We are into a new year and a month has passed. As winter retreats from the plains the high Himalayas are still held fast in the grip of snow and ice. But soon they will melt and the passes will again become passable. Villagers and shepherds will head up, and so will the climbers, as a new season gets under way.
If this new season has to be meaningfull, it is mandatory to recall the events of last year and learn the right lessons.
One cannot afford to forget that last year we saw:
Of course there were some positives, in the form of some excellent unsupported climbs on major peaks.
I can do no better ,than to quote from the legendary Eric Shipton's masterpiece "Blank on the Map", published in 1938,to reconfirm what true mountaineering is all about,
"So many human activities have lost their power to refresh the spirit because people tend to do things for the wrong reasons - for publicity , for sensationalism , for money , or because it is the fashion to do them.A wrong attitude , based on an unreal sense of values ,poisons our recreations no less than the more serious aspects of living."
"Let us approach this great heritage in the right spirit , not impelled by ambition".
"Let us climb peaks by all means , because their beauty attracts us ; not because others have failed , nor because the summits stand 28,000 feet above the sea, nor in patriotic fervour for the honour of the nation , nor for cheap publicity".
"Let us approach the peaks with humility,........."
"Let us not attack them with an army,................"
".....but the greatest value of the art of climbing , with its perfect co-ordination of mind and muscle , is that it teaches man a way of living in the beauty and solitude of high remote places."
My sincere best wishes to all true mountaineers for this new season.