Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Gran and Grandad

I have had these photos tucked away for a while, and got around to getting them digitised the other day. They are of my Gran and Grandad (Jan and Brian Wilson) and Grandad's brother Evan. Young people having the time of their lives (well at least thats how I imagine it).

Grandad with a friend

Gran with her friends, tramping somewhere

Gran on a glacier

Gran and Grandad, mid 1940's maybe

Evan Wilson

Evan Wilson (and brother Jim) were climbers active in Arthurs Pass in the 1930's. I have his map of the time framed on our wall with its many notations of first ascents and vagaries of travel. I love this photo, very much mountaineer/man at his peak, with a far sighted gaze. Celmisia in his pocket and holding his mates ice axe for the photo - you can't tell me they used two of these beasts.

Evan and Jim's best first ascent in my knowledge was that of Arrowsmith. I couldn't find an account of this scouring the internet, but I found an interesting story nonetheless. They were involved peripherally in a mountain tragedy in 1932 when three trampers were benighted on Whitehorn Pass on the three passes route. One froze to death during the night, the second took off and died after taking a fall in the Taipoiti river while the third headed back west over the Whitehorn and stumbled across prospectors in the vicinity of Park Morpeth Hut.

One of these prospectors was Jim Wilson, who hurried over to Bealey to raise the alarm. The subsequent CMC search party was led by his brother Evan! A clip from papers past below. I will add any further information I find about Evan and Jim's mountaineering time to this post.

(my illusions have been shattered;-) the first ascent of Arrowsmith was actually in 1912. Evan and Jim Wilson, along with Andy Anderson pioneered the south-west ridge in 1931

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