Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Joy of the Mountains

Don Donovan recommends a new biography of one of New Zealand's pioneering mountaineers.

John Harrison was a Christchurch commercial artist from whom I often commissioned art for my advertising agency. One day in June 1966 I asked him to do some urgent work for me but he was unable to because he had been called upon to join a team to rescue some climbers caught on Mt. Rolleston in the Southern Alps. He promised to do the work upon his return but he never came back and I never saw him again.

John, one of this country's leading mountaineers, died on the rescue mission.

Now, nearly fifty years after that tragedy, his biography has been written by John Wilson, the eminent historian. The book is called 'Joy of the Mountains: A Climber's Life: John Harrison 1932-1966'. Published by Te Waihora Press,  Christchurch in association with The Canterbury Mountaineering Club and New Zealand Alpine Club.

John climbed at home and overseas (notably in the Himalayas) with other leading climbers, including Ed Hillary, and joined in the conquest of many previously unclimbed peaks; he also visited Antarctica. The book is a gallery of famous mountains and their climbers; it fills in many gaps in the mountaineering history of the mid-twentieth century.

Copies of the Book are available for purchase at alpineclub.org.nz/product/joy-of-the-mountains-a-climbers-life

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