Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ralph Warburton - photographer, mountaineer and mountain guide

Several years ago or more Ralph Warburton, a well known Wanaka local decided to publish a book of his life's experiences. As an Apple computer techy I got involved quite often assisting with the technology needed for authoring and self publishing.

Ralph sadly passed away subsequently, and so too perhaps in sympathy did his computer! But I'd been backing it up, and with his daughter's permission some years back, I'm posting here the images [colour slides] he had scanned.

Presumably I've posted the eastern [Mt Cook] photos in this first installment. I also presume it's not always Ralph featuring in the images [after all he was a professional photographer, as well as an accomplished mountaineer and mountain guide], but his late wife Joyce.

Ralph and Scott on the Tasman Glacier. Mt Cook in the background...
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Mt Cook National Park was formed in 1953, and as such dogs would have then been banned in the area, so using this as a guide I'm guessing the images would have been made just prior. Certainly Ralph's book [link below] would aid this dating, but it's been awhile since I read it.

The old De la Beche Hut, Mt Cook in the background...
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I wonder who this is? Probably the Hochstetter Icefall on the right, which may make the rock part of the ANZAC peak. I recall seeing a famous photo of Samuel Turner poised on one leg for the camera on this peak, so there is this association in my brain, but the date range would probably be too disparate for it to be him...
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Hooker hut with Mt Cook in the background...
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Upper Tasman Glacier with Hochstetter Dome in the background...
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If anyone can add information to these photos please contact me via email.

You can purchase Ralph's interesting book here

The next lot of images below seem to be of the West Coast - this is where Ralph lived for quite a few years.

I think this'll be the old hotel at Fox Glacier...
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And this perhaps the old hotel at Franz Josef Glacier...
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Guided group on one of the glaciers...#alttext#

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Scott was indeed a very good climber...
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This looks like the old I Pioneer hut that was destroyed by rockfall...#alttext#

Probably the head of the Franz Josef Glacier neve...
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Okarito I presume...
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I can only think these two men are gold mining the black beach sands. Possibly the Shaw Bros. of Gillespies Beach near Fox Glacier?...
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Perhaps the same two fellows with Ralph and Scott...#alttext#

A Plogs anyone?...#alttext#

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This looks suspiciously like it was taken looking down on the Grand Plateau - perhaps from Zurbriggins or the East Ridge of Mt Cook?...#alttext#

More recently the Ralph I knew at Wanaka, with Joyce...
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Thanks Ralph - it was a pleasure knowing you

Cheers

Donald









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3 Comments:

Blogger Bob McKerrow said...

Kia Ora Donald

the world we live gets smaller, as our circle of friends widen.

Coincidentally I did a posting on Ralph a few years back

http://bobmckerrow.blogspot.com/2008/12/ralph-warburton-mountain-guide.html

When I ran DoC at Franz, I organised a reunion of Guides and Mountain People and got close to Ralph and Joyce. What a lovely couple and what an amazing man. I am so pleased you knew him well because he had so much to share.

Busy at the moment but will have a good look at those photos later. He exhibited many at our reunion and I may recognise a few.

Thanks for honouring Ralph.

May 8, 2011 at 3:29 PM  
Blogger Donald said...

Goodness Bob, I never saw that coming.

I fully anticipated you'd know of Ralph, but never dreamt you'd spent time with him!

Sadly I never got to know Joyce, nor x/c ski with Ralph, as he'd had to give it up by the time I made my transition away from downhill skiing.

However his ashes have been spread up there by the Meg river, where there are lovely flats at about 1300 m above sea level - idyllic in all seasons, so I do think of him often as it's one of my favourite haunts.

Cheers

Donald

May 8, 2011 at 6:03 PM  
Blogger Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,

"You should have been told
that in you was the gold
the mountain and river paid you no fee
mountain melting to river
river to sea" - Denis Glover

I have been reading a bit of Glover lately, a truly fascinating character in NZ history, and a man who knew the mountains as well, so reminds me of the men you write of, yourself, and Bob. Great write up and wonderful photos. I am returning to the mountains in two weeks, this search within myself best summed by the words of Glover. Kia kaha e hoa. :)
Cheers,
Robb

May 11, 2011 at 10:45 AM  

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