Rajesh Gadgil

At the outset, I must apologise for the inordinate delay in bringing out volume 68 of the Himalayan Journal. Personal and professional issues mixed with a few technical problems resulted in this delay. Things deteriorated to such a level that a few weeks ago, we started thinking of combining volume 68 with volume 69 and to come out in February 2014!

Fortunately, I am supported by a strong team of volunteers and professionals. Nandini Purandare, the associate editor, took up much of the workload. Harish Kapadia became a mentor once more and kept guiding, cajoling, pushing and watching vigilantly. Aparna Joshi (designer) and Satish Kulkarni (printer) worked at a faster pace without compromising quality. A special mention must be made of the cooperation from Lindsay Griffin, senior editor of the American Alpine Journal and Stephen Goodwin, editor of the Alpine Journal who not only contributed themselves but also agreed to allow reprint of some book reviews from their publications.

During the last year and half, honorary members Maurice Herzog and Michael Westmacott passed away, marking the end of an era. Roger Payne, undoubtedly one of the strongest climbers, and friend of the Himalayan Club, lost his life in an unfortunate accident.

But life goes on and so the journal! We are fortunate to capture most of the new happenings and achievements in the Himalaya. Sandy Allan and Rick Allen completed the full traverse of the Mazeno ridge of Nanga Parbat and solved yet another ‘Last Great Problem’. Although throngs of people continued to crowd slopes of the highest mountains, many new small peaks were climbed, passes were crossed and areas were explored. Old hands including Harish Kapadia and Tamotsu Nakamura brought new valleys and mountains to our knowledge. Peaks in little known areas like Ang Tung, Semartoli, Giabul nala and many other received their first summiteers. The historically important Zemu Gap was reached successfully from the south. New passes of Basisi col and Deotoli col were visited. Notable ascents of Meru Shark’s Fin, Arwa Spire, Cerro Kishtwar and many more are also covered in this volume.

HJ volume 68 also introduces us to a new subject, ‘Petroglyphs in Ladakh’. The exploration of the caves in the ‘Abode of Clouds’ continues. A scholarly essay about what motivates mountaineers and influences their literature is a prime part of this volume. We have also introduced a new section ‘photo feature’ because a picture sometimes speaks more than thousand words. We have thus tried to combine a few pictures with minimal text to create a strong impression.

When this volume was ready for printing, having had a final glimpse of the contents, I remembered an old Hindi proverb, generally used as a sign for motorist on Indian roads, which loosely can be translated as ‘though we are late, we arrived well....’

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