Authors and Contributors

Broughton Coburn - Essayist

Broughton Coburn

After graduating from Harvard College in 1973, Broughton Coburn fulfilled a destiny with the Himalayas—where he has worked for two of the past three decades. He has authored several books; developed documentary films; and overseen environmental conservation and development efforts for the World Bank, UNESCO, World Wildlife Fund, and other agencies. He has also contributed to New Age, Rock and Ice, The Denver Post Magazine, Co-Evolution Quarterly, Worldview, and other publications.

In 1997, Coburn was awarded the American Alpine Club's Literary Achievement Award for his body of work. His third book, Everest: Mountain Without Mercy, has sold over 400,000 copies—an unusual showing for a large format illustrated book.

In April 2001, Coburn’s fifth book—a collaboration with Jamling Tenzing Norgay titled Touching My Father's Soul: A Sherpa's Journey to The Top of Everest—reached number seven on the BookSense list and number twenty-four on the New York Times list; was granted an Honorary Mention at the 2001 Banff Mountain Book Festival; and was a finalist for the coveted 2001 Books for a Better Life Award. Two of his other booksNepali Aama: Life Lessons of a Himalayan Woman and Aama in America: A Pilgrimage of the Hearttrace the life of an elderly Nepalese subsistence farmer and follow her on a 12,000-mile odyssey in search of the soul of the United States.

In addition to lecturing, Broughton Coburn is now editing a large format book on the Himalaya and is writing a series of historical fiction titles set in the Himalaya in the 1960s and '70s. He is also the special projects director for the American Himalayan Foundation, a charitable organization based in San Francisco that brings education, health care, and environmental conservation to villagers like Aama.

Broughton Coburn is an essayist for Planet Ice (Braided River, 2009). To learn more about his work, visit