Climbing all 24 of New Zealand’s Highest Mountains
Seeking the Light is a hardback book of high alpine adventure to the top of all 24 of New Zealand’s highest mountains. Packed with original photography and inspiring writing, this creative endeavour is a long overdue compilation.
But it’s more than just pretty pictures and epic tales; it also explores the thrill of the unknown, why we crave a connection with nature and why we are drawn to wild environments. Extensive research and personal experience weaves together with insight into the power of nature and adventure on our mental health. Mountaineering and adventure can be life changing for those willing to tune into its lessons, and I have been listening to and learning these lessons for over 20 years. Through stunning photography and a compelling story, you can enjoy the journey too.
To seasoned climbers, it will undoubtedly evoke fond memories of epic adventures; to the armchair enthusiast, it will raise adrenaline levels and offer rare views of wild vistas in our backcountry; and to those venturing into the Southern Alps for the first time, this book will inspire and offer advice.This is a book about the wild and remote side of New Zealand with a personal touch. It showcases the diverse ways we interact with the mountain environment. It includes success, failure and personal anecdotes in order to give a broader view of the trials and tribulations of undertaking and achieving objectives.
I’m Gavin and I work as a Mountain Guide and Adventure Photographer. I have travelled all over the world mountaineering on personal and guiding expeditions as well as exploring underground cave systems. I have a particular fondness for chasing unanswered questions about life via the pursuit of mountaineering. I have found it to be a powerful spark for creative thinking. I developed a programme called Self Mastery through Mountaineering to bring attention to the empowering qualities of mountains, adventure and challenges.
My work has been featured in New Zealand Geographic, The New Zealand Alpine Journal, The Climber, Wilderness Magazine, and 1964 magazine.
Seeking the Light is my first book.
Illustrating all 24 of the 3000m mountains in the Southern Alps of New Zealand with high quality photographs and stories has never been done before, let alone from a seat-of-your pants viewpoint.
All of the action photography was taken on the actual climbing routes and careful planning and often early starts ensured we were in the right place at the right time.
Some of the landscape shots were taken from neighbouring mountains or sunset/ sunrise bivvies. In other cases I ventured back into the mountains when the conditions were right to execute a specific shot I’d imagined. All of the images were shot with a (heavy) full frame camera, and I give some space in the book to explain my methods and equipment.
I capture the energy, tension and movement of each mountain climb through my photos. In the case of newly established climbs, route descriptions and topographic maps will provide further depth.
Sample layout from a couple of chapters:
The book will be:
Cover: 313mm x 237mm
Pages: 305mm x 230mm or approx 12″ x 9″
Large format to create dramatic two pages spreads
Use the highest quality off-set printing to ensure that these beautiful mountains are shown off at their very best
Failure was always a close companion and it stimulated me. Failure and I played a game of cat and mouse and I got swallowed up from time to time. I lost minor campaigns and retreated, but persevered and adapted, and slowly and methodically completed the game.
I did not want the idea of ‘conquering mountains’ to define me; selfish beliefs always spells trouble and disappointment.
I included the quirks and mishaps of each trip. I discovered that resourcefulness and resilience are worthy players in the game of survival, even more so during these times of pandemic. I also discovered that bringing a toothbrush, my favourite electrolyte, the warmest socks, the lightest sleeping bag or the right ice axes, is a whole lot less important.
I’ve always enjoyed the journey. I’ve enjoyed building relationships. Summit or not, I know that I have to descend the mountain and that my time in the valleys makes up most of my life. Even in the lowlands, life can be exceptional when there is a balance between nature, challenge, and adventure.
Once the book goes to print, I will put my full attention on the Seeking The Light film. My intention is to have the film ready for the book launch. A book and film tour of New Zealand and Australia will be scheduled in September and October 2022 subject to the state of international borders.
The film will cover the storytelling angles that can’t fit in the book. As well as unique action and adventure cinematography the film will contain interviews with experts on the subject of nature and adventure as therapy, and the psychology of flow state and mental resilience.
The spirit of exploration and the connection to nature resides in all of us and the rewards for our mental health and well being are measurable. I believe we know this at an instinctive level and I seek to prove this through the book and film.
Whether you plan to climb a real or metaphorical mountain, let me inspire you to reach for your polarising lenses or reading glasses; let me guide you through some of the most stunning terrain in the Southern Alps, across ridge tops and up steep south faces. Join me on some of the finest high alpine adventures. Be inspired.
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