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Colin Monteath

Based in Christchurch New Zealand, Colin Monteath is a polar and mountain photographer and writer who is passionate about wild places and expedition travel.

In 1983, he founded Hedgehog House New Zealand with a commitment " To increase an awareness of the need to preserve wilderness, especially in the high mountain and polar regions" .
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Starting in 1973, Colin has worked in Antarctica for 31 summer seasons. Over ten seasons (1973-83) he operated from New Zealand's Scott Base as Field Operations Officer, helping to co-ordinate the logistic support for New Zealand's science programme. Colin was also in charge of the Scott Base huskies and the training of the Kiwi dog handlers. With survival and rescue team training under his control, Colin helped co-ordinate the recovery operation following the 1979 Air New Zealand crash near Mt Erebus. Colin acted as a guide for HRH Prince Edward during his Antarctic tour in 1982. In 1978, during his third international science expedition to Mount Erebus, Colin made the first descent into the inner crater of the active volcano. Colin has been involved in a number of new routes and first ascents on Antarctic peaks in the Transantarctic Mountains. In 1993, Colin became the first New Zealander to reach the highest peak in Antarctica, Vinson Massif in the Ellsworth Mountains.

Since 1983, Colin has worked as an expedition leader, lecturer and guide for various polar cruise and adventure companies including Aurora Expeditions, Quark Expeditions and Adventure Network International. He has guided numerous peaks on the Antarctic Peninsula and has completed two successful guided crossings of South Georgia on Shackleton's route.

In 1991, on his first of four seasons in the Arctic, Colin was on board a Soviet nuclear powered icebreaker Sovetsky Soyez which made the first surface vessel traverse of the Arctic Ocean via the North Pole. This voyage was followed by a transit of the NE Passage along the Siberian coast. In 1993, he joined an international team that skied and dog sledged across the Greenland icecap. In the early spring of 2008, Colin was a member of a four person international team that skied across Norway's Arctic island of Svalbard.

Colin has been an active mountaineer for 40 years and is a Life Member of the New Zealand Alpine Club. He has climbed New Zealand's highest peak 13 times by most of its routes including the notorious Caroline face and the first winter ascent of the East Ridge (1979). In 1974, Colin was a member of the Commonwealth Andean Expedition that made 19 new routes in Peru's Cordillera Vilcanota.

21 Himalayan expeditions have played a central role in Colin's life - including....Australian Annapurna III Expedition (Nepal 1980) , New Zealand Garhwal Expedition (Shivling - India 1982), Australian Everest Expedition (First ascent White Limbo route North Face - Tibet 1984), New Zealand Pamirs Expedition (Pik Kommunizma USSR/Central Asia,1986), Australian Karakorum Expedition (first ascent Chongtar - Xinjiang, China, 1994), New Zealand Tibet Expedition (Gurla Mandhata, 1998), New Zealand Mongolia expedition (traverse of highest peak Mt Huiten, 2000) New Zealand expedition to Kangri Garpo mountains (Eastern Tibet, 2001), New Zealand Karakorum ski expedition to K2, Pakistan (2005), New Zealand ski expedition through Chador gorge and Zanskar Mountains (NW India 2006).

In Irian Jaya, Colin worked as a guide for Adventure Consultants during a climb of Carstensz Pyramid (1995). On a four man New Zealand ski expedition in 2002 Colin traversed Denali, North America's highest peak.

As well as working throughout New Zealand, Colin has undertaken numerous photographic and magazine assignments over the years to places such as Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, Alaska, Greenland, Antarctica, Mongolia, Kenya, Siberia, Bhutan, Pakistan, Central Asia, Pakistan, India , China , Nepal and New Guinea. His images and feature stories have appeared in magazines such as GEO (Germany), National Geographic (USA), Australian Geographic (Australia), Terre Sauvage (France ), The Geographical Magazine (UK), Conde Nast (UK, Spain), Rock and Ice (USA), Action Asia (Hong Kong ), Time (USA) and Mother Nature (Japan).

Colin is regularly involved in book projects, contributing images and chapters of text to guide books, trekking books and pictorial books on the polar and mountain regions. He was the principal photographer for the highly-acclaimed Reader's Digest book Antarctica - Great Stories from the Frozen Continent (Australia, 1985), co-author of Smithsonian Institution Press's Wild Ice - Antarctic Journeys (USA, 1990) , author and principal photographer New Zealand - The land at the end of the Earth ( White Star, Italy, 1996), author and photographer Antarctica - Beyond the Southern Ocean (NZ 1996), author and publisher Hall and Ball - Kiwi Mountaineers - from Mount Cook to Everest (NZ 1997), author and publisher of Under a Sheltering Sky - Journeys to Mountain Heartlands ( NZ 2003), photographer for the guide book New Zealand ( National Geographic, USA, 2009), author and principal photographer Vanishing Wilderness of Antarctica (White Star, Italy 2010), New Zealand's Coasts and New Zealand's Mountains ( David Ling Publishing 2009), Antarctic - Land of Silence. ( David Ling Publishing 2010).

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  • Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand