Welcome to my Himalayan diary –
my stories and a celebration of a life spent exploring the Himalaya
My first encounter with the Himalaya was in 1984 and since then I have been trekking, climbing, cycling and exploring the Himalayan regions.
This diary is for me to share my passion and enthusiasm for the Himalaya as well as being a place where you can share your adventures. It will be a celebration of a life spent in the high-altitude mountains as well as informative articles and fun tales of the wonderful times I have had on my many trips to the Himalaya.
I will tell you anecdotes about my life and share information about the culture, history and religion of this fascinating part of the world. I will also invite you to contribute stories of your journeys and adventures.
I first discovered the Himalaya in 1984 when I was a mere 25 years old and embarked on a three-week trip which included a trek from Kashmir to Ladakh in 1984. Since then, I have spent most of my life leading treks, expeditions and cycling trips in Ladakh, Nepal, the Indian Himalaya, Bhutan, Tibet, and Pakistan. In between leading groups, I have explored more remote areas of the Himalaya. This part of the world is my passion and along the way I have made many friends and have many stories to tell.
Over the years I have made many friends from all over the world and worked with so many inspiring people in the Himalaya and they will all have a place in this diary.
In 2008 I became the first British woman to summit Manaslu without the use of supplementary oxygen and in 2009 I got to within 90m of the summit in probably my biggest (and certainly my highest adventure). These and many more stories will unravel slowly – there might be spelling or grammatical errors but I hope this will be a happy place and that you will join me on this grand tour of the Himalaya.
50 Peak Summits
My introduction to trekking in the Himalaya I was born in 1959 in the seaside resort of Blackpool. My life was simple and mostly enjoyable as I went through school and college, where I studied Hotel and Catering Management. After my studies I went to live and work in Germany and whilst there I read a book written by someone who claimed he was the first foreigner to set foot in the Himalayan region of Ladakh in 1974, the year it was open to foreigners. To me (like to many others), the Himalaya invoked images of Nepal and Mount Everest, and I had not heard of places like Ladakh, Garwhal and other Himalayan kingdoms. I don’t remember much about the book now, but it planted a seed in my mind, and I decided I would like to trek in the Himalaya. I mentioned this to my dad who said he would also love to do the same, so we sent off for a few brochures (from adverts in newspapers – Google search didn’t exist then!) and we booked a three-week trip to Kashmir and Ladakh with a 15 day trek across 3 high passes, operated by a small company based in London and India. Excited and a bit nervous the next few weeks were spent packing and planning what to
1985 – Kashmir, Ladakh and the road to Kathmandu Part 1 – KashmirI returned from my first trek in 1984 with a different view on life. All I wanted to do was to go back to Kashmir and Ladakh and spend my life trekking in the Himalaya. Up till that point in my life my ambition had been to work my way up in the catering world and train to be a pastry chef in Switzerland. But I returned from the Himalayarealizing there was more to life than chopping vegetables into tiny squares in the hope of one day being promoted to the patisserie section of a kitchen. At the end of my first trip to India in 1984 the local agent had said to me ‘come and work for us next summer – we have a small office in Leh and we Kashmir is don’t like Ladakh as there are no trees like here in Kashmir’. Just a simple throwaway comment, but a seed was sown that would change my life forever. The next few months were spent working in an hotel in Switzerland (chopping the dreaded vegetables) and saving up for a flight to India. I loved Switzerland – I could practice my German language skills and I learnt to ski. I felt at home in the mountains