By Catherine Moorehead
The following will be of interest to your web-followers interested in
K2, mountaineering history and biography, and mountaineering and
The first and authorised biography of Haversham Godwin-Austen
(1834-1923), K2’s earliest explorer, will be published on September 30,
2013. For further information about the book, please go to the
publisher’s website, www.nwp.co.uk and on the home page Main Menu click
on Forthcoming Titles.
Godwin-Austen was the first serious explorer of the Karakaram. He also
made the first survey-explorations of Rupshu, Ladakh and Zanskar,
Western Tibet and the Aksai Chin, and a large part of Kashmir,
including the Pir Panjal, the Kaj Nag and the first Western
near-approach to Nun-Kun. During this period, he made at least four
ascents above 6000m and at least 18 ascents above 5000m, all before the
Matterhorn had been climbed.
In 1864, he joined a Diplomatic Mission to Bhutan and made the first
map of its Western part. He was then sent to survey the Nagaland and
Manipur areas of Northern Burma and Assam, where he made many further
ascents and surveyed vast areas of country.
On his return to England in 1877, he became perhaps the greatest-ever
malacologist (one who studies molluscs), and made important and
extensive contributions to the study of geology, ornithology, zoology
He enjoyed quite a colourful private life, marrying three times. First,
to an Afghan landowner’s daughter, then to an English socialite (living
in India) and then to a local Surrey lady. He converted to Islam for
the sake of his first marriage, and it is highly likely that he
converted to Buddhism in his later years.
This biography offers a great deal of wholly new material and corrects
current inaccuracies in the public domain. It is extensively
illustrated with approx. 50 colour plates, many of them Godwin-Austen’s
own watercolours, including one of K2 from approx. 1000m above the
Baltoro at Urdukas, the first close sighting of the mountain. There are
also eight maps.
Further information can also be obtained from the author, Catherine
Moorehead, at : firstname.lastname@example.org