Mountaineer of the Year
Originally known as the "CMC-Macpac Mountaineer of the Year" (as Macpac sponsored it for many years), the award was established to recognise significant contributions to the development of mountaineering in New Zealand and overseas in the preceding year or two. It was also, of course, a good excuse to get together and hear a talk from the recipient(s), at the end of which they were traditionally awarded a large framed colour print and, later, a handsome trophy to keep on their mantelpiece for a year. While the idea of acknowledging someone as somehow deserving special recognition does not usually sit well in the mountaineering world, Dave Fearnley (recipient in 1991) put things in perspective with his observation that "being Mountaineer of the Year in New Zealand is a little bit like being Rugby Player of the Year in Bangladesh". Along the same lines, John Entwisle (recipient in 1995) made the pertinent comment that the previous recipient was A Whimp, and that the only reason he (John) had been selected was that it wouldn't cost the Club anything for his talk. So the emphasis remains on having a good time in the company of one of the many people who has done something pretty impressive recently. And on the very rare occasions that someone has steadfastly refused the nomination, we have not been short of alternatives.
Times change and while some of the more obvious features of the award have changed with them (no more sponsor - now there's an opportunity for someone seeking great publicity, introduction of a trophy, some years we just never got around to it - but not for lack of suitable recipients), the essentials have stayed the same. There may or may not be a call for nominations, following which the Club committee gets together in a secluded location (St Winifred's Hut), and when white smoke can be seen coming from the chimney the world knows that it's getting cold and they still haven't decided who will get it.
So please honour the following for being amongst the many who have made significant contributions to mountaineering in New Zealand and around the world:
About the trophy
The trophy was purchased with money left to the Club by Dave McLeod. It was carved by Gary Arthurs, and depicts a rock face with piton, carabiner and a knotted rope. The first person to receive the trophy was Colin Monteith in 2001.