Himalayan Journal vol.03
The Himalayan Journal
Vol.03

Publication year:
1931

Editor:
Kenneth Mason
Index
  1. THE PASSING OF MUMMERY
    (Brig.-General the Hon. C. G. BRUCE..)
  2. THE NETHERLANDS-KARAKORAM EXPEDITION, 1929
    (JENNY VISSER-HOOFT.)
  3. A SKETCH OF THE GEOLOGY OF INDIA
    (Sir EDWIN PASCOE)
  4. A JOURNEY FROM YARKAND TO THE KARA-TASH
    (F. WILLIAMSON)
  5. NOTES ON THE WESTERNMOST PLATEAUX OF TIBET
    (DR. EMIL TRINKLER)
  6. IBEX GROUND NEAR THE SIACHEN GLACIER
    (Lieut.-Col. O. L. RUCK.)
  7. SKI-ING IN KASHMIR
    (M. D. N. WYATT.)
  8. A FRONTIER TOUR
    (LIEUT.-COL. J. R. C. GANNON.)
  9. THE INTERNATIONAL HIMALAYAN EXPEDITION, 1930
    (PROF. G. O. DYHRENFURTH.)
  10. THE THUI AND SHANDUR PASSES
    (LIEUT. G. C. CLARK.)
  11. THE DHARMSALA DHAULADHAR IN 1930
    (LIEUT. P. R. OLIVER.)
  12. EXPEDITIONS
  13. IN MEMORIAM
  14. NOTES
  15. REVIEWS
  16. CORRESPONDENCE
  17. CLUB PROCEEDINGS AND NOTICES
  18. LIBRARY NOTICES

THE INTERNATIONAL HIMALAYAN EXPEDITION, 1930

PROF. G. O. DYHRENFURTH.

WAS IT successful, this expedition of ours ? Some people say, No ! for the newspapers proclaimed loudly at the beginning that we were out to conquer Kangchenjunga, and this ascent did not succeed. Therefore-a failure !

SKETCH MAP OF THE GLACIERS OF KANGCHENDZOENGA

SKETCH MAP OF THE GLACIERS OF KANGCHENDZOENGA



I am not responsible for what newspapers say ! As a matter of fact, I have always indicated that the ascent of Kangchenjunga was to be one task, the most important task, of our expedition. But we always intended to attack several other high peaks of the Kangchenjunga region, should that great mountain prove to be impossible. Briefly the results of our expedition are as follows :

Four peaks of over 7000 m., or 23,000 feet, have been climbed to their summits. These are Jonsong (24,473 feet), Nepal (23,470 feet), Dodang Nyima (23,623 feet), and Ramthang (23,311 feet). As far as I know, up to now nine or ten mountains over 23,000 feet have been climbed and four of these have been conquered by us.

The International Himalayan Expedition (or I.H.E., for short) also ascended five lower peaks, viz., one of 20,014 feet and one of 20,424 feet, above Pangperma ; the " Mouse " (20,539 feet) between Kangbachen and Ramthang peaks; a peak (alt. c. 21,350 feet) between Kellas' Saddle and Jonsong peak ; and the Kang peak (18,735 feet).

Scientific observations were as important as mountaineering. They included geology, morphology, glaciology, topography, meteorology, climatology and physiology. This is hardly the place to give scientific details, but a few interesting points may be summarized.

The whole Dodang Nyima chain, on the borders of Tibet, together with the summit of Jonsong peak, is composed of chalk. What in the geological past was the bottom of the sea is now a chain of great mountains. The chalk of Jonsong peak has been pushed up upon the gneiss of Kangchenjunga from the north.

Everest and Kangchenjunga are from five to six thousand feet higher than all their surroundings. Viewed from any high point, these two giant massifs stand out like islands in a sea of lesser peaks. The most probable explanation seems to be the right one : They are actually islands of elevation-elevation that is so recent that it is still going on at the present time, though perhaps only an inch or two a year.

Mountains are levelled by atmospheric forces. In the Kangchen- junga region the forces of elevation have overcome those of decay. This is the explanation, not only of the great height of the mountain, but also of its form. The precipitous wall which everywhere blocks access to the higher parts shows very recent forms.

By means of that theory of elevation we can also explain another remarkable fact. The principal chain of the Himalaya, in spite of its height, is not a watershed ; the latter is formed by the much lower range to the north. The Indus and Brahmaputra break through the Great Himalaya in enormous gorges. In our own field of activity, the Arun and Teesta have their sources north of the great range and break through it in order to reach the Ganges. All these valleys cannot be explained merely by retrograde erosion and river capture. The theory of elevation gives a more satisfactory solution, namely, that these rivers flowed southward before the high chain was raised and they kept their courses open while the mountains were being built.

For a long time we have known that Central Asia is in a state of progressive desiccation. Particularly during the last few years this fact has been stressed by Sir Aurel Stein, Dr. Emil Trinkler and Dr. de Terra, The theory of elevation also throws some light on this problem. When the Himalaya were lower, the monsoon made more incursions into the inner regions of Asia, and the climate was consequently moister. Now the southern chains defend inner Asia from these currents and desiccation increases more and more. It seems probable that neither the growth of the mountains nor the desiccation of the land behind them is yet at an end.

I do not propose to go into the matter any further here, nor can I, in the space at my disposal, refer to the writings of others. I must, however, express my great admiration of the work of Professor E. J. Garwood, the collaborator of Mr. Douglas Freshfield, in 1899. Garwood is the only geologist before me to make a journey " round Kangchenjunga." To-day, after 31 years, we see many things from another point of view, but his work, both geological and topographical, will always appear to me most admirable.

For topography we naturally relied on Garwood's map and the measurements of the Survey of India. Our own topographer, Ing. Marcel Kurz, revised and supplemented these by our own surveys, so that we are now able to publish a new and, we hope, a good map of the whole Kangchenjunga region from Darjeeling to the frontiers of Tibet, on a scale of 1 : 100,000. This map will be published with the official story of the expedition during 1931.

The I.H.E. devoted some time to photography and to cinematography, with valuable results. Some 6000 photos and 14,000 metres of film were exposed. " Himatsehal, the Throne of the Gods," our expedition-film, will be ready shortly and we hope that it will be shown in India.

The I.H.E. was composed of five Germans, three Englishmen, two Swiss and. one Austrian. They were, besides myself, the leader,

Mrs. Dyhrenfurth, secretary, " quartermaster" and commandant of the various base camps. She had to organize supplies and transport for the higher camps.

Dr. H. Richter, doctor and reporter to the German press.

U. Wieland, meteorologist and oxygen-engineer.

H. Hoerlin, mountaineer and photographer.

F. S. Smythe, reporter to the English press.

George Wood Johnson and J. S. Hannah, of the Himalayan Club, who joined us in India, and who both rendered excellent service as mountaineers and transport-officers.

Marcel Kurz, mountaineer and topographer, and Charles Duvanel, first film-operator, both from Switzerland.

And last, but most certainly not least, Erwin Schneider, the young Austrian, mountaineer and geological assistant.

We left Europe at the end of February and in the beginning of March, in two groups, via Venice for Bombay. Our considerable baggage, weighing about six tons, was allowed into India free of customs duty, and all formalities were quickly settled. At Delhi we had the honour of being invited to lunch with the Viceroy, Lord Irwin, a member of the Himalayan Club. Field-Marshal Sir William Birdwood, the president of the Club, was kind enough to attach a Gurkha to the expedition, while Mr. G. M. Young, the honorary secretary, kindly forwarded our request to pass through Nepal to His Highness the Maharaja. In Calcutta, Messrs. G. B. Gourlay and Shebbeare, and the German vice-consul, Dr. Eberl, gave us advice and every assistance, while in Darjeeling, Lt.-Colonel H. W. Tobin put himself at our disposal in the kindest way for the organization and management of our transport.

By the end of March we were all assembled at Darjeeling and the great packing began. The " Memsahib " worked the hardest, for although supported by the younger men, 350 coolie-loads had to be packed. This sounds an enormous quantity, but it may be mentioned for comparison that the Vissers, for instance, took on their last expedition 450 porters for half the number of Europeans. For the baggage of the third Everest expedition (which contained the same number of Europeans as ours) 70 porters and 350 animals, carrying about 770 coolie-loads, were required.

I had always intended to attack Kangchenjunga, if possible, from the north-west, for from the accounts of Freshfield, Garwood and Kellas, this side seemed to offer the best chance of success. It was, however, necessary to obtain the permission of H. H. the Maharaja of Nepal, not only to enter his country, which is generally closed to Europeans, but also to be allowed to use it as a base. The permission that was granted was a very delightful beginning to our undertaking, but there is no doubt that, coming as it did on the very eve of our departure, our work was multiplied a hundredfold. We had already accustomed ourselves to the plan of advancing from the east, through Sikkim. We could then have sent on the baggage on animals to Lachen, beyond which place the distance through the valley of the Zemu to the eastern foot of the mountain is relatively short and without special difficulties. A hundred and fifty porters would then have been sufficient, and the relay system of transport between Lachen and a base camp had been worked out in detail. Tempting as the northwest front of Kangchenjunga was from a scientific and mountaineering point of view, we fully realized that the transport difficulties would be enormously increased by attacking it from that side, and more complicated than those of the Munich expedition of 1929. Actually we had to transport about 350 loads for a distance of eighteen very difficult marches over several high passes to the Base Camp, in addition to supplies for the porters themselves who were to carry the loads at least as far as Khunza, 15 marches from Darjeeling. After consulting Colonel Tobin, whom I should here like to thank for his extensive and painstaking work, a plan was drawn up by which the advance from Darjeeling to the Base Camp would be made in three separate groups ; Wood Johnson being the leader of the first group, Hannah of the second and Colonel Tobin himself of the third. Both Wood Johnson and I were against this division into three groups and only agreed when Colonel Tobin strongly advised it. I am, however, more than ever convinced now that many complications would have been avoided if we had moved forward with one big caravan. Having decided upon this division into three, it surely would have been best to allow an interval of ten or twelve days between the start of the first two groups and the third in order that the porters could return from Pangperma to Dzongri. For the benefit of future expeditions it seems necessary for me to point out frankly the mistakes we made.

On 7th April the first group started from Darjeeling, 10 Europeans and 220 porters. Dr. Eberl, taking advantage of his leave of absence, accompanied us to beyond the Kang La, and we were sorry when he had to return. Hannah and Wieland started one day later with 180 porters. The route from Darjeeling to Dzongri has often been described and is well known. Dzongri, at 13,124 feet, was reached in eight days.

The change from the warmth to the cold of regular winter was rather sudden. Dzongri hailed us with a violent snow-storm. This did not affect the Sherpas and Bhutias much ; but to bring up our small army of coolies within a few days to the necessary number, we had had to enlist Lepchas from the warm valleys of Sikkim, and at Dzongri they sat, wretched and shivering, and could not be persuaded, even by the good example of the others, to assist in pitching the tents. The next morning we had the first great porters' strike ; Wood Johnson took the greatest possible trouble and spent hours in trying to persuade the men to stay, but even he was unable to prevent forty from absconding. Forty important loads had to be left behind and we suffered from this mishap for weeks.

The next days brought the hard work of crossing the Kang La (16,454 feet). The spring of 1930 was unusually snowy, according to the experts ; the Kang La was still buried deeply beneath its winter snow. We had brought from Europe enough Alpine equipment for about seventy or eighty men, but certainly not for more than three hundred. Nevertheless the Kang La had to be forced ; the success of the whole expedition depended on it. On the Sikkim side our camp was pitched at 13,500 feet. At 14,000 feet the blanket of snow commenced. Although we had distributed 70 pairs of good Bavarian mountaineering shoes, there were still a few coolies left who had to go barefoot. Also we had only 240 pairs of snow-glasses. Nevertheless, we succeeded in traversing the pass in one day with our main body. This was due largely to Wood Johnson, who stayed with the rearguard, and, carrying a load himself, arrived late at night at the Nepal camp with the last of the porters.

Hoerlin and Schneider on that day climbed the difficult Kang peak from the pass. According to their barometer-observations, its altitude is 18,735 feet, or rather higher than shown on Garwood's map (18,300 feet). Whether the summit climbed by these two is identical with that ascended by Graham is a matter of doubt to me ; at all events no signs of a previous expedition were found at the top.

On the same day Wieland made an attempt on Kabur (15,814 feet) from Dzongri, a mountain already conquered by Freshfield. It is an excellent point of observation. Many porters of the second party, frightened at the prospect of crossing the Kang La, ran away, so Hannah had to stay east of the pass with many loads, while Wieland crossed with fifty men and joined the first party at Tseram (Chairam), the first Nepalese huts (12,500 feet).

According to the plan we had decided upon, we had proposed to send back about 150 porters from Tseram to Dzongri. The baggage of the third party had been advanced as far as Yoksam on mules and from there by local porters to Dzongri. The complications which occurred at the Kang La naturally caused this fine programme to be abandoned, for we now had to send a strong contingent of men under Sirdar Lobsang back over the pass, to bring the loads of our own and Hannah's party, which had been left behind. Unfortunately, Colonel Tobin, with the best intention of helping us, had left Darjeeling too soon, five days after us. So at the time it was quite impossible to send'men to help him. In Tseram there were neither local porters nor provisions to be had. The help promised by H. H. the Maharaja was not due till we reached Khunza, and after long conferences with a Nepalese Subadar and the people of Tseram, Wood Johnson and I judged that the only course open to us was to push forward to Khunza as quickly as possible.

We now had to traverse the ridge between the Yalung and the Kancchen valleys in a two-days' forced march. Four mountain passes between 13,600 and 15,000 feet had to be overcome ; the route was nothing but a snow-morass, compared with which the most abominable spring snow in the Alps is almost pleasant. We had ski with us, but of course only for the Europeans, and in order not to demoralize the porters, some of us had to go on foot. The snow-shoes proved a mixed blessing, for if one did break through the thin crust, it was most difficult to get one's legs out again. An old guide from the Vorarlberg once uttered the words: " Thigh-deep snow is passable! " Here we very often sank in as far as the chest and the track of our caravan was like a deep trench.

Our one compensation was the splendid view of the group of proud Janu and the Yamatari glacier on the morning of the second day, when we were on the ridge south-east of the Sinon La. But we were glad to leave these passes behind us and to descend to the richly-wooded valley of Khunza. We pitched our tents on a fine meadow in front of the village (11,089 feet). Since Freshfield's expedition no European had been here. We were received in a friendly way and all of us were in the best of spirits ; but we grew gloomy as soon as we touched on the supply and transport question. Although the headman had received orders to help us in every way, the stupid peasant at first assumed the role of passive resister. We were now fifteen days' march from Darjeeling and had provisions only for one day more. The subadar s energetic persuasion only procured absolute essentials for the porters. To secure a reserve supply for the next few weeks, the Gurkha descended to the next large village, some marches distant, while the subadar stayed on at Khunza. All the porters we could spare or get at Khunza were sent back to Tseram via the Sinon La and Mirgin La.

Freshfield records that his porters felt so happy when they reached Khunza that it was difficult to get them to start again. The same thing happened to us, and a well-earned day of rest at Khunza was marred by anxiety about provisions and by the passive resistance of the porters.

The march up the valley took us through burnt forests and later over a gigantic moraine and the tongue of the Janu glacier, which was buried beneath boulders, to Kangbachen, opposite the fearful 10,000- foot wall of Janu (25,294 feet). A short march to Ramthang had been planned for the next day. The pastures of Ramthang lie from one to one-and-a-half hours' march below the spot marked Ramthang on Garwood's map. In consequence of this mistake, camp was pushed forward too far, and many porters were benighted in bad weather. We were none too happv ourselves, for my wife had mountain-sickness and fell into a stream, while we all reached camp in a violent snow- squall.

On 26th April we reached our preliminary goal and pitched the Base Camp opposite the tremendous north-west face of Kangchenjunga, at a height of 16,569 feet, a little to the west of Pangperma.

That our hope of finding from here an easy or even a possible approach to the highest summit of Kangchenjunga was not realized is well known from Smythe's reports. After having examined the mountain from all sides I do not go as far as he does when he declares that Kangchenjunga will not be climbed in the present generation or by present-day methods. Kangchenjunga is certainly exceptionally difficult and dangerous, but I believe its ascent is possible. The best route seems to me to be through Sikkim and then by the north-east spur and the north ridge. In spite of the immense difficulties described by the Bavarian expedition one has at least the advantage on their route of moving on a convexity and thereby escaping to some extent the great danger from ice-avalanches.

This danger, the greatest which can threaten the Himalayan mountaineer, cannot be avoided on the Nepalese north route, however good the guiding. The route from the Kangchenjunga glacier is to every eye trained by alpinism the only one that can be pursued. After the first survey of it through trieder and telescope from Pangperma all the seven mountaineers of the I. H. E. agreed at once about it. Smythe himself found this route so obvious that he at first cheerfully exclaimed " How easy ! " I was never so optimistic myself, but I confess that I too, with all the others, was fully convinced that the ascent was possible. At the beginning we all underrated very much the danger of avalanches.

And so our plan was unanimous : Camp 1 was to be pitched at the upper end of the flat part of the Kangchenjunga glacier, and Camp 2 in the firn-basin under the north col, between the Twins and Kangchenjunga. From there the great ice-wall near the north end was to be made passable as close to the rock as stones falling from the north col would permit. We thought that three or four days would suffice for this. Camp 3 was to be laid out on the first terrace as an ice- cavern, whence the route to the north ridge would also be prepared by several days' work cutting steps and fixing ropes.

Alas ! It did not come to that! On 9th May when we seemed to have conquered the big ice-wall and Camp 3 was about to be prepared, a great mass of the hanging glacier above broke away and the ice- avalanche, so dramatically described by Smythe, who was an eyewitness of it from below, came down.

There our gallant Chettan met his death. No one can regret his death more than I do. He was a fine climber, perhaps the finest of all the " Tigers very keen and very reliable. To the members of the Himalayan and of the Alpine Clubs I need say no more. Unfortunately I must protest against the statement which has been made in some quarters that I was directly responsible for Chettan's death. If it is a question of responsibility, we must all share that responsibility ; for the north route was, as I have already mentioned, not merely the whim of the leader of the expedition alone, but had been decided upon by all the mountaineers of the I. H. E. I had been forced, unfortunately, by a bad cough and by difficulty of breathing at night, to go back to the Base Camp. I was therefore unable to influence the march of events at the ice-wall, and indeed it would have been the height of folly to send orders to such experienced mountaineers as Schneider, Hoerlin, Smythe and Wieland from Pangperma. It is ridiculous to speak of responsibility, as though someone had been guilty of a crime! War with these Himalayan giants entails hard and relentless fighting; the most careful leading can never guarantee that such fighting will cost no lives. Have not the Everest expeditions, which were prepared with the minutest care, also cost a number of lives ? Nobody dreams of holding the leaders of Everest expeditions responsible for the price. " C'est la guerre! " Kangchenjunga is only a little lower than Everest and certainly much more difficult and dangerous.

It is an interesting fact that even the porters would not hear of giving up the north route. The Memsahib was bombarded with petitions to persuade the Bara Sahib to continue the attack by the north route. But I could not agree to it; the responsibility for such a course seemed too heavy for me. I therefore decided on a second attempt by the north-west ridge, although I certainly agree with Smythe that this route never appeared very promising. But at least we were safe from avalanches and could be sure of good results, both topographic and photographic. I also felt, now that we were here, obliged to explore the whole north-west and west front of Kangchenjunga and to leave no shadow of doubt about it. For this reason I do not regret for one moment that I decided on this second attempt.

The difficulties of the north-west ridge are amazing, as great as or greater than those of the north-east spur. That alone would not have discouraged us, for technical difficulties are generally a question of time. But time here was our greatest enemy. We had to calculate that it would take between two and three weeks before the ridge trimmed with rock and ice towers could be made passable. When the monsoon set in, we should be standing only at the Kang- bachen terrace, that is, at about 23,000 feet, and we should have this fearful ridge in our rear. There seemed to be no hope of pursuing the long ridge across Kangbachen peak and the western summit of Kangchenjunga to the principal summit. The whole ascent would have to be made on that side of Kangchenjunga which would be most exposed to storm by day and night. As a result I now believe that the north and east sides promise the best chances of success on the principal Himalayan mountains. The flank exposed to the south-west wind is generally the least to be recommended.

It was with a heavy heart that I resolved to abandon the northwest route and therefore to give up the assault on Kangchenjunga altogether. But I am glad that this resolution was taken in good time, in the last period of fine weather before the monsoon broke, so that the energies of our expedition were set free for other tasks that promised more success. So the Kamthang peak (23,311 feet) became our first summit above 7000 metres, an excellent performance by Schneider and Smythe.

On the 20th May all the members were re-united in the Base Camp, including Hannah and Wood Johnson, who had had to leave the assaulting division in order to reorganize the lines of communication along the route Kang La-Tseram-Khunza. If we had experienced great difficulty here, it was much worse for the third party, for Colonel Tobin had too few porters and these were not good. Sirdar Naspati had returned sick to Darjeeling ; the other sirdar of the third party, Gyalgen, was not very satisfactory. Colonel Tobin was overworked and worn out by fatigue and the strain of the Kang La problem. He was alone at Tseram. As soon as we arrived at Pangperma we had sent back all the porters we could spare, and when Wood Johnson took over the important station of Khunza and Hannah had gone back to Tseram to help Tobin, the whole machinery was soon set going again. But it was none too soon, for the situation at Pangperma and in the higher camps on Kangchenjunga had become extremely precarious. I do not know what would have happened if the promised help of H. H. the Maharaja of Nepal had not materialized at the right moment.

Once more it gives me special pleasure to express our heartiest thanks to Tobin, Hannah and Wood Johnson for their self-sacrificing efforts.

When this crisis was settled, a new plan of campaign was worked out. Already at the beginning of the expedition I had planned to go back through Sikkim and not through Nepal. Jonsong peak now became our chief objective. This is the "Three Countries' Peak " of the Eastern Himalaya, for it lies at the meeting-point of the frontiers of Sikkim, Nepal and Tibet. As we knew from Dr. Kellas' reports that the north side of Jonsong offered more possibilities than the Nepalese face opposite us, we had first of all to cross the heavily glaciated Jonsong La (20,079 feet) and establish a new Base Camp on the Sikkim side. This was a difficult problem, as Freshfield found ; but it was the more difficult for us for we had to move 200 loads over the pass with only 75 porters at our disposal. Over and above this, the monsoon was at our door.

Smythe was of opinion that an attempt to traverse the Jonsong La with the whole caravan would lead to a catastrophe. He was most emphatic in his proposal that I should send back the main caravan through Nepal and move only a small contingent, consisting of himself and Wood Johnson, across the Jonsong La to the Jonsong peak. The mountaineers of the main caravan might meanwhile try on the way back to ascend Kabru. I confess that here I had to take upon myself a heavy responsibility when I decided to take the whole caravan across the Jonsong La. But while at Kangchenjunga bad luck had followed us, at the Jongsong peak we were lucky and my decision finally brought about the success of the expedition.

While the loads were sent in relays towards the Jongsong La, there was time for some smaller expeditions. Wieland and Hannah succeeded in climbing a firn-summit of 20,424 feet to the north of Pangperma which Smythe had attempted in vain some time before. Hannah's leave of absence had come to an end and to our great regret he had to return via Khunza.

Schneider and Wieland explored the Nepal Gap, which had been much spoken of but never conquered since Freshfield's time. If this Gap were found to be practicable, it would lie on the shortest route between the Kangchenjunga and Zemu glaciers. For this reason Dr. Kellas repeatedly tried to reach the summit of the Zemu pass, but he was defeated by bad weather. Schneider and Wieland, well supported by a picked body of porters, soon perceived that the Nepal Gap was to be reached from the west only with the greatest difficulty. But they found a comparatively easy route, also passable for porters, to an insignificant rise on the ridge north of the actual Gap. The third day after their start from Pangperma these two reached the crest and saw to their joy that a practicable route by way of firn-slopes led down to the northern side glacier of the Zemu. " False Nepal Gap," as they baptized it, is therefore a serviceable passage from Sikkim to Nepal through the Kangchenjunga group. Its height is 20,014 feet.

To the north, between Nepal Gap and Tent peak, there lies a fine summit, unknown till now. Wieland, who during the past weeks had never spared himself, was no longer fit. So Schneider, who was in great form, ascended the Nepal Peak (23,470 feet) by himself, an unsurpassed performance. On the 25th May this little expedition rejoined the main caravan at " Rolling-Stone Camp ", on the way to the Jonsong La.

As every day was now precious and the approach of thirty more Khunza men had been announced, I decided to traverse the pass with an assault party and forty loads as quickly as possible in order not to be surprised by the monsoon. My wife, who at Kangchenjunga had been in charge of the base supplies, now stayed behind with the difficult task of sending on the bulk of our baggage in relays. In spite of great difficulties, her organization was perfect. The first group traversed the pass on the 28th May and established the Jonsong Base Camp, or Lake Camp, at a height of 17,800 feet.

The most evident success of our expedition was the ascent of Jonsong peak, for it is the highest summit conquered up to now. I am far from lessening in any way the heroic deeds of the Everest Expeditions ; but though on the second and third expeditions they climbed to altitudes a great deal higher than Jonsong peak, there was probably no summit reached. Actually six mountaineers of the I. H. E. reached the summit of Jongsong : three Germans, one Austrian, one Englishman and one Swiss.

If an expedition is to be successful the members must act as a team. There must be no personal ambition. After the passage of the Jonsong La, Kurz was busy with his survey ; Wieland was in need of a rest; and I was much occupied with organizing transport and communication with Lachen as well as with geological studies. The first party chosen for the ascent of Jonsong peak therefore comprised Hoerlin, Schneider, Smythe and Wood Johnson. With twenty porters they moved off to the southern Lhonak glacier to search for the best route to the summit.

As the route across the north-east face was possible but dangerous owing to ice-falls, the north ridge was selected. Here too I may refer to Smythe's account. The third and last high camp of this party was established at 21,300 feet, and from this point the final assault was carried out-six hundred feet of descent across a difficult ice-ridge, and then a climb of 3700 feet, the greater part of which was across difficult rocks which may be compared to the Matterhorn ridge.

Wood Johnson, who had been so perfectly fit at both Kangchenjunga and at the Jonsong La that he had made his first attempts to ski at the latter place, was unfortunately taken seriously ill during the ascent, and Smythe was forced to return to look after him. Victory therefore was won by Schneider and Hoerlin only. Five days later, however, on 8th June, we succeeded in making a second ascent of Jonsong peak. The second party originally comprised Kurz, Wieland and myself. At Jonsong Camp 1 (18,700 feet), where we met the first party, Smythe accepted my invitation to accompany us.

It was not merely for sport that this second ascent was made. It was necessary for scientific reasons that both a geologist and topographer should climb Jonsong peak. As a man of forty-four, I feel that I have a certain right to be proud of this success, the more so as on 6th June the situation was rather precarious. The weather on this day was very unfavourable and the porters, after a very cold and stormy night, were disinclined to go further. Smythe, who on this occasion did not wear the expedition boots-which he loves to laugh at-was afraid of frostbite and wanted to descend. Kurz also was inclined to give up the Jonsong peak and would have preferred to try Lhonak peak. Wieland remained neutral. It was I who declared that I would stay with the porters and continue the attack, and it was my optimism which fortunately turned the scales. Everybody stayed and we established Camp 3 (21,300 feet). After cutting a route down the ice-slope to the last glacier valley and making this passable for the porters, we established our fourth and last camp on the north col at 21,500 feet. The following day we undertook the final attack. Delayed by my geological investigations I reached the main summit (24,473 feet) at half-past four, much later than my friends, but I was tempted nevertheless to go over alone to the eastern summit. My descent with my orderly, Lewa, therefore took place by night during a bad storm. I am an old Alpinist and have been through many struggles. This experience on Jonsong peak was my hardest mountaineering feat. There were moments when I almost wondered whether I should get back.

While we were busy at Jonsong peak, Hoerlin and Schneider, after two well-earned days of rest, had gone on another tour of exploration. It concerned the Tibetan frontier chain which culminates in Dodang Nyima peak (23,623 feet).

These two great friends scored a fresh triumph by conquering this proud summit by an ascent which is probably as difficult as any yet made in the Himalaya. The summit was reached after great perseverance across three ice-walls and along a wildly jagged ridge. In addition to this splendid feat these two bold climbers brought me back specimens of rocks from the summit, which will, I hope, clear up the problem of the age of the Tibetan frontier chalk.

Although the monsoon was now being felt more and more every day, Kurz, Wieland and I made one more journey at the back of the Lhonak valley in order to examine the contact between the Kangchenjunga gneiss and the chalks of the northern chain and to climb, if possible, Lhonak peak (21,490 feet). This last however was impossible, for on 15th June heavy snow-storms commenced and the period for climbing summits passed. We had to content ourselves with making the most essential geological observations, while Wieland reached the Lhonak La and fixed its height at 19,932 feet with the hypsometer. It is a special joy to me that Lhonak peak was conquered later in the year, after the monsoon, by Mr. G. B. Gourlay.

My wife, Duvanel, Richter, Smythe and Wood Johnson had already marched on 12th June with the bulk of our baggage through the valley of Lhonak to Lachen and thence to civilization. Hoerlin and Schneider with fifteen porters had crossed a high pass of about 19,000 feet and reached the Zemu glacier at the Bavarian camp opposite Siniolchu. The final breaking up of the Base Camp followed on 18th June. To make our map as complete as possible Kurz and Wieland with a party of porters crossed to the Zemu glacier by another more western pass (19,095 feet), which may possibly have been crossed previously by Dr. Kellas. I had the less inspiring work of bringing the rest of our equipment and baggage (45 porters' loads) to Lachen.

For the first two days while we moved along the broad platform of the upper Lhonak valley, which is strewn with glacier boulders, we could use yak transport. At the entrance to the ravine of the lower Lhonak we had to reload the baggage on coolies. Here I had to halt for a day and a half for the porters who were due to arrive from Lachen. Through flowering masses of rhododendrons, through ravines of indescribable grandeur and wildness, we descended into the dripping primeval forest. On our last night under canvas when the monsoon drummed on the sailcloth, I felt that it was just the right weather for me to take leave of it all. Yet I could have cried when I remembered that I was going back to Europe and its culture again.

In Lachen the whole second party assembled once more and we marched back to Gangtok together. The roads were broken by numberless landslips,. and bridges had been carried away ; yet we succeeded in reaching the capital of Sikkim in three long marches. At Gangtok we received the hospitality of His Highness the Maharaja of Sikkim, and we spent some very pleasant hours with Mr. and Mrs. Dudley. At Darjeeling the Governor of Bengal invited us to lunch ; at Calcutta the Rotary Club and the Himalayan Club gave dinners in our honour ; and as honoured guests of Count Bassewitz and the German Clubs of Calcutta and Bombay we took leave of our country-men who live in India.

Now the bright crown of all the Himalayan summits lies in the land of our memories. For he who has once looked on these incomparable mountains and has wrestled with them must dream of them till the end of his days !

The great Ice-wall below the first terrace of Kangchenjunga. (Photo. U. Wieland).

The great Ice-wall below the first terrace of Kangchenjunga. (Photo. U. Wieland).



Kangbachen Peak and N.W. Ridge from Ramthang Route. (Photo. E. Schneider).

Kangbachen Peak and N.W. Ridge from Ramthang Route. (Photo. E. Schneider).



N. E. FACE OF JONSONG PEAK FROM CAMP I (Photo.H.Hoerlin.)

N. E. FACE OF JONSONG PEAK FROM CAMP I (Photo.H.Hoerlin.)