New Zealand Alpine Journal 2020 cover NZAC

Progress report

Over the last few weeks I’ve been writing and editing the final words and images, which will spell the beginning of the next big goal: layout. Knowing what to keep and what to scrap will be one of the hardest tasks, and I’m sure I’ll rely heavily on the experience and wisdom of Potton & Burton publishing to make the final decisions. There is no guarantee yet that they will publish, so I’ve got to put my head down and make sure I impress them with my writing and photography. So far, the latter has been the main selling point. There’s only a little bit of pressure to deliver …eek!

I’ve found that I have something in common with all authors – I’ve researched widely on this as a procrastination tool – there have been moments of blissful free flow in writing, but there has also been plenty of blocks and dead ends. Getting the words on the page have proven to be the most important step. Anything, no matter how bad, is better than nothing. At least badness is editable. Nothing, is a useless void.

So I don’t pretend to have found the writing process easy, but what I have found, which is also common, is that the drive to write has been stronger than my willingness to do nothing. As numerous sources explained, ‘you should write a book when it’s more painful not to write it than it is to write it.’ I can identify with this enough to give in to all the doubts and fears around putting my work into the public arena. And whatever comes of it will be a bonus; at least I’ll have less pain in my life!

I have been sifting through unedited photos to make sure I haven’t missed anything, but also to check timelines. I don’t keep a strict mountain diary anymore as I now have the time stamp photo each photo I take. I usually take at least a thousand shots on every trip, which gives me a reasonably accurate account of what I’ve done, except of course when if I come back from an overseas trip and forget to change the time stamp back to local time (done more than once).

In the meantime I’ve been tasked with a few photography jobs which I hope to juggle over the next few months, plus the realisation that I’ve only got 4 summits left to climb to complete the 32 highest peaks in NZ.

I recently had a shot of mine grace the cover of the new look Alpine Journal from the NZ Alpine Club, and supplied many shots to adorn the pages with articles written by some of my climbing buddies.

And lastly, in the course of research I found a few interesting things that deserve sharing:

Some quiz questions (answers if you scroll down to the bottom)

1. What is the highest peak in New Zealand, under 3,000m?

2. What is the only 3,000m peak not found in Aoraki/Mt Cook or Westland Tai Poutini National Park?

3. What is NZ’s highest low point? (the answer will be a col, pass or saddle). Clue: if it were a mountain it would be NZ’s second highest.

4. Which 3,000m mountain was mistakenly named Wilczek Peak for a period early in the 20th century, but now has no official name, only an official spot height?

Secondly, I’ve found the writing and podcasts of Ryan Holiday to be incredibly inspiring. As a summary, I keep this list close at hand: 25 Ways To Kill The Toxic Ego That Will Ruin Your Life

Thanks for listening, until the next time,


Cover shot: Ruari MacFarlane on the summit ridge of Torres Peak, with Aoraki Mt Cook in the background.

Answers: 1. Mt Chudleigh, 2966m. 2. Mt Aspiring, 3033m 3. Porter Col, 3546m 4. Elie de Beaumont (West Peak) 3054m


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