Renowned Kiwi climbers die of old age
Two climbers from New Zealand’s great era of mountaineering died within 11 days of each other in October, having both reached their ninth decade.
Ed Cotter, 90, of Christchurch was a pioneering New Zealand climber and a member of the first New Zealand Himalayan Expedition in 1951 with Sir Edmund Hillary.
Norman Hardie (QSO), 92, of Christchurch, pioneered routes in the southern alps and was part of the expedition that conquered Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world – a climb considered more difficult than Mt Everest – in 1955.
Stuff reported last month had the cards fallen differently, Cotter might have been the Edmund adorning the Kiwi five-dollar note for his mountaineering feats.
Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first to ascend Mt Everest, in 1953.
Cotter’s son Guy Cotter, director of Wanaka company Adventure Consultants, said his father was always adventurous.
‘‘From when he was quite young, he used to go tramping in the hills in and around Arthur’s Pass and other Canterbury mountain regions, like the Arrowsmiths.
‘‘His father was also a mountaineer, so that got him into it.’’
In 1951, Cotter went with Hillary, George Lowe, and Earle Riddiford on the first New Zealand Himalayan expedition to pioneer Mukut Parbat.
Cotter and Riddiford, and a Sherpa guide named Pasang Dawa Lama, reached the summit (Hillary and Lowe did not) and this success led to the inclusion of Hillary and Lowe in the famous 1953 expedition, where Hillary and Norgay summited Mt Everest for the first time.
Cotter died peacefully at Edith Cavell Rest Home, in Christchurch, on October 19. His funeral was on October 25. Timaru-born Hardie, a civil engineer, was from the same era of climbing pioneers and died on October 30.
He worked in Antarctica in the 1960s as a survival instructor, surveyor and leader of Scott Base.
He also helped facilitate the ground work for the 1953 Everest expedition and went on to pioneer many climbs in the Himalayas.
Hardie also wrote books, served on the Himalayan Trust, the New Zealand Alpine Club and other committees.
Ed Cotter on his way to Everest Base Camp in 2008.
Norman Hardie was a pioneering Canterbury climber.