Headstrap: Legends and Lore from the Climbing Sherpas of Darjeeling: Purandare, Nandini & Deepa Balsavar
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Headstrap: Legends and Lore from the Climbing Sherpas of Darjeeling

Author(s): Purandare, Nandini & Deepa Balsavar

Copyright: 2024, US
Specifications: 1st, 8vo, pp.319, 41 bw photos, 3 bw maps, appendices, wraps
Condition: new

In the twenty-first century, it is generally understood that Sherpas, synonymous with mountain climbing, come from Nepal and live in the Everest region. Less well known is that during the nineteenth century Sherpas and other local climbers seeking work started traversing mountain passes from Nepal to India. When Colonial-era Darjeeling became the jumping-off point for early Himalayan expeditions, workers from the city’s Sherpa and Bhutia communities established themselves as the preferred high-altitude porters. Their rise to prominence is a compelling story, unique in the history of mountain adventure.

Revealing these tales of valor, courage, and sacrifice, Headstrap chronicles the climbers behind the scenes, without whom so many famous expeditions of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries would not have happened. Authors Purandare and Balsavar conducted extensive interviews with Sherpas from Darjeeling over the course of a decade, gleaning memories from their family members, descendants, friends, and contemporary climbers – memories that let them into people’s hearts and minds. These oral histories range from early accounts of young Sherpas chasing dreams in newly settled Darjeeling to stories of tragedy and death in the mountains, and from tales of Sherpa women and children to larger-than-life characters little known to the outside world. Featuring a foreward by former Alpinist editor in chief Katie Ives, Headstrap is a rich, timely story of climbing and community – an essential, and until now untold, thread of mountaineering history.

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