Five Treasures of Great Snow: The Story of Kangchenjunga
Authors: Jon Gangdal and Karl Kerner
Published by Buddha Publications
KATHMANDU: Had the Germans won the World War I, would they have still been interested in the battle for Himalayas against the British? It is difficult to answer but the quest for Kangchenjunga (8,586 m), the third highest mountain in the world, would have definitely been delayed.
According to Five Treasures of Great Snow: The Story of Kangchenjunga, by Jon Gangdal and Karl Kerner, the Germans needed considerably more time than the British to recover from WWI. “Many of the German climbers had fought in the trenches and endured the same dreadful suffering as their British climbing peers and the fight continued in exploring the high Himalayas from the war trenches, Gangdal — who has already scaled many peaks across the world including the highest peak in the world Mt Everest four times before co-authoring the book — was describing excitedly the history of fight for the Himalayas. With his new book in hand, he sometimes could not find the correct word to describe his own journey back to the
Himalayas since last two decades.
“End of the war, broke Germans economically and mentally, but as the economy started growing in the late 1920s, some Germans were already
planning for their foreign expedition,” Gangdal added.
The book Five Treasures of Great Snow: The Story of Kangchenjunga not only describes historical rivalry between the British and Germans in conquering the Himalayas, but also published some of the historical pictures from German archives.
Initially the fight began for the highest peak Mt Everest — which the Britishers also term as the Third Pole — but due to temporary ban on climbing Mt Everest, the Germans — led by Paul Baumer — scaled Kangchenjunga for the first time. “When they left Germany in 1929, they had no particular goal in their mind, except it was for Himalaya,” according to Gangdal, who also describes his journey to Kangchenjunga — which means Five Treasures of Great Snow — in simple narration with the help of photographs. “But when we saw Kangchenjunga, there was no doubt where we wanted to go,” the book quotes Bauer. “But the team could not make it to the top as they were lost. The British became the first to conquer Kangchenjunga in 1955.”
Being a journalist in his homeland Norway for many years before his quest for Himalayas, Gangdal does not bore the readers and retraces the history from desperate British to conquer the Third Pole and the Himalayas to the Kangchenjunga.