A journalist and climber, Ed Douglas is a regular visitor to Nepal. He has pulled jointly a swathe of modern research and the all-embracing bibliography is an accomplishment in its very own suitable. I most admire his fresh new slants on very well-worn stories – the pivotal sophistication of Kathmandu’s Newars, the fusion of traditions that honour Mount Kailas, the genius Arniko’s royal Mongolian spouse, Prithivi Narayan Shah’s persistence, the origins of Bovril, George Everest insisting his title be pronounced ‘Eve-rest’, and a young Liz Hawley climbing an Egyptian pyramid in moonlight.
Containing magicians and nomads, students and tyrants, pundits and pilgrims, raiders and revolutionaries, Ed Douglas’s Himalaya is a heroic and learned investigation of the location. He deftly untangles the geology and genetics, botany and wildlife, artwork and exploration, shed kingdoms, neglected skirmishes, and a complete climbing chronology.
Ed instructed me: “I was aiming to bridge the gap in between the specialists and the public who have been so extended led astray by misinformation.”
The pages throng with eccentric narcissists, passionate introverts, resourceful gals, dogged plant hunters, courageous spies, neglected adventurers, and of course mountaineers. The guide is each concise and lengthy, readable but dense, factual and fanciful, with all the a variety of strands distilled into an immensely entertaining go through.
I embarked on the enormous 600-website page tome in Pokhara as the past mild of 2020 light on the Annapurna ranges, her generally white ramparts now startlingly black with deficiency of snow, the triangular walls of Machapuchhre bare and bereft, the valleys drained by depleted rivers operating reduced through their rocky roadside beds.