Himalayan Journal vol.58
The Himalayan Journal
Vol.58

Publication year:
2002

Editor:
Harish Kapadia
Index
  1. TWO POEMS
    (REV. ROY GREENWOOD)
  2. HIMALAYA: MYTHICAL SHANGRI LA TO GLOBALISING COCKPIT1
    (A. D. MODDIE)
  3. QUEST FOR SOURCE OF THE MEKONG RIVER
    (TAMOTSU NAKAMURA)
  4. FIRST ASCENT OF TIRSULI WEST
    (MAJOR KULWANT SINGH DHAMI, SM)
  5. NANDA GHUNTI FROM BOTH SIDES
    (MARTIN MORAN)
  6. MERU PEAK: THE GATE TO THE SKY
    (VALERI BABANOV)
  7. A CLIMB IN THE CLOUDS
    (ARNAB BANERJEE)
  8. PERMIT ME, SANCTUARY
    (STEVEN BERRY)
  9. NANDA DEVI JUGGERNAUT
    (HARISH KAPADIA)
  10. THE TRIDENT OF SHIVA
    (COLIN KNOWLES)
  11. LAST MINUTE JOURNEY
    (ANTONELLA CICOGNA and MARIO MANICA)
  12. A DATE WITH THE TIMELESS MOUNTAINS
    (Lt. Col. A. ABBEY)
  13. IN THE LAND OF ARGANS
    (HARISH KAPADIA)
  14. BARBAROSSA
    (MARK RICHEY)
  15. BRITISH SOLU EXPEDITION 2000
    (DAVE WILKINSON)
  16. TRAVELS WITH DONKEYS IN THE KUN LUN
    (COLONEL HENRY DAY)
  17. TO THE ALPS OF TIBET
    (TAMOTSU NAKAMURA)
  18. EXPEDITIONS AND NOTES
  19. BOOK REVIEWS
  20. IN MEMORIAM
  21. CORRESPONDENCE
  22. CLUB PROCEEDINGS, 2001
  23. CLUB PROCEEDINGS

TWO POEMS

REV. ROY GREENWOOD

1949

(The year I first sighted Trisul from the Kuari pass route)

The upward path towards Gwaldam was soft

With sand.

Pine trees crowded together near the crest offering

Shade for the traveller.

On the ridge Nash's bungalow stood alone in a

Clearing

Views from the verandah seemed on a clear Day

To touch the fringes of Heaven.

The day had been hazy; nothing could be seen Beyond

Nearby trees and valleys.

Then, the full moon rose in majestic

Silence

Scattering mist

Piercing holes through black branches Of deodars.

A mountain gradually became visible With

Such illuminated white brilliance That

Its splendour caused forest

Birds and animals of the night to be

Hushed.

We mortals stood in frozen awe

As

More and more

Higher and higher

Trisul's whiteness

Reached for the stars.

What would this magnificent peak look like

Nearby?

By day-light?

Three days later after plunging into deep valleys

With

Good river crossing; precarious crossings

Winding over wooded and bare ridges

Until

Reaching the village of Wan Tucked

Into a horseshoe of wooded slopes and

Terraces.

An old Shikari, complete with an ancient

Rifle

Offered to be a guide.

Taking me in early morning light above the

Tree-line

To a frosty, flower strewn kharak

There Sahib!

There it was!

The

Western face of Trisul.

There it was! Huge, towering above our heads.

It was immense! Immense and incredibly beautiful.

Occasional bird-song broke happily on the silence

In which

We both stood.

Buttressed by vast rock walls.

Tier upon tier of sheer polished ice Cliffs of black rock

Gleaming white snow

Triple peaks crowing the ridge.

Behold; the Trident of Shiva.

1951

(This poem is dedicated to the memory of the late Jack Gibson who invited me-a novice- to join his expedition of 1950. Extending and imparting to me his mountaineering skills and enthusiasm)

With eagle eye we scanned the fearsome depths

Of the Rishi Gorge'

Six thousand feet below, the Rishi Ganga flowed As a silver thread.

Thrown upward by the walls of the Curtain Ridge

The ceaseless sound

Of the river in its fierce passage reached Our ears.

Rounding the shepherd's thin footpath to Durashi

We eagerly

Looked for the first glimpse of the Magnificence

Bestowed on the shaping of Nanda Devi.

Loveliest Dibrugheta, "horizontal oasis"

Amid "vertical confusion"

Knee deep in flowers, flanked by silver birch

Upward through rhododendrons after bridging

The Rishi

Across Bethatoli Glacier, along the crest of

The moraine

Of Trisuli Glacier.

An exquisite Base Camp with smooth grass,

A small stream

Some discarded tins from a previous expedition

With

Above

The sheer white cliffs of Devistan, more

Glorious

By moonlight.

Camp One, the sad extreme limit for two of

The party.

Camp Two the well placed home for four.

Four towards the summit

The steep flank

Of Trisul rising above and beyond us.

Resting gave opportunity for breathing to be

Eased

To

Measure progress as nearby peaks sank

Below us.

Three towards the summit

After a Sherpa asked to return

To Camp Two.

Forward

Upward.

Led by the sturdy legs of a veteran Sherpa

Who urged us on by the rope.

An immediate revival of energy surged to express

Our joy

As we stood firmly on the Tip of the Trident of Trisul

23rd June 1951.

The sweep of the summit exactly as described and Photographed

By Tom Longstaff on the 7th June 1907.

Had the layer of cloud around and below us been

Solid

We could have strolled across to Nepal and Tibet

Pausing

To admire at close hand the array of spectacular

Peaks

About us.

With exuberance we pointed our feet

Skywards

As India performed a headstand and Europe

A handstand.

At Camp Two a Sherpa yak stew warded off

The

Cold of the night.

Bird sang, our waiting colleagues embraced us

Joyfully

Back at Base Camp.

As we sat around a juniper fire under the stars

Recounting our adventures

We had no idea that our small, economic and

Happy expedition

Would in years to come be appraised as the

Beginning

Of mountain climbing

As

A sport for Indians.

Postscript;

If this is so

Then we greatly rejoice that so many

Indians, men, women, young people

Have made their way across the

Flatlands

Of the Plains

To eagerly enter the 1500 mile long

Range

Of the Himalaya.

Magnificent mountains;

Unsurpassed.

Fulfilment comes with praise

To God

From seeing, living, perceiving

The glory

Of Creation.

If every ounce of energy demanded

By climbing

Could be directed

Towards

Respecting, protecting

This fragile environment

If we hold lasting gratitude

For friends who walked

And

climbed with us

Our pilgrimage

In the Himalaya has touched holy ground.