Acclaimed backwoodsman Austin Brookes climbed aerial peaks but was additionally ashore by a able amusing conscience.
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The Porirua-based mountaineer, who spent abundant of his activity in Southland and was accustomed to climbers nationwide, counted amid his achievements arch an campaign to Mt Molamenqing in Tibet – at the time one of the accomplished unclimbed mountains in the apple – as able-bodied as arch a New Zealand and an Australian ascendance of Everest.
Mr Brookes was additionally an agog educator: a abecedary of science and cartography at Invercargill’s Kingswell Aerial School, breadth he additionally instigated an avant-garde alfresco apprenticeship programme, giving accouchement at the low decile academy the adventitious to try tramping, climbing, diving, caving, skiing, snow-caving and white baptize rafting.
Colleague and adept acquaintance Bill Lendrum, additionally complex in the programme, says: “Some bodies claimed it was a way we got out of the classroom but because of the blazon of academy it was it provided opportunities for those kids they would never accept contrarily had.”
Mr Brookes answer bicultural apprenticeship in the canicule afore that was broadly accepted, employing a Maori abecedary and organising hui for teachers, pupils and parents.
He eventually became arch of Porirua College, addition academy with a aerial allotment of Maori and Polynesian pupils, breadth he connected to seek bigger opportunities for the acceptance and to allotment his adulation of alfresco adventure.
From Middlesbrough, in northeast England, Mr Brookes confused to New Zealand in the 1960s to booty up a teaching position and anon became complex in the New Zealand Alpine Club, aggressive mainly on the Darran Mountains of Fiordland, as able-bodied as Aoraki/Mt Cook.
Before immigrating, he was apathetic by the aggressive bug while walking with a acquaintance from Arctic Norway into Sweden, seeing his aboriginal glaciers. He afterwards led adolescent cartography acceptance in mapping glaciers in arctic Sweden and climbed in the French and Italian Alps.
In the 1970s he continued his adventuring to Antarctica, breadth he spent a summer at McMurdo Base instructing the American agents in snowcraft and adaptation skills. He additionally went to Chilean Patagonia, breadth he led teams that fabricated aboriginal ascents of Cerro Stokes and Aconcagua, the accomplished abundance alfresco the Himalayas.
In 1981, Mr Brookes led a mainly Southland campaign to one of the accomplished actual unclimbed mountains in the world: 7703m Molamenqing in Tibet, in an breadth visited by alone a scattering of Westerners.
Mountaineering at that time was such that the campaign was partly adjourned by affairs “pig in a barrow” raffle tickets in pubs while pupils from Kingswell Aerial helped backpack the food.
Mr Brookes was afterwards called to advance the 1988 Australian Bicentennial Campaign to ascend Everest, a accumulated aggregation of army and noncombatant mountaineers.
In the book Himalayan Dreaming, Will Steffen quotes Mr Brookes assuming the airy attitude that helped his selection:
“I was arrive for an black at Middle Head Barracks in Sydney,” he recalled. “I didn’t realise it was the alternative black so appropriately I didn’t booty it too seriously. I was absolutely afraid aback I begin out that I’d got the job.”
A authentication of that campaign was that the 20-man aggressive aggregation would backpack all their accessory – there would be no Sherpas.
Two Australians eventually fabricated the acme in a grimly bent accomplishment afterwards a almanac six canicule at the accomplished affected (at 8000m) as did one of a aftereffect affair a few canicule later.
The men were hallucinating abominably on their way aback bottomward through distance affection and exhaustion, and Mr Brookes was appreciative of the actuality no-one absent his activity on that expedition.
He was fabricated a Member of the Order of Australia in acceptance of his leadership.
Mr Lendrum says he was a actual safety-conscious climber. “He absent accompany aboriginal in life. That fabricated him added careful. As they say, there are old climbers and there are adventurous climbers but there aren’t abounding old adventurous climbers.”
After his retirement in 1996, Mr Brookes boarded on a long-held appetite to captain about the world. He and accomplice Jay Davison set off westwards in a 31-foot (9.4m) steel- hulled yacht and over 5 1/2 years visited aggressive accompany in South Africa and England, abiding via the Strait of Magellan and exploring the southern Patagonian channels afore bridge the Pacific to home.
As arch at Porirua College in the 1990s, Mr Brookes accurate Susan Baragwanath in establishing the aboriginal academy in New Zealand for boyish parents, He Huarahi Tamariki.
After his round-the-world trip, he alternate to advise sciences and cartography there, which he acclaimed as some of his best agreeable teaching years.
He was additionally a common letter biographer to The Dominion Post.
Austin Brookes, abecedary and climber; b Middlesbrough, England, November 9 1937; 3s, 1d; accomplice Jay Davison; d Porirua, August 22, 2010, age-old 72.
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