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His Holiness the Dalai Lama, President Jimmy Carter, Sir Edmund Hillary and others write vividly about this endangered region

 The American Himalayan Foundation and the National Geographic Society, along with dozens of prominent and convincing voices, have teamed up to focus world attention on the pressing humanitarian and environmental concerns of the area encompassing India, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and Pakistan — the legendary Roof of the World. 

HIMALAYA: PERSONAL STORIES OF GRANDEUR, CHALLENGE, AND HOPE  is both a magnificent celebration and a call for compassion. In this intimate portrait, replete with stunning images and heartrending tales, 40 distinguished writers, renowned mountaineers, respected scholars, and eminent philanthropists and miracle workers share their experiences, concerns, and dreams for the world’s highest place.

Will the Himalaya, “as solid as a rock, as eternal as its deities, as fragile as the dawn,” survive the pressures of today’s demanding world? The book presents the range in all its splendor and frailty. From the jagged peaks of Everest and Annapurna to the astonishing biodiversity and rich culture, HIMALAYA shows off the area’s wonders while making an urgent appeal to protect them. Breathtaking images by more than 50 acclaimed photographers, including Steve McCurry, Gordon Wiltsie and Martin Schoeller illuminate the raw beauty of the region. Compelling text describes the legacies of the Sherpas and Tibetans; the history of Himalayan exploration and the first ascent of Everest; and the pivotal role of religion.

The book also unveils the uncertain future faced by this remarkable region. Political turmoil, population growth, loss of cultural heritage, and ecological stresses — not to mention lack of quality education and health care — are formidable challenges to the millions who struggle on the hem of the Himals. The obstacles are daunting, but there is hope.   

Original narratives by such notables as Senator Dianne Feinstein, George Schaller, Maurice Herzog and others capture life in the Himalaya and stress the importance of preserving its ancient landscape and vibrant culture. We also hear for the first time, and in their own voices, from Tibetan refugees, high-altitude climbing Sherpas, Nepali doctors, Buddhist monks and even the Raja of the remote Kingdom Mustang. The diversity of voices in this volume provides a 360-degree view of the range — a view from the inside out.

The book highlights everyday heroes — doctors who bring healthcare to those in desperate need, pioneers working to save girls from trafficking, teachers bringing schooling to remote villages, conservationists restoring ancient monuments, environmentalists battling  wildlife poaching and habitat loss, high lamas struggling to preserve their cultures and volunteers teaching Himalayan schoolchildren to read and write. These inspiring stories of those dedicated to providing relief and opportunity to the people of the Himalaya demonstrate how even the smallest acts of compassion can reshape an entire region, while serving as a much-needed model for global humanitarian aid.

Editors Richard Blum, Erica Stone and Broughton Coburn bring a personal perspective and unique, firsthand experience to the book. Blum, chairman of the American Himalayan Foundation, led the 1981 Everest East Face Expedition and was awarded the Light of Truth Award by the Dalai Lama for his steadfast support of Himalayan peoples. Stone is the president of AHF, which is dedicated to bringing education, health care, and cultural and environmental conservation to Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and to Tibetan refugees. Bestselling author Coburn (Everest: Mountain Without Mercy; Touching My Father’s Soul; Aama in America), has spent two of the past three decades in the Himalaya working in development and conservation for the United Nations and World Bank.

The book’s many contributors have pledged their support and are available for media, personal appearances and promotional events. Contributor presentations and receptions and media blitzes in connection with HIMALAYA are being held in the following cities: Bozeman, Montana (Oct. 17th at the Emerson Center), Washington D.C. (Oct. 24th at the National Geographic Society), New York (Nov. 1st at the Asia Society), and San Francisco (Nov. 20th). Events are being scheduled now in Seattle, Denver-Boulder, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Sun Valley, Idaho. 

“This extraordinary part of the world faces many challenges. But it also has magic. As you trek through the Himalaya by reading this book, I hope that you are as indelibly impressed as I have been that the people, the environment, and the culture are deserving of our attention and care.”     -- President Jimmy Carter 


  • His Holiness the Dalai Lama
  • President Jimmy Carter
  • Sir Edmund Hillary
  • Peter Hillary
  • Richard C. Blum, chairman of American Himalayan Foundation
  • Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senator from California, wife of co-editor Richard C. Blum
  • Dr. George Schaller, esteemed wildlife biologist
  • Jon Krakauer, bestselling author and AHF board member
  • Norbu Tenzing, eldest son of Tenzing Norgay Sherpa
  • Conrad Anker, one of America’s most accomplished mountaineers
  • Peter Athans, seven-time Everest summiter
  • Brent Bishop, two-time Everest summiter, environmentalist and son of ‘63 Everest summiter Barry Bishop, formerly of the National Geographic Society
  • Ian Baker, author, adventurer, Tibetologist
  • Dr. Roger Bilham, renowned seismologist at the University of Colorado
  • Jimmy Chin, photographer and renowned mountaineer
  • Liesl Clark, Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker
  • Lodi Gyari, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s representative to the U.S.
  • Sogyal Rinpoche, Buddhist lama and bestselling author
  • Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, author of Medicine and Compassion and other titles
  • Maurice Herzog, author of the mega-seller, Annapurna
  • Dr. Rodney Jackson, president of the Snow Leopard Conservancy and author of Vanishing Tracks and a National Geographic Magazine cover story
  • Nancy Jo Johnson, LIFE magazine photographer
  • Vassi Koutsaftis, photographer and Himalayan adventurer
  • Steve McCurry, National Geographic photographer
  • Dr. Hemanta Raj Mishra, founder of Nepal’s national parks system and Getty Conservation Prize winner
  • Dr. Aruna Uprety, renowned savior of trafficked women
  • Dr. Ashok Banskota, a “miracle worker” orthopedic surgeon
  • Jake Norton, photographer and Everest guide
  • Jaroslav Poncar, renowned German landscape and monument photographer
  • Martin Schoeller, photographer
  • William Thompson, photographer
  • Junko Tabei, first woman to reach the summit of Everest
  • Gordon Wiltsie, National Geographic photographer
  • Jim Whittaker, first American to reach the summit of Everest; co-founder of REI, author, lecturer
  • Leon Weil, former U.S. Ambassador to Nepal
  • Erica Stone, President of the American Himalayan Foundation
  • Broughton Coburn, bestselling author and Asia expert
  • Dr. Charles Houston, 90, the father of high altitude physiology
  • Apa Sherpa, 15-times Everest summiter
  • Ang Rita Sherpa, Nepal Director of the Himalayan Trust
  • David R. Shlim, Himalayan rescue doctor and lecturer on Buddhism
  • Matthieu Ricard, acclaimed Buddhist monk, writer and philosopher
  • Taga, a Tibetan refugee who lost both legs escaping from Tibet
  • The Incarnate lama of the Tengboche Monastery, in the shadow of Everest
  • Bekh B. Thapa, former Nepalese Ambassador to the United States
  • Manjushree Thapa, Nepalese writer and political analyst
  • Tsering Lhamo, Tibetan nurse for thousands of refugees
  • Luke Sunde, bringing health care to thousands each month, at less than $0.50 per visit. 
  • Bruce Moore, education and development expert
  • Stan Armington, peripatetic Asia hand and founder of the Rum Doodle Bar


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