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June 29 , 2008

Himalayan Playground


During the twilight years of the British Raj Trevor Braham spent much of his boyhood in India where, in the mid-1930s, he attended a boarding school in Darjeeling for four years. Dwelling within sight of the magnificent spectacle of Kangchenjunga and its satellite peaks exerted a strong influence upon him, arousing later ambitions. After early trips to Sikkim he joined the Himalayan Club marking a threshold of half-a-lifetime of adventures and activities in the mountain ranges spread across the northern regions of the Indian sub-continent, from Sikkim in the South-east to Chitral in the North-west in an environment very different from the present day. His halcyon years extended from 1942 to 1972, part of the earlier period corresponding with the Himalayan Golden Age in the 1960A 's when an international frenzy developed for climbing the world's highest mountains. In between he enjoyed summer climbing in the Swiss Alps, joining the Alpine Club and the Swiss Alpine Club.As one of the Himalayan Club's earliest members, he was invited to give the opening address at its 80th anniversary celebrations held in Mumbai in February 2008. Trevor Braham's final work on his life and times in the Himalayas is an insight into the Golden Age of Himalayan exploration when he spent all of his free time until he married on numerous expeditions into the world's greatest mountain range. This is a telling insight into a time when mountains were not subjected to the all-out onslaught of tourist climbers ticking off the peaks as they went, leaving a landscape littered with waste. These are the recollections of a bygone era in mountaineering, never to return.
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