We are almost half way through the year without a Tuesday evening Blog Post…. Lets see if we can try and get on track again.
Last week we were midged off from High Neb after few climbs, some hardly folks remained but the majority headed for an early shower/pub. This week a group had headed to Harpur Hill Quarry to try and avoid the midges but 10+ of us stuck to the plan and met at the Roaches. The little blighters were there but not in force.
Some ventured up to the upper tier and climbed pedestal route while others stayed around the lower tier. Prow cracks, crow corner and Prow Corner twin cracks provided some mileage with Fledgling route and Raven Rock Gully providing harder climbing
All in all a fairly good evening, a few faces missing due to holidays, injuries and the divert to Harpur Hill but we got to climb!!
This is an enjoyable, interesting and thoroughly dangerous book of 528 pages, published in 2020 and according to Ed Douglas 25 years in the gestation. I was given a copy as a gift at a recent “significant” birthday.
Dangerous? I thought my final trip to the area would be a planned trek last summer 2020 up the Baltoro glacier, but then postponed. Now, after reading this I’ve added to that list: treks to Shivling, Nanda Dev and the Singalila Ridge in Sikkim. Each of those can be tackled late in the year as the nights draw in here and the clocks change. So, in effect extending the year. And dangerous also, because my reading has led me to order three more books for follow up certain aspects and people.
Many of the characters and incidents it describes were either simply new to me or perhaps with better explanations than I’d had previously. Just a few which stuck in my mind are: George Bogle, the first “Westerner” to go to Tibet in 1774. The British/Nepali war of 1814-16 and it’s historically important settlement. The Gurkhas. The bloody history of the Nepali Royal families. Taking tea from China to grow in Assam and Darjeeling. The visit of the Nepal Royal family to Queen Victoria in the UK. Mummery’s untimely death on Nanga Parbat in 1895. Younghusband’s brutal assault on Tibet in 1904. That George Everest never saw the mountain. Alex Kellas, the little known mountaineer and forerunner to Bill Tilman who died in tough circumstances. How the current Dalai Lama was chosen aged 4 in 1939 and the position of the Panchen Lama. The Indo/China war of 1962 and Ngawang Sangdrol and the human rights injustices by China in Tibet. A thorough list really would be endless.
The book is good describing the ongoing political machinations over the centuries between Tibet, Nepal, China and the East India Company and then the British and India. And explains why Nepal managed to maintain it’s sovereignty despite at one stage in 1791/92 the Chinese at war coming within 35kms of Kathmandu. As would be expected from Ed Douglas, there is plenty of mountaineering history too. I do have to say though that I would have expected more on Bhutan and it’s history, both ancient and more modern given especially that the famous Bird’s Nest Temple in Paro is on the cover. There is very little of the British war against Bhutan—the Duar War—in 1864. And, nothing about the Lhotshampa expulsion of the Nepalese into refugee camps in the 1990s. (NB interestingly the US has taken some 80,000+ Bhutanese refugees and the UK just a few hundred). Nor, the coming of democracy there from 2007 on.
My only other slight criticism is that some of material, particularly the descriptions of ancient Buddhist sects or the various members of temples or royal families, is somewhat dense and needed reading more than once. To be fair, that’s probably a reflection on me!
An excellent tome, helpful maps and thoroughly recommended to get an overall understanding of the history of the Himalaya high mountain area.
Still in lockdown, we saw the weather was going to be excellent if a little chilly at the outset. So we decided on the Wildboarclough to Bollington stretch of the path. We were not disappointed, great views—8.5 miles, 470m ascent. Shots are Top of Shutlingshoe, looking south from Tegg’s Nose and Keith by White Nancy above Bollington. And, a beer in Bollington Brewery shop at the end! An excellent day and closing in on ending in Buxton.
So 2020 started off wet and drizzly and then….the world broke.
Coronavirus put paid to all of spring and much of early summer…. while some of us managed to get out cycling or walking it was late on before climbing restarted. It wasn’t all wasted time though, Stuart and Dell got involved with making some homemade PPE while Tim got reacquainted with his kiln.
Ready to be fired
Stuart making 3d Printed visors
Keith out on a ride
caroline still collecting Trigs
Eventually though members started to get out climbing though still mainly in small groups. Tuesday nights have restarted but often s crags ….so Same.Same.But Different.
Hopefully this is start of a good late summer and autumn for climbing even if it is harder to meet up and climb like a club. Please continue to be safe both in the the ‘normal’ sense when out but also in the new world affected by coronavirus
Thanks to Tim for all the photos, if any one else has anything to say or show, please send your photos and some text to me.