The Valley of Flowers

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Till;

\

\LLE^

OF FLOWERS FRANK

By Here

is

S.

SMYTHE

the story of four

happy months

spent amidst some of the noblest and most beautiful mountains of the world.

"In the

valley of flowers," writes the author, "I dis-

covered beauty and a great peaeefulness of This book

spirit."

enjoy

hills

is

dedicated to

who

all

and the flowers that grow on

hills.

While

this

the exciting chronicle of a

is

famous professional mountain climber, also

how

by a man who knows how

it is

and

to write

to bring his subject alive.

It

the

is

product of a distinguished mind. One

lives

w ith the author as he penetrates the remote

Himalayan mountain fastnesses and climbs high and dangerous peaks where the foot of

man

has never been before.

And the

always Mr. Smythe

incredible

world

is

conscious of

of flowers,

flowers

which one would think remote until he realizes that many species have now been brought to England and thence to America, where they have become familiar garden

names

for us.

included

in

photographs

A

the

table of such plants

appendix.

taken

by

the

is

The colored author

are

superb.

Although there is a vast literature on the Himalayan mountains and the fabulous Himalayan botany, this book is outstanding among such works perhaps the best on The Valley of this engrossing subject. Flowers is Mr. Smythe's first book to be



published in color plates.

this

country.

With

sixteen

Digitized by the Internet Archive in

2014

http://archive.org/details/valleyofflowersOOsmyt

BY

FRANK

New

York

S.

SMYTHE

WW- NORTON

ward 2

and so west-

distant; feet,

with Nilkanta,

1,640 feet, one of the most beautiful peaks in the Himalayas,

standing alone, and the far snows of Tehri Garhwal, where

much

interesting exploration remains to be done.

This vast wall of mountains

is

best seen in the clear at-

mosphere of morning before the clouds, formed by the moist

air currents

many

a time

valleys,

in the twilight, to the snows,

hot,

it,

and

foothills,

dim

have obscured

have risen early to look over the

I

and shadowy

from the

hung

like a

glow-

ing curtain across the whole width of the northern sky, yet so remote

it

seemed no human foot could tread

their auroral

steeps.

moments of awakening, when not a bird twits from the forest and the sun steps from peak to peak slowly and in splendid strides, that the sage's words ring true: "In It is in

these

The a

ij

Valley of Floivers

hundred ages of the Gods

I

could not

thee of the glories

tell

of Himachal."

was joined by the four Tibetans from Darhave already mentioned Wangdi Nurbu. He will be

At Ranikhet jeeling. I

I

some readers as the man who fell into a crevasse on Kangchenjunga and remained in it for three hours before he was found. He was badly knocked about and was sent familiar to

down

to the base

camp

in 1933,

down

and was sent

by

two

the doctor, but

on returning to the highest camp. Then,

days later insisted

on Everest

to be cared for

he was taken

ill

with double pneumonia

to a lower valley in an apparently dying

camp one month later back and clamoring for work on

condition, only to reappear at the base

carrying a heavy load on his

Such is the spirit of the man. He is a little fellow, all bone and wiriness, who does not carry an ounce of superfluous flesh and has one of the hardest countenances I the mountain.

have seen; he looks a "tough," but in point of fact he

and law-abiding.

many

He

has

Tibetans and his

sober

is

pronounced cheekbones than

less

lips are

thinner and firmer. His eyes

which

gives

them

a ferocious, almost cruel look, but

Wangdi is not men I know, and

cruel;

he

merely hard, one of the hardest

fit

are usually slightly bloodshot in the whites,

a select coterie of Bhotia

men

such

as

and Sherpa porters which includes

"Satan" Chettan,

who was

junga, and Lewa, the Sirdar of the

killed

Kamet

on Kangchen-

Expedition, not to

mention that pockmarked piece of granite, Lobsang,

who

tinguished himself on Everest and Kangchenjunga, but has,

is

to enter

dis-

who

unhappily, since died.

Wangdi

is illiterate,

he can speak fluent in action

but in addition to

Urdu and

and in speech;

it is

as

him which can never properly

Nepali.

He

his native is

though some

language

quick and jerky fire

find a vent. Like

burns within

many

of his

1

The

8

race he

is

Gurkha

Valley of Flowers

an excellent handy

man

but failing

his

knife) prefers to use his teeth, and

I

kukri (curved

have seen him

them

place the recalcitrant screw of a camera tripod between

and turn the tripod with the screw as an axis until the latter was loosened, then calmly spit out such pieces of his teeth as had been ground off in the process. Last, but by no means least, he is

On

a fine climber.

Everest in 1936 he jumped automatically

into the lead of the porter columns

never so happy

and undoubted

when

as

on the North Col and was

exercising his magnificent strength

skill.

Pasang, with his high cheekbones and slanting eyes,

Tibetan type.

A

tall

stringy

man

with thin spindly

is

a true

legs,

he

somehow suggested clumsiness, and undoubtedly he was clumsy on a mountain, particularly on snow, so that when climbing with him

I

had always to be on

my

guard against a

think he must have been something of a

ever he did

the

first

thing he did was to

let

I

when-

go of

his ice

one thing by which he might have stopped him-

axe, the self,

slip

slip.

for

fatalist,

and leave

it

God

to

or his companions to decide whether

or not he should continue to slide into the next world. But

though

He

this passivity

plenty of terior,

ing.

was exasperating

at times I liked

might give the impression of being

common

sense packed

a lout,

away behind

Pasang.

but there was

his

ungainly ex-

and he was to be trusted on any other matter but climb-

His naive awkwardness, and

of putting

it,

I

can think of no better

betokened a nature free from

all

guile

way

and he was

ever ready and willing to do his best, however uncomfortable the conditions in a rain-soaked tainside.

He was no

leader and had none of the

ness or conscious toughness of

was prepared

to follow

enduring about

camp or on a storm-lashed moun-

Wangdi

—but there

his character,

fire,

vivacious-

—where others went he

was something

solid

and

and the quick smile that unex-

#

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