The mountains of Central Asia--the Pamirs, the Tien Shan, the
Himalaya-Karakorams--high and wild places, scenes, and people. The
Heart of Asia and the Roof of the World.
Nicholas and Nina Shoumatoff and eight explorer friends open to the
reader a unique, panoramic view of a remote fastness--the high
mountain world in the heart of Asia. Available for the first time
in English are writings of Vladimir Ratzek, who discovered the
second highest peak in the USSR, Anatoly Ovtchinnikov, who was the
first to ascend the South Wall of the Peak of Communism, and Omir
Agakhanyantz, who has traveled and worked throughout the High Pamir
for more than thirty years.
As the authors range "Around the Roof of the World" they write of
Western Tibet, of Hunza, of Kokhistan, of the Chang Tang, of the
vast Fedchenko Glacier. They pause to contemplate places of natural
grandeur, diverse ecologies, ancient culture, and geopolitical
significance. Their first-hand accounts are illustrated with
photographs and paintings of spectacular landscapes, rich natural
life, and remote peoples. Through prolonged association with
intimate ways of life among the high-altitude villagers and nomads
of the Kyrghyz, Kalmuck, Tajik, Kashmiri, Ladakhi, and pastoral
Tibetan tribes, they describe the local customs of family and
pastoral life, tent architecture, native crafts, hospitality,
courtship, religion, celebration, games, sports, and bazaars. The
compelling essays tell of a four-hundred-mile walk across
Tajikistan, about early relics of Central Asian art, about the
discovery of Victory Peak, about the nomadic peoples, and about the
rocks, plants, and animals on the worlds highest mountains.
For all who dream oftravel in remote places, who are drawn to
mountaineering, and who are fascinated by the Heart of Asia,
Nicholas and Nina Shoumatoff have provided a rich feast.
Nicholas Shoumatoff is an entomologist and retired mechanical
engineer. Nina Shoumatoff studied literature and philosophy. The
two have trekked and hiked widely in the mountain regions of
Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Alps, the Appalachians, the Tetons,
the Pacific Northwest, and the Caribbean, on which they have
lectured and published separately and together. On the first of
their two expeditions to Central Asia they carried the Explorers
Club Flag through four now-independent republics; on their second
trip they participated in three international mountaineering camps
among the highest peaks of the Pamir. Nicholas is a fellow emeritus
of the Explorers Club, a member of the American Alpine Club, a
research associate of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and
coauthor of a monograph on the butterflies of Afghanistan.
"In this timely book, the ancient traditions of Central Asias
uplands are presented both in their diversity and as part of a
single mountain culture. I very much hope this novel approach will
help to generate respect for the unique but fast-disappearing way
of life of the Tibetan people and their neighbors on the roof of
the world."--His Holiness the Dalai Lama
"Remote and intriguing, Central Asia remains little known in the
West. The book offers a unique and fascinating glimpse into a
mysterious world."--George B. Schaller, Zoologist, honorary member
of the Explorers Club, and author of Mountain Monarchs
"Reading "Around the Roof of the World" is like finding a set of
old journals and magazines ina library somewhere in Asia that are
so engrossing you find yourself unable to leave. . . . These
refreshingly genuine accounts of real adventures and scientists
have been written for others of like mind."--Galen Rowell,
Photographer, mountaineer, and author of "In the Throne Room of the
"The chapters by Russian climbers were wonderful to read. They
brought back many memories. Russian climbers are among the finest
in the world, yet the English-speaking mountaineering community
rarely learns of their exploits. This book gives us a glimpse into
the world of mountaineering--Russian style--and the courage of the
men and women who climb by the 'rules.'"--Dana Isherwood, Leader,
1978 and 1979 American Pamir Expeditions
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