Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back in Teichelmann country

On the Pioneer Ridge, Fox Glacier, Photo: Dr. E. Teichelmann.

I have been on the West Coast for three days and staying at Ross. Today I travel south to Teichelmann country. Here are a few photos.

Teichelmann's travelling companions in 1905. Another Teichelmann photo.

St. David's Dome (now Mt. Hicks) from the Opus Glacier, near Harper Saddle. Photo by Dr. E. Teichelmann

The Waiho River. Teichelmann spent a lot of time at Waiho. Photo: Bob McKerrow

Friday, July 17, 2009

A letter from Norman Hardie abour Dr. Teichelmann.

Norman Hardie (r) with Tony Streather.

Dear Bob,
Thank you for the kind piece about me in your recent blog.
I was most impressed with your Teichelmann book. My wife's mother was brought up in Hokitika. Her father was MP and an uncle the Mayor. Teichy was family doctor and coached mother-in-law in hockey. On Thursdaqy 9th we will stay at the T B&B for the night, during a nostalgic Westland tour. In 1953 I stayed at Porter's house on two occasions and I met Canon Newton---great men.
Norman Hardie

I was delighted to get this letter the other day from Norman Hardie, the great New Zealand Mountaineer. Here is an article I posted on my blog late last year about Norm.

When I was back in New Zealand in July this year I stumbled across a copy of Norm Hardies book On My Own Two Feet. It is a brilliant book about a simple Kiwi guy who started off working life as a deer culler, which helped him finance his fees at Canterbury University where he obtained an engineering degree. Norm Hardies outlook on the mountains reminds me of Charles Brasch's poem, which describes the uniqueness of the New Zealand mountains...... Man must lie with the gaunt hills like a lover, Earning their intimacy in the calm sigh ... (full version at the beginning of posting)

Norman Hardie knows the South Island mountains like few others. You can feel the intimacy he has for his mountains. It must have come as no surprise in 1956 when Norm was a member of a small party that did the first ascent of the world's 3rd highest mountain, Mt. Kanchenjunga. pictured below from Goecha La (4940m), Sikkim, India.

The ascent of Kanchenjunga is an important part of the book and deserves such a well crafted section, but it is his raw love of the New Zealand Alps that makes the book a classic, and brings together the threads of tramping, hunting, culling, skiing, photography, climbing and his profewssional take on hydro electic generation.

There was an exceptionally good article on Norm Hardie in Saturday's Christchuch Press , which gave me permission to run it on my blog.

His name is not one immediately associated with the world's high peaks, yet Norman Hardie is among the great mountaineers of the great age of mountaineering, writes PHILIP MATTHEWS.
It's like the moon landings. Everyone over a certain age remembers exactly where they were when Apollo 11 touched down but no-one paid much attention to Apollo 12 or Apollo 13.
So it is with mountains. You know who knocked off Mt Everest, but not K2 or Kangchenjunga.
Which is why you probably haven't heard of Christchurch's Norman Hardie. In 1955, Hardie was one of the group that made the first ascent of Kangchenjunga. At 8586m, this is the third-highest mountain in the world, but it doesn't lag behind by much – its Himalayan neighbours Everest and K2 measure only another 260m and 25m respectively.
But it's always about Everest, isn't it? The tallest, the most famous. The most glamorous.
"Everest is nothing like the hardest, though," Hardie says. "Of the 14 mountains over 8000m, it ranks about 10th in difficulty. It's just the fact that it's big and has a pronounceable name, and particularly because the British began trying to climb it back in 1921. They climbed it on the 12th expedition. There had been masses of books about it and a hang of a lot of hype, especially in the English language."
You won't hear it from him, but Hardie is one of the 20th century's great mountaineers. In the foreword to Hardie's 2006 memoir, On My Own Two Feet, Sir Edmund Hillary called him "a skilled mountaineer and a formidable explorer . . . renowned for his considerable determination and refusal to accept defeat".
Michael Ward, medical officer on the 1953 conquest of Everest, called him "an outstanding mountaineer and surveyor, whose feats can be compared with those of Oliver Wheeler and Henry Morshead on Everest in 1921 and of Michael Spender in 1935".
Even if those names mean nothing, you know that's heady praise. Surely there should be statues and plaques, perhaps streets named after him. But the lack of attention back home isn't a concern. "They make a fuss of me in Germany and Japan. And the British do, too. I've never been worried about it."
Hardie is 83 now, officially a semi- retired engineer and living a quiet life in the hills of Cashmere. Where else would you find him in an otherwise flat city? Even the driveway is a perilous ascent. There is a sheer wall of mountaineering books and journals in his study, and a cluster of Nepalese artefacts. There is a view of the distant Southern Alps. There are photos from the last reunion of the Kangchenjunga party – of the original nine, only four remain.
Among serious mountaineers, Kangchenjunga was seen as an enormous challenge and a glittering prize – definitely a tougher climb than Everest, Hardie reminds us. Earlier German expeditions had come within 1000m of the summit but were driven back by bad weather. But with oxygen tanks designed by Hardie, Joe Brown and George Band reached the top on May 25, 1955. Hardie and Tony Streather followed a day later. And it would be another 22 years before anyone else would match them.
Their feat was even more astonishing when you consider that the 1955 expedition was only supposed to be a reconnaissance mission for the real effort the following year.
It was another time, the closing of the great age of exploration. By the end of the 1950s, the world's major peaks had been conquered and much has changed since. Everest has become "a playground", some say, just another stop on the adventure- tourism circuit.
Any would-be climber can buy the services of an experienced guide and pay their way up – New Zealander Rob Hall, a man Hardie knew well, died on the mountain in 1996 while looking after a client who had collapsed near the peak.
Yes, the commercialisation of climbing is a concern. "It worries me because a lot of people have been to the top of Everest and never seen snow before in their lives. People from Hong Kong and Singapore. A woman from the Philippines got to the top of Everest last year. It cheapens the whole thing."
Hardie served his climbing apprenticeship in the Southern Alps and first encountered Hillary there in 1948. It was the year of the famous Mt La Perouse rescue, when the injured Ruth Adams was carried down from the mountain in a stretcher. This has been called "the most arduous rescue in New Zealand's climbing history".
That story is a reminder of just how tough our backyard can be. For years, Hardie was called on to help look for lost climbers in the South Island. He can still vividly remember the time he was caught in an avalanche on Mt Rolleston during such a mission. "Unconscious for a while there," he says quietly. "Thought I'd had it. Slowly going out as the oxygen runs out."
The same avalanche took the life of his good friend John Harrison. The bodies of the four lost climbers they had looked for weren't found until months later. And that, he writes in his understated way, was to be his last high mountain search.
As for putting it all down in a memoir, he says that he "got pressured from all sorts of people saying that my story ought to come out. The official book on Kangchenjunga – by Charles Evans – was the most restrained, controlled book I've ever struck. A very gentlemanly British thing that didn't give anything like the whole story."
After Kangchenjunga he kept up a relationship with that part of the world. He made 14 trips to Nepal and only the first three were about mountain climbing. He spent 22 years as a director of Hillary's Himalayan Trust, helping to build schools and set up the Sagarmatha/Everest National Park. In 1960, he joined a team that had the very serious purpose of high- altitude acclimatisation research and another, more frivolous mission – to track the yeti.
How seriously was this taken? "The American members of the party took it very seriously. There were 22 of us from four different countries. The American sponsors were concerned that the medical research wouldn't get any publicity so they talked Hillary into going along with looking for the yeti. All of us who had been there before were very cynical about this. But it paid for the expedition and everyone had a good time."
And it might be a ridiculous question but was there any evidence? "There were footprints in the snow but they were just badly identified orthodox animals."
He went south, too, making three trips to Antarctica over 20 years. Once to instruct Americans in the right way and wrong way to tackle snow and ice, once to join Hillary's party for the first ascent of Mt Herschel and once as leader of Scott Base.
It was much harder then than now to make a living out of mountaineering. In the afterglow of the ascent of Kangchenjunga, that was something he had to consider. "Was I going to go a Hillary way and stay in this sort of thing permanently and somehow make money out of it? But I was already qualified as an engineer and decided to stick to that.
"Once I started to establish myself, I got all these invitations to free expeditions. I never ever went on one that got paid. I had to be grateful for having a co-operative wife and a co- operative business partner – I was able to go away for so long and so many times. It's no good going to the Himalayas for a fortnight. You're pretty useless for the first two weeks."
So bursts of adventure were slotted into domestic life. He had married Enid Hurst in 1951 and they had two daughters. He became a consulting engineer for a firm in Christchurch in 1956 and then a partner in his own firms. And until recently he was to be found kayaking and tramping around the South Island.
Can a sense of adventure be genetic? You might ask this if you heard about his older brother, Jack. A quick search of Nelson newspapers shows that one Jack Hardie holds a record as the oldest man to have ever skydived at Motueka airport. It's become a tradition: every January, Jack marks his birthday with a plunge, as it coincides with the day that he was shot down over Holland during World War II. "The parachute saved him and as a result of that, he does this thing every birthday."
In January, Norman and Enid will be in Nelson to watch Jack plummet out of the sky again, at age 90.
Planes, mountains – Hardie has had something else on his mind lately, too. It's that great South Island subject: water.
In 1948, as a young Ministry of Works engineer at Lake Pukaki, he had a brainwave. If the west coast of the South Island is wet, and the east coast is dry, why not pipe water from one side to the other? The idea hibernated for decades, but by the early 1990s, the surveying maps were accurate enough to see that the Landsborough and Douglas rivers on the western side are higher than Pukaki on the eastern side, meaning you could do it without pumping water uphill.
Among his collection of geological maps, rain graphs and engineering drawings, he has some photos of the Landsborough Valley: the glaciers, the moraines, the boulders. "I began with the Landsborough because I knew it so well through mountaineering.. All the mountaineers and shooters who go in there know it's really wet and the river comes up pretty fast and stays up for a long time."
It's entirely feasible, he believes, to put 25 kilometres of tunnels through the Alps and pipe the river water into Lake Pukaki. And as everyone who has spent a winter in Canterbury knows, the level of Pukaki and other hydro lakes are a matter of day-to-day anxiety. This could be a way to keep the levels up, without damming rivers and flooding valleys. As one Press correspondent wrote after reading about Hardie's scheme, "The forests and snails of the Copland Valley would be unharmed".
It sounds ingenious. The Press understands that this idea was put to the old Electricity Corporation of New Zealand (ECNZ) in the 1990s and that there was some interest before the carve-up of ECNZ into Meridian, Mighty River and Genesis. So has it been on Meridian's mind again since? Spokesperson Claire Shaw says that while "it's a very interesting concept that we're aware of" and "there are clear benefits to the project for hydro storage in New Zealand", it comes with significant challenges as well. Quite a few of them, she says.
"We have no plans to pursue it in the near future," she adds. "We have a whole host of options that would come before that."
Too bad. In the meantime, Hardie's legacy can rest on his mountaineering exploits. It's strange to think of it, but in all these years he's never reflected on what makes a great mountaineer. Can he define it? He pauses and considers this for a while.
"Fitness is obvious but you also need some appreciation of the high country, whether it's geology or weather," he says. "And certainly the ability to get on with people you're with if you're stuck in a small tent for three or four days."
And presumably you need patience? "Yes. Yes. I believe too that you should never stick your neck out too much. Don't take too many risks. If the weather's not on or you're not feeling well or your climbing companion has bust his equipment, give it away. The mountain will still be there tomorrow."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

To the Cook River and Mount La Perouse - 1906. Ebenezer Teichelmann

David's Dome (now Mt. Hicks) and Mt. Cook Aoraki from the Opul Glacier below Harpers saddle. Photograph: Ebenezer Teichelmann.

One of the great expeditions that Dr, Ebenezer Teichelmann led was in 1906 when he went up the Cook River Valley and over Harpers Saddle to the Hooker Valley and Mount Cook. En route they did the first ascent of Mount La Perouse. Here is the chapter from my book describing this magnificent journey.

1906 Cook River and Mount La Perouse

Flushed with the success of their 1905 expedition, the West Coast trio decided on the Cook River again, and the unclimbed Mount La Perouse as their main objective. They were joined this time by their companion from the Mount Cook climb: the Scottish climber, Mr R. S. Low. Greatly liked by the Doctor and the Reverend for his good natured humour and quiet, unassuming manner, Low was regarded as a skilled climber on both rock and snow. Another prospector, Charles Anderson, helped Alec Graham set up a base camp, a little higher than last year's one. Anderson had been working a gold claim in the Cook River, opposite the Digger’s Huts. He was a true bushman, sleeping in one blanket and a cocoon of ferns. Alec Graham was amused at the sight of smoke seeping out of a pile of ferns as he settled down for the night with his final pipe, rather like a talking haangi (a Maori cooking pit).

Ebenezer Teichelmann in the Cook Valley, 1906
When Newton arrived at Waiho on 17 January, he was pleasantly surprised to be reunited with an ice axe he had lost four years earlier on his first trip to the glacier. It had been discovered just a few days previous to his arrival, with its shaft sticking out of the ice of the glacier terminus. Apart from rust on the pick, it was in good order. Teichelmann, Low and Newton joined up with Alec Graham about a week later, and they swagged up the Cook River to La Perouse Glacier. A high camp was made on the spur which separates Gulch Creek and La Perouse Glacier. They had good views of the head of the valley, plenty of firewood, and a stream nearby. They even had sugar and biscuits from the year before.
It dawned fine on 1 February, 1906, but with fog in the valley below. The party of four left the high camp just before 4:00am and soon crested the main ridge. They had to traverse around two steep dips on the ridge before reaching the col and ridge leading up to the summit of La Perouse. It took a whole hour to negotiate the first gendarme. They had attacked it head on, only to discover that there was no way down off the other side. So back they went. Newton was last to descend, and his camera once again caused him grief. Determined to avoid the problems of 1905, he tied it to his rope and lowered it off. It kept snagging on rock projections, and it suffered damage with the crashing about. Later he was dismayed to find the shutter damaged. A rest day with the equivalent of a Swiss army knife and he had manufactured new parts sufficient for its continued use during that expedition.
The climb was straightforward, although a fair number of steps were required. They were pleased to find that the arête that had looked so sharp and steep from the Cook River flats was not too bad in reality. It was in excellent condition with a good firm coating of snow. It was a thrill for Alec Graham, who recalled his feelings of that moment. ‘It was my first real mountain, and a 10,000 foot virgin peak.’
It was only 10.50am when they stepped the final rise. There was plenty of time to linger on the top and take in the stunning view, especially of neighbouring Mount Cook, and to relive the excitement of the previous year. Newton carefully studied an unclimbed route on Mount Cook, known today as Earle's route. He expressed his desire to return one day to climb it. And as they sat on the summit, one wonders if they thought themselves a weird bunch. A Scot, an Englishman, a German/Scot born in Australia, and a New Zealander sitting on a peak named after a French navigator. Teichelmann, Newton and Alec Graham had forged not only friendships, but had become a formidable climbing combination that was on the brink of greatness.
They descended by a different route, using a snow slope on the La Perouse Glacier side. This was the route later used in 1948 by the famous Ruth Adams rescue party, which included Sir Edmund Hillary. Using judicious glissading, they returned to camp in just one hour 27 minutes, compared with over six hours for the ascent.
A few days of bad weather followed and the group explored the La Perouse Glacier. From it they climbed up to a col on the Balfour Range, which lies opposite Katies Col on the Fox Range. They had a good view of the upper Balfour Glacier and its spectacular display of avalanches from the hanging section down onto the lower glacier. Clarke Saddle was identified further east: another objective. To the south they traced their route over Harper Saddle. Just to the east of that sat the imposing bulk of Mount Hicks, then known by the more lyrical name of St David’s Dome. As it was also an objective, they carefully scoped out routes from the north, and even a potential bivvy site. That done, they got up and traversed east to climb a small rock peak. It is unclear whether this was Vanguard or a closer rock pinnacle.

Dr Teichelmann’s much traveled full plate camera was carried to this spot. Alec Graham, who spent much of his early guiding years carrying the Doctor’s camera best describes his passion.
‘The Doctor was very thorough in everything he undertook and it took a long time, sometimes, to get just the right composition he wanted. He never failed to ask me to look through the viewfinder to see if I could suggest any improvement, for he always liked me to help him. When on any sharp peak I put the rope on him as he was so interested in getting what he wanted that he was liable to forget where he was standing when he had his head under the focusing cloth. Then, when he was satisfied with the composition of the picture he was taking, there was the right aperture and time for the exposure to be carefully adjusted and checked.
Mr Newton would sometimes get a little impatient with the Doctor for taking so long. The Doctor would reply, “I'm not going to let Alec carry the camera all the way up here and then make a mess of it. The difference between you and me, Newton, is that is that you are a photographic climber and I am a climbing photographer!” ’
Next morning they set off for Clarke Saddle, but heavy snow and deteriorating weather at the second icefall repulsed them. The next day the elements kept them at bay, enforcing time for repairs and ablutions, philosophizing and observing.
The four explorers had waged some competition with the wekas and keas over ownership of certain items. For some unknown reason, their soap was in particular demand from the wekas (New Zealand native bird). When the Doctor decided to wash a shirt the following wet day, there was only one small piece remaining. The other three sat and watched as one particular weka stalked through the scrub towards where the Doctor sat washing by the stream. Bemused, they kept silent. Every time he put the soap down on a rock, the weka would line up an attack, to be foiled at the last minute by the unsuspecting Doctor picking it up again. Finally, the weka struck in a lightning raid, and raced off into the scrub with the enraged Doctor in pursuit. The soap was lost, but the audience deemed the entertainment well worth the price.
When the weather cleared at their base camp on the La Perouse Glacier, they readied themselves for the next objective: St. David's Dome, now called Mount Hicks. Unfortunately the Doctor had bruised his heel and elected not to join. It was late in the afternoon when Newton, Low and Alec Graham left for a higher bivouac below the first ice fall on the La Perouse Glacier. That night as they ate their meal, Newton remarked how he missed the Doctor's company, but said it was rather nice having a meal without the Doctor’s eye on you. Graham and Newton had wolf-like appetites, while the Doctor, a small eater, would jokingly remark that it was no wonder they had to carry such heavy swags.
On 9 February the party got away at 2:30am on a very warm morning. Following their previous route through the first icefall, they turned right on to a long snow ridge running down from Mount. Hicks (referred to in Anderson's Jubilee History of South Canterbury as the north-west arête), joined the main west ridge higher up. They struck soft snow on the lower part of the ridge, but step cutting became necessary higher up where conditions were colder. At the top of the north-west ridge, they struck a rock face which provided excellent climbing onto the main west ridge. The final section of ridge to the summit was climbed in gusty conditions. The force of the wind necessitated a straddle shuffle along one section of the icy ridge. They reached the top at 11:00am. It was so windy there that Newton had to lie down to take his photographs. Sheltering from the wind on the eastern lee of the summit, they had time to admire the neighbouring flanks of Cook and Dampier.
The descent was by the same route. It had been a long time since they had last quenched their thirst, so a stop was made on the rocks just before the glacier. The billy packed ready with snow, Newton got out the bottle of meths. In a second, it had slipped from his hand and shattered on the rocks. The meths quickly evaporated. Without a word, but with parched mouths worsened by anticipation, they packed up and continued on.

Meanwhile, back at base camp, Dr Teichelmann was having an enjoyable day with his camera. His heel injury was rapidly improving. He was obviously pleased with the first ascent of Mount Hicks by his team mates and congratulated them warmly and enthusiastically on their return. They were more interested in the contents of the boiling billy than his congratulatory speech.
Mr Newton and Dr Teichelmann were running out of holiday time, so they returned to their respective employments in Ross and Hokitika. Their companion Mr Low, whom they had come to respect and like, travelled back with them as far as Waiho. Alec Graham and Charlie Stoner transported out the remainder of their gear.
When Alec Graham returned to his home in Waiho, Mr Low was there and somewhat anxious to return to The Hermitage via Graham Saddle. He asked Graham to accompany him part of the way. The next day they camped under a rock on the Baird Range, below Goat Path.
‘We started early next morning and I went with him well out over the Franz Josef snowfields. Here we parted and I returned to the base of Mildred Peak and watched him cross the saddle. I did not feel anxious about him going alone, for he was a very careful and safe climber and should have reached Ball Hut before I got back home.’
It was 10:00am, Wednesday 21 February, when Alex Graham headed home to Waiho from near the Mackay Rocks. An hour later Mr Low was ready to descend into the Rudolf Glacier, having safely crossed Graham Saddle. He stopped for a short rest at the top of a couloir that led down onto the glacier. Conditions were good, and progress swift, so he resolved to travel right through to the Hermitage that day, rather than spend a night at Ball Hut. He bent and picked up his swag. It was bulky, but not heavy. He had only brought provisions for one day in order to travel light and fast. Shouldering his swag, and picking up his ice axe, he stepped carefully down into the couloir.
Not bothering to cut steps, he slipped into the repetitive rhythm of placing the axe firmly, then stepping down. Thoughts elsewhere, he was caught unawares
when his feet slipped on a small patch of ice. Quickly he rolled into a self-arrest position to brake his accelerating fall. Panicking, he drove the axe in hard. His momentum was too great, and the axe was wrenched from his hands. By now he had gathered considerable speed, and a hungry schrund below opened wide in expectation. It was not to be. Slamming into some protruding rocks, he heard and felt his ankle crunch and twist. The pain was excruciating, and he knew it was unusable. If not broken, it was at least badly dislocated.
Low dragged himself to safety behind some big rocks and collapsed. Wisely, he rested there. His racing thoughts gradually slowed, and he formulated a plan. He was a long way from anyone, and would not be missed for some time. He may be crippled, but one look at the gaping schrund below at the base of the couloir, and he realized that those rocks had undoubtedly saved his life. He had lost his ice axe and all his food, except for a tin of milk and some chocolate. At least he had plenty of tobacco, he thought, lighting his pipe. The options were grim. To descend meant a crawl with no ice axe down a hard frozen slope. Waiting for the sun, he needed the softened surface to gain some friction on the slope. Carefully, with two hands and one boot, he inched down to a snowbridge over the crevasse. An icy breath from the depths of the blue/black maw sent a shiver down his spine as he crawled across to the safety of the glacier. Now seated, he propelled himself out onto the centre of the glacier. There he spent the night, thankful for the insulation of his sleeping bag.
It took three painful days in snow and cold to crawl down the glacier, dragging himself along the last day in two feet of fresh hail and snow. Waiting for the assistance and comfort of the sun, he leashed his pack to one end of his rope, and himself to the other. Dragging himself a rope length, he would then wind in his pack. In this manner he passed his second day. That night was spent sheltered behind a large rock on the ice. His fierce thirst could be slaked with small pools of meltwater, or dribbles on rocks. Once he had gained the moraine, he had to crawl with his pack on. Its bulk exaggerated his movements, and balance was awkward. It snowed heavily that night. The de la Bêche rock bivouac was only three kilometres away, but it took all day, crawling over rough moraine and through sixty centimetres of snow to get there.
For another six days Low waited, living on a hundred grams of cocoa found in the bivvy, half a loaf of bread he had recently found in the bottom of his swag, and water collected from drips on the rock. As the days passed and his meagre supplies diminished, so did his hopes of ever being rescued. He wrote his last requests on the mica sheets of a headlamp, and with his own blood he wrote his thanks to his climbing friends on a map that Alec Graham had lent him.
Four days after Alec Graham had seen Mr Low go over Graham Saddle, he and Dr Teichelmann were worried by the non-arrival of telegrams which Low promised he would send when he arrived safely at the Hermitage. Both Alec and the Doctor wired the telephonist at Tekapo, who sent a message by pigeon to the Hermitage. Foolishly, the telegrapher tied the whole telegram to the pigeon's leg who, after having pecked it off, flew to The Hermitage without it.

Nine days after his accident, two friends of Low arrived in Waiho, having crossed the Copland from the Hermitage. One was Professor Marshall, and the other Doctor Bell. Low was engaged to be married to Dr Bell’s sister. They had been waiting at the Hermitage for Low to join them, so when they heard that he had left nine days before, they were justifiably concerned. The nearest telephone was 15 kilometres north at the Forks, but eventually a message was passed to Lake Pukaki, the closest telephone to the Hermitage. Realizing the importance of the eaten telegram, someone rode at speed through to the Hermitage. Jack Clarke and Peter Graham set off at once, even though it was 8:00pm. Fearing the worst, they traveled through the night, knowing that it would be at least de la Bêche corner before they would find any sign of him. At 4:00am they were relieved to hear Low’s answers to their calls as they climbed up from the Tasman Glacier.
‘Though terribly thin, Mr Low was able to sit up and tell us what happened. His first request was for tobacco, which Jack was able to supply. He was very hungry so I made some soup and gave him small but frequent helpings while Jack examined his injuries. There were abrasions on his face and hands and a fractured ankle, but he was suffering most pain from his knees. They were severely lacerated after crawling two miles over broken moraine.’

The best Peter Graham could do in the way of a mountain radio was to carry on his back the carrier pigeon, Dick Seddon, named after another famous West Coaster. Battered and ruffled, he was entrusted with requesting a doctor and others to come and help. Twenty minutes after repairs in the sun on a rock, Dick was back at the Hermitage. Later that day, with great relief, Dr Teichelmann received word in Hokitika that his friend was alive.
Peter and Jack then raced over Graham Saddle to the Waterhole below Goatpath, where they met Newton and reported the good news of the discovery. Later the following day they were back with Low, to assist the nine men who had arrived to transport Low. The doctor who had joined them was Dr Truby King of Plunket fame.
It took ten hours to carry Low to Ball Hut. There they strapped him to a mattress on Hanmer Jack, an old grey horse, renown for his sure footing. He was met by a coach that took him through to Timaru for x-rays. Transferred to Christchurch, Low then suffered further complications which nearly cost him his life. Eventually he recovered, and went on to do some more climbing, but it was never the same again due to the chronic ankle injury.
Low's dramatic rescue brought mountaineering to the front pages of all New Zealand newspapers. Up to this time, it was Malcolm Ross who brought mountaineering to the attention of the public using a style that John Pascoe regarded derisively: ‘He was too wedded to his easy-come-easy-go journalism and his uncritical gusto got the better of him.’ But regardless of style, Ross popularised mountaineering. Teichelmann also contributed greatly to popular literature of New Zealand mountaineering before the First World War with entertaining articles superbly illustrated with photographs in various magazine and newspaper supplements.
Not long after Mr. Low's miraculous rescue, the Doctor received word from Australia that his mother, Margaret Teichelmann, had died on 30 March 1906 at the age of 82.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A new photo of Ebenezer Teichelmann

Dr Ebenezer Teichelmann in tam-o-shanter.
I was delighted to discover this photograph of Dr. Ebenezer Teichelmann in the Macmillan Brown Library (University of Canterbury.

I have studied many shots of Teichy and this is the first of him in a somewhat playful mood and pose. I believe this photo was given by Dorothy Fletcher.

Title: Dr Ebenezer Teichelmann in tam-o-shanter.
Subject: New Zealand : people
Macmillan Brown Library (University of Canterbury) and, where applicable, the copyright holder. Accession number: 1065

Monday, March 2, 2009

The West Coast of South Island New Zealand, Te Ara

Dear friends

You have to visit the West Coast section of Te Ara, the online encyclopedia of New Zealand. there are some brilliant articles and superb photographs such as the one above of Alec Graham (l), Rev. Newton (c) and Ebenezer Teichelamnn (r). You can have a look at the whole thing at:http://www.teara.govt.nz/Places/WestCoast/en
There are actually two separate articles (see icons below). The "WestCoast" deals with the whole region (everything from geology, plants,history, farming and culture), while "West Coast Places" has a page on eachtown or district (from Karamea to the far south).

A friend of mine, Simon Nathan has compiled this section and says "a few of my favorites are." Just click on the URLS (and make sure that thesound is turned on).
(a) Stroppy West Coasters giving Michael Cullen a hard time:http://www.teara.govt.nz/Places/WestCoast/WestCoast/11/ENZ-Resources/Standard/2/en
(b) A Wellington view of the West Coasthttp://www.teara.govt.nz/Places/WestCoast/WestCoast/1/ENZ-Resources/Standard/5/en
(c) A few real West CoastersJohn Crawford, potterhttp://www.teara.govt.nz/Places/WestCoast/WestCoast/13/ENZ-Resources/Standard/4/enSylvia & Gary James, last Denniston residentshttp://www.teara.govt.nz/Places/WestCoast/WestCoastPlaces/2/ENZ-Resources/Standard/4/enAlun Bollinger - not just a cinematographerhttp://www.teara.govt.nz/Places/WestCoast/WestCoast/13/ENZ-Resources/Standard/3/en
(d) Myth of the Irish - West Coasters aren't all Irish - in the 20C theywere discouragedhttp://www.teara.govt.nz/Places/WestCoast/WestCoast/6/ENZ-Resources/Standard/2/en
(e) Life doesn't stop just because its raininghttp://www.teara.govt.nz/Places/WestCoast/WestCoast/3/ENZ-Resources/Standard/4/en
(f)"Humping & hollowing" - the West Coast way of increasing dairyproduction. Huge areas are being re-contouredhttp://www.teara.govt.nz/Places/WestCoast/WestCoast/10/ENZ-Resources/Standard/4/en
(g) Gloriavale - one of the unusual groups that has settled on the WestCoasthttp://www.teara.govt.nz/Places/WestCoast/WestCoastPlaces/8/ENZ-Resources/Standard/6/en
(h) Ebenezer Teichelmann and fellow climbershttp://www.teara.govt.nz/Places/WestCoast/WestCoast/12/ENZ-Resources/Standard/2/2/en