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The Trekker's Guide to the Himalaya and Karakoram

The Trekker’s Guide to the Himalaya and Karakoram. Hugh Swift. Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, 1982. 342 pages, black and white photographs, maps, bibliography. $10.95.

This book covers a large geographic area, so naturally the descriptions of individual routes are not as detailed as one would expect in a book limited to a single country, such as Nepal. The author has trekked extensively in Asia and his descriptions are accurate and complete, reflecting his personal experience, observations, and respect for local cultures and customs. He was not able to personally inspect every route included in the book. Therefore, those which are based on secondary information are less detailed.

This is one of the first guidebooks to cover the entire Himalaya-Karakoram area. Swift does an admirable job of providing an overview of a vast and complex region. Readers who seek more detailed information on specific areas can consult the maps and other guidebooks to which he refers. A glossary of Tibetan, Nepali, Hindi-Urdu and Burushaski terms is a helpful feature.

This volume should be particularly useful to mountaineers and trekkers who want to consider all geographical options before deciding upon their destination. It is pleasing to find that many of my favorite trekking areas in Pakistan are presented as alternatives to trekking in Nepal.

Gene F. White