Author: M S Kohli
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8172235519
In the towering mountains of northern India, a chilling chapter was written in the history of international espionage.Spies in the Himalayas chronicles for the first time the details of these death-defying expeditions sanctioned by US and Indian intelligence, telling the story of clandestine climbs and hair raising exploits.
After the Chinese conducted their first nuclear test in 1964, America and India, which had just fought a border war with its northern neighbour, were both justifiably concerned. The CIA knew it needed more information on China’s growing nuclear capability but had few ways of peeking behind the Bamboo Curtain. Because of the extreme remoteness of Chinese testing grounds, conventional surveillance in this presatellite era was next to impossible.
The solution to this intelligence dilemma was a joint American-Indian effort to plant a nuclear-powered sensing device on a high Himalayan peak in order to listen into China and monitor its missile launches. It was not a job that could be carried out by career spices, requiring instead the special skills possessed only by accomplished mountaineers. For this mission, cloaks and daggers were to be replaced by crampons and ice axes.
Led by legendary Indian mountaineer Mohan s Kohli, conqueror of Everest, the mission was beset by hazardous climbs, weather delays, aborted attempts, and even missing radioactive materials that may or may not still pose a contamination threat to Indian rivers.
Kept under wraps for over decade, these operations came to light in 1978, and have been finally given book-length treatment. Spices in the Himalayas provides an inside look at a CIA Mission from participants who weren’t agency employees, drawing on diaries of several climbers to offer impressions not usually recorded in covert operations. A host of photos and maps puts readers on the slopes as the team attempts repeatedly to plant the sensor on a Himalayan summit.
An adventure story as well as a new chapter in the history of espionage, this book should appeal to readers of Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and to anyone who enjoys a great spy story.
A riveting firsthand account of one of the darker moments of Cold War espionage, with plenty of James Bondian flourishes: a CIA-backed spay mission to the roof of the world…snowstorms and deadly frostbite…and a missing nuclear-powered eavesdropping device that threatens to leak lethal contamination into the Ganges. What a ride!
FRANK SNEPP, former CIA agent and author of Decent Interval and Irreparable Harm
A marvelously detailed account of one of the most exotic and hazardous intelligence operations of the Cold War…A rare treat for anyone interested in mountaineering, secret intelligence, or tales of high adventure.
WILLIAM M LEARY, author of Project Coldfeet: Secret Mission to a Soviet Ice Station.
Kohli and Conboy weave together mountain climbing and espionage in an intriguing account of the CIA’s odd mission to track Chinese nuclear development.
JOHN PRADOS, author of Presidents Secret Wars: CIA and Pentagon Covert Operations from World War II through the Persian Gulf.
A lively and fascinating account that rivals Fleming and le Carre.
DAVID RUDGERES, author of Creating the Secret State: The Origins of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1943-1947.
List of Illustrations
Members and Friends
Nanda Devi Redux
Cathedral in Ice