Spirit of the Mountains, The


Mountains can exert a visceral pull.  For author and Alpine adventurer Ron Hay, the Southern Alps have been his playground for the past 50 years.  Captivating and sacred, they have offered Hay myriad opportunities to unplug from the urban world, reconnect with nature and bond with others.  


The Spirit of the Mountains: Alpine Adventures and Reflections captures the majesty, beauty and perils of the alpine world.   Hay’s ‘love letter’ to nature is also inflected with a sense of urgency – a rallying cry to protect our wild places from rampant commercialism, tourism and climate change. 


Growing up in Gore, within sight of the Hokonuis, Hay has always been passionate about the outdoors.  His enthusiasm for climbing and tramping accelerated at university and he became a keen member of the Otago University Tramping Club.  Honing his skills and testing his endurance over many years, Hay has summited, among others, Aoraki/Mt Cook, Mt Aspiring and Mt Earnslaw/Pikirakatahi.  He has even enjoyed a picnic on Mt Kenya!


Throughout his lifetime, the mountains of Mt Aspiring National Park have been Hay’s heartland; a place he has returned to time and again with family and friends.  His mountain adventures have often been challenging and exhilarating.  Imagine rocks the size of pianos falling from a sheer wall above you, as happened when Hay was climbing Mt Maori.  Yet despite the many dangers – rock fall, avalanches, being trapped on a mountain by a freezing storm, unstable rock or ice, gear failure or falling – the peaks and high country have always been Hay’s ‘happy place.’  


Hay says, “Time in the hills has been important in reminding me that there is a world beyond the realm of concrete and asphalt, cell-phone towers and motorways, shopping malls and cafés . . . From the mountains we receive physical, aesthetic and spiritual gifts. Trips into the rugged terrain of the back country build physical stamina and mental resilience  . . .  In light of the special gifts they give, it is vital that we protect our national parks and wilderness areas for the generations to come. We have received a priceless treasure. We must preserve it and vigorously oppose all attempts at exploitation for commercial self-interest.”


Weaving together personal stories and dramatic tales, The Spirit of the Mountains: Alpine Adventures and Reflectionsmelds Hay’s reflections with quotes from a roll call of local and international poets, writers and mountaineers, including James K. Baxter, Bill Murray and Robert Macfarlane.  Hay’s book is a timely reminder of the significance of our wild places and the need to make time to connect with, and protect them. 

SKU: 9780473561581