30th Season for Colin Monteath

Land of SilenceAurora Expeditions' polar and mountain photographer Colin Monteath leaves shortly for another expedition to Antarctica, celebrating his 30th summer season on the continent since first going there in 1973. In mid November Monteath will join Aurora Expeditions' ship Polar Pioneer in Ushuaia, Argentina, embarking on two voyages to attempt to climb a number of peaks on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Monteath is also celebrating his long-term involvement with Antarctica with the recent release of two books of his photographs and writing - "Antarctica - land of silence", published by Auckland company David Ling and "The Wilderness of Antarctica", a large format book published in five languages by the Italian company White Star. 

"It has been an enormous privilege to visit Antarctica for each of my 30 seasons. I have been extremely lucky to experience a variety of environments across the continent from the summits of 4000 metre peaks in the Transantarctic mountains and Vinson massif, Antarctica's highest peak, to crossings of South Georgia on the route used by Sir Ernest Shackleton in 1916. I can but hope that through my lectures, books and photographs I have helped to educate others of the on-going need to look after the polar regions."

Monteath has authored eight other books, mainly about Antarctica or his expeditions to mountain ranges across the globe. His most recent books include "New Zealand's Mountains", "New Zealand's Coasts" and, after a year-long photographic assignment with National Geographic, a guide book "New Zealand". A mountain travel book, "Under a Sheltering Sky-journeys to mountain heartlands", documenting 12 of Monteath's expeditions from 1993-2003, was shortlisted at the International Mountain book festival in Banff, Canada.

During the 1973 summer at New Zealand's Scott Base, Monteath was in charge of survival training and search and rescue. This led to a full-time position with the New Zealand Antarctic Research Programme as the Field Operations Officer based in the Christchurch office and a further nine summers at Scott Base. Apart from co-ordinating the logistics for the field science programme he was also in charge of the training of the winter-over dog handlers, taking part in spring sledging journeys with New Zealand's husky teams. During his third science expedition to Mt Erebus in 1978, Monteath made the first descent into the active inner crater. He was awarded the Queen's Service and Erebus medals for his role in helping to co-ordinate the recovery operation after the 1979 Air New Zealand crash on Ross Island.

Monteath has also taken part in four expeditions in the Arctic including a 1993 crossing of the Greenland icecap with three dog teams, the first surface vessel crossing of the Arctic Ocean via the North Pole (1990), a traverse of the famed North-East Passage along the Siberia coast with a circumnavigation of the remote Wrangel Island and a 29-day ski traverse of Denali (Mt McKinley), North America and the Arctic's highest peak (2002). His most recent expedition was in 2008 when he completed an early spring ski traverse of Svalbard in the Norwegian Arctic.

Since 1980 Monteath has also taken part in 21 Himalayan expeditions and magazine assignments to the mountains of Tibet, Nepal, India, Pakistan, China, Mongolia, Bhutan, Ladakh and Sikkim. His most recent trips include a difficult winter ski traverse of the Chador gorge in the Buddhist kingdom of Zanskar and, on a journey led by Wanaka-based Adventure Consultants, he trekked and climbed in Nepal's Barun valley followed by a circumnavigation of the 8000 metre peak Manalsu on the Tibet border. Other expeditions have taken him to New Guinea's highest peak Carstensz Pyramid, to the Patagonian Icecap and to the Peruvian Andes to complete a string of new routes.

In 1986, with the late New Zealand guide Gary Ball, Monteath climbed the highest peak in the Soviet Union, 7500 metre Pik Kommunizma. He was also a member of the Australian expedition to the Tibetan north face of Mt Everest in 1984 that completed a new route, White Limbo, without Sherpa support or supplementary oxygen. In 1994, Monteath achieved the first ascent of the 7300 metre peak Chongtar after a hazardous traverse with camels of dangerous rivers in the Chinese Karakoram. In 2005, Monteath organized a four-man New Zealand expedition that skied up Pakistan's Baltoro glacier to the base of K2, the world's second highest peak. He also recently took part in a yacht-based ski mountaineering expedition in Tierra del Fuego that skied six peaks and made a winter ascent of Monte Frances in the Darwin Range.

Since 1984, together with his wife Betty and three other staff members, Monteath has run a stock photographic library business, Hedgehog House, a collective of 30 photographers, that supplies imagery to design firms and publishers around the world. Hedgehog House, the longest-running privately-owned photo library in New Zealand, specializes in photographs of New Zealand, travel and tourism, adventure sports and natural history in addition to holding an extensive collection of polar and mountain related material. Every year since 1984, Hedgehog House has published two widely sought after calendars, "Antarctica" and "The New Zealand Alpine Calendar".

Hedgehog House also supplies photographs to a network of international agents including Minden Pictures in California and the Hedgehog House collection is also featured with National Geographic Images. Managing director Larry Minden commented recently about Monteath's forthcoming 30th season in Antarctica " For many years I have had the pleasure of collaborating with Colin, a renowned polar and mountain photographer. His amazing images, documenting his many climbing adventures in the Himalaya, Andes and New Zealand Alps, together with his on-going exploration of the Antarctic continent provide a fantastic adventure photography component to the Minden Pictures collection. We rely completely on his knowledge and experience in the field."

For further information on Colin Monteath visit www.colinmonteath.com