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A Poem from Manaslu

Two mountaineers navigating a glacier on a Gasherbrum II Expedition

Packing Up

The Himex team is just packing up our base camp and getting ready to leave for Samagoan tomorrow morning. But before we shut everything down, we would like to share this beautiful poem with you that was written by one of our members, Alan Millard. The poem is based on Rudyard Kipling’s famous ‘IF’.


IF (Himex Version)

If you can keep your head when the Independents

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you

If you can trust yourself when others doubt you

but make allowances for their doubting too

If you can rope up but not be tired by staking

or being complained about but not starting the complaints

or being single but not internet dating

And yet don’t look too good, lest Monica just faints

If you can dream and not make Everest your master

If you can think and not make thoughts your aim

If you can meet with Summit or Disaster

and treat those two imposters just the same

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

twisted by others to make a trap for fools

or watch the Chinese trips Russ gave his life to, broken

and stoop and build them up with ‘old-school’ tools

If you can build one heap of all your winnings

and risk it all on ‘forecasted weather’

and fail and start again at your beginnings

eating salted plums for the worst decision ever

If you can force your heart, and nerve and sinew

to continue climbing long after they are gone

and so keep going when Adrian’s way beyond you

and there’s just your will that says ‘hold on’

If you can talk with guides and keep your virtue

or walk with Russ and not lose the common touch

If neither loving friends nor foes can hurt you

If all members count with you but not too much

If you can fill the Base Camp minute

with 60 seconds of Woody’s classy music (let’s pretend)

Then yours is the Earth and everything in it.

And what’s more,

You’ll be a Climber, my Friend


Adapted from IF by Rudyard Kipling

Alan Millard, September 2010