This interesting ephemeral map was made especially for trekkers and depicts the ‘Roof of the World’, being the southern approaches to Mount Everest, which at 8,848 m (29,029 ft) is the highest peak in the World. The map’s coverage extends from Lamosangu to Solu-Khumbu, on the Nepali side of the Himalayas. The incredibly extreme gradations in elevation are expressed through contour lines at 500 metre intervals, with spot heights noting the summits of peaks, while the map labels trekking paths, metalled roads, villages, glaciers, as well as all manner of conventional topographical attributes. The map also labels the highest and lowest points on each designated trekking route and, additionally, features a ‘Glossary’ translating Nepalese trekking and geographical terms into English.
The map was issued in response to the dramatic spike in mountaineering tourism to the Mount Everest era that arose during the 1980s and 1990s, and which continues to the present day. Before this time, Mount Everest and the other great Himalayan peaks could only be climbed by ‘professional mountaineers’; however, improvements in technology and the commercialization of the Sherpas allowed many ‘normal people’ (albeit those in great physical condition and with generous financing) to climb the great Himalayan peaks. The influx of foreigners (both those engaged in serious mountaineering and those simply hiking in the valleys below) had been decried by conservationists, as their presence has severely harmed the natural environment. Yet efforts to curb tourism have been limited by the fact that the local populace is utterly dependent on the foreigners for their livelihood, while the Nepalese government earns precious foreign exchange from climbing license fees.
The present map was issued by Mandala Graphic Arts in Kathmandu and was published by a photoprint process called white print, which is the reverse of the blue print method. While largely out of use in the Western World, this inexpensive, but effective, technique is still commonly used in the Indian Subcontinent for ephemeral publications, especially for graphics such as maps.
The present edition of the map was issued in 1991, for the 1991-2 mountaineering season, and editions of the map were produced annually by Mandala between 1985 and 1993.
The Library of Congress possesses an especially fine and comprehensive collection of similar Nepalese trekking maps, including many other titles by Mandala.
References: Cf. [Re: 1992-3 ed.] OCLC: 1017475146.