5 Books that will get you off your couch and into the great outdoors this Dashain!
Hey, you! Yes you, the tired urbanite…
With eight of the top ten highest summits in the world and the tourist season just around the corner, people flock from all over the world spending thousands of dollars to come in and discover wild- from the steamy jungles of Terai to the icy peaks of the World’s highest mountains and you?
What are you doing with your life?
Get off the couch, lace up your boots, fill up your backpack and head into the Great Outdoors!
You’re still sitting there.
Need more than truthfulness to get motivated? We have books that will send you out the door, books that will definitely get you off your couch and into the great outdoors this Dashain break!
1. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster, by Jon Krakauer.
There are lots of books about Nepal mountaineering expeditions out there, but Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air is perhaps the best. It recounts the disastrous Everest climbing expedition that the author was part of in 1996, in which eight climbers were killed. In fact, Into Thin Air even inspired the 2015 film Everest, but—without wanting to be that person—the book is better than the movie and, If this book doesn’t have you down at Trekking Equipment shops, buying gear, we might as well eat our words.
2. The Snow Leopard (1978) by Peter Mathiessen
Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard is a classic work of travel literature that narrates his journey into the remote Upper Dolpo region of Western Nepal in 1973. On the surface, Mathiesssen’s trip is in search of the elusive snow leopard. But, it’s also a spiritual quest as the author mourns the loss of his wife and seeks to make sense of and accept his grief through Buddhist philosophies.
Although somewhat dated in style these days, French author Michel Peissel’s account of being the first foreigner permitted to enter the isolated and remote Kingdom of Lo in the 1960s is a remarkable book. It’s also a particularly good companion when trekking in the Annapurnas or Mustang, as it’s fascinating to learn how the region has changed (or not) over the decades. While Lo is no longer a kingdom, and Mustang is no longer as inaccessible as it was in Peissel’s time, travel here still feels like a real adventure, something that Peissel captures.
This is ideally a biography of the fantastically exciting and dramatic life of a Russian man, Boris Lissanevitch, tracing his childhood escaping the revolution, to his days living it up as part of a famous ballet troupe touring Europe and subsequent tour through Asia, leading to his setting up an exclusive club for socialites in Calcutta and finally becoming party planner and hotel owner in Kathmandu. The narrative explores the streets of Nepal through this amazing character, intermingling whimsical incidents with a sound perspective of the country and its people. The descriptions of are elaborate and there is never a dull moment throughout the book.
5. Annapurna by Maurice Herzog
With grit and courage manifest on every page, Herzog’s narrative is one of the great mountain-adventure stories of all time. It provides a pretty rare look into the Nepal of 1950, that is to say, the Nepal that was not yet open to the world. No roads, no embassies (except the British Embassy), so very little exchange with the outside world. These climbers set out to climb the 8000-meter peak Dhaulagiri (and ended up on Annapurna I) without so much as a good map to show them how to get there. Half of their Sherpa/porter crew was carrying nothing but *coins* when they started out because paper money was not accepted in the villages where they were headed. It’s a must-read for any adventure lover!
Which books motivate you to stop being lazy and start vigorously hiking? Share them with us so that we could perhaps, persuade our young guns to explore the mountains this festival season.