Book Review: “Everest Mountain Guide” – The remarkable story of a Kiwi mountaineer” by Guy Cotter, published by Potton and Burton. Price $49.99. Reviewed by Tony Orman.
Guy Cotter grew up with mountaineering in his genes for his father Ed was a keen mountaineer who once accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary to Mt. Everest. Also Ed fostered a love of the outdoors and in particular mountaineering in his son from an early age.
Not surprisingly at just age 15, Guy traversed the Southern Alps from Arthurs Pass to Mt Cook – a 240 km alpine-pass crossing – with legendary climber Rob Hall.
Guy Cotter first went to the Himalay as a “rookie” guide in 1992, invited by his two friends skilled mountaineers Gary Ball and Rob Hall who operated a company Adventure Consultants, specialising in mountain guiding and in particular to Mt Everest.
But tragically over the next few years, both Gary Ball and Rob Hall died while mountaineering, a grim reminder of the unforgiving nature of alpine environments.
In 1992, Garry Ball died on Mt. Dhaulagiri – the seventh highest mountain in the world at 8,167 metres (26,795 ft) – and Rob Hall on Everest in 1996 in a nightmare expedition. Rob Hall was the head guide of a 1996 Mount Everest expedition during which he, a fellow guide, and two clients died. Guy Cotter was present and the tragedy is described in vivid detail.
Guy Cotter then took over the company Adventure Consultants and rebuilt it into a leading international mountain guiding operation.
Guy Cotter has climbed Mt Everest five times and has climbed half of the world’s fourteen 8,000 metres plus peaks as well as Seven Summits, the highest peaks on the Earth’s seven continents.
Mountaineering is a dangerous recreation if you let your guard down for a moment.
“Long ago, I accepted that in such harsh environment, I will encounter danger and hardship and pain and monotony,” he writes.
There is no room for complacency and in the author’s words “it was imperative to retain the highest degree of vigilance.”
But the satisfaction is immense in being in the mountains-“it has engendered within me, a sense of privilege to be there.”
“Everest Mountain Guide” captures the technical challenges and physical testing, the dangers that are not infrequently life and death situations and the adrenalin buzz in mountaineering.
It’s an engrossing engaging read of an outdoor recreation that’s not for the faint hearted.