At last, here is the much awaited Volume 67 of the Himalayan Journal! In the late nineties, when I first started assisting the indomitable Harish Kapadia, it was far beyond my imagination that someday I would become editor of this prestigious publication. But as we say, things change and here I am.
The year 2010-11 brought many other changes too. Some of them were most unfortunate. We lost Jagdish Nanavati, our beloved President Emeritus, whose whole working life was largely spent nurturing the Himalayan Club and these efforts put the Club where it stands with pride today. Jagdishbhai’s loss is irreplaceable and is being felt acutely in our everyday work at the HC. We also lost climbing legends such as Nawang Gombu, George Band and Joss Lynam whose contributions to the sport of mountaineering are second to none.
The world is changing and we need to change too. Technology is advancing rapidly and we at the Club are using it to our advantage. All previous volumes of the HJ are available online at www.himalayanclub.org thus making it easy for referencing. Circulars and communication as well as the newsletters are now published in the electronic form. As Charles Darwin once said, ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change!’ We as a Club and publication are surely striving for survival and progress.
The mountain scene is also changing and we hope to capture most of these changes as we move further. With this volume, we hope to have started in the right direction. Some subjects like caving in the Himalaya, mountain philately, guiding at high altitude are being looked at for the first time. In future, we hope to incorporate many such new subjects as we are guided by the vision statement of our founders, ‘to encourage and assist... through science, art, literature and sport.’
Of course, new climbs and explorations will always form a major part of the HJ. As you will find in this issue, the first ascent of the east peak of Saser Kangri II, which may be termed as the climb of the decade in the Indian Himalaya, spectacular ascents of Vasuki Parvat and Changuch, explorations in Arunachal, Sikkim, Garhwal and Zanskar are covered.
The current trend of climbing small but technically difficult peaks in alpine style is evident through write-ups on Obra valley, Jiwa nala, Singekang, and many others.
Two seemingly contrasting articles - one describing the efforts for sustainable development of tourism in the Alps and another, talking of wanton destruction in India’s most sacred places, under the guise of development – examine one of the most sensitive issues, that of our fragile mountain environment that needs immediate attention.
Harish Kapadia closed his long innings after working for the Journal for more than 35 years. We are thankful to him for handing over to us a highly respected publication. The legacy is hard to emulate but we shall give it our best.
Fortunately, I am ably supported by Nandini Purandare, who for several years has become an integral part of the publication and takes care of critical issues. I am equally fortunate to have the continued support of my predecessor Harish Kapadia without whose guidance, this issue would have been only a dream. Furthermore, the production team of Aparna, the designer and Satish from Parkar Arts continues to be dedicated to maintaining, in fact, improving the quality of the Journal.
I request all of you to send us critical feedback and suggestions. Before you turn this page to enter the mighty Himalaya, I wish you all a very happy reading!