respected travelling companion. Perhaps Teichelmann dictated the captions to Will Kennedy.
Strangely, all the photographs in this album were taken before 1912. Was this the first of a series or a one-off? The album reveals the human face of miners, ferry-men, Maori communities, ships, railway lines, bridges, roads, horses, homesteads, camps, huts, houses, hotels, fellow climbers, waterfalls, river-crossings and rivers, creeks, lakes, gorges, passes, glaciers, ice-falls, hot springs, ice tunnels, and wonderful mountain landscapes. One classic photo is of Dr. Teichelman, in mining clothes and a sou’-wester hat, ready to go down a mine shaft. (BELOW)

Teichelmann’s photographs (and Newton) appeared regularly in the Canterbury Times, New Zealand Graphic, Weekly News and the Otago Witness and a stand alone supplement named ‘A Tour Through Westland‘ all between 1902 and 1910.
Dorothy Fletcher has in her collection a large brown album with all the photographs that he and Teichelmann had published, along with a handful of other climbers. This album was sent by Henry Newton and has inscribed in the inside cover,
Alex Graham in remembrance of old days,
Henry E Newton

Dorothy said Canon Newton sent it to her father, Alec Graham in the early 1930s.
Newton has made a detailed index of each photograph and story published by he and Teichelmann in his unmistakable handwriting that one gets to know after reading his hand written diaries.
Teichelman (l) before the first ever flight over the glaciers of South Westland in 1924.

The photographs are a smorgasbord of panoramic mountain centerfolds, small cameos of life in Westland, people, homesteads, ships, valleys, rivers, gorges, mountaineering, a selection of which are in this book.
But not everyone was overawed with Teichelmann’s photography. Louisa Graham had to give up the use of her bathroom at Waiho, Franz Josef to Dr. Teichelmann and her husband Alec. It was converted into a darkroom every time they returned from a trip for the Doctor to develop his large 4x5 inch negatives. “This became routine after every major trip in the mountains as Teichy wanted to get the negatives developed as quickly as possible at our house so he and Daddy could enjoy the fruits of their labours after carrying the heavy camera into the high mountains,” said Dorothy Fletcher.
One can imagine the anticipation and excitement that built up in the Graham bathroom as each plate negative was developed, and the results admired or rejected.
Teichelmann was fortunate in having a sound professional photographer in Ben Thiem, who was based in Hokitika. Being a busy professional, Teichelmann didn’t have the time to print his own negatives and then mount them on glass to use as lantern slides. So the Doctor used Ben to do quite a lot of his processing work.
Sherry Cowie donated a wooden large box of lantern slides to Dorothy Fletcher. In the accompanying note Sherry writes, “These slides were from Ben Thiem, a photographer in Hokitika. My mother, Sybil Turner, worked for him in the 1930s. She got these from either Ben Thiem, or ET (Ebenezer Teichelmann), who was a second father to Sybil.” In examining these lantern slides, they would appear to be those taken by Dr Teichelmann and appear elsewhere. However, with the close relationship between W. A. Kennedy, Ben Thiem, and the Doctor, occasionally they would borrow slides from each other, and possibly give each other slides, so they could give more complete presentations.
Ebenezer Teichelmann
Impressions as a child are often vivid and accurate, and Dorothy Fletcher recalls the atmosphere when visiting Dr Teichelmann’s home as a young girl every time she did a trip to Hokitika with her father, Alec Graham, and it was always the last stop. “He loved to see dad and it was always a warm welcome for him and me. Teichy did all his work in a large, darkish room with a distinctive smell of pipe tobacco,” she recalled, as her visits were usually late in the afternoon and the trees would block the sunlight. “He had a big chair, photos on the wall of mountains and people. Cameras, tripods, slide boxes, maps, photographs, books, magazines letters, papers and his pipes were scattered around. “My sister and I were fascinated by his pipes as some of them had little caps on them,” recalls Dorothy Fletcher. He wasn’t untidy or disorganized, rather a busy man and appeared to have systems for filing and storing.

Dorothy also mentioned that Teichy had copied photographs from Buller’s Book of Birds to enhance his photographic slide talks .

Packing supplies up the Waiatoto in 1909 for the first attempt on Mt. Aspiring from the west.

Teichelmann could count on a number of leading New Zealand scientists as his friends. Among these was Dr Leonard Cockayne the botanist, and Professor R. Speight the geologist. On 13 June 1928, Professor Speight introduced Dr Teichelmann to a full audience at the Christchurch Public Library lecture room. The Doctor’s lantern lecture was on ‘New Zealand alpine, lake, and forest scenery', which was given under the auspices of the Christchurch Tramping Club.

In a free conversational style, always interesting, Dr Teichelmann described the different slides as they were screened. The majority were of the Southern Alps, their high peaks, great glaciers, and other prominent and interesting features. Especially noteworthy was the series showing Aorangi, ‘the cloud piercer,’ Mount Cook, from various aspects. For the purpose of contrast they were shown views of the Swiss Alps and of Mount Everest. The views of Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers were especially fine and the combination views of Westland scenery — alps, lake, and forest — evoked warm applause…

Tourism was imperceptibly becoming a significant revenue earner for the West Coast. The jewels in the Coast crown were the glaciers, but tourists would stay at Hokitika, Ross, Harihari or Whataroa en route. In 1923–24 the Hokitika Exhibition was staged, and it brought large crowds to the region. Teichelmann was busy behind the scenes ensuring the exhibition was a success. Many of his photographs were used in promotions and displays.
Lake Mapourika, South Westland

Ebenezer Teichelmann not only mastered the idiosyncracies of large format photography, but he excelled with images that extolled the beauties of his beloved mountains and West Coast. His prints were sought after for promotional publications, and the outstanding quality of his large prints with their superb tonal range must rank him among the best of his time. Had he exhibited in North America or Europe, his name would be far more widely known as a photographer.

The extract above is from my book on Ebenezer Teichelmann. The covers of the two versions are pasted below. Available at:
or at Take Note, Hokitika.New Zealand. Distributed by Craig Potton Publishing in New Zealand.

If you want to learn more about Ebenezer Teichelmann, go to my blog which is about his life and times.

Ebenezer Teichelmann in old age. He was 77 when this photo was taken in 1937.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Some history on Fox Glacier New Zealand

On the 19TH AND 20TH April 2008, a reunion of all mountain and glacier guides who worked at Fox Glacier will take place at Fox Glacier township. With a history dating back to 1928, there will be stories to be told by all but the ones whose memories go back the farthest, will be veteran guides Peter McCormack, Ed. Cotter and Rangi Tinerau. I have a story to tell too, below.

The smell of dubbin and smelly socks fills my nostrils when I think of Fox Glacier township, formerly Weheka, and Mike Browne, a permanent fixture there for a fair part of two millenniums. I remember in 1973 in Mary Kerr’s guiding hut surrounded by hundreds of hobnail boots, drinking a beer as we cleaned boots. “You know Bob, Teichelmann, Alec and Peter Graham could cut steps all the way to the top of Cook, without crampons, using hobnail boots like this,” he said showing me boots that were almost identical to those of Teichelmann. And at the bar after cleaning boots was former guide Mick Sullivan, who, after a few gins, would argue about the modern climber not being able to cut steps and referred to the golden era of Teichelmann and Newton. In the 70s and early 80s when staying with Mike, characters like Oscar Coberger, Jack Cox, Franz Barta would yarn to us about their younger days climbing in the Fox Glacier region.

I was hoping to make it to the reunion but my work here in Indonesia with the Tsunami reconstruction is full on and I can't get away.

The best trips I ever did was in 1976 with Mike, Dick Whitley and another guide. We climbed Le Receveur in the Fox Glacieo and skiied from Katties Col to Pioneer hut, over West Hoe to the Franz, climbed Drummond and skiied and walked down the Franz where we bumped into Peter McCormack who was guding a party on the glacier. Mike Browne will recall the fight in the Fox Pub after that trip where I was knocked unconscious after a fight with some helicopter pilots and meat shooters.Then there was the 1984 trip with Mike, Pete Dawkins, Don McFadzien from Almer hut on the Franz Josef over into the Spencer, Burton and Callery, and down the Whataroa. We climbed Mt. Elie de Beaumont. I also recall climbing Mt. Tasman from the east with Mike Andrews in 1972 and looking from the summit down the Fox neve and glacier to the Tasman sea.

Then of course was the 1990 ascent of McFettrick with Mike, Chris Jillet, Ed Cotter. It was Mike's first climb since his accident. That was a wonderful climb.

Mike Brown and Bob McKerrow with the Fox Glacier in the background 2004 taken behind Chancellor Hut.

Fox Glacier taken just above Chancellor Hut
Below At point A on the Chancellor ridge with the Fox neve and Mts Tasman and Aoraki/Cook in the back ground. Luke Leaf (l) Aroha and Bob McKerrow (standing) and Bruce Watson (r) sitting.

Guiding on Fox Glacier came alive in 1928, when the Fox Hotel, under the proprietorship of Mary Kerr, first offered guided trips onto the glacier. These continued until 1974, when Mike Browne took over. Mike and his wife Carrol grew the business steadily over the next 31 years – to the vibrant, dedicated and professional business it is today, with over 60 staff. Mike and Carrol are still directors of Alpine Guides Fox Glacier Ltd which trades as Fox Glacier Guiding. Rob Jewell is the current CEO. Mike is also a founding member of the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association (NZMGA) which is an affiliate of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA).

I wish all of you going to Fox Glacier reunion on 19 and 20 April 2008.

Below: One of the Maestros of climbing and glacier guiding, Ed Cotter. Ed was climbing on the West Coast in the late 1940's and guided at Franz in his early 60's and at Fox when he was well into his 70s. He was on Ed Hillary's 1951 Himalayan Expedition to the Garhwals. He will be at Fox for the reunion.

Patrick Browne stepping onto a helicopter on a shooting trip in the Chancellor Hut area at Fox Glacier-2004