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The Spirit of the Mountains by Ron Hay


Ron Hay is a remarkable man. His early start in life began in Gore with a strong view of the mountain range down there - the Hokonuis - and thus began a lifelong love and borderline obsession with mountains and climbing. His stunning new book The Spirit of the Mountains - Alpine Adventures and Reflections chronicles his experiences summiting a number of well known New Zealand mountains, and a few of the international ones too.


To Hay, the mountains have a sanctity about them and the reverential approach is palpable in the writing. A great storyteller, Hay reminisces on his experiences and is humble in the challenges he has faced over the years. Mountain climbing is both expensive and treacherous as he finds out on more than one occasion.


It is part memoir as much as anything else. The road that Hay has travelled includes that small town New Zealand exploration with its characters and charm, then through the university years at Otago where his career as a tramer really began to grow.


The real treasure of this book is the beautiful vistas captured over the years from the peaks of great mountains in our magnificent country. It’s hard not to be overwhelmed by Lake Wakatipu from the peak of its surrounding range nor marvel at the world from the top of Mt Kenya (where he enjoys lunch).


It seems Mt Aspiring National Park is really Ron Hay’s happy place. Seemingly endless walks and opportunities present themselves to Ron and his family along the way and he adores every one of them. Overall this is a wonderful testament to our nation's mountains and the beauty that they hold - both in their grandeur and their danger.

A must read for any outdoor enthusiast or mountaineer.


Reviewer: Chris Reed

Mary Egan Publishing, RRP $39.99