if nobody sees you, did it happen?
October 29, 2016 12:21 PM   Subscribe

American reporter Elizabeth Hawley has lived in Kathmandu since 1962, where she is the world's authority of the summiting of high Himalayan mountains and keeps Himalayan Database. The High Priestess of Posterity
These files are her life's work, containing the largest catalog of man's athletic achievements at the edge of the troposphere. Never mind that Hawley hasn't climbed a mountain in her life. She has interviewed, documented, and, when necessary, investigated nearly every expedition coming through Kathmandu since the country opened its doors to outsiders in the mid 1950s. She's also acted as an archival historian, collecting trip reports from as far back as 1905.
posted by the man of twists and turns (7 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Almost as inspiring as climbing the mountain itself. Maybe even more so once you're the 10,000th to do it.

A much-needed alternative to "those who can't do, teach" should be "if you can't DO it, be the one who documents it". Another great example: the recently retired Vin Scully. Not good examples: political pundits and highway patrolmen with radar guns.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:49 PM on October 29, 2016

This is really fascinating. Thanks.
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:20 PM on October 29, 2016

Worth hunting down/checking out if you're interested in her is the documentary: Keeper of the Mountains (Kickstarter, companion biography, Google Play stream). I saw it a couple of years ago when it was making the rounds of the local climber film festival circuit. She's great. Another example of someone who made an unconventional but completely self actualizing choice.
posted by bl1nk at 5:18 AM on October 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

What a pity that she hasn't appointed an heir. Her work is irreplaceable.
posted by hat_eater at 5:31 AM on October 30, 2016

posted by spitbull at 6:50 AM on October 30, 2016

I love her. Now I want to read that book. And after reading a few of the interviews you linked to I can see why climbers and others are a little scared of her. Great post.
posted by Kangaroo at 6:55 AM on October 30, 2016

Worth hunting down/checking out if you're interested in her is the documentary: Keeper of the Mountains

Oh wow, I'm so glad to see that movie here. It was directed by my friend Allison Otto. Her work is really great.
posted by fremen at 12:21 PM on October 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

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