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


THE Annual General Meeting of the Himalayan Club was held in His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief's room at New Delhi on Monday the 24th February, 1930, at 9-30 a.m. The President, Field-Marshal Sir William Birdwood, Bart., took the chair.

The Honorary Secretary (Mr. G, Mackworth Young) read his, report on the work of the Club in the past year, which is printed below. The Club accounts for 1929 were presented and confirmed. The Auditor observed that the finances of the Club were in a flourishing condition. The Officers, Members of the Committee, and additional Members of the Balloting Committee were elected for the year 1930* and Mr. J. Reid, Manager of the Chartered Bank, Amritsar, was appointed Auditor.

Report on the Work of the Club in the Year 1929.

By the Honorary Secretary.

Membership.-The membership of the Club at the time of the last Annual Report was 250. It has since risen to 302. During the year 1929, 62 new members were elected, and there are nearly 20 proposals awaiting the next election which will be held shortly. There have been 7 resignations of membership.

We have to record the death of one of the most distinguished of our members, Colonel Sir Thomas Holdich, a Founder member of the Club and a past President of the Royal Geographical Society. Sir Thomas Holdich was in his 87th year, and it is more than 30 years since he retired from service in India. To few of us therefore was he known otherwise than by name : but his is one of the greatest names in the history of Himalayan and Frontier exploration and research, and it is fitting that a tribute should be paid to his memory in this Report. A full obituary notice will appear in the forthcoming number of the Himalayan Journal.

The " Himalayan Journal."-During the year, we have issued the first volume of our Himalayan Journal. This has been received very well not only in this country but in Europe and America ; and we have to thank many contemporary clubs and societies for their flattering reviews. We now exchange our Journal for the various publications of 31 such institutions, interested in our activities. Some twenty other public and official libraries have asked us to place them on our Free list. Our Honorary Editor desires me to thank those who have assisted him in making the first Journal a success, particularly our publishers, Messrs. Thacker, Spink & Co., of Calcutta : and this also I am glad to do. But I need hardly remind you that the greatest measure of thanks for the extraordinary success of the first volume is due to Major Mason himself.

Library.-The library has made good progress during the year. We have had many interesting and valuable books presented by members and others, and we have to thank Messrs. Thacker, Spink and the proprietors of The Statesman for several books which have been reviewed by club members and others. We have also to thank Messrs. Ernest Benn, and Messrs. Philip Allan who have let us have books of Himalayan interest for review. We hope that other publishers in England will follow their example.

One hundred and nineteen books were purchased by the librarian during the year, and our total number of books now in the library in Simla is 298 of which 155 have been presented and 143 purchased. A sum of £90 altogether has been spent on books and a further sum of Rs. 200 spent on bookshelves, catalogue and other essentials, since the library was started.

Issues of books have not been many, amounting to 44 from the Club library, 4 from U.S.I., 3 from Army Headquarters and 1 from the Survey library at Dehra Dun. It is hoped that when members receive copies of the new catalogue they will make more use of the library; a list of the books added during the year will be given in the next Journal.

Captain A. E, Armitage of the General Staff Branch, Army Headquarters, Simla, has kindly promised to take over the duties of librarian when Colonel Phillimore is transferred from Simla in March, and has accordingly been appointed by the Committee to the post of Honorary Librarian with effect from then. I am sure that you will desire me to express the thanks of the Club to Colonel Phillimore for the enthusiasm and the very considerable amount of hard work that he has devoted to the inauguration of the Club Library, which owes its excellent start entirely to his efforts.

We are considering an offer of the Calcutta Sub-Committee to present the books in their possession to the Library at Simla.

Photography.--It was unfortunately not possible to arrange a Photographic Exhibition during 1929, but we hope to make arrangements to have one in Simla during September of this year. Many members must have in their possession photographs of out-of-the-way parts of the Himalaya and I venture to repeat an appeal which has already been made for copies for the Club collection. We hope in the course of time to build up a really complete collection of Himalayan photographs, but unless every member who can is willing to take a share in this work, the collection can never be fully representative. I hope that no member will be deterred from sending any copies of his pictures by a feeling that his work may not be up to the required standard. We shall welcome any contributions of this kind. A number of photographs and one picture have been presented to the Club during the past year. A list of these will be published in the Journal. I should like to draw attention to the fact that the services of the Club's correspondent for photography, Captain C. J. Morris, 3rd Q.A.O. Gurkha Rifles, Lansdowne, are available to any member who desires to make use of them. Captain Morris has kindly under- taken to advise on apparatus for Himalayan Photography and to answer any other technical enquiries.

Expeditions in 1929.-During the past year our members have been active in the Himalaya. Members resident in India on duty naturally try to combine their travels with that duty, while members from abroad come to the Himalaya for their holidays.

Among those who have been fortunate enough to combine their duties with Himalayan travels are Messrs. Wakefield, Gunn, Ludlow, Todd and Burn. Wakefield went to Western Tibet, and following various trade routes, visited Gangtok, Daba, Gyanema, Taklakot, Lake Rakastal and the famous monastery of Totling before returning to Simla by the Shipki pass.

The Chong Kumdan glacier dam in the Upper Shyok burst, as you know, at 5 a.m. on the 15th August. Two of our members, Messrs. J. P. Gunn and F. Ludlow, who had been deputed by the Punjab Government to investigate the dam and the lake impounded by it, were actually examining the ice from the lake on the upstream side on the 12th August, three days before it broke. Mr. Todd, the Political Agent of Gilgit, was crossing Partab Pul near Bunji when the flood came down. We have received very full and interesting reports on this flood which are being summarized in the Journal. Mr. Todd has also been an active traveller in his Agency in other directions.

During the summer Lieut. Burn completed the detailed survey of Chitral, and with Captain Culverwell, another member, made an attempt on Istor-o-Nal, a peak of 24,271 feet, immediately north of the great peak of Chitral, Tirich Mir. The climb, though unsuccessful, formed a most useful reconnaissance and has paved the way for others. There have been a number of minor journeys, mainly for purposes of sport, but occasionally to study natural history, undertaken by members on short leave.

Of those members who have come out from Europe and America, I will mention first of all the Italian expedition of H. B. H. the Duke of Spoleto. A detachment of climbers succeeded in crossing the Muztagh pass (crossed from the north by Sir Francis Younghusband in 1887) and travelled up the Shaksgam valley to the Kyagar glacier. Details have not yet reached us, beyond those that have already appeared in the press.

Mr. and Mrs. Yisser, the Dutch explorers, are still away on their third Karakoram expedition. They discovered and explored the great tributary glaciers of the Lower Siachen and Upper Nubra, the western tributaries of the upper Shyok, and the head waters of the Chip-Chap. After exploring the "Khushku Maidan" by the Karatagh pass they crossed into Chinese Turkistan and we last heard of them spending Christmas at Kashgar, with three or four other members of the Club. Khan Sahib Afraz Gul, who is joining the Club, surveyed all the ground covered by the expedition up to the frontier, and then returned.

Lieut-Colonel Reginald Schomberg after two years' travel and exploration in the Tien Shan, returned towards the end of 1929. We have just received a brief summary of his journeys, but we hope for a more detailed account later.

Far away, to the east of Burma, the Roosevelts had a most successful expedition on behalf of the Field Museum of Chicago, and were fortunate to obtain the first complete specimen of the Giant Panda, the " Spectacled Bear " of the dense bamboo forests of Szechwan. Another member, Kingdon Ward, out in the same direction, was less fortunate and was laid low by fever and unable to carry out his whole programme.

In Sikkim a party of German climbers from Munich, under Paul Bauer, made a most gallant attempt to climb Kangchenjunga by the eastern arete. Though they are not members of our Club, we took the greatest interest in their Expedition, and two of our members, Lieut-Colonel Tobin and Mr. Shebbeare accompanied the party to the base camp, and were of the utmost assistance to the expedition. The attempt was made during the monsoon, and after desperate hardships and great perseverance the party was forced to retire by foul weather, after attaining a height of over 24,000 feet. After such a magnificent effort we all hope that Herr Bauer will return and lead a party to the summit.

While on the subject of Kangchenjunga, I should perhaps allude to the fate of Edgar Francis Farmer, an American, who set out alone to climb the peak, after having concealed his intention from everyone capable of deterring him. Farmer's coolies, experienced Everest men, were insufficiently equipped, and he himself inexperienced in climbing. The attempt ended in disaster, Farmer insisting on going on alone when his ill-shod porters could go no further. He was. never seen again. Our local Secretary at Darjeeling, Colonel Tobin,, and Mr. Laden La made a very thorough investigation and issued a full report to the American Consulate General at Calcutta, and offered to form a search party. But there was never any hope of Farmer being found alive, and the project was not carried out.

Our eastern members are gradually collecting a supply of tents and mountaineering equipment. The secretaries at Darjeeling and Calcutta are anxious to record the names of members who will be available for any expeditions this year or next, and who would like to be put in touch with others, similarly inclined. The difficulty in India is for one official to arrange his dates to suit those of another,, and our Eastern local Secretaries are willing to try and put members; in touch with one another. I should like to suggest that the same course of action should be followed by other local Secretaries.

One of our members returning from an expedition to Kulu and Lahul by the Basleo Pass on the Banjar-Rampur route reported that the road had fallen into such bad repair that he had the utmost difficulty in getting along. I am glad to say that the Punjab Public Works are taking over this route from the local District Board and hope to be able to allot funds soon for its improvement.

Botany.-The following is the report of Mr. -Coventry, the Club's Technical Correspondent for Botany for the past year :-

A few enquiries were made for the names of plants from outside Kashmir, but quite a large number of enquiries of the same nature were made by visitors to Kashmir. Several letters were received from England asking for information as to how seeds and bulbs of some of the Alpine plants could be obtained. Apart from replying to correspondence of the above nature, the work of collecting and naming specimens of the Kashmir'plants was continued, and several specimens were sent to Kew for verification of their names. Over a hundred coloured photographs of specimens of plants were taken. A third volume of " Wild Flowers of Kashmir " was sent to the Press and its publication is expected about April or May 1930.

Conclusion.-In conclusion, I should like to mention the services of two people who have earned our gratitude in no small degree during the past year. Major-General Muspratt took over the work of Honorary Treasurer last autumn : and, though he is probably the hardest-worked officer of Army Headquarters, not only disposed of all current business, but has collected a great number of outstanding subscriptions, and enabled us to form an accurate estimate of our true financial position. Mrs. Rubie, a member of the clerical staff of the Army Department, has been acting as my assistant in Himalayan Club matters since I took over last March, and has done a great deal of good work for us, particularly while I was on leave during the autumn, when she dealt with the correspondence single-handed.


TWO local dinners were held by members of the Himalayan Club at Calcutta during the year. It is hoped to hold more of these in future in order to enable members to exchange views and arrange expeditions into the mountains.

At the dinner at the United Service Club on 23rd October the following members were present: Messrs. J. H. Blinko, C. R. Cooke* L. R. Fawcus, G. B. Gourlay, J. S. Hannah, Dr. A. M. Heron, Messrs. R. Y. Jarvis, J. Latimer, F. D. Lonergan, N. Macleod, E. H. Marshall, A. A. Marr, Major Kenneth Mason, Sir Edwin Pascoe (in the chair), Messrs. N. A. Tombazi, J. B. C. Rankine.

At the suggestion of Sir Edwin Pascoe it was decided to invite the members of the German Kangchenjunga Expedition to a dinner on their return and a telegraphic invitation was sent through Coh J. L. R. Weir, the Political Officer, Sikkim, to Herr Paul Bauer, the leader. The only date that could be arranged was 30th October, on which Sir Edwin Pascoe was unfortunately unable to attend.

The following members of the expedition were present : Herr Paul Bauer, Dr. E. Allwein, Herren P. Aufschnaiter, J. Brenner* W. Fendt, K. von Kraus and A. Thoarnes. Other guests included Dr. W. A. K. Christie, Dr. 0. Eberl, Messrs. J. Van Manan, W. GL Fahrenholtz and W. Bredenkemp. Members of the Clnb present were Messer. J. M. Bottomley, C. R. Cooke, L. R. Fawcus, G. B. Gourlay, J. R. Hannah, R. Y. Jarvis, J. Latimer, N. Macleod, A. A. Marr, Major Kenneth Mason (in the chair), Mr. Arthur Moore, Capt. H. M. de Y. Moss, Messrs. H. Newman, J. B. C. Rankine, R. A. K. Sangster, Dr. C. S. Strickland, Mr. N. A. Tombazi and Capt. G. E. Yosper.

After proposing the toasts of H. M. the King-Emperor and of the President of the Reich, Herr Von Hindenburg, the Chairman welcomed the expedition in the following words :-

There is one great attribute possessed by the Himalaya. There is room for all the climbers of all the nations of all the world. We are welcoming back tonight Herr Bauer's party of Bavarian mountaineers from Kangchenjunga. They require little introduction to members of the Himalayan Club for we have followed them closely in the pages of the Statesman during the last two or three months. It was Mr. Rickmers, the veteran mountaineer and member of our own Alpine Club at home, who first wrote to us to say that Herr Bauer was coming out to India and to ask us to help him on his way. Rickmers, who is a Heligolander, chaffingly alluded to them as " Some fine specimens of our wild tribe of Bavarians." Well, Gentlemen, here are the wild tribesmen !

Everest, the highest mountain, has been assaulted three times. K*, the second highest, has been assaulted once. And now Kangchenjunga has been attacked for the first time in earnest. It almost fell to that attack. We are almost justified in saying that it would have fallen, but for foul weather when all the hard work had been accomplished.

Let me briefly give you the details. After passing up the Tista valley and hacking a way through the dripping rhododendron jungles of the Zemu Chu, a camp was established at 17,000 feet, on 28th August, near the head of the Zemu glacier (Camp VI). The Germans then reconnoitred several approaches to the great mountain and decided to attack the eastern arete. In a few days they ascended almost to the summit of this arete and pitched Camp VII immediately below the crest. But three days' heavy snow lasting from 8th to 10th September, forced them back to their base.

Starting again on the 14th, they once more hacked a way to the arete, and after four days formed Camp VIII at the top. Eight strenuous days followed, the party cutting almost every step through the cornices, up the great ice-walls, and over the maze of ice-gendarmes, which had to be climbed, since it was almost always impossible to traverse' below them owing to the steep flutings of the avalanche tracks. The ice-staircase cut along the arete was made passable for the porters, each of whom was led over the difficult spots by a German. Sixteen days after the second assault began, Camp X was pitched above the last gendarme at a height of 23,400 feet, and a party of six Germans and four porters were concentrated there for the final climb.

From here the summit was in full view, the route to it leading straight along the arete at a comparatively gentle angle of thirty degrees to an outlier, at about 26,000 feet, close to the northern arete. Then after a short descent of about 200 feet a steady but apparently easy rock climb led to the summit.

But Kangchenjunga, like Everest, has weapons in her armoury, which, if she chooses to use them, render her invincible. On 4th October she brought out all these weapons-a bitter wind, a blizzard and intense cold. With these reserves she fought the climbers for four whole days and drove back two assaults, during which a height of 24,450 feet was attained. On the 8th the order was reluctantly given to retreat. It would have been folly to remain on that ridge cut off from the base. It is difficult to conceive the difficulties of descent. On the hard ice every step had to be re-cut, for the sake of the porters, and in the soft new snow, the porters and Germans, all heavily laden, sank almost to their shoulders. One party lost its equipment in an avalanche and had to bivouac in the snow. This resulted in one member being badly frost-bitten, while another was smitten with snow-blindness.

Gentlemen, I have given you this brief account, partly because Herr Bauer and his companions are too modest to do so, and partly because you will see presently some of the photographs on the screen. Though they have not succeeded in attaining the summit, they have, I think, shown that the summit is attainable. Kangchenjunga was forced to bring out all her reserves-and shall we say, adopt unfair means ?-sure sign of the desperate straits to which she was reduced !

Herr Bauer ! The Himalayan Club is a young club, the youngest mountain club, I believe, in the world. It has already been our privilege to meet and welcome to India mountaineers from Italy, Holland and America, and I have for several years been in touch with your compatriot, Dr. Emil Trinkler. I think we may, as mountaineers, claim that the thing lesser and lower men call " the Spirit of Locarno " was known to us long before it reached the valleys and the plains.

Though some of you have tackled the heights of the Caucasus, I believe I am right in saying that, with the exception of Dr. Allwein, who was one of Rickmers* expedition to the Alai Pamirs last year, and one of the party to reach the summit of the mountain we still prefer to call Peak Kaufmann, 23,380 feet above the sea, none of you have ever climbed east of Suez before. May I, on behalf of the Himalayan Club, scattered all over India and abroad, offer you our very warmest congratulations on the success you have achieved.

We hope that you will come back and make another assault on Kangchenjunga, and that if our club has not stolen a march on you, you, Herr Bauer, will lead the first party to the summit. One thing I can vouch for : you have left behind you in Sikkim a reputation for courage and endurance that will long be remembered. And I feel confident that, when you return, the porters who went with you on this occasion will clamour to go again. This is no idle compliment, and I will conclude by reading a telegram received this afternoon from Colonel Weir, the Political Officer in Sikkim. It runs as follows : "I will be glad if you will convey at the dinner to-night at the Himalayan Club my greetings and best wishes for future to German Kangchenjunga Expedition on their departure. They will always be welcome in Sikkim and it is hoped that success will crown another venture."

Gentlemen ! To the members of the German Kangchenjunga Expedition, and to our other guests this evening !

Herr Paul Bauer, leader of the expedition, replied :

I have to thank first of all Major Mason for giving yon a summary of our expedition, which he so kindly described as a full success; though I may be permitted to say that I do not thoroughly agree with him regarding this statement. But since we were not asked to this dinner for the purpose of arguing with each other, I wish to confine myself to adding a few words with regard to the help granted to us by the Himalayan Club and, in a more remote sense, by those who have been exploring the Himalaya in the past. Whatever we may have accomplished is certainly not only to our own credit. We could not have done it without the pioneer work of Freshfield and Kellas, and without the experience gained by those Britishers who tried to climb Mount Everest. Only standing on their shoulders were we able to reach the altitude we did. I cannot let pass the present opportunity without paying my homage to those gallant men who sacrificed their lives during their gallant attempt on Mount Everest: Kellas, Mallory and Irvine. They will always live in the memory of those who try to follow in their foot-prints. We believe them to have accomplished what others tried, though they were not allowed to return and enjoy their triumph. We, the German expedition, were dependent on aid from your countrymen not only indirectly in this scientific and technical sense, but also in a very direct manner. Without the assistance granted to us by the Indian authorities and the Himalayan Club, we should have been helpless in a country the particular difficulties of which were utterly unknown to us in practice, though we believed we had learnt something about them from books. We could not have mastered the difficulties of approach, nor could we have selected the porters and servants whom we required for our purpose, without the never-failing help and advice on the part of several members of the Himalayan Club. I have to thank them most sincerely for everything they were kind enough to do for us ; and if I may I would express a heartfelt hope that Kangchenjunga will one day be mastered through the co-operation of the Himalayan and the German-Austrian Alpine Clubs.

I feel it is a duty on my part to ask you now to drink to the honour of those who have done gallant pioneer work in the Himalaya in bygone days !

Dr. 0. Eberl, the German Vice-Consul, also replied :- Mb. Chairman and Gentlemen,

I welcome the opportunity which this reception of my fellow-countrymen gives me of associating myself with Herr Bauer in what he has said of the sympathy and very practical aid which was afforded the expedition at all times by the Himalayan Club and its members. The most striking and welcome feature of this aid was the granting of it almost before the expedition had time to ask for it! Already in Calcutta they were spontaneously given every possible help and information by members of the Club, and in Darjeeling they found everything practically ready at the time of their arrival. The best porters available, those of the Mount Everest expeditions, had been collected, everything else was arranged, and Herr Bauer had only to put the last touches to this excellent work of preparation. Beyond that, two Darjeeling members of the Club accompanied the expedition on their way up to those icy regions, which gave the expedition the privilege not only of enjoying their pleasant company, but also of profiting by their most valuable experience. So it is not too much to say that the Himalayan Club acted as a kind of Providence to the members of the expedition, who take away with them the recollections of a spirit of helpfulness and comradeship, which, as we have seen, does not always lead to the summit of Kangchenjunga, but certainly leads to mutual understanding and friendship. I am sure it will be felt everywhere in my country that the English friends of the expedition, and particularly those of the Himalayan Club, have deserved a full share of the recognition for what has been accomplished, and that nothing could have been done without their never-failing assistance.

May I add that I am charged to convey from my chief, Count Bassewitz, the Consul-General, his sincere appreciation of the kindness shown to the expedition, kindness which now, as in the old days before the black clouds of misunderstanding engulfed us all, is a sufficient testimony to the ability of our two races to live together in amity at work and in play.

I should like to ask my countrymen to rise and with me to raise their glasses to the prosperity of the Himalayan Club, and to its members, good fortune to all!

After dinner and the speeches had been concluded, the company adjourned to the drawing room, where Herr Bauer explained the various features of the climb and illustrated his route by means of Freshfield's map and photographs taken on the expedition. These were thrown on the screen by means of a Zeiss Epidiascope kindly lent for the purpose by the Agents of the firm of Zeiss.

G. B. G.