Tents in the Clouds (Tr)

Monica Jackson, Author, Elizabeth Stark, Joint Author, Arlene Blum, Foreword by Seal Press (CA) $16 (256p) ISBN 978-1-58005-033-3
This engaging firsthand account of an expedition by three British women to an unexplored area on the border between Nepal and Tibet in 1955, reissued by Seal Press, is likely to be a hit in the burgeoning adventure category. While the women's modestly stated goal was to explore the ""uncompromising"" Jugal Himal region, they succeeded in finding and climbing an unmapped 21,ooo-foot mountain peak, which they named Gyalgen in honor of their endearing Sherpa guide. Accompanying the two authors--a housewife and mother, and a speech therapist, respectively--was a Scottish physician, Evelyn Camrass. Experienced mountaineers all, they were the first female expedition in the Himalayas and a successful example of a leaderless team. The book's charm lies in the tangy juxtaposition of the authors' understated, matter-of-fact presentation of their accomplishments and their awe-inspiring bravery, resourcefulness and meticulous preparation. By today's standards, their equipment and clothing were primitive; they endured their share of frostbite, altitude sickness and discomfort. Yet they maintained a stiff upper lip while crossing shaky chain bridges, walking through a jungle fire, managing their native guides and otherwise facing potentially lethal danger and unforgiving weather. Rendered in fine, succinct language (""the snow was blowing blue and iron hard"") and seasoned with good humor, their serene reflections on their ""strenuous endeavors"" are a delight. 35 b&w photos, maps. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
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