“Pete’s Himalayan Adventure” has been out of print for some time now but for those who are interested there is a copy available for loan in The Wolverhampton Lending Library.
The book is a recollection of an old man’s trip to the Khumbu Valley and Everest Base Camp. The trip was organised by Andrew Tomlinson (Tommo) and Andy Clarke for the spring of 2006, with young Richard Wilkes and the author making up the rest of the team. It goes on to describe the classic trek from the infamous Lukla airstrip, past traditional Sherpa villages and monasteries and cumulating at the incredible viewpoint of Kala Patar above Base Camp. On the way, sometimes camping, sometimes staying in primitive lodges or teahouses, they spend time in the amazing town of Namche Bazaar, well worth a visit in its own right. They encounter problems with Yaks and their crossing of the 5330 metre high Cho La Pass is thwarted by the worst snow storm at that time of year, throughout the last forty years.
Throughout the trip they are cared for by the poor and impoverished but always friendly and happy people of the Khumbu Valley.
The book is an almost day to day account of the trip and should be read by anyone contemplating a visit to that fantastic valley.
A tale of a classic trek told with feeling and well worth a read.
The foreword written by Andy Clarke, former chairman of Wolverhampton Mountaineering Club, is included below. The book is well illustrated and comes with a CD containing all the pictures. The filenames of the pictures correspond with the page no’s so if the mood takes you it is worth reading the book and viewing the pictures on your PC at the same time.
Foreword By Andy Clarke I’m writing this surrounded by snowy peaks, dreaming of the classic routes I want to come back and do. I’m a long way from Lukla, or Namche Bazaar or Tengboche, those Sherpa villages whose names are known to every mountaineer and armchair adventurer. In a few short syllables they evoke a romance that has not faded since the days of Shipton or Hilary. Their exotic music is enough to transport me back to Nepal and a month trekking and climbing with Pete, Rich and Tommo through the Khumbu region, that land of brilliant ice and bright prayer flags, in the shadow of Everest in the spring of 2006. In fact, I’m now in Zermatt, taking a break from skiing, and my dreams are of epic traverses from the ‘golden age’ of alpinism. We all need dreams to nourish and sustain us, to lift us above the everyday, to escape for a while from our diaries and job sheets. For so many, the dreams remain just that – imagined landscapes and narratives experienced only within the pages of a hero’s autobiography. So when a rare chance arises to live out the dream, we need to seize it, whatever our doubts. That’s what Pete did, realising an ambition whose time he thought was long gone, to follow in the footsteps of Shipton along the Dudh Koshi River to Kala Patar and Everest Base Camp. It wasn’t easy, but he succeeded – and I’m glad I was there to share his pleasure and pride. Reading this memoir brings it all back to me: the breathless and breathtaking panoramas, reducing us to wordless wonder; the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha, looking out from a snow-covered chorten; the open-hearted humour and friendliness of the Sherpa people. And running through it all – the camaraderie of sharing something special with good friends. Out of all the places I’ve travelled, it’s the Khumbu that calls me most strongly to return. I want to gaze again at the jewelled beauty of Ama Dablam; or lose myself in a chanted mantra, drifting through cold temple air; or lie back in the sun, watching eagles soar below me. I might even fit in the odd bit of climbing. Andy Clarke, Zermatt, Winter 2008