Englishman Peter Payne is an avid alpinist who describes himself as having more than a passing interest in all things Himalayan. He's been to and around Tibet four times, twice as a rough and tumble mountain trekker, once by train from Beijing, and once as a pampered tourist visiting a lakeside resort near Lhasa. He says that scaling Everest is a bit beyond his abilities, but his tales from on the ground are just as thrilling.