Outlet Podcast: Mountaineer’s memoir 30 years in the making
Wānaka mountaineer Guy Cotter put pandemic lockdowns and travel restrictions to good use by writing his memoir: ‘Everest Mountain Guide – The remarkable story of a Kiwi mountaineer’.
Cotter told Queenstown App podcast The Outlet that in a way he had been writing the book for over 30 years.
“I’d kept diaries of all my expeditions wherever I first went there in 1992,” he said.
“And through Covid, I had a bit of time on my hands. So I figured, well, rather than do nothing, I’ll just complete some projects that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.”
Writing the book was one of them, but it wasn’t a case of him sitting in a quiet study near Wānaka writing for hours. While he started writing during the early days of the pandemic, the rewriting and editing process lasted much longer.
“I’d find myself in a hotel room in Punta Arenas at the bottom of South America between expeditions or Kathmandu or whatever, or in a base camp somewhere trying to rewrite a section and then getting it back [to my editor].”
Cotter says his motivation was to provide some background information about what goes on on Everest.
“Everyone’s got an opinion about what happens on Everest, but people aren’t all aware of all of the detail and all of the backstory and what it really is like on the mountain. I wanted to fill some of those gaps.”
One thing he particularly wanted to include were the events of 1996.
Cotter owns Adventure Consultants, which has been based in Wānaka for more than 25 years. The business was established by Rob Hall and Gary Ball in 1992, and Guy guided on its first commercial expedition to Mt Everest in 1992.
“A lot of people will know about what happened in 1996 with the passing of Rob Hall and Andy Harris and Doug Hanson, Yasuko Namba, Scott Fischer… I wanted to ensure that there was a preamble to that and that the build-up to ‘96 showed that ‘96 wasn’t just an isolation,” he said.
“I also wanted to focus on what happened after that, what it was like for me to take on the mantle of running Adventure Consultants…”
Adventure Consultants downsized after the arrival of Covid-19 and the border restrictions, but the company relaunched globally in 2022 and has been based in a temporary office upstairs in Wānaka’s Spencer House Mall since June this year.
Cotter said there is “a huge amount of drama on a peak like Everest every year” and his book covers much of it, but he also looks at wider issues.
“[I try] to give a rounded view of what’s going on on Everest rather than just the dramatic headlines we hear all the time,” he said.
‘Everest Mountain Guide – The remarkable story of a Kiwi mountaineer’ is due to be released on October 13.
Details have yet to be confirmed for a Wānaka book launch.
Listen to The Outlet Podcast on the Queenstown App and lwb.co.nz