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himalaya travel guide books

Himalaya Mountain Literature

The following books are some of many we would recommend for reading before travelling to the Himalayas. Some are what we would call ‘background’ reading, some are specific to the trip you will be doing, and all are excellent preparation and fun to read, counting the days before your holiday begins…

Everest: A Trekker’s Guide
Author: Kev Reynolds, Publisher: Cicerone
Guidebook to Everest and the Khumbu region of Nepal, one of the great trekking regions of the world. All the main trekking routes, including from Lukla (and Jiri) to Namche, and routes to Thame, Gokyo, Thangboche, Lobuche, Kala Pattar and Everest Base Camp. Includes the route in Tibet from Tingri to the North side and Rongbuk monastery/glacier.
Trekking in the Everest Region
Author: Jamie McGuiness, Publisher:  Trailblazer Publications
Fully revised fifth edition of this practical guide with 60 detailed route maps covering not only the classic treks but also the wild routes:

  • Everest expedition route
  • Rolwaling
  • Trekking from Lukla
  • Salpa-Arun
  • The Gokyo trek
  • High passes
  • Trekking peaks – including Mera and Island Peak
Annapurna: Sanctuary and Circuit
Author: Alonzo L. Lyons, Publisher:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing
The Annapurna Circuit Trek  has long been one of the most spectacular trekking odysseys in the world. Despite road-building since 2005,  locals and tourism officials have been hard at work establishing alternate paths and exhilarating side-excursions.  This trek encompasses a wide range of terrain from emerald terraced fields to deep gorges and glacial lakes. Enjoy non-stop mountain views along the way!
The  Annapurna Sanctuary  is a breathtaking amphitheater set in a cirque of frosty peaks with nearly 360 ° of surrounding Himalayan goddesses dressed in snowy white. The majestic preserve is an unforgettable mountain lover’s nirvana.
Nepal Himalaya
Author: H.W. Tilman, Publisher: Cicerone
Nepal Himalaya  is a book from the days of great travel writing. It is a witty, ironic and romantic description of three journeys made in 1949 ­50, just before the downfall of the Rana regime, to the Langtang, Annapurna and Everest regions. “Excellent read… an often amusing account of some early trekking expeditions together with the odd mountain assault which had, by today’s standards, an amazing lack of advance planning.” – Hugh Finlay,  Nepal  (Lonely Planet) “Chatty account of the first mountaineering reconnaissance of Nepal in 1949 ­51… Tilman was one of the century’s great adventurers and his writing remains fresh and witty.” – David Reed  , Nepal  (Rough Guides)
Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya
Author:  Stan Armington, Publisher: Lonely Planet
Everest, Annapurna, Kanchenjunga, Machhapuchhare, Makalu – a roll call of inspiration awaits trekkers in the Nepal Himalaya. Discover its famous peaks and unique culture in this authoritative guide by one of the region’s most experiences trekkers.
-22 new contour maps for major trekking areas, supplemented with the author’s GPS data
-Detailed trek notes covering the popular routes and little-visited alternatives
-Cultural insights, language guide, plus information on responsible trekkin
-Expert health and safety advice for trekkers
-Practical advice about organising your own trek or choosing a trekking company
-Illustrated guide to Himalayan wildlife
Author: Maurice Herzog,  Publisher:  
Before Everest, there was Annapurna.  
Maurice Herzog led an expedition of French climbers to the summit of this 26,000-foot Himalayan peak in 1950.  At the time of the assault, it was the highest mountain ever climbed, a remarkable feat in itself made all the more remarkable by the fact that it had never previously been charted. Herzog and his team not only had to climb the darn thing, they had to find the route.  
As riveting as the tale of the ascent remains nearly half a century later, the story of the descent through virtually unsurvivable–think avalanche and frostbite, for starters–conditions is unforgettable.  Herzog’s masterful account, finally back in print, is a monument of courage and spirit, an epic adventure excitingly told.
The Snow Leopard
Author: Peter Matthiesen, Publisher:
“At sunrise the small expedition meets beneath a giant fig beyond Pokhara — two white sahibs, four sherpas, fourteen porters.  
The sherpas are of the famous mountain tribe of north-east Nepal, near Namche Bazaar, whose men accompany the ascents of the great peaks…” This is Peter Matthiessen’s classic book on his 250 mile trek in the Himalayas to observe the Himalayan blue sheep and to possibly observe the elusive and almost mythical snow leopard. But what began in part as an expedition patiently documenting nature became a personal journey of self-discovery, a reflection on the meaning of life. Written in the form of a diary, this is an account of Matthiessen’s meditations during the trek through stunning landscapes and remarkable people which end with him viewing the world from a Buddhist perspective. Winner of the US National Book Award and the American Book Award. “Classic of travel writing” — John Whelpton,  Nepal  (ABC/Clio)
Annapurna South Face
Author: Chris Bonnington, Publisher:
In 1970, Chris Bonington and his now-legendary team of mountaineers were the first climbers to tackle a big wall at extreme altitude. Their target was the south face of Nepal’s Annapurna: 12,000 feet of steep rock and ice leading to a 26, 454-ft. summit.  
As serious armchair climbers will tell you, Annapurna South Face is better than all but a handful of equally gripping classics. One could also argue that all that has happened in the big mountains in the past 30 years has come out of this expedition and out of this book.  
Bonington and his team–most of whom subsequently died in the mountains–represented a kind of “greatest generation” of modern mountaineers. They pioneered a new, bolder approach to high altitude climbing, and this book is about how they hit the big time.
We will be visiting Bonington’s Base Camp during our
Annapurna Sanctuary Trek.
The Lost Explorer – Finding Mallory on Mount Everest
Author: Conrad Anker, David Roberts, Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Unbelievable account of how Conrad Anker was able to locate Mallory’s body on the vast North Face of Mount Everest.
With all eyes and ears focused on the mountain, Conrad’s experience as a mountaineer enabled him to instinctively focus on a particular part of the face, when others were searching somewhere else…
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