“There is something about the Himalayas not possessed by the Alps, something unseen and unknown, a charm that pervades every hour spent among them, a mystery intriguing and disturbing.”
Frank Smythe, mountaineer
“Himalayas is the place where worldly taint could never reach, where rolls the stream of knowledge, truth and bliss. The heart of Himalayas is very far away from the material world.”
Swami Vivekananda, Hindu monk
The Himalayan and Karakoram ranges extend some 1500 miles across Nepal, India, Bhutan, China and Pakistan, forming a great barrier between the lowland plains of the Indian subcontinent and the high Tibetan Plateau. The fourteen 8000m peaks, the highest mountains in the world, are all located in the Himalaya.
For mountaineering destinations, there's a natural progression first to the great European ranges, roughly three times higher than the British mountains, then onwards to the Himalaya, which are three times as high again. I'd always imagined that the Himalaya were the province of experienced mountaineers, but then I found that there are good footpaths along the valleys and over high passes, allowing the most awe-inspiring mountain scenery on earth to be admired at close quarters. Furthermore, trekking routes in popular areas such as Everest and Annapurna are well served by a network of "tea houses" which provide food and accommodation for trekkers.