Colonel Jimmy Roberts – alerted the world to trekking in Nepal[/caption]In 1965 Colonel Jimmy Roberts introduced the world to trekking in Nepal. As a former Gurkha Officer and Military Attaché at the British Embassy in Kathmandu he had spent years of his life walking the hills of Nepal. His idea, revolutionary for the time, was to provide tents together with Sherpas, to guide and cook. This made Nepal and the Himalayas open their doors to the world and it became an instant success.
The same formula for trekking exists even today. groups travel through the hills, walking for five to six hours each day with all their equipment carried by porters or yaks; good quality meals are provided along with warm sleeping bags and comfortable tents; the trekker carries a personal pack with camera, day clothing and snacks.
Walking for days on end might sound daunting, but actually it is not that difficult. Anyone can trek and age is not a barrier! The most important attribute to enjoy the trek and Nepal, in general, is to have the right attitude and a positive frame of mind.
Bill Tilman was the first trekker in Nepal who took part in several treks including the Kali Gandaki, Helumbu and Everest. His Exploits are described in Nepal Himalaya, mountaineering classic that has been reprinted by the Seattle Mountaineers as part of a Tilman collection, the Seven Mountain-travel Books. Another early visitor was Maurice Herzog, who led a French expedition to the Annapurna in 1950.
During king Tribhuvan’s visit to India, the king met Boris Lissanovich, a Russian ballet dancer who was running a club in Calcutta. Boris convinced the king that people would like to visit Nepal and would actually pay for the experience. Soon, a few well- heeled ladies flew from Patna to Katmandu’s Gaucharan (cow field) in an Indian Airlines Dakota. Boris accommodated them in his new establishment, the Royal Hotel. The women were charmed by Boris and the exotic kingdom of Nepal. Thus, Nepali tourism was born. The Royal Hotel and its Yak & Yeti bar became the meeting place for climbers from the 1950s until 1971- when the Royal Hotel was closed.
Colonel James OM Roberts was the first person to realize that trekking would appeal to tourists. Jimmy Roberts had spent years in Nepal attached to the British residency and accompanied Tilman on his first trek. In 1965 he took a group of ladies up the kali Gandaki and founded Mountain Travel, the first of Nepal’s trekking companies and the inspiration for the adventure travel industry.
Colonel James OM Roberts was the first person to realise that trekking would appeal to tourists. Jimmy Roberts had spent years in Nepal attached to the British residency and accompanied Tilman on his first trek. In 1965 he took a group of ladies up the Kali Gandaki and founded Mountain Travel, the first of Nepal’s trekking companies and the inspiration for the adventure travel industry.