Famous Asian Trails
The Annapurna Circuit
The Annapurna Circuit is a trek within the Annapurna mountain range of central Nepal. The length of the route varies between 100-145 miles (160–230 km). It crosses two valleys and encircles the Annapurna massif reaching its highest point at Thorung La pass (5416m/17769 ft) on the edge of the Tibetan plateau.
The Snowman Trek, Bhutan
Travel writer Michael Earle describes the Snowman Trek as 500 years old and crossing 11 passes at 5000 meters along the Tibet-Bhutan border. Along the trail are Buddhist monasteries clinging to the sides of cliffs and secluded villages. Apparently the weather window in October is tight.
Blind Descent: Surviving alone and blind on Mount Everest by Brian Dickinson.
This is a classic adventure which contains plenty of detail of the logistics of the trip, the glorious backdrop of the Himalayas, and the tension as things gradually turn bad for this expedition. We are left in no doubt about the author’s preparedness for the expedition by his descriptions of the gruelling military and rescue training he has undergone. Personally I found the passages about faith distracted from the enthralling narrative of the book, which is gripping right through to the end. In my humble but more sceptical view it is the author’s experience, which is evident in the precision of his reactions and decisions in a crisis, which ensures the success of his mission. However, whatever your beliefs, it remains a captivating account.
Getting High: The Annapurna Circuit in Nepal by Bill “Skywalker” Walker
The sheer enjoyment of the author’s experience on this hikes shines through in spite of his dislike of the cold weather, his altitude problems, and his fear of crossing the long rickety suspension bridges along the route. His willingness to share his own weaknesses on his hikes makes him good company for those of us who are not elite athletes. The independence he has developed during his previous long hikes is clear from his determination not to use a local trekking company when he is planning this trek. He recounts his experience of trying to pursue his goal without a porter in an unfamiliar country and a new culture. Although the focus of his writing is more often on his fellow trekkers, he is clearly struck by the beauty of his surroundings and his love of hiking is apparent.
Into Thin Air: A personal account of the Everest disaster by Jon Krakauer
It was with some trepidation that I decided to review this book as I am aware of the amount of controversy it has provoked among the people present on 10th May 1996, their families and friends. Also I am not a mountaineer, so was sometimes unable to follow in detail the events described. Without singling out individuals, there are a litany of problems detailed by Krakauer, which were felt by many to be an accident waiting to happen. These included overcrowding, indiscipline and inexperience. The book gives an insight into the many disparate people from around the world who were united by their drive to summit Everest that day. It also provides a vivid description of the disaster unravelling amid the problems of their various expeditions.
I paid the normal price for these books except the Bill Walker book which was offered free for a limited period.