I am afraid that if I let time pass without writing steadily the stream of posts will dry up. To stave off that possibility here I am, taking a crack at understanding the expeditions. This is a fascinating database because it has a lot of rich detail that I want to run through before summer comes around. To keep the momentum I began by looking at the number and nature of expeditions to the Himalayan peaks.
I’ve been itching to get back into the himal database and Elizabeth Hawley’s passing jolted me back into action. I wanted to start by looking at the peaks themselves, hoping this would give me a better understanding of the fields before I delve into the expedition data. We have data on 457 peaks, but only 377 are open and only 309 of these have been climbed. Information about the date of the summiting is missing for 3 peaks (we have the year and the month but not the day) so that drops the dataset down to 306 peaks.
Elizabeth Hawley, the quintessential chronicler of mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas passed away today in Kathmandu, Nepal. One quote stands above the rest. In an interview she said, when asked:
“Interviewer: How do you want to be remembered? Do you have any thoughts about that?
EH: No, I’ve never thought about being remembered.
“However, the meticulous chronicler’s name will live on. A mountain in north-west Nepal, bordering Tibet, was named Peak Hawley in her honour in 2014.
Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary photographed after their return from the successful climb. Bettmann / Contributor / Getty Images
“You perfect a sport when you can do all of these things with less stuff. The most impressive ascent of Everest was by the Swedish guy who bicycled from Stockholm to Kathmandu and then soloed Everest and bicycled back to Stockholm.