In Which Gods, Hairy Feet, Mortality, The Art of Queueing, and Vampires Are Alluded

We love mountains and hiking in our house,   and in the days when we can’t do much more than potter around the local field, we miss those adventures the most. It was this yearning which drove us to discover new perspectives and stunning scenery via YouTube.

Whilst searching YT, I began reminiscing about the wonderful book, Mountains of the Mind, which dealt with so many facets of mountains from art, geology, and exploration. I also remembered the mountain scenes from books such as, The Hobbit, Dracula, and James Hilton’s Lost Horizon.

Somewhat disconcertingly Crissy was telling me how she would love to end her days on Everest, which given the queues for the top in recent years is a distinct possibility. Slightly more worryingly was her insistence that I join her in this endeavour of finality were her dream of going there ever to become a reality.

This short documentary that we found, shared below, is beautifully filmed, perfectly capturing the epic panoramas, whilst delving onto the lives of the Sherpas, porters, and their families, those so often forgotten but who are the real climbers, teachers and pack carriers.

The harshness of their way of life, and that of their families left at home makes for powerful viewing, the appalling risk of the work done through necessity –  and the whims of foreign climbers – as well as their need to survive and make a better life for their children, is extremely impactful.

The mountains of the Himalayas may overshadow its inhabitants, but it is important to be reminded how much is given by those whose relationship with the mountain is more akin to that of deity and worshipper, than the I’ll climb it ‘because its there’ attitude of so many abroad. This is well worth its fifteen minute runtime.

13 Replies to “In Which Gods, Hairy Feet, Mortality, The Art of Queueing, and Vampires Are Alluded”

    1. It gets the travel lust going, I would love to head there one day, maybe we will end up there. I’d settle for base camp just to be in the mountains shadow,even if I didn’t make it any further.

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  1. Wow! The video was incredible, Ste J. Thanks for sharing it. Being the cold-natured person I am, I’m not sure I side with Crissy. I think I’d rather end my days on a beach or at least a mountain in the summer! Take care you guys.

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    1. Something less dramatic would suit me too. Being in a dead zone where the body literally starts to die, near the summit is scary. I’ll take something gentler, probably surrounded by books, no doubt. I have itchy feet now wanting to wander the hills and mountains again. We climbed nineteen mountains in 2019, I would love to do more soon.

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  2. Dear Steve, Your excellent detour into mountain literature reminds me to tell you that I will never willingly hike a mountain, but that’s because I was born in a mountainous area of the U.S., W.Va. It’s known as “The Little Switzerland,” and the state motto is “Montani semper liberi,” (Mountaineers are always free). I got enough of mountains early on, because my dad was a park nut, and we hiked through mountainous areas a lot when I was young. It’s partly an urban legend, too, or a national legend, but you’re no doubt familiar with the stereotype of armed mountaineers fending off revenuers trying to bust down their stills full of hooch. That, of course, applies more to the mountains of other areas in the mid-Atlantic states, because despite the lyrics of John Denver’s song “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” W.Va. has long been a “dry state.” But thanks to him and others like him, this legend persists. Mountaineers in W.Va. are instead more rationally and honestly known for using their armaments to protect their property. “Get off my land” is what you’re very likely to hear in various places of the state if you go in without getting the permission of the property owner, and you may well find buckshot or worse in the seat of your pants if you don’t go fast enough. My dad once too advantage of this particular trend. They had decided to take some of our property away from us for the turnpike construction, in a stinky possession grab known by the government as “the right of eminent domain.” One day, long before the papers were filled out properly for this to happen, my father was walking the boundary line, and saw two men up ahead of him cutting the fence wires. He called out and queried as to why they were there, and they were only too self-righteously ready to tell him that they were with the government, and why they were there. My father asked if they had paperwork with them, and that made them a little nervous, but they tried to stand their ground. My father, who’d never owned or used a gun in his life except for preserving an old army musket that was an antique inherited from the family, promptly shoved his fist and fingers into the pocket of his housecoat/dressing gown (this was early in the morning, and he liked to stroll around that way on his day off), and said “Well, son, when they find you, you were on my property without my permission.” They promptly dropped the fence cutters and ran off, though in fact my father didn’t actually even have a pistol with him. He was properly amused, but in fact the actual possession didn’t come about for several more years after that, and you can bet the people who came were city slickers armed with the correct documentation. In conclusion to this long diatribe, if you do go hiking mountains anywhere, be sure and have some form of legal backing or i.d., or bring a gift for the property owner!

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    1. That’s a story and a half. I remember watching a documentary Murder Mountain which may still be on Netflix where the government were busting the Marijuana farms until the legalisation bill came in, that was a fascinating, if unsettling documentary. Digression aside, that and an old book Wasa Wasa based up around the gold rushes in Alaska and Canada also gave me an impression of what you describe.

      This wasn’t the post I had in mind, which I mentioned in my email but that will have to wait a bit longer but you will know it when it appears probably in a week or so.

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  3. I’m not certain that I would like to end my days as an ice cube lying alongside the trail like a specimen from another era, gazed at by all future climbers. But I have flown above the Southern Alps in New Zealand in a small plane. They were beautiful. I do know a man who does extreme skiing in Alaska who wears an avalanche vest that will allow him to “float” near the top of the snow, should he ever get caught in one. Not my cup of tea, either. I think I’d rather die on the beach watching a sunset, or sitting in a glen off of a trail in a redwood forest.

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    1. Avalanches are terrifying, and that’s just the video clips I’ve seen. If I were to be an ice cube statue up a mountain, I’d at least like to be on a comedy pose to amuse climbers.

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  4. You might want to Google the mountaineer NIms, a Nepalese man who has climbed all 14 8,000 m plus peaks in record time. He has a good instagram and is a lovely person. There will be a book out about him soon.

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  5. Isn’t marriage/partnership a wonderful thing! All of a sudden your loved one says or does something that makes you realise you are living with a complete stranger or a totally crazy person! Hehe! I always enjoy Robert MacFarlane’s prose but haven’t read ‘Mountains of the Mind’. It will go on my TBR list. I haven’t watched the video yet – I was giggling too much about Crissy’s comment and imagining your expression.

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