From the President


Every Club and association has a few major events in its history. 171h Feb 1928, the day, when the Himalayan Club was formed in Chief of Army Staff's room, remains the most important day for us. The other milestones were: survival of the Club when the British left India, celebrations of the Golden Jubilee (1978), sixtieth year (1988) and the 75th year in 2003. During all these eventful periods, the Club's operations were conducted from offices and homes of individual members; the Club itself was only a Post Box number. In this manner this resilient Club moved to different cities: Shimla, Delhi, Kolkata and finally Mumbai. Now is another major red-letter day in the history of the Club — 61h May 2006, when 'Himalayan Club Centre' is being opened, and the HC moves into its own home for the first time in its 78-year history.

The Himalayan Club has moved into a spacious office in a prime locality in Mumbai. After years of working through ad hoc arrangements, the need for such headquarters was strongly felt. Many members worked tirelessly to raise funds and as their President, I decided to lead from the front. We explained objectives of the Club to many supporters to obtain financial support and twisted arms of friends for the cause. I must thank the Indian Corporate world, especially from Mumbai, who contributed generously to support this activity for youth of India. Mr Sushilkumar Shinde, then Chief Minster of Maharatshtra State and now a Minister in Central Government, made a significant contribution from the government corpus to have these premises in Mumbai as the Club headquarters. In
response to my appeal, many members of the Club made a contribution, making this a truly a collective effort. I must appreciate contributions from our International members who, though far away, realised the value of such a Centre for their Club. We are grateful to all.

We are associated with many leading organisations in the world: the Alpine Club, the Royal Geographical Society, the Japanese Alpine Club, and the American Alpine Club. Each of these have prospered and progressed in their aims due to one common factor: a place of their own. Such a premise gives a sense of belonging, allows the members to meet and be served better, and creates a home for the priceless mountain literature and maps that the Club has collected over the years. I am sure with this new Centre the Himalayan Club too will be able to serve the needs of its members in India and world wide far better.

Dr. M. S. Gill in augurating Himalayan Club Centre, 6 May 2006.

Dr. M. S. Gill in augurating Himalayan Club Centre, 6 May 2006.

The Himalayan Club Centre is not only an office of the Club but also a knowledge centre on the Himalaya. The walls are lined with historic pictures from the life of the Club, hi story of the Himalayan Journal and its editors, and portraits of some famous explorers, climbers and scholars. A huge map shows all the 14-eight thousand metre peaks and other famous peaks and features of the Himalaya. It also marks the countries where the Club has a presence — in all five continents!

It is also intended to have exhibitions devoted to different peaks at intervals. At present we have the history of Nand a Devi, with pictures from most early expeditions to current ones. It is not surprising to note that almost all climbers and explorers involved with this peak were/ are members of the Himalayan Club. The route to the Sanctuary, events over the years and maps of the area explain the exploration of this great gift of Nature.

The Centre will house the 'Lt Nawang Kapadia Map and Visual
Library'. It contains more than 300 maps of the Himalaya covering almost all areas at different scales, possibly largest such library of Himalayan maps anywhere in the world . (Another 400 maps will be added to this.

Robert H. Bates
7 Riverwoods Drive
C-208, Exeter, NH 03833

8 Aug 2006

Dear Harish Kapadia,

Congratulations on completing the splendid Himalayan Club Centre with its space, library, pictures and marvellous map collection honouring your patriot son, Lt Nawang. These maps will be especially valuable to future climbers and explorers of the high peaks.

The brochure telling of the Centre's completion is a beautiful piece of work. The pictures are excellent and it gives lots of information about the Centre, Visual Library with its films and rarity of information. The Map Library is of course of special importance for the extent of its general maps across the most mountain parts of Asia, and its trekking maps. We are happy to see the picture of your handsome son for whom the map library is named. There has never been many such Centres in the whole world before.

I remember well how American Alpine Club members felt on getting their first club house, after living in borrowed quarters for many many years. The Centre will be a great magnet to bring in foreign climbers as well as your local climbers, who will be climbing in the other parts of the world too. Please send our compliments, and those of all the American Alpine Club members to Dr Gill and all who took part in this splendid project.

The whole climbing world will be the better for it. 1

With best personal regards,
Bob and Gail Bates


Ps. We will be returning that fine signed picture for the Centre.


  1. Underlined by thc author, Bob Bates now in his nineties is a patriarch of the American Alpinc Club. He was on K2 and many other peaks, almost five decades ago. The next article recalls his memories of a life time of climbing.


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