“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”
This is what the noted author, Edward Abbey has quoted for trekkers and mountaineers. Perhaps, we can consider this as the ultimate wish of a true adventuresome soul.
More demanding the trail, more would be the thrill. As simple as that…!! This specific mindset boosts trekkers and mountaineers to search for more gruelling trekking routes. Indeed, this keeps them exploring new destinations that are actually more strenuous to cover. And if a trek on such routes is accompanied by some of the most astounding vistas of charming surroundings, then the overall experience becomes more rewarding.
William Blake, the great 18th century poet, said that great things happen when men and mountains meet. Almost two centuries later, the world saw that come to life!
World’s highest mountain range, Himalayas, is home to 14 peaks higher than 8,000 meters or eight-thousanders as these are commonly called, and till the first half of the 20th century, all of these were unscaled! While the geographical conditions were a major deterrent, political unrest in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Tibet also proved to be one big hurdle!
But all that was about to change! In 1949, the Maharajah of Nepal gave his consent to a climbing party of nine from France to attempt an assault on one (or more than one) of these peaks. The party, led by experienced French Alpinist Maurice Herzog, arrived in Nepal in the spring of 1950 with plans to attempt either the Annapurna (8091 m) or the slightly higher Dhawalgiri (8167 m).
This was a time when not even the local inhabitants had any knowledge of reaching higher up in those mountains through the thick forests and tough terrain speckled with gorges and ridges. Having spent some time probing for routes and backtracking, in April of 1950, Herzog, his climbing partner Louis Lachenal and the rest of the team realized that they needed to make haste if they wished to climb any of those peaks, since the ideal weather conditions would only last till June. So they zeroed in on Annapurna by the north-western glacier, which seemed like the perfect approach at the time. The next difficult step was the setting up of a chain of 3 camps in higher altitudes. The last and highest camp was pitched at 7407 m. It was already June and the threat of monsoon fast approaching was looming over their heads.
“I was born to be an explorer…There was never any decision to make. I couldn’t do anything else and be happy“, said the man whose life is said to be the inspiration behind the creation of Indiana Jones!
Fighting Chinese brigands, braving sandstorms and wild dogs, it was all in a day’s work for Roy Chapman when he decided to go explore the Gobi Desert further up North in to Mongolia to find the origins of humanity.
Roy Chapman Andrews was born in Wisconsin, America in 1884 and right from his childhood days his interests revolved around nature, outdoors, animals, history and he explored fields, water bodies and forests. He taught himself taxidermy and made money with this skill to pay for his college tuition. Such was his passion that after being told that there were no openings at the American Museum of Natural History, he started working there as a janitor in the taxidermy department. He continued to learn as he worked and earned a Master’s degree in mammalogy from Columbia University.
An explorer, adventurer and a naturalist, Roy sailed to the East Indies from 1909 – 1910 and collected snakes and lizards. In 1913, he sailed to the Arctic aboard the schooner Adventuress and filmed some of the best footage of seals ever seen!