Himalayan Journal vol.02
The Himalayan Journal

Publication year:

Kenneth Mason
    (PAUL BAUER.*)
    (DR. A. M. HERON.)
    (L. R. FAWCUS)
  5. THE SHYOK FLOOD, 1929
    (J. P. GUNN)
    (LIEUT. J. B. P. ANGWIN.)
    (DR. E. F. NEVE.)
    (LIEUT. D. M. BURN.)
    (W. E. BUCHANAN)
    (H. M. GLOVER.)
    (Captain J. BARRON.)
    (Captain A. A. RUSSELL.)
  16. NOTES


A Visit to Western Tibet, 1929.

A MOST interesting journey was performed during the summerof 1929 by Mr. E. B. Wakefield of the Indian Civil Service, in the course of his official duties as British Trade-agent for the year. The journey occupied almost exactly five months and four-fifths of this period were actually spent in travelling. Barometer readings have not yet been checked, and heights given are approximate only. The numbers in brackets after each place denote the distance in miles covered from the start.

Wakefield's party started from Simla on 4th June, and following the Hindustan-Tibet road, eastwards up the Sutlej, reached Pooh (192) on 20th. Here the party divided, and while the main body proceeded east to Gartok by the usual trade-route, taking with them most of the baggage, a smaller party, eight men in all, left Pooh on the 24th, to make a longer circuit. The route followed is one which is commonly used by Bashahri traders, whose transport animals- sheep and goats-find good grazing on the high mountain slopes which have to be traversed.

The track crosses to the right bank of the Sutlej, below Namgia (202; Map 53 I), and, after a steep ascent over one of the western spurs of Leo Pargial (Map, Leo Purguil, 22,227 feet), follows the left bank of the Spiti river to Shalkar, close to where this river is joined by the Pare Chu. The Pare Chu was followed as far as its junction with the Sumgil Dokpo (Map 52 L, Sumkhel Chu), whose banks were now followed to Samlakar (265) in Chumurti. Wakefield arrived at this point on 2nd July, and on the following day crossed the Bodpo La (Map 52 P, 19,412 feet). Conditions were very bad, and partly owing to the cold, partly as a result of the height, several members of the party collapsed. It was impossible to halt at Lungorma (274) for more than one night, and on 4th July the party pressed on over the easy Himi La (Map, Imis La) into the Ladakhi province of Hanle, and camped in the sheltered valley of the Shel-shel Dokpo. A halt of four days was made here, in order to give the party time to recuperate from the effects of the Bodpo crossing, but unfortunately one of the Gurkhas failed to recover and died.

Wakefield spent one of these days in climbing the Pong Da mountain (about 20,000 feet). On 9th July the party set out again and after crossing the Nerbud La, came down again into Tibetan country. From this point traders generally make north to Bemkhar, descend into the Indus valley from there, and follow the river southeast to Demchok. Wakefield, to avoid this detour, after a day spent in preliminary reconnaissance, found a way through the barrier of mountains to the south and came down to Debo-che, with the intention of getting on to the route traversed by the explorer Kalian Singh in 1867.[1] The map is however extremely sketchy and apparently the Char ding pass no longer exists. Wakefield therefore crossed the Sershang La (which is sometimes used by travellers between Debo-che and Tashigong) and approached Demchok (347) from the south-east. The Indus was crossed without difficulty two miles below Demchok, and four long but easy marches brought the party to Littledale's route in the neighbourhood of Rudok (425; Map 52 O). Here Wakefield was fortunate in finding an enlightened, well-educated and most hospitable dzong-pon, who had been educated at Rugby School in England and spoke excellent English.

The journey of 150 miles from here to Gartok (575) was accomplished in eight days. The Indus, which had risen some three and a half feet since the party crossed it below Demchok, was re- crossed "with the greatest difficulty opposite the monastery of Tashigong, Wakefield himself swimming the flooded river four times with loads. From this point to Gartok (Map 62) the track, which follows the Gartang Chu, was well-defined and easy.

Wakefield's party left Gartok for Tuling (Map 53 M, Totling) on 5th August and crossed the range of mountains between Gartok and Dunkar (615) by a hitherto unknown pass called the Sazi La (about 19,200 feet). While the rest of the party were crossing the pass Wakefield himself climbed the mountain known as Sazi (about 20,000 feet). The track from Dunkar to Tuling (634) on the banks of the Sutlej, is easy. From Tuling Wakefield marched south-east via Daba (660) to Gianima (732; Map 62), which portion of his route is largely unmapped, and thence continued to Taklakot (780) on the banks of the Karnali river.

After halting a few days at Taklakot, the party turned northeast, crossed the western slopes of Gurla Mandhata (25,355 feet) and descended to the shores of Rakas Tal. Then they made northwards along the ridge separating Rakas Tal from Lake Manasarowar,[2] crossed the channel (deep and fast-flowing after recent rain), which discharges Manasarowar's surplus water into the neighbouring lake, and joined the main Lhasa-Leh trade-route at Barkha (844). From here they followed the route traversed by Ryder and Rawling in 1904, via Minsar to Gartok.

A heavy fall of snow delayed the departure from this place ; but it was finally quitted on 27th September. Wakefield's route, the one normally followed now by traders, differed in the first few stages from that taken by previous European travellers. He crossed a high pass known as the Jongchung La, about eight miles to the east of the pass of that name marked on the map, and joined the normal route beyond the Lao-che La (18,500 feet). Thence the track goes almost due west, crosses the Shirang La (16,500 feet), and comes down to the Sutlej at Tiak (1084).

Having crossed the Shipki pass into British territory on 11th October, Wakefield halted for a week at Pooh (1115), whence he reached Simla (1305) on 2nd November.

Samlakar and the Bodpo La, 1929,

A member of the Club contributes the following note on a portion of a journey recently carried out by him and his wife.

Chumurti can be reached from civilization by two routes which converge on the Pare Chu at Chusa (Map 52 L), the river here forming the undemarcated border between Tibet and Bashahr. At Chusa there are hot sulphur springs issuing straight from the rock into round stone basins, large enough to provide an excellent hot bath for those in need of such a luxury. They are famed for their medicinal virtues, each bath being set aside for some particular disease.

The road continues for two short marches up the Pare Chu and then turns right-handed towards Samlakar and the Bodpo pass. This nullah is particularly beautiful after the semi-desert country round Chusa. On nearing Samlakar the country opens out to downs very similar to those of Eupshu and Hanle province. Tun-tun, at 13,700 feet, is the last village, and beyond it one must camp until Tashigong is reached.

Samlakar is famed for its grass, and not unjustly. As it is the camping-ground under the Bodpo La, most beparis halt here for a day or two to strengthen their animals for the crossing or to recuperate them after the effort.

The height of Samlakar is 16,550 feet (hypsometric), and there is a long pull-up to the top of the pass at 19,810[3] (aneroid). The height is the great difficulty, and since there is no grazing, great numbers of sheep and goats die of exhaustion. The country in the vicinity contains many wolves which prey on the victims of the pass.

The Samlakar area is very good for game. There are few ammon, but burrhel abound, sometimes as many as half a dozen herds being visible at one time. The heads are magnificent, and nothing under twenty-five inches is worth shooting.

Lieut.-Col. Schomberg's Journeys in the Tien Shan and Altai, 1927-29.

A brief outline of Colonel Reginald Schomberg's recent journeys has reached us just before going to press. Schomberg travelled up through Grilgit to Kashgar in the autumn of 1927, mainly with the object of exploring those regions of the Tien Shan and Great Altai which are shown so inadequately on existing maps. The Survey of India maps stop short at latitude 40°; and the War Office maps, on the scale of 1 : 4,000,000, are hopelessly out of date and show neither Sir Aurel Stein's nor recent Russian surveys.

Leaving Kashgar in September and travelling via Kelpin, Uch Turfan and°Aksu,[4] Schomberg stayed for a while in the hills to the south-east of the Muz-art pass. Conditions at this time of the year are most unfavourable even among the southern spurs of the Tien Shan, and the rigours of a Central Asian winter here are calculated to chill the ardour of the most enthusiastic. The old bogey of haze, the curse of all travel north of the Kun Lun, exceptionally bad as it is in the southern Tien Shan, is not laid by the cold of winter. Fine days are not uncommon, but a week of good weather is very rare. On reaching Urumchi in early February, conditions were found to be even less propitious for travelling in the mountains. Schomberg therefore travelled east to Hami (Kumul). On his way back from that place, signs of spring lured him into the Barkul mountains, and a very interesting and new crossing of this range was made by the Tuga Da wan. Though it was only the end of February, the pass was crossed on a perfect day. The passage of the snow on the northern side of the pass was most laborious, for his party was the first to cross.

Returning to Urumchi, Schomberg left that grimy town at the end of April 1928, and took the road, first to Manas, and then across the desert to the Great Altai mountains. It was May when they reached them and conditions were perfect for travelling. Although so much further north than the Tien Shan, and with an almost Siberian climate, the Altai were remarkably free from snow. After visiting the Kanas lake, which feeds the Burchen, one of the chief tributaries of the Irtish, Schomberg travelled through the Saur, Barlik and Kara Adyr mountains to the Urta Saryk valley, of which he gave a brief account in the last Journal.

The mountains that form the Russo-Chinese frontier are not interesting to the climber and offer rather disappointing scenery. There is no snow on them, or very little, during the summer, and fine pastures are their main characteristic. ______________________________________________

On reaching Ili in July 1928, Schomberg hoped to travel through the Tien Shan by the Kash valley and to come out at Manas. With no guides, extremely poor maps and no help from the local nomads- to whom walking anywhere and travelling amongst high mountains are alike detestable and senseless-he emerged much further west of Manas than he had intended.

Schomberg observes that travellers in the Tien Shan are much handicapped by what he calls the shortness of the exploring season. Winter stays long and goes late ; and it is only from the end of June to mid-September that any travel in high altitudes can be carried out. As it was, in 1928 there was no autumn, and winter came in early. Schomberg himself had great difficulty in getting to Manas at all; and Captain George Sherriff, a month later, but much further south, lost all his caravan and nearly his life in crossing the lower passes of the Tien Shan, north of Kuchar. It will thus be observed that the only suitable time for climbing is when the rivers have run down and the first snows have come ; and this is but a brief period of perhaps six weeks.

Returning from Manas to Urumchi and passing through the interesting Kuruk Tagh,[5] Schomberg reached Yarkand in January 1929. Owing to the world-wide severity of this winter, the lower foothills of the Kuen Lun were quite impossible for travel, which was unfortunate, as normally the late winter is a good time for visiting them. He left Kashgar for the north again in March 1929 and crossed the Muz-art pass early in April. A short note on this crossing appears in another part of this Journal.

Being unable to obtain any reliable information concerning the climatic conditions of the Central Tien Shan, he left Ili on 23rd April intending to go up the Kunges river, thus completing the exploration of the heads of the Kash and Kunges rivers. From here he planned to reach Urumchi by the Dunde Kelde pass ; this however he failed to do. On crossing the watershed of the Kunges, winter was still present in the head of the Yulduz valley. Nevertheless, after groping his way for some days in daily snow-storms, and experiencing much trouble from lack of grass and fuel, he arrived rather the worse for wear at Toksun. From here he went again to Urumchi, whence he once more crossed the Tien Shan, this time by the Tengri pass ; and taking the various passes on the summer track to Kuchar, he reached that place in August and Kashgar in September. He finally left Kashgar for India on the 19th of that month, after spending two years in Central Asia.

The exploration of the Tien Shan has been much neglected in the past. Schomberg explains this neglect by emphasizing the adverse climatic conditions, about which Merzbacher complained so bitterly in his Central Tian Shan. The detailed account of Schomberg's travels should therefore add greatly to our geographical knowledge of those regions and will be awaited with very great interest.

The Italian Expedition to the Karakoram, 1929.

In the last volume of The Himalayan Journal we gave a brief resume of the preliminary expedition of H, E. H. The Duke of Spoleto, which was undertaken to collect and store supplies at Askole, the furthest village up the Braldoh. The objects and organization of this year's expedition were also given, and it was briefly stated that the members taking part had left Srinagar ill three parties, on the 27th and 30th March, and the 3rd April.

By the middle of May the whole party was concentrated at Ordokas, at an altitude of 13,900 feet, 17 miles up the Baltoro glacier from its snout. The base camp was established here, on the site of the depot formed in 1909 by the Duke of the Abruzzi, the uncle of the present leader. After a brief period of bad weather a preliminary reconnaissance was made to the summit of the East Muztagh pass, crossed with so much difficulty from the north by Sir Francis Young- husband in September 1887 on his famous journey from Peking to India. The Muztagh pass has not been crossed since, though A. C. Ferber and E. Honigmann reached the summit from the south on 29th September, 1903 (Geographical Journal, December 1907, p. 630).

This reconnaissance proved the pass to be practicable, and a party under the leadership of Sig. Umberto Balestreri, and comprising the geologist, Professor Ardito Desio, Yittorio Ponti and a Courmayeur guide crossed it at about 19,030 feet, to the Sarpo Laggo glacier and the middle Shaksgam valley. A topographical sketch was made of this valley, which was followed as far as the left bank of the Kyagar glacier. Details of this journey are not yet available ; but from a letter received from Commander Mario Cugia, it appears that the snout of the Gasherbrum glacier reached the Shaksgam river, which flowed under the ice ; the snout- was therefore in much the same position as when it was passed by Sir Francis Younghusband forty years before. Ponti returned before reaching the Urdok while the rest of the party went on till they effected a topographical junction with the Survey of India cairns erected in 1926 on the ridge east of the Kyagar glacier. No attempt was made to cross this formidable obstacle, owing to shortage of supplies, and as yet we have no report as to its practicability. The general lie of the side tributaries of the Shaksgam as shown in the map at the end of Volume XXII of the Records of the Survey of India is reported to be approximately correct. These were inserted from Sir Francis Younghusband's report fitted in with the stereographic survey of the ridge summits from stations east of the Kyagar. The Kyagar glacier is also reported to block the Shaksgam valley completely, as in 1926.

Meanwhile another party under the direct command of the Duke, ascended the main Baltoro glacier to Concordia, the junction of the Godwin Austen glacier, descending from K2, with the main trunk from between Gasherbrum and the " Golden Throne" of Sir Martin Conway's 1892 expedition. The Duke with two climbers reached a height of about 22,000 feet, from which point they could recognize the " probable saddle" mentioned by Sir Martin Conway. It seems likely that there is a way over the head of the Baltoro glacier to the Urdok glacier, but details are not yet available.

At the end of July the expedition left the Baltoro glacier. A geological party under Desio explored the Trahonge glacier, the second tributary to the Baltoro from its snout on the north bank, with the object of trying to make another pass to the Sarpo Laggo glacier ; but this object was not attained. They also explored and made a topographical sketch of the Punmah glacier, which was first explored by Godwin Austen in 1861.

Besides the main objectives of the expedition, namely the crossing of the Muztagh pass, the exploration of the middle Shaksgam., and the examination of the head of the Baltoro glacier, much valuable scientific work has been accomplished. A complete stereographic survey has been made of the Baltoro glacier, and topographical sketches have been made of the middle Shaksgam valley and of the Punmah glacier. Observations were made at Ordokas to determine the rate of flow of the Baltoro glacier. In this connection Cugia records that some traces of the Duke of the Abruzzi's expedition at Concordia were found not far from the point where they were left in 1909, which would indicate very slow movement at this point. But it must be remembered that at the junction of glaciers ice-swirls and eddies are possible, and such a locality is by no means a favourable spot at which to estimate velocity. Pendulums were compared at Dehra Dun before the commencement of the expedition, and gravity determinations were made with them by Cugia at Ordokas, Askole and Shigar. Magnetic observations were made at Ordokas, Concordia, Paiju Askole and Dassu. The geologist made important investigations in the Shaksgam valley. The naturalist collected insects, including spiders, at Moni Brangsa, beyond the Muztagh pass, on the Baltoro glacier and in the Biaho.

The expedition returned to Srinagar by the Deosai route and sailed from Bombay for Italy early in October.

The Netherlands Karakoram Expedition, 1929-30.

Mr. and Mrs. Yisser are now engaged on their third expedition to the Karakoram. Besides the leader and his wife, the party consisted at the start of Dr. Eudolf Wyss, Khan Sahib Mian Afraz Gul Khan, the well-known Survey of India explorer, and the guide Franz Lochmatter. The objects of the enterprise were mainly topographical, but Mr. Yisser has already added so much to our knowledge of the Karakoram glaciers, that he will undoubtedly have collected much additional data on this subject. Mrs. Visser undertook the botanical department, and Dr. Wyss the geology of the districts visited.

The expedition left Srinagar on 30th April and reached Leh on 18th May. After a good deal of obstruction at that place, which is becoming normal when it is desired to make an early start over the Khardung pass, a base was established at Panamik in the Nubra valley on the 9th June. From here the party reached the snout of the Siachen glacier, and after ascending it for some five miles, discovered, explored and mapped the extensive glacier system, tributary to the left bank of the Siachen. Existing maps showed a tiny little glacier only four miles long draining into the Siachen ; while two large transverse glaciers with numerous branches were shown descending from the Nubra-Shyok watershed and draining directly into the Nubra below the Siachen snout. It was known however that these glaciers were entirely imaginary, and the latest Survey of India map had wisely shown the region as " Unexplored." Both Dr. Longstaff and Major Gompertz had pointed out the probable lie of these glaciers, but it remained for the Yissers to discover them.

Five miles from the snout of the Siachen a fair-sized valley enters on the left bank, but owing to a bend in it no glacier can be seen until the valley has been ascended for two miles. The actual snout of the tributary glacier is about five miles from the Siachen. Four miles up the glacier it bends sharply to the north and extends for some twelve miles to the watershed west of the southern branch of the Eimo glacier. The total length of this glacier is about sixteen miles, but it has a long tributary glacier, joining it about a mile north of its northerly bend, which descends from a great neve basin at the head of the Chong Kumdan glacier, near peak 22,980. The length of this eastern branch is about twelve miles. There is a third long glacier, lying in a trough running in a south-easterly direction to the watershed at the western head of the Mamostong glacier, but this, which has a length of thirteen miles, is separated from the main glacier tributary by a distance of about three-quarters of a mile. It seems probable that both this space and that between the main tributary and the Siachen may be filled at times by glacial lakes, which periodically burst their ice-dams and cause minor floods in the Nubra. Evidence of one such flood, in 1914, is given by Mr. J. P. Gunn in his report to the Punjab Government on the Shyok Flood of 1929.

On completing the exploration of these glaciers, which were carefully surveyed by Khan Sahib Afraz Gul on the half-inch scale, Mr. Yisser turned his attention to the lesser side-valleys of the Nubra. These were mapped, including the considerable and somewhat complicated Cham-shen Lungpa, which enters the Nubra about eight miles below Panamik. The Saser-pass was crossed on the 26th July, and two large tributaries, the Cham-shen Jilga and the Tughmo Zarpo Lungpa, both entering the right bank of the Shyok below Saser Brangsa and each containing large glaciers, were surveyed. The expedition left Saser Brangsa for Daulat-Beg-oldi near the Karakoram pass on 8th August, and were camped there at 5 a.m. on the 15th when they heard the bursting of the Chong Kumdan dam nineteen miles away, " with reports like cannon-shots." Mrs. Visser writes in a letter that a week earlier they would have been caught, as they were marching in the river-bed for several hours. From Daulat- Beg-oldi the Yissers travelled up the Chip-chap and explored its source, then turning northwards to the Kara-tagh region and the " Kushku- maidan." In this area some 1300 square miles, of desolate country were surveyed by the Khan Sahib, the whole party suffering much from continual storm and bad weather.

In September the expedition crossed the undetermined frontier at the Kawak pass, leading to the Kara-tash, at which point the Khan Sahib was obliged to return under the orders of the Government of India, having surveyed altogether the amazing area of approximately 2300 square miles of practically unexplored country in 82 working days. He reached Daulat-Beg-oldi on the 25th September, Leh on the 9th October and Rawalpindi on the 9th November.

The last letter received from Mrs. Yisser was dated Suget, 23rd September. In this she alluded to the desperate inhospitality of the arid " Kushku-maidan," which they had just left, and to the admirable way the Ladakhi porters had behaved throughout. The party was resting at Suget for a few days " under the protection of the Amban," and awaiting transport to take them to Yarkand.

The expedition has our warmest congratulations on the successful completion of the first part of their programme. It is hoped to publish a full account in the next volume of this Journal.

The Chong Kumdan Dam, 1929.

In another part of this volume is given a brief account by Mr. J. P. Gunn of his observations at the Chong Kumdan Dam. He was accompanied on his journey by Mr. F. Ludlow, who contributed an interesting article on the dam in 1928 in Vol. I. After the dam had burst Gunn returned to India, while Ludlow went on to Kashgar, where he spent Christmas. He expects to travel in the Tien Shan during the spring, where he intends to collect birds, butterflies and flowers.

A Shooting Expedition in Lahul, 1929.

During the months from August to October 1929, Captain D. G. Lowndes, 2nd Bn. the Royal Garhwal Rifles, visited northern Lahul (Map, 52 H). Crossing the Rohtang pass, 13,050 feet, in pouring rain on 31st July, Kyelang was reached on 3rd August, and Patsio on the 6th. The annual fair at this place was unfortunately over. The Bara-lacha La, 16,047 feet, was crossed on the 8th. The Yunan Tso contained very little water and one arm was crossed by wading in order to avoid a long detour. The next month was spent looking for game. Camps were pitched at various points on the road across the Lingti plain, and in the Sarchu and Tsarap Nalas, but game was scarce, particularly ibex, and only two burrhel (Ovis naliura) were shot. Large numbers of Himalayan snow-cock (Tetraogalius Hima- layensis) were seen and a few teal were shot on the Yunan river. It was found impossible to get more than a few miles up the Tsarap Nala with the transport available-ponies from Kulu-as the track marked on the map was hardly existant.[6] This track is, however, regularly used by shepherds who visit the Patsio fair.

On recrossing the Bara-lacha La on 12th September, the level of the water in the Suruj Dul was found to have dropped some thirty feet. On the return journey the Chokang Nala on the border of Chamba was visited.

The weather was, on the whole, fine, though there were frequent snow-storms between the 24th August and 12th September, and on the 8th October there was a heavy snow-storm which lasted for thirty-six hours, while snow fell again on the night of the 7/8th at Koksar. The Eohtang pass was recrossed on the 8th, there being about three feet of snow on the summit. The road throughout was good and easily passable for ponies, except on entering the Chokang Nala, where one pony was lost. The only streams, the crossing of which gave any difficulty, were the Yunan at Sarchu, which was only fordable in the morning, and the Sarchu stream, which was sometimes as much as waist-deep.

The portion of the Survey of India map, 52 H, on the scale of 4 miles to an inch, which covers Lahul, is from surveys made between 1849 and 1863 and is naturally full of minor inaccuracies.

The track along the left bank of the Yunan from Kilung and up the Lingti Chu should be marked as a footpath, though it is just passable for ponies. A mule-path now leads over the lower of the two bridges over the Tsarap Chu ; the upper bridge no longer exists. The village marked as " Sir Bhum Chun " is also non-existant. Both branches of the nala joining the Bhaga river on the right bank opposite Zingzingbar serai are now blocked by a glacier several miles in extent.

Simla to Leh, 1929.

The journey from Simla to Leh is frequently undertaken by members of the Himalayan Club and others. Yet in compiling Eoute 55 of Routes in the Western Himalaya, recent information could not be obtained. In the summer of 1929 Lieut. I. M. Cadell accomplished the journey and has placed his notes at the disposal of the Club. The journey, which was hurriedly undertaken, with no time to make proper preparations, commenced from Simla on 10th June ; Leh was reached on 8th July. Halts of a day were made at Sultanpur (Kulu), Kailang (Lahul), and Sarchu (Lingti). The 380 miles, or 34 stages, were therefore completed in 24 marches.

The following points may be noticed : Mules or ponies can be taken the whole way, but they can only be hired at Simla, Fagu, Theog, Kulu and Kailang. Simla mules are not good and the rates are high. Coolies are difficult to obtain in Kulu. Animals from Ladakh or Lahul are recommended. Tinned stores can be obtained at Sultanpur, and in limited quantities at Kailang and Leh. Ata, milk, etc., can be obtained throughout in limited quantity, except between Patsio and Gya.

A permit is required to cross the " inner line " at the Bara-lacha La. This should be obtained from the District Commissioner of Kangra. The Punjab Government has published a small pamphlet on Kulu, which may be obtained from the same source ; this gives current rates.

Further details may be obtained from the Honorary Librarian or local Editor at Simla.

A Little-Known Route in Sikkim.

On their return from the Zemu glacier, after leaving the German Kangchenjunga expedition in the autumn of 1929, first Lieut.-Col. Tobin and later Mr. E. 0. Shebbeare [7] explored the little-known route over what is wrongly shown on the map as the Yumtso La (= Blue Water Pass) to the Tulung monastery, the Talung gorge and the Tista.*

At Yakthang (or Dzakthang=swampy ground), a track from Lhonak via the The La descends to the Zemu, which is here spanned by a fair cantilever bridge. The track rises from the south bank, in some 5000 feet, to the Keshung La, seven miles from Yakthang. The last few hundred feet are in snow throughout the year, but there is no difficulty. The true Yumtso La is said to be about three miles further west and was used, prior to the construction of the Yakthang bridge in about 1905, to communicate between the Talung and the Zemu, and with Lhonak, via the Tangchung La.

From the Keshung La the route descends to Solang-a yak- grazing station, and not a lake, as shown on the map (Solang=bullock) -and thence follows the right bank of the Eingbi or Rindiang Chu to a Lepcha hamlet named Piago. Close to Piago, the fall of the Ringbi over a sheer cliff of six hundred feet creates the beautiful Tidzong Babsar (waterfall). Just west of this fall a path zigzags down the cliff face and descends to the forest and the gorge. It crosses the Ringbi twice, by cantilever bridges, to avoid the Tulung Chu, which rushes down from Siniolchu to join the Ringbi Chu a short distance above the Tulung monastery.

The abbot of this ancient monastery, Tulung Chu Tunbo, is a delightful, hospitable and energetic old gentleman who insists on escorting his rare visitors from end to end of his " diocese." From Tulung monastery the track descends to Be, where it crosses to the left bank of the Ringbi Chu, and follows this to its junction with the Talung Chu. A track well above the latter leads to the precarious cane bridge at Lingsha Sanpo, and after crossing the torrent by this leads the traveller to Lingtam monastery after about a four-hours' scramble.

About two hours down from Lingtam the Tista is crossed by a sound suspension bridge and in another hour Mangen, on the main road to Lachen, is reached.

Though yaks traverse much of this route, it is quite impassable for pack-ponies. But by riding from or to Mangen and travelling fairly light, it is not difficult to get from the snout of the Zemu glacier to Gangtok in five days.

Colonel Tobin's itinerary was as follows :
  1. Left Yakthang, 6 a.m. ; arr. Keshung La, noon ; Piago, 3 p.m.
  1. Left Piago, 6-30 a.m. ; arr. Tulung monastery, 11 a.m.
3. Left Tulung mon., 7-30 a.m. ; arr. Be, 10-30 a.m.

4. Left Be, 6 a.m. ; arr. Lingtam monastery 2-30 p.m.

5. Left Lingtam mon., 5-30 a.m. ; arr. Mangen 9 a.m. ; Dikchu, noon ; and Gangtok, 4-30 p.m.

The Roosevelts' Expedition to Szechuan, 1929.

The Roosevelts' book Trailing the Giant Panda, giving details of their expedition to Szechuan, has already been published and is reviewed on another page of this Journal (page 167). It is not necessary, therefore, to make more than a passing reference here, and to congratulate them on the successful results of their enterprise.

Kingdon Ward's Journey from Burma to Annam.

In December 1928 Theodore and Kermit Roosevelt, with Suydam Cutting and H. Stevens left for Yunnan and Szechuan on the journey described in their book Trailing the Giant Panda.[8] It was their intention to be back in southern Yunnan about April, and march southwards into French Indo-China, by way of the Mekong valley. Kingdon Ward, starting from Mandalay, was to work eastwards, cross their track, and join them somewhere in the French protectorate of Laos about May. From here the party would proceed together through French Indo-China towards the coast of Annam.

Leaving Rangoon early in March, Kingdon Ward travelled to the Salween via Thazi and Taunggyi; there is a dry-weather motor road the whole way. Thence Keng-tung, four hundred miles from Man da - lay, was reached in three days, by a good mule-road. The direct route from Keng-tung to the Mekong takes about ten days. Kingdon Ward chose a more circuitous one in order to climb the highest hill in the Southern Shan States, a peak not much over 8000 feet. Using Kaw guides, he ascended this hill in April, collecting a number of interesting orchids and other plants. Near the summit he found a fine white-flowered epiphytic rhododendron in full bloom, and two oither species-one almost certainly new-out of bloom.

On 1st May he crossed the Mekong into French territory, passing through some fine forest, where several beautiful orchids were met with. Muongsing, the first French outpost, was reached two days later. It was here that he was laid low with fever and held up for five weeks, during which time he heard that the Roosevelts had reached Yunnan-fu and had proceeded straight to Saigon by sea, finding it impossible to get through overland during the rainy season.

Early in June Kingdon Ward crossed the mountains to the east of Muongsing and reached the Namtha river. The rains had now set in properly, and he too discovered that travel in Laos, except by boat, was impossible. Embarking in a canoe, he travelled down the Namtha river for five days, through an almost continuous series of rapids. The scenery was beautiful, and many of the forest trees and giant climbers were in flower. A certain amount of botanical collecting was done during the voyage. The Namtha river flows into the Mekong. Arrived at the confluence, Kingdon Ward transferred to a raft and five days later reached Luang-Prabang. From the ancient capital of Laos to Vientiane, the modern capital, is 290 miles, the river being impeded by rocks and rapids the whole way. The post-raft was taken, and the journey completed in nine days. Under the circumstances very little botanical collecting was possible.

Kingdon Ward was not yet finished with the Mekong. In the dry weather there are alternative routes overland, southwards to Siam or eastwards to the coast of Annam ; but in the summer the traveller must keep to the river. The remaining 250 miles to Savana- khet, however, was covered more rapidly, as this stretch of the Mekong is navigable for shallow-draught steamers, and the Resident Superieur kindly placed his private launch at Kingdon Ward's disposal. By this time he had travelled about seven hundred miles on the Mekong and two hundred on the Namtha river-a restful way of progress, but monotonous, and as he says, not very helpful to the botanist or collector, unless, indeed, he had been going upstream. Nevertheless some interesting plants were collected and notes made of those seen in flower ; a small but valuable collection of insects, chiefly beetles and grasshoppers, was also obtained in this entomologist's paradise of the Mekong.

From Savanakhet there is a motor-road-all-weather-eastwards to the coast, about two hundred miles distant. Descending the seaward side of the Annamite chain, the railway, seventy miles from Hue, the capital of Annam, is soon reached. Kingdon Ward did the journey to Hue by lorry in two days, where he took the train to the seaport of Tourane. Two days later he was in Saigon, where he met Theodore Roosevelt, who had been shooting big game in Cochin China for a month. His brother had already returned to America, and Theodore left almost immediately, eastward bound, while Kingdon Ward continued the voyage to Singapore and thence to Rangoon.

The above brief descriptions of expeditions have been compiled mainly from letters, articles and information derived from various members who took part in them. The leader of every expedition described is a member of the Himalayan Club.

The following two expeditions contained no members of the Club but it is thought that details will be of interest to our readers. One, the Russo-German Alai-Pamir expedition of 1928 contained 40 European members, was most carefully organized, and carried out scientific investigations with the utmost thoroughness ; the other, in which a single white man without experience took part, attained nothing and ended in disaster. The account of this last has been drawn up by Lieut.-Colonel H. W. Tobin, Honorary Local Secretary of the Club at Darjeeling.

The Russo-German Alai-Pamir Expedition, 1928.

During the past year the preliminary account, in German, of this expedition, which was jointly organized by the Soviet Academy of Sciences and the German Society for Scientific Research, has appeared in Volume 10 of the Deutsche Forschung, the periodical of the latter society.[9]
The expedition was the most carefully prepared and most scientifically equipped that has ever explored the Pamirs. It was divided into two sections, German and Russian, which, though working in co-operation, actually divided up the various subjects to be investigated so as to avoid formalities and difficulties in dealing with the results. For this reason the duties were generally distributed as follows : the Germans were responsible for the photogrammetry and topography, the geology, glacier exploration and philology in the mountain valleys ; the Soviet section undertook the meteorology, mineralogy* petrology, geodesy, astronomy, zoology and botany. Could any scheme of exploration be more comprehensive

The German section left Berlin on 10th May, 1928, and Osh on the 19th June. From Osh the main road took them over the Taldik pass to the Alai valley and the Great Kara-kul.[10] Here Eeinig, the zoologist, branched ofi for his journey over the Pamirs ; the mountaineers and topographers halted for a fortnight to explore the south side of the Trans-Alai range, including the Kara-jilga valleys ; and Rickmers pushed on with the main body over the Kizil-belis, and across Kok-jar into the Tanimas valley, where he erected the depot (" Dust camp ") beyond the great glacier which they discovered and christened the Notgemeinschaft (or " Society's ") glacier. Previous maps had shown the head of the Tanimas valley filled by a large glacier descending from a somewhat mythical pass, the Tanimas Dawan, leading directly to the Wanj valley. Into this large glacier were shown several long branches entering from the north. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Kohlhaupt and Perlin pushed up the Tanimas, reached the pass at its head, scarcely treading on ice to do so, and gazed for the first time on the head basin of the northern-flowing Fedchenko glacier, which has since proved to be the longest glacier outside sub-Polar regions.

From this depot camp the various members of the expedition now separated to accomplish their tasks, according to the pre-arranged plan. Lentz, the philologist, devoted himself to the upper Bartang, whence, later, he made his way out through the western valleys with Kohlhaupt to the railway. Gorbunofi, with Russian guides, crossed from the Bartang to the Yazgulam by a previously untraversed pass, and ascending the unknown Yazgulam glacier passed over the neve at its head to find himself at the extreme southerly source of the Fedchenko glacier. Meanwhile the various German topographers and geologists were exploring the whole basin of the Fedchenko and Notgemeinschaft glaciers, both of which were traversed throughout their whole length. Both rise from the group of mountains at the southern end of the Seltau chain, the highest peak of which was named " Dreispitz " ; its height was determined accurately as 6950 metres. A slightly lower summit (the " Breithorn "), 6850 m. was climbed.

On 8th September Rickmers quitted " Dust Camp " depot, and travelling over Kok-jar and the Takhta-koram pass to Altin-Mazar, met the Russian and German climbers, who had followed the Fedchenko glacier from its source to its snout. From here Allwein, Wien and Schneider succeeded in reaching the head of the Sauk-Dara and, on the 25th September, climbed to the summit of Peak Kaufmann. [11] The height of this peak, 7127 metres, determined in 1913, by the Russian Military Triangulation (during the Indo- Russian triangulation connection ?), was confirmed by stereo- photogrammetry. The Russians departed from Altin-Mazar on 18th September, while the Germans broke up at Daraut Kurghan on the 17th October and rode over the Tunguz-bai pass to Osh.

It is not possible to give more than this brief outline of the expedition, details of which must be sought in the published accounts. But it may not be out of place to mention a few of the outstanding results achieved. Of the greatest interest to us is the actual topographical discovery of the great length of the Fedchenko glacier. In the early reports of the expedition this glacier was credited with a length of about 44 miles. On plotting the photographic survey from the amazingly fine photographs taken by Richard Finsterwalder, it has since been found that this glacier, which was in the old maps shown with the insignificant length of about 14 miles, has actually a total maximum length of 77 kilometres (roughly 48 miles), measured along the longest stream-line. The glacier, with its whole basin and all its branches, has been plotted automatically on the scale of 1 : 25,000. The total area covered by it and all its branches amounts to 1350 square kilometres. The Fedchenko glacier is thus the longest glacier outside sub-Polar regions, though its area is somewhat less than that of the Siachen, 1553 square kilometres.

Another discovery of much interest, also due to the accuracy determinable by stereo-photographic methods, is the great height of Peak Garmo. On our Survey of India maps, this peak is shown at lat. 38°55', long. 72°12' and is given no height. The highest mountain in Russian territory was believed to be Peak Kauf mann, 7127 metres, the peak climbed by members of the expedition. The highest in the Seltau was believed to be Dreispitz, 6950 metres. Peak Garmo, is now found to be at lat. 38°58' and long. 72°01', at the cast end of the Peter the Great range, and has a height of 7495 metres. The 1913 expedition of the German Alpine Club, under Rickmers, approached within 12 miles of Peak Garmo from the west, but owing to bad weather was unable to identify it, and considered a peak lying I/O the south the highest in the region. Accurate determinations have now been made by stereo-photogrammetry, which settles these questions beyond doubt.[12]
Peak Garmo does not belong to the actual Pamirs, but lies in the wild and bleak north-west outer ring of them, and so forms a western counterpart to Kungur and Muztagh Ata. The following statement gives the comparisons of the heights of peaks so far known on and in the neighbourhood of the Pamirs.

Kungur II, Kashgar range, 25,200 feet (exact height doubtful)-

Kungur I, do. do. 25,146 feet.

Garmo, Peter the Great range, 24,590 feet.

Muztagh Ata, Sarikol range, 24,388 feet.

Kaufmann, Trans-Alai range, 23,382 feet.

Dreispitz, Seltau range, 22,802 feet.

South Garmo, Peter the Great range. 22,540 feet.

" Breithorn," Seltau range, 22,474 feet.

The Tragedy on Kangchenjunga, 1929.

Edgar Francis Farmer, of the Standard Oil Company of New York, lost his life on or about 27th May 1929 in a plucky but misguided attempt to reach the summit of Kangchenjunga, alone.

Though Farmer had had no experience of climbing elsewhere than in the Rockies, his books and notes show that he had studied his subject thoroughly. He did not divulge his intention to officials or others in Darjeeling, competent to advise or dissuade him, but having obtained the Sikkim frontier pass, after signing the usual undertaking that he would not enter Tibet or Nepal, he started on 6th May, ostensibly to explore the Guicha La region. His ambitious resolve was only disclosed on the return of his porters without him and on examination of his papers after his death. His sole companions were Sherpa and Bhutia porters-all reliable men-whose story is as follows.

Having visited the Guicha La, Farmer turned west, and, after crossing the Kang La into Nepal, he carefully avoided Tseram and ascended the Yalung glacier to a point immediately below the southwest cliffs of Kangchenjunga. His camp-site here is identical with that of Raeburn and Crawford in 1920, and his party found graves which can only have been those of the victims of the disaster to Guillarmod's expedition of 1908.

On 26th May, with three ex-Everest porters, he started up an ice-fall below the Talung saddle, the south-west cliffs of Kangchen- junga being on his left. Though Farmer himself was extra warmly clad and well-equipped with crampons, his men were indifferently shod and had no crampons. The sun grew powerful, and when his Sirdar pointed out the danger of proceeding thus equipped, he promised to turn back by noon. The going became worse, and a porter slipped and was unable to proceed. At this juncture Farmer ordered the remainder to halt while he continued a little higher in order to take photographs, after promising to return shortly. All efforts to dissuade him failed; he* went on and on, into the mist, the porters waving to him to descend, at intervals when the mist cleared. He was still climbing at five o'clock, after which the mist seems to have obscured him. The porters remained on the look-out till dusk, when they descended to camp and prepared food for him. From here they signalled at intervals with electric torch and Meta fuel. On the following morning they climbed to a spot whence his route cduld be clearly seen, and as the sun topped the Talung ridge they caught a glimpse of him far above them on a steep snow-slope ; but he soon disappeared -to be seen no more. Vision plays strange tricks under such circumstances, and it is of course possible that the porters were mistaken. But they assert it positively, and describe him as moving wildly with arms outstretched. This gives rise to the theory that he had been smitten with snow-blindness. Their vigil continued throughout the whole day and until nine o'clock on the morning of the 28th, when intense hunger forced them down. Reaching Tseram on the 30th they exchanged a chuba, or Tibetan coat, for some Indian corn, and sent their strongest man straight in to Darjeeling, where he arrived on 6th June with news of the tragedy.

The men's narratives were taken down separately and checked by knowledge of the locality, by dates and by distances. Those who investigated the evidence are convinced that the whole truth was told and that the conduct of the porters was unexceptionable. Farmer had previously, near the Guicha La, created alarm by disappearing alone for several hours. He had the ideal build for a climber and possessed courage and determination, but without doubt the obsession of his ambition affected his judgment and brought about his tragic end. The greatest sympathy is felt with his mother, whose only son he was.

H. W. T.

[1] Kalian Singh, the " third pandit " of the Survey of India, or G. K., executed a route-traverse from Demchok via the Charding pass, Debo-che, Medokding to Totling (Tuling), in 1867. Henry Strachey had already traversed the route from Totling to Medokding (Records Survey of India, Vol. 8, pt. 1) G. K.'s roughly observed latitude for Debo-che was 32°30' 13'1". His longitude wras 79°24'.

[2] Lake Manasarowar was first visited by Europeans, Moorcroft and Hearsey* in 1812. These two travellers, disguised as fakirs and under the assumed names of Mayapuri and Hargiri, after reaching the lake, were discovered and imprisoned by Tibetans at Daba Dzong, some eighty miles to the north-west. They were released by the interposition and on the security of two Indians, Devi Singh and Bir Singh, of Milam, the father and uncle of Pandit Kishen Singh, the famous explorer A. K. of the Survey of India records. Henry Strachey visited the lake in 1846; his brother Richard Strachey and J. E. Winterbottam in 1848 ; in recent years Ryder in 1904, LongstafE in 1905, and Brigadier R. C. Wilson in 1926. Henry Strachey found the stream connecting the lakes 100 feet wide, 3 feet deep and running swiftly from east to west. Ryder found a small stream partly frozen over which issued from a hot spring, the channel between this spring and Manasarowar being dry ; but he was told that from about June to September the channel contained running water from Manasarowar to Rakas. Longstaff and Wilson found the channel dry except for occasional pools ; it was apparently blocked by a shingle bar. Wilson considered that at the time of his visit, 19th July, 1926, the two lakes should have been full, and therefore if either ever over-flowed into the other it should have been doing so at that time. It is therefore of considerable interest that Wakefield finds the stream in the channel " deep and fast-flowing after recent rain " in September 1929 (Geographical Journal, Vol. 71, p. 439).

[3] Mr. Wakefield gives the height as 19,412 feet. The pass has not been fixed by regular survey.

[4] We may be wrong, but we prefer Aksu to Aqsu. Mr. Rickmer's witty remarks in the Alpine Journal are very much to the point. No self-respecting Turki uses a guttural ' K,' and none, or very few, would be able to say whether a ' Q ' or a ' K ' should be used. We have no objection to using 4 Q * in Arabic or Persian, where even an untrained ear can detect the guttural, but for Turki words we intend to follow the spellings given in the very full Index to Local Names prepared by Sir Aurel Stein in his Memoir on Maps of Eastern Turlcistan and Kansa, which is being followed by the Survey of India.

[5] An interesting note on " River changes in the Eastern Tarim Basin " by Lieut.-Col. Schomberg is printed in the Geographical Journal, Vol. 74, p. 574.

[6] The track is, however, only shown as a footpath.

[7] See Sketch Map of Sikkim at the end of this volume. hj

[8] See Review on page 167.

[9] I am indebted to Lieut.-Cols. C. M. Thompson and W. H. Hamilton for translations of the most important parts of the various accounts that have appeared. Besides the full account in the Deutsche Forschung, brief summaries have appeared in Petermann's Mitteilungen, Zeitschrift der Oesellschaft fur Erdkunde zu Berlin, and Zeitschrift des Deutschen und Osterreichischen Alpenvereins. Papers in English have appeared in both the Alpine Journals of the year, and in the Geographical Journal, Vol. 74. A book in German, which we have not yet seen, entitled, Alai ! Alai! Arbeiten und Eerlebnisse der Deutsch-Eussischen Alai- Pamir-Expedition has also appeared.

German section : W. R. Rickmers (leader and organizer) ; Dr. Richard Finsterwalder (stereo-photogrammetry, Munich) ; his assistant, Dr. Biersack (Munich); Dr. W. Lentz (philology, Berlin); Dr. L. Noth (geology, Hamburg) ; Dr. W. Reinig (zoology, Berlin) ; and five climbers, Dr. P. Borchers (Bremen), Dr. (of medicine) E. Allwein (Munich), Dr. K. Wien (Munich), Eng. E. Schneider (Berlin), Dr. (of medicine) F. Kohlhaupt (Sonthofen). Total 11.

Russian section : Professor D. I. Schtscherbakoff (leader and mineralogist) ; \u A. Perlin and the brothers Judin (assistants in organization); Prof. L. N. Ivorschenewsky (geography) ; Prof. J. J. Belajeff (astronomical latitudes and longitudes); J. G. DorofejefE (topography) ; R. R. Zimmermann (meteorology and anemometry) ; four student assistants from the Central Asian University, viz. Gurjeff, Sagrubsky, Posdejeff, and Snamensky ; W. M. Tabusky and S. A. Brimann (radiology) ; Isakoff (geodesy) ; A. N. Reichardt and G. N. Sokoloff (zoology) ; W. N. Michalkoff (magnetism) ; Labunzoff (mineralogy) ; Scherdenko and Andrejeff (interpreters) ; Dr. Otto Schmidt, N. W. Krylenko, his wife, K. F. Rosmirowitsch, Dr. (of medicine) E. M. Rossel (mountaineers) ; Schneiderow and Toltschan (cinematography). Total 28.

P. N. Gorbunoff, Chief of the Executive Committee of the Council of Commissaries of the People, appears to have undertaken the direction of the combined enterprise.

[10] Most of the area explored falls in Survey of India Maps 42 A, B, E, F, which give a rough idea of the route as far as the Depot.

[11] See note on the name of this peak on page 136.

[12] At the time the preliminary account was . published in the Deutsche Forschung, neither the great length of the Fedchenko glacier nor the true height of peak Garmo had been accurately determined. The preliminary map shown therein is therefore only approximate. A corrected map appears in the Zeitschrift des Deutschen und Osterreichischen Alpenvereins, 1929.

Approach to Baralacha La, 16047 feet, Lahul. Photo.I.M. Cadell.

Approach to Baralacha La, 16047 feet, Lahul. Photo.I.M. Cadell.