Colin Monteath is a widely published polar and mountain photographer and writer based in Christchurch. He has spent 32 seasons in Antarctica, from 1973 to 1983 working as the field operations officer for the New Zealand Antarctic Research Programme at Scott Base with science parties, rescue teams and huskies. In 1978, on his third science expedition to Mount Erebus, he made the first descent into the Inner Crater. As a result of his involvement with the recovery operation after the 1979 air crash on Ross Island, Colin was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal and later the Erebus Medal. In 1982, Colin was the guide during Prince Edward’s visit to Ross Dependency.
Since 1984, Colin has been a lecturer and guide for various polar cruise and adventure companies. He has guided numerous peaks on the Antarctic Peninsula and has completed crossings of South Georgia on Shackleton’s route. He has also made numerous ascents in the Transantarctic Mountains and the Ellsworth Mountains. In 1988, Colin became the first New Zealander to climb Antarctica’s highest peak, Vinson Massif.
Colin has also undertaken journeys in the Arctic, including ski traverses of Alaska’s Denali, North America’s highest summit; Svalbard, in Arctic Norway; and the Greenland icecap, with husky teams. In 1990, Colin was aboard a Soviet nuclear-powered icebreaker that made the first surface vessel traverse of the Arctic Ocean via the geographic north pole. This was followed by a transit of the Northeast Passage along the Siberian coast.
Colin has also been involved in 21 expeditions to the Himalaya, with climbs and treks in Nepal, Mongolia, Bhutan, China, Pakistan and India. He has also undertaken expeditions and photo assignments in Alaska, Patagonia, Kenya, Norway and New Guinea.
Colin has written and contributed to numerous books, including principal photographer for Reader’s Digest’s Antarctica (1985), Wild Ice: Antarctic Journeys (1990), Antarctica: Beyond the Southern Ocean (1996), Hall and Ball: Kiwi Mountaineers (1997), Lonely Planet’s Antarctica, Under a Sheltering Sky: Journeys to Mountain Heartlands (2003), Antarctica: The Vanishing Wilderness (2010), Antarctica: Land of Silence (2010), and photographer for National Geographic’s guide New Zealand (2009).
Colin runs the polar and mountain image library Hedgehog House New Zealand, established in 1984, a specialised agency dedicated to increasing awareness of the need to preserve wilderness in the high polar and mountain regions. He maintains a polar, mountain and exploration reference library of books, maps, journals and archival material that is available to researchers, expedition planners and publishers. He also runs Barking Mad Books, a bookshop selling antiquarian material.