The legacy of Elizabeth Hawley, chronicler of the Himalaya

On January 26, 2018, a large of Himalayan mountaineering handed as she lived, quietly, modestly and with out fanfare. Although Elizabeth Hawley by no means braved frostbite on the North Face of Everest or dodged rockfalls on the Abruzzi Slope of K2, her contribution to the world of Himalayan mountaineering has endured by means of the a long time.

Elizabeth Hawley is described because the chronicler of Everest. Image by Claudia Camila Lopez

American-born, Hawley got here to Nepal as a younger journalist, when the dominion first opened its borders to the skin world within the 1950s, and took up residence in Kathmandu, writing on the newest Himalayan conquests for the Reuters news company. Over the years, as expedition after expedition pushed again the boundaries of mountaineering, Hawley found herself promoted to the position of unofficial chronicler of Himalayan climbing.

For the practically 60 years, Hawley painstaking maintained the Himalayan Database, a meticulous account of each Himalayan ascent since 1903. The database continues to be regarded by mountaineers because the bible of Himalayan ascents, and no summit try will be thought of to be ‘recognised’ till its particulars are famous and confirmed within the Himalayan Database.

Climbers keep in a camp on Mount Everest. Image by ©Spaces Images/Getty Images

Based on vigorous in-person interviews with members of mountaineering expeditions earlier than and after summit makes an attempt, Hawley’s work is so authoritative that it has been used to problem disputed conquests, together with the 2016 Everest expedition by Indian climbers Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod, whose photographs from the summit have been later uncovered as a Photoshop fraud.

Responsibility for the Himalayan Database has now handed to Hawley’s nominated successor, 49-year-old German journalist and climber Billi Bierling, who has claimed the summits of Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Manaslu, amongst different Himalayan giants. Hawley’s legacy, nevertheless, will lengthy reside on amongst Himalayan climbers, significantly these climbing Peak Hawley, the 6182m summit named in her honour in 2014.

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