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Pushing His Luck: Report of the Expedition and Dea
by Jakob Lauper

ISBN: 9781877257889
PUBLISHER: Canterbury University Press
FORMAT: Paperback
PAGES: 144
DIMENSIONS: 240mmX170mmX13mm 408grams

In 1863 Henry Whitcombe, a young civil engineer and Canterbury's Provincial Road Surveyor, led an expedition to find a route across the Southern Alps in advance of the West Coast gold rushes. Jakob Lauper, a hardy Swiss goldminer, was hired to accompany him. The journey turned to tragedy. Dogged by appalling weather and half-starved, the two men traversed the Main Divide by a pass that now bears Whitcombe's name, and struggled down to the western beach. There the exhausted Whitcombe drowned while attempting to cross the flooded Taramakau River. Against extraordinary odds, Lauper survived and made his way back to Christchurch. His report on the expedition was translated into English and published in mid-1863. The story has inspired a number of writers to retell it, notably John Pascoe in 1960. Relying on the English translation, Pascoe was baffled by some apparent inconsistencies in Lauper's account. This prompted Hilary Low to go back to Lauper's report and begin a painstaking re-translation. It soon became apparent that errors and omissions abounded in the first translation. Lauper himself had made one significant geographical mistake, and this had been compounded by other errors made by his translator. Pushing His Luck provides for the first time an accurate translation of Lauper's vivid account, and explains the significance of the new information brought to light. Nearly 150 years after

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