Nepal Himalaya by H.W. Tilman Book Review

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Book Review: Nepal Himalaya: The Most Mountainous Of A Singularly Mountainous Country by H.W. Tilman

Nepal Himalaya 1952 | H.W. Tilman
Nepal Himalaya 1952 | H.W. Tilman

If you haven’t read Nepal Himalaya by Tilman, it’s time to pick up a copy. Tilman was one of the greatest explorers of his era. He was climbing peaks, exploring mountain ranges, and creating the maps of far flung locales long before most.

While the writings of many other explorers of his time have long since been forgotten, Tilman, “is still read, when so much of mid-twentieth-century travel literature is not, says a great deal about his ability as a writer.

Every mountain enthusiast will enjoy a Tilman book. Tilman has an uncanny ability to paint a picture of life as a gentleman explorer in remote corners of the world. While a good number of his books focus on mountain life, Nepal Himalaya is Tilman’s “last mountain book, before the great shift to life afloat and another quarter century of astounding adventures.

Nepal Himalaya by Tilman was written in 1952 and is a record of Tilman’s expeditions in the mountainous country of Nepal throughout 1949 and 1950. As Tilman writes, “There can be no other country so rich in mountains as Nepal.” Nepal is home to roughly 1/3 of the Himalaya Range. There are massive mountains in every direction as he notes, “Apart from Everest and Kangchenjunga and their two 27,000 ft. satellites, there are six peaks over 26,000 ft., fourteen over 25,000 ft., and a host of what might be called slightly stunted giants of 20,000 ft. and upwards” (17). It’s a mountaineer’s paradise.

Buy Nepal Himalaya by H.W. Tilman On Amazon.com

Of course the primary focus of the exploration in this book was science. But despite being busy collecting beetles, Tilman still finds the time to attempts climbs on rowdy peaks like Manaslu and Annapurna IV – although he never reaches their towering summits.

Tilman does an excellent job of telling his wild tales involving climbs, yetis, porters, and so much more in a uniquely British style that will make readers of any generation smile. But what he does best is he is able to tell things like he sees in a humous and enjoyable manner. Here are a few examples that most mountaineers can relate to:

  • Suffered increasingly from mountaineer’s foot – reluctance to put one in front of the other” (174).
  • The view from any col, a mountain window opening upon a fresh scene, holds an expectant thrill; how much keener is expectancy if that view promises to reveal unsurveyed country and perhaps a 26,000 ft. mountain” (65).
  • Some there are who are satisfied with the mere looking at mountains; but to the mountaineer they are a challenge” (191).

It’s always a pleasure to read a Tilman book. Tilman’s writing style will make you feel like you were there with him as he wandered through the Langtang and Annapurna Himalaya and eventually onwards to Everest, where he scouts out different routes to the top of the world. Add in an assortment of photographs and maps and you have 278 pages of adventure that every armchair adventurer will enjoy.

Nepal Himalaya by Tilman was published on 6 April 2017 by Lodestar Books and Vertebrate Publishing. Vertebrate Publishing sent Nepal Himalaya by Tilman to A Mountain Journey for review. We give it a thumbs up. Enjoy.


Get your copy of Nepal Himalaya by Tilman from Vertebrate Publishing or online at Amazon:


While we certainly recommend Nepal Himalaya, it might be wise to start the Tilman Collection at the beginning. Vertebrate Publishing released the Tilman Collection, featuring both of his mountain and sailing explorations, for you to enjoy:


See Also: Two Mountains And A River Book Review