In 2005, Vic Spitzer donated a unique and valuable collection of around 1200 volumes on mountaineering and exploration to the Library. The result of some 40 years of collecting, it was the largest private mountaineering collection in Australia.
Vic is an avid trekker, insisting that trekkers are smarter than your average mountain climber because they traverse around the peaks, rather than going over them. He made his first foray into the Himalayas in the 1970s, and since then has trekked peaks in Tanzania, Ecuador, Chile and Peru.
His initial collecting interest lay in the climbing and mountaineering literature of the Himalayan region. His geographical scope soon expanded to encompass all of the mountainous and polar regions of the world, and then to the people and cultures that inhabit these inhospitable and extreme environments.
The collection contains a great number of the most keenly sought after and important books on the subject, including the rare 1891 account by Hans Meyer of the first ascent of Kilimanjaro, and the three official accounts of the British Everest expeditions – Mt Everest: the reconnaissance (1921), The assault on Mt Everest (1922) and The fight for Everest (1924).
The Spitzer collection is held in the Library's Rare books collection.