Around the Roof of the World

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Nicholas Shoumatoff, Nina Shoumatoff
University of Michigan Press, 1996 - Social Science - 237 pages
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The mountains of Central Asia--the Pamirs, the Tien Shan, the Himalaya-Karakorams--high and wild places, scenes, and people. The Heart of Asia and the Roof of the World.

Nicholas and Nina Shoumatoff and eight explorer friends open to the reader a unique, panoramic view of a remote fastness--the high mountain world in the heart of Asia. Available for the first time in English are writings of Vladimir Ratzek, who discovered the second highest peak in the USSR, Anatoly Ovtchinnikov, who was the first to ascend the South Wall of the Peak of Communism, and Omir Agakhanyantz, who has traveled and worked throughout the High Pamir for more than thirty years.
As the authors range Around the Roof of the World they write of Western Tibet, of Hunza, of Kokhistan, of the Chang Tang, of the vast Fedchenko Glacier. They pause to contemplate places of natural grandeur, diverse ecologies, ancient culture, and geopolitical significance. Their first-hand accounts are illustrated with photographs and paintings of spectacular landscapes, rich natural life, and remote peoples. Through prolonged association with intimate ways of life among the high-altitude villagers and nomads of the Kyrghyz, Kalmuck, Tajik, Kashmiri, Ladakhi, and pastoral Tibetan tribes, they describe the local customs of family and pastoral life, tent architecture, native crafts, hospitality, courtship, religion, celebration, games, sports, and bazaars. The compelling essays tell of a four-hundred-mile walk across Tajikistan, about early relics of Central Asian art, about the discovery of Victory Peak, about the nomadic peoples, and about the rocks, plants, and animals on the worlds highest mountains.
For all who dream of travel in remote places, who are drawn to mountaineering, and who are fascinated by the Heart of Asia, Nicholas and Nina Shoumatoff have provided a rich feast.
Nicholas Shoumatoff is an entomologist and retired mechanical engineer. Nina Shoumatoff studied literature and philosophy. The two have trekked and hiked widely in the mountain regions of Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Alps, the Appalachians, the Tetons, the Pacific Northwest, and the Caribbean, on which they have lectured and published separately and together. On the first of their two expeditions to Central Asia they carried the Explorers Club Flag through four now-independent republics; on their second trip they participated in three international mountaineering camps among the highest peaks of the Pamir. Nicholas is a fellow emeritus of the Explorers Club, a member of the American Alpine Club, a research associate of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and coauthor of a monograph on the butterflies of Afghanistan.
"In this timely book, the ancient traditions of Central Asias uplands are presented both in their diversity and as part of a single mountain culture. I very much hope this novel approach will help to generate respect for the unique but fast-disappearing way of life of the Tibetan people and their neighbors on the roof of the world."--His Holiness the Dalai Lama
"Remote and intriguing, Central Asia remains little known in the West. The book offers a unique and fascinating glimpse into a mysterious world."--George B. Schaller, Zoologist, honorary member of the Explorers Club, and author of Mountain Monarchs
"Reading Around the Roof of the World is like finding a set of old journals and magazines in a library somewhere in Asia that are so engrossing you find yourself unable to leave. . . . These refreshingly genuine accounts of real adventures and scientists have been written for others of like mind."--Galen Rowell, Photographer, mountaineer, and author of In the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods
"The chapters by Russian climbers were wonderful to read. They brought back many memories. Russian climbers are among the finest in the world, yet the English-speaking mountaineering community rarely learns of their exploits. This book gives us a glimpse into the world of mountaineering--Russian style--and the courage of the men and women who climb by the 'rules.'"--Dana Isherwood, Leader, 1978 and 1979 American Pamir Expeditions

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A Trip to Western Tibet
The TransAsia Expedition
With the Nomads of Central Asia

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