Category Archives: Photography

Srikanta Peaks in the Himalayas by Samuel Bourne

Samuel Bourne

Wooded Valley from Fulaldarn with the Srikanta Peaks in the Distance, 1860s. Albumen photograph. by Samuel Bourne

“What a mighty up bearing of mountains! What an endless vista go gigantic ranges and valleys, untold and unknown! Peak rose above peak, summit above summit, range above and beyond range, innumerable and boundless, until the mind refused to follow the eye in its attempt to comprehend the whole in one grand conception.” Samuel Bourne in The British Journal of Photography

Also posted in Himalayas, Historical photography, travel, trekking

Nanda Devi

Nanda Devi

Two Himalayan classics on Nanda Devi: The Ascent of Nanda Devi by H W Tilman (1937) and Nanda Devi by Eric Shipton (1936)

Among the books on my shelf are two first editions of Himalayan classics on Nanda Devi (7816m), a beautiful mountain in the Kumaon Himalaya, India. I grew up in the hill town of Nainital and I could see this peak from the hill tops around town, so this mountain and these books have a special significance to me. The fist is The Ascent of Nanda Devi by H W Tilman (Macmillan, 1937) and the second is Nanda Devi by Eric Shipton (Hodder & Stoughton, 1936).

Nanda Devi

This first edition is signed by Charles Houston, the expedition leader

Bill Tilman’s The Ascent of Nanda Devi, a first edition, is signed by Charles Houston, the expedition leader. At the time Nanda Devi was the highest mountain ever climbed.

Nanda Devi

Nanda Devi (7816m), Kumaon Himalaya, India

This is the view of Nanda Devi (7816m) on the right and Trishul (7120m) on the left from Kasar Devi near the town of Almorah in Kumaon. Trishul was first climbed in 1907 by A L Mumm, T G Longstaff and was the highest peak climbed at the time. The record was broken in 1937 with Tilman’s ascent of Nanda Devi.

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Lasser Yangti valley

Camp in the upper reaches of the Lasser Yangti valley

Camp in the upper reaches of the Lasser Yangti valley

I am starting a new series of photos of spectacular campsites that I had the privilege to sleep at during my treks and expeditions. Here is the first: This was a campsite in the upper reaches of the Lasser Yangti valley in Kumaon Himalayas, India.

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Map of the location

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The same Himalayan view 100 years apart

I was looking through my beautiful copy of A L Mumm’s book Five Months in the Himalaya: A Record of Mountain Travel in Garhwal and Kashmir on his 1907 expedition to climb Trishul in In the Indian Himalaya. I realised that back in 2007 I had taken a very similar photograph of Nanda Ghunti (6309 m) and Trishul (7120 m). Here they are, the same view 100 years apart.

Trishul and Nanda Ghunti

Trishul (7120 m)and Nanda Ghunti (6309 m) by A L Mumm 1907

A L Mumm, T G Longstaff and  Charles Bruce supported by three Alpine guides and a number of Gurkhas made the first ascent of Trishul in 1907. They climbed the northeast flank and reached the summit on June 12. The first ascent of Trisul (7,127 m), was the highest summit to have ever been climbed up till that point and the record stood for the next 21 years. This was the first expedition to use supplementary oxygen on a Himalayan expedition.

Trishul (7120 m)and Nanda Ghunti (6309 m)

Trishul (7120 m)and Nanda Ghunti (6309 m) by Amar Dev Singh in 2007

I took this photograph on my trek to Roop Kund and Kuari Pass during the 1500km trans Himalayan expedition. This camp was somewhere between Bedni Bugyal and the village of Kanol. I cropped my photograph to match the older version.

Five Months in the Himalaya by A L Mumm, 1909

Five Months in the Himalaya by A L Mumm, 1909

Five Months in the Himalaya by A L Mumm, 1909

Five Months in the Himalaya by A L Mumm, 1909

Five Months in the Himalaya by A L Mumm, 1909

Five Months in the Himalaya by A L Mumm, 1909

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Protected: Upper reaches of the Sar Di valley, Arunachal Pradesh

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Christmas Tree

Christmas tree at our last camp in Arunachal Pradesh, India

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Hope 2015 hold many exciting adventures for you.

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Autumn colours

Trekking through the untouched forest

Trekking through the untouched forests of Arunachal Pradesh

Our trek along the Sar Di River took us through dense untouched forests. We started the trek in the tangled vines of subtropical jungle at around 1200m and climbed into high altitude pine forest at an altitude of 3800m. It was November and the leaves were changing into their autumn colours. I was surprised to see huge pine trees right up to the treeline at around 4000m.

Sar Di River on a crisp autumn morning

Sar Di River on a crisp autumn morning

We were the first people to follow the river from it’s confluence with the mighty Lohit river near the village of Dong to it’s source deep in the Himalayas on the boarder with Burma. We were the first people to reach the shores of the emerald waters of Lake Sar Di.

Autumn colours in Arunachal Pradesh, India

The Sar Di has it’s source in remote high altitude glacial lakes near the Burmese boarder


There was no track along the river so we had to make our own way through the jungle. Luckily an army patrol had gone through part of the route and we were able to pick out the machette marks on trees. You had to constantly watch your step as you really didn’t want to fall and get injured in this remote location.

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The Karakoram: Mountains of Pakistan by Shiro Shirahata

The Karakoram: Mountains of Pakistan by Shiro Shirahata

The Karakoram: Mountains of Pakistan by Shiro Shirahata

The Karakoram: Mountains of Pakistan by Shiro Shirahata (Cloudcap, Seattle, WA, 1990): I have been hunting for this magnificent book for many years now. It’s available on the internet but it ranges anywhere from $300 to $150; depending on condition and edition. I managed to pick up a first edition of the book for $70 at a local bookshop down the road. It’s in flawless condition; obviously looked after by someone who really appreciated it. I am thrilled to finally be able to thumb through Shirahata’s grand photographs of these awe inspiring mountains.  I have never been to the Karakoram but dream of travelling there at some stage.

Here is a few samples of the photographs in the book:

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Trango Tower

 

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The mighty K2

 

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Fairy Meadow, Nanga Parbat

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