Blown Up, Blown Over and Blown Away

THE SECOND LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS AND ME


THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF COLIN PUTT

ENGINEER, EXPLORER, MOUNTAINEER AND SAILOR

EDITED BY HIS NIECE, JILL KENNY


Foreword by Iain Dillon

“I remember him prowling the deck in his home-made sailing suit, itself as bulky as a modest

bergy bit. I remember a lightweight shelter we developed for alpine camps – too much like a

spinnaker at first, but modified and just right in Greenland ...



But most of all, I remember words. Wise words, kind words, cautionary words, words that drew

on hard-won experience blended with fine scholarship’s first principles. Words that rearranged

preconceived ideas and often, laced with humour, caused great belly laughs. Words that so

generously allowed his friends to access the inexhaustible reservoir that was Colin’s life

experience.”


EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK:

“I was born and educated in New Zealand where my family were addicted to engineering, sailing, tramping or bushwalking, skiing and mountaineering. On leaving school I worked as surveyor’s helper making military topo maps of the hitherto unmapped parts of New Zealand. At university I started tramping and mountaineering in unvisited country and on virgin peaks. On graduation I went to a good engineering job in Sydney, went back to NZ after a year, married Jane and brought her back to Sydney….


I had studied chemistry and chemical engineering because I thought it might be exciting and indeed it was: almost too exciting at times. We worked hard on safety and environment but it was early days and we had not yet got on top of the problems. I was thoroughly blown up for the first time and had to stay in there with my ears ringing and my hair on end while I supervised damage control, for 48 hours continuous….


In 1960, all the top New Zealand mountaineers were off to the Himalaya for the “Snow Man” expeditions. They changed planes at Mascot airport and I went there to see them. To my great surprise, Hillary of Everest and Hardie of Kangchenjunga took me aside and asked me “Do you want to lead an expedition?” For once, I gave the right answer which was, “Yes, where’s it going to?” It was going to the Carstensz Pyramid in Dutch New Guinea (Now known as Irian Jaya), an unclimbed peak of some 16,000 feet in remote, difficult, unexplored country…

…there was a letter from Warwick Deacock asking would I go with him to attempt Big Ben, the mountain on Heard Island. Jane had pencilled in on the margin “Yes, you can go.”


So I came to go on the best prepared (by Warwick and Grahame Budd )and most successful voyage and climb of my life… “





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published by Colin Monteath