Himalayan Journal vol.05
The Himalayan Journal

Publication year:

Kenneth Mason
    (Lieut.-Colonel B.E.M. Gurdon)
    (HELLMUT DE TERRA Tale North India Expedition)
  7. KULU
    (A. P. F. HAMILTON)
    (Captain G. C. CLARK)
    (G. A. R. SPENCE)
    (Lieut.-Colonel KENNETH MASON)
  14. NOTES


AN ACCOUNT OF TIBET: THE TRAVELS OF IPPOLITO DESIDERI OF PISTOIA, s.j., 1712-27. Edited by Filippo De Filippi. Introduction by C. Wessels, s.j. London: The Broadway Travellers: G. Routledge, 1932. 8 ¾ X6 ¾ inches; xviii-j- 475 Pages photographic illustrations; general and Tibetan indexes; bibliography; notes; map. 25s.

No less than fifty years ago Sir Clements Markham, in his Narrative of the Mission of G. Bogle to Tibet, announced the fact that the lost manuscript of the Jesuit missionary, Ippolito Desideri, had been rediscovered, and would probably be published before long. As a matter of fact it was not until some twenty-nine years later that the manuscript was first published, by Professor Puini, in a special limited edition for the members of the Italian Geographical Society; and until the publication by Father Wessels of his Early Jesuit Travellers in Central Asia, 1603-1J21, in 1924, in which some seventy pages are devoted to Desideri, little was known in England of this remarkable man.

Leaving Delhi in the company of Father Emmanuel Freyre on the 24th September 1714 Father Desideri set off for Tibet. The first objective was Kashmir, whence the travellers traversed Baltistan to Ladakh. Leh was reached on the 26th June in the following year, and after a stay of two months the two men continued their arduous journey across the Tibetan uplands, finally reaching Lhasa in March 1716. This journey itself, of which here only the barest outlines can be given, if it were possible to carry it out at the present day, would be a very considerable undertaking. Carried out as it was in the early days of the eighteenth century, it entitles Desideri to an honourable place in the ranks of Himalayan explorers, although he himself would probably have been the last to make any such claim.

But this book is far more than a mere record of travel through what was at that time a difficult and dangerous country. Father Desideri spent altogether some five years in Tibet; and during this time several long periods were passed in residence in various monasteries, where he was given the unique privilege of the use of the libraries, and was permitted frequently to converse with the most learned Lamas. Such was the knowledge of the Tibetan language that he acquired that he was able to compose a book in Tibetan refuting what he considered the errors of the Lamaistic doctrine and a defence of the Catholic religion; and it argues much for the broad-mindedness of the Tibetan clergy that his book was received with the greatest interest. 'My house', writes Desideri, 'suddenly became the scene of incessant comings and goings by all sorts of people, chiefly learned men and professors, who came from the monasteries and Universities, especially from those of Sera and Breebung, the principal ones, to apply for permission to see and read the book.5
In the meantime it had been decided in Rome that the Tibetan mission-field should be handed over to the Capucins, and Desideri accordingly left Tibet in April 1721. He travelled by the Kuti road to Nepal, reaching Kathmandu in December of the same year. After a brief stay in the valley of Nepal the journey was continued to Patna and onward through India to Madras, whence the weary traveller set sail for Europe. He died in Rome on the 14th April 1733 at the early age of 48 years.

In assessing the merits of this book it should be remembered that the author was first and foremost a religious missionary. These early Jesuit travellers were as a rule not equipped with any geographical or other scientific training for their arduous undertakings. 'Thus', writes Father Wessels, 'they must not be looked upon as geographical specialists, but as honest, level-headed men, writing of their experiences in a land of bewildering strangeness; their writings should not be perused by the light of the exacting canons of the specialist who reports for a geographical magazine or a learned society. . . . Their written accounts are often insignificant, abounding in generalities and hopelessly lacking in those points which a scientific training would have made them pick up as of first-rate importance. But even so they have their merits as every pioneer has.'

Father Desideri was a pioneer in every sense of the word. In addition to being one of the first Europeans to set foot in Tibet, he is almost certainly the first, if not the only one, to have written a book in the language of that country. He is often provokingly silent on the details of his journey, the hardships of which must have been considerable at times; but as a picture of contemporary Tibetan life his account can hardly be bettered. The description of Nepal, which is, I think, the earliest yet discovered, is unfortunately brief, more particularly so as Desideri was present in the Valley at what was probably its most interesting historical period, that is, a little before the Gurkha conquest; but here again he brings the life of the times vividly before our eyes.

A special word of praise is due to the translator of this book. I am not, of course, acquainted with the original Italian, but the English translation has been carried out in such a way that not only is one never conscious of reading a translation, but without any trace of pedantry the spirit of early eighteenth-century English has been caught in a remarkable way.

We have had to wait fifty years for this edition of Desideri, but the delay has enabled the present editor to collate all the various manuscripts, some of which have only recently been discovered. The illustrations are excellent, as are also the bibliography and the two indexes; the notes, which are very full, are scholarly and detailed and clear up all doubtful points in the narrative. The map is quite adequate, and the whole book beautifully produced. Students of Tibetan and Nepalese affairs will find it of the very greatest interest, and members of the Himalayan Club in particular owe a debt of gratitude to Sir Filippo De Filippi for at last making this absorbing work available for English readers. It is much to be hoped that its publication will now secure for Father Desideri, whose name is barely mentioned in most English books on Tibet, the recognition his work so clearly deserves.

C. J. Morris.

HIMALAYA, KARAKORAM, AND EASTERN TURKISTAN (1913-14). By Filippo De Filippi. London: Edward Arnold & Co., 1932. 10x8 inches; 528 pages; coloured plates and maps and numerous panoramas and other illustrations. 50s.

This sumptuous volume gives a full account, without detailed scientific results, of Sir Filippo De Filippi's expedition to Baltistan, the Karakoram, and Central Asia from August 1913 to December 1914. It was first published in Italian in 1923. The book has been most ably translated by Mrs. H. T. Lowe-Porter, and the interval has enabled Sir Filippo to add details regarding more recent postwar exploration and to include a brief chapter on his scientific results. The latter is all too short, for few Englishmen in India have a sufficient knowledge of the Italian language or sufficient leisure to study the thirteen volumes (Relazioni Scientijiche) containing the detailed conclusions. The main part of the book under review is written by Sir Filippo himself, but most interesting chapters are contributed by Professor Giotto Dainelli and Mr. J. A. Spranger.

The expedition contained eleven Europeans: Sir Filippo De Filippi (leader); Commander (Professor) Alberto Alessio, of the Royal Italian Navy, and Professor Giorgio Abetti (geodesists); Professor Giotto Dainelli and Olinto Marinelli (geographers and geologists); Dr. Camillo Alessandri and Marchese Venturi Ginori (meteorologists); Major Henry Wood, r.e., Survey of India, and Mr. John Alfred Spranger (geographical surveyors); Lieut. Cesare Antilli (photographer); and Giuseppe Petigax, the famous guide.

The leader, Alessio, Abetti, Dainelli, Antilli, and Petigax left Italy in 1913, landed at Bombay on August 22 and left Srinagar for Baltistan about a month later. The Zoji La was crossed on the 26th September, and Skardu, the capital of Baltistan, was reached on the 25th October, halts having been made at Dras and Tolti for geophysical and other scientific operations (Chapter II). The winter was spent with Skardu as head-quarters, two geophysical stations being made at Skardu and at Wazul Hadur, in the hills to the south, 1,800 feet below the Burji La, on the route leading to the Deosai plateau. Careful studies were also made of the Skardu basin during the winter; Ginori undertook the meteorological observations while Dainelli carried out excursions up the Shigar, Braldoh, and Basha valleys, the lower and middle Shyok, the Saltoro, and the Kondus. Few of these valleys had been visited previously by Europeans in the winter, so that Dainelli's account bristles with interest. He made a complete study of the population of the whole area, physiognomically and anthropometrically, of their origins, of the types and forms of their dwellings, and of their methods of agriculture (Chapters III and IV).

Meanwhile De Filippi was laying the foundations of the coming campaign in the Karakoram. On the 16th February the party left Skardu for Leh, which place was reached by the main caravan on the 2nd March. While this took the usual route by the Dras-Suru river and Kargil, Dainelli followed the savage gorge of the Indus, inhabited by Dards, between Tarkutta and the Chiktan valley. It is probable that much of the ground in the immediate neighbourhood of the valley had never before been traversed by Europeans, since in places it is quite impracticable in summer. At Leh the expedition was reinforced from India by the arrival of Wood, Spranger, Marinelli, and Alessandri, with two topographers of the Survey of India, Jamna Prasad and Shib Lai. Some two months were spent here reorganizing the caravan, carrying out various scientific operations, such as geophysical and meteorological observations and survey. Once more Dainelli made a series of excursions, visiting the Rupshu plateau, the upper Indus gorge, and the Panggong lake, and studying every geographical aspect of the districts visited (Chapters V to VIII).

The expedition left Leh on the 15th May, crossed the Chang La, and passed up the newly constructed road through the upper Shyok valley to the Depsang plains, on which the base depot was formed on the 2nd June at a height of 17,600 feet above sea-level. A route- survey was carried out from Leh to the Depsang where the regular survey work was commenced, a base being measured and astronomical observations made. The triangulation was connected to points previously fixed by Survey of India observers. Alessio established another geophysical station at the depot for gravimetric purposes, and Alessandri and Ginori maintained a meteorological observatory here for two and a half months (Chapters IX, X).

De Filippi himself now led the exploration of the whole Rimo glacier and its basin, while Wood and Spranger with Shib Lai explored the head waters of the Yarkand river, and Dainelli with Marinelli explored the Depsang eastwards, crossed the head waters of the Karakash, and reached Taldat on the Lingzi-tang. They then explored the snouts of the upper Shyok glaciers, the Kumdans, and the Aktash, visited the Rimo, mainly for geological observations, crossed the main watershed into the head waters of the Yarkand river by the glacier source discovered a few days previously by both Wood's and De Filippi's parties, and returned to the depot by the main Karakoram trade-route. It is typical of the thoroughness of the expedition's work that all three parties made the important discovery of this source of the Yarkand river independently within a few days of each other, each unconscious of the other's discovery. De Filippi's party made a complete survey of all three branches of the great Rimo glacier, while Wood's, besides surveying the source of the Yarkand river mentioned above, also surveyed a large part of the main watershed (Chapters XI to XIV).

The whole expedition had been reunited at the Depsang depot for three days when, on the 16th August, the news of the outbreak of the Great War was received: 'Austria has declared war on Serbia, Russia on Austria, Germany on France and Russia; England and Italy not yet involved.' So ran the telegram; Major Wood at the same time received definite instructions to remain with the expedition, but Alessio, Antilli, and Alessandri felt it their duty to return to Europe forthwith and left for Italy the following morning. The remainder endeavoured to carry out the rest of the programme.

The party now divided up again, exploring and surveying the whole trade-route from the Karakoram pass over the Suget Dawan to Suget. Here another geophysical station was established, after which Dainelli and Marinelli left for Italy by Karghalik and Kash- gar. The rest turned westwards over the Kokart Dawan to Kirghiz Jangal whence Wood followed up the gorge of the Yarkand river to complete his survey of the western tributaries, with Spranger, Petigax, and Shib Lai. Having accomplished this, Wood led his party to Kokyar and Yarkand by way of the Yangi Dawan. Meanwhile De Filippi followed down the Yarkand river, here known as the Raskam, but was prevented by the flooded state of it at this time of the year to cross and explore the Surukwat valley, Aghil pass, and Shaksgam, as had been intended. This party then made its way to Yarkand by the Takhtakoram Dawan and Kokyar. Observations for latitude, longitude, and gravity were made at both Yarkand and Kashgar before the party finally left the latter place on the 27 th October to take the caravan route by the Kizil Su and Terek Dawan to Osh and Andijan, the railhead, which was reached on the 6th November. Three days later, at the Geodetic Institue at Tashkent, the geophysical work was concluded and the party left for Europe by way of Orenburg, Samara, and Odessa (Chapters XV to XVII).

This brief summary cannot hope to do justice to the importance of the work carried out by De Filippi and his colleagues. There is not a shadow of doubt that a better organized or more comprehensively scientific expedition has never explored the Indian borderland. De Filippi alludes to the support he received from H.M. the King of Italy, from Various private Maecenases', and from scientific academies and societies, who together contributed the sum required, about £ 10,000. The Government of India and the Survey of India gave their direct support by making a substantial contribution, £1,000, to general expenses and by paying all costs connected with Major Wood's detachment. Scientists may well sigh for the generosity and broad-minded outlook of pre-War days! De Filippi himself bestows unstinted praise upon his porters and upon that faithful old 'servant of Sahibs', Ghulam Rasul, 'the ablest, most upright, and companionable caravanbashi that ever was'. But the complete success of the enterprise was due to De Filippi's own amazing capacity for organization; every detail was thought out beforehand, every point of the programme fitted into the whole scheme, every eventuality, except the outbreak of the Great War, was allowed for.

It is only possible to remark a few points in the account given by De Filippi. The geophysical work and Dainelli's anthropometrical results have already been alluded to. The transition stage from Changpa to settled Ladakhi is extremely well described on p. 264, while the differences between the traits of Dard, Balti, Brokpa, and Ladakhi, and their detailed ethnology, are of great interest.

Dainelli expresses some surprise at the results of his winter observations of glacier snouts. At the bottom of p. 97, for instance, we read: 'I descended the Saltoro glacier and went up the Kondus to the Sherpigang glacier. Curiously enough it, too, like the Baltoro and the Chogo Lungma, was all swollen at its huge snout, as though some great force were pushing forward the gigantic stream of ice. They are all in a progressive phase.' Such activity of a great glacier snout must surely be normal in winter in these regions. Ablation in any of its many forms is almost entirely non-existent, and the 'progressive phase' noted by Dainelli, is very probably nothing more than normal seasonal winter activity. In the Karakoram region a glacier which shows a bold swollen front in winter may exhibit great seasonal degeneration in August, owing to the intense ablation during that month. It cannot be too strongly impressed upon observers accustomed to glaciers of Alpine dimensions and in Alpine latitudes that seasonal rejuvenation and degeneration of the snout are far more marked in the Karakoram than in Europe, and that observations of a degenerate tongue in winter or of an active front in the period from mid-July to mid-September alone may be regarded as signs of periodic 'retreat' or 'advance'. The converse is not true, and many of the superficial records of observers in the past are of little value owing to the fact that the importance of seasonal variation has been insufficiently realized.

Dainelli gives a most interesting account of the construction of artificial glaciers by the Baltis, p. 256: 'When there is a delta which cannot be cultivated for lack of permanent water supply, they study the topographical conditions of the side valley, and if these are favourable, they will labour patiently for many years to construct, quite high up and in a sheltered spot, a huge system of refrigeration, by means of which the winter snows do not melt rapidly in the spring, but only by degrees during the summer and autumn up to the next snowfall. I have known of several of these artificial glaciers which have been working for the past forty years.' Here the Balti is greatly assisted by his climate. The winter snowfalls on the higher hills are late and often occur well into April and even May, after which a period of extremely dry weather with very cold nights prevents any considerable thaw until July; spring and autumn are almost absent and their places are taken by an extension of winter, not of summer, so that the period of storing and refrigeration may last eight or nine months of the year.

On p. 279 De Filippi, after discussing the merits of the various alternatives for the route between Leh and the Karakoram pass, remarks that the Government of India in 1909 decided to construct the new road by the Chang La and upper Shyok to take the place of the old one by the Saser; on p. 294 in a footnote he alludes to various travellers having taken the Saser route since the War. The reason for this is, of course, because the Shyok route was not a success and was abandoned owing to the preference shown both by the traders themselves and the Nubra population for the Nubra-Saser- La route. A new alignment of this route has been made since the War in certain places and is now regularly taken by all summer caravans. The upper Shyok valley bed is taken in winter, but the road travelled by De Filippi has now been completely destroyed by the Chong Kumdan floods of recent years.

De Filippi thus describes the view from the Depsang, p. 308: 'The panorama is divided into two distinct parts, one quite different from the other. On the north and east there is an arc of bare hills and mountains almost entirely without snow, dull-coloured, reddish or black, with a few towering conical peaks. These give place abruptly on the south to glacier-laden massifs, followed on the west by lofty ranges dazzling with snow and glaciers.5 On p. 352 Dainelli describes his first view from the Depsang: 'We stood about 17,500 feet above the sea, on a level plain of sand and small pebbles. A few crests of bare rock rose up eastwards, in the direction of the great Tibetan plateaux. Towards the west we saw great snowy peaks, the beginning of the Karakoram range. We were on the border between two different worlds.5 And further, on p. 356, when crossing the Chip-chap watershed, east of the Karakoram pass: 'At a certain point we saw water bubbling up among the pebbles, flowing in the direction in which we were going. In other words, we had crossed the watershed; we had passed from one hydrographical basin into another. And this is, indeed, characteristic of the chief valleys of these Tibetan plateaux that they do not have their origin in a mountain crest, a saddle, or a rocky pass, but in an alluvial plain. . . . How many times afterwards did we stop and discuss whether we had, or had not, crossed a watershed!
De Filippi refers to the alignment of the main Karakoram range on p. 417 and footnote, wherein he states that the Karakoram pass lies on an eastern prolongation of the Aghil range. The above quotations indicate the abrupt change in structure, climatic regime, topography, and every other physical feature beyond the Saser pass. In view of such definite views and observations, it surely is no longer possible to maintain the old ideas of the axis of the Karakoram range across these plateaux, and it would be in the interests of geographical science if geographers would accept the fact noted by all recent observers that the main axis of the Karakoram system (the Muztagh range) follows the Nubra-Shyok watershed.

On p. 392 De Filippi adds a footnote suggesting a connexion between the relics found in 1914 by Wood's party in Valley 'J5, and the corpse found by Captain Cave and Major Clifford of my expedition in 1926. Any such connexion is ruled out by the fact that the Balti we found must have died subsequent to 1918, as proved by the date of a rupee found on his person.

On p. 445 De Filippi thus describes the junction of the Suruk- wat valley with the Raskam Darya (Yarkand river), near Bazar Dara: 'More than 3,000 feet below us the Raskam Daria glittered at the bottom of a deep abyss between tremendous cliffs of black rock. But our attention was at once drawn to the Aghil range, vast, impressive, glacier-covered. Certainly it showed us few of its peaks, and those not the highest, which were wrapped in storm-clouds. At its base two spurs embrace a wide opening on which two valleys converge, the Surkowat, which comes down from the east, and another facing it, which leads to the Aghil pass. The two join here for a short stretch, before flowing into the Raskam Daria.' There is still a most interesting piece of exploration and survey to be carried out here. When we reached our lowest point, about 13,200 feet above sea-level, in the Zug-Shaksgam in 1926, it appeared that the valley we were in was bending westwards, and for various reasons I believed that it eventually joined the Shaksgam below the Durbin Jangal of Sir Francis Younghusband (1889). From the height shown on Major Wood's map, 12,550 feet, of the junction alluded to by Sir Filippo and from the form-lines shown to indicate the lie of the country, it seems that this conclusion is correct. But it is just conceivable that our Zug-Shaksgam may turn north into a nearly level trough to join the Raskam by the Surukwat. This exploration should not be impossible to carry out from Yarkand in winter with careful preparation.

The whole account is worthy of the undertaking and is of intense interest especially to all who have travelled in Baltistan and Ladakh. De Filippi has collected a mass of valuable material with scholarly precision not only on the spot but from every available historical source. The bibliographical index at the end is wonderfully complete and the acknowledgements are more than generous. The chapters contributed by Dainelli are of outstanding interest, and the beautiful coloured plates and panoramas show the brilliance of the atmosphere and the dazzling whiteness of the landscape. It is, however, a great pity that so many half-tone illustrations have been included in the text. Unless the text is printed on the finest art paper throughout, it is almost impossible to reproduce half-tone illustrations satisfactorily, and such expensive paper would undoubtedly have added greatly to the cost. As it is, these text illustrations, though valuable, do not give a true impression of the country; to mention two examples, the 'Upper Circus of the Rimu Glacier' and the 'Saddle leading to the Siachen', on pp. 342 and 343, look more like a disgusting thaw in a London fog than the high reaches of a virgin glacier. The truth may be seen if these are compared with the panoramas in the pocket at the end of the volume. Our whole sympathies are with Antilli, whose magnificent photographs deserved a better fate. It only remains to add that this record bears witness to the wise expenditure of the funds entrusted to Sir Filippo, and to acknowledge once more the debt that subsequent expeditions to the Karakoram owe to his thoroughness.

Kenneth Mason.

KAMET CONQUERED. By F. S. Smythe. London: Victor Gollancz, 1932. 9X6 inches; 419pages; 48plates; maps. 16s.

It is easy to say that siege warfare has superseded rush tactics in high Himalayan climbing and revolutionized our methods of attack, for the statement is already a platitude. It is not so easy to put the new theory into practice, but this is what Mr. Smythe has done, and this book is a fine record of a very complete achievement by him and his party. What his modesty has omitted to stress is that to organize siege operations on a big Himalayan peak is more difficult than to make the old-fashioned dashing raid upon a mountain. Modern procedure is different now that the Everest expeditions have shown the way. To be successful in the modern way requires a bigger commissariat with a bigger force of human transport to carry and consume the loads. This involves more elaborate and careful organization, and the whole programme is more difficult to execute. Moreover, although the rush tactics may put a more violent strain on the human frame, the wear and tear of siege methods is more trying to powers of endurance. Mr. Smythe and his party are to be congratulated on their success in carrying out the new principles, and the expedition described in this book might well serve as a model, for it went without a hitch, the organization was perfect, and even the weather seemed willing to co-operate.

Yet the author of Kamet Conquered is not merely an organizer and climber, for he realized that he must approach his great objective with the humility of a pilgrim. He says of the Himalaya: 'Respect their beauty, their majesty, and their power and they will treat you as you deserve; approach them ignorantly or in a spirit of bravado and they will destroy you. Other mountains forgive mistakes, but not the Himalaya.' As he writes later, 'he has felt that strange exaltation and mystification that comes to some in the presence of great mountains', and in the sublime Hindu text which he quotes there is a mystical answer for those who seek to learn the essential secret in the enchantment of the hills. Perhaps it can hardly be quoted too often: 'He who thinks of Himachal, though he should not behold him, is greater than he who performs all worship in Kashi [Benares]. And he who thinks of Himachal shall have pardon for all sins, and all things that die on Himachal and all things that in dying think of his snows are freed from sin. In a hundred ages of the Gods I could not tell thee of the glories of Himachal where Siva lived and where the Ganges falls from the foot of Vishnu like the slender thread of the lotus flower.'

Not the least remarkable of the achievements of the Smythe expedition is the fact that, although consisting of six Europeans well equipped for high climbing, they managed to get along with only seventy coolies. This must have been due to the excellence of their Dotial porters each of whom carried 80 lb., a quite exceptional weight, for normally with fast travelling the average load should not be much more than 40 lb. For the work at altitudes Darjeeling men were employed, but Mr. Smythe also formed a high opinion of the local Bhotias of Niti and Mana. He says of them: 'Given the same opportunities as Darjeeling men they would . . . develop into even finer mountaineers, finer at all events in that they would not be cursed on a mountain with unnecessary superstition.'

A curious feature of the early attacks on Kamet from the west and north was the failure of the assailants to realize what Pocock of the Indian Survey pointed out, namely that the immense peak of Eastern Ibi Gamin cut them off from their goal. An interesting account of all these previous attempts on Kamet is given at the beginning of the book.

The climatic conditions of British Garhwal are different from those of Everest; the climber meets with other friends and other enemies. On Kamet the wind seems to be rarely if ever formidable, while the sun can be overwhelmingly oppressive. Yet the temperature has been known to fall at night to 20 degrees below zero inside the tents, so that it is well that the air should generally be calm. Evaporation, too, is not so great as on Everest, and the climber on Kamet may have to wade through soft snow and at great altitudes nothing is more exhausting than this.

As the attack on the great mountain developed, the climbers began to fear that the fine weather might fail them and so they rightly yielded to the temptation of pressing on the final stages of the attack, but in so doing they cut short the process of acclimatization which had been working so satisfactorily. This speeding up of the programme probably aggravated their sufferings during the last phase of the siege. Mr. Smythe writes: 'Even the effort of rising to our feet served like the touch of a foot on the sensitive throttle of a powerful racing-car, to set the machinery of heart and lungs pounding furiously.' The last 1,500 feet were accomplished at the rate of 200 feet an hour, perhaps eight times as slowly as one walks uphill in England, but abominable snow conditions had been partly the cause of this slow progress. The tremendous moment of the view from the top could only be enjoyed with faculties clouded by exhaustion and harassed by the cruel necessity of manipulating the camera. An interesting speculation is whether it was possible, as some of the party suggested, that the mountains on the far north-west horizon were the Karakoram, distant more than 250 miles. I believe that Kilimanjaro was once sighted from a ship at sea, when 300 miles off, but this startling vision is said to have been due to reflection by mirage. It would be interesting to know whether any part of the earth's surface has ever been identified at anything like such an enormous distance.

It must have been almost a relief to the climbers when they withdrew from Kamet with their great task accomplished. After the strain of the all-absorbing conflict with the great peak the exploration of minor peaks and passes must have seemed a mere holiday. Yet even this sort of Himalayan work, if carried on for weeks, makes a care-worn mark on the temperament, and it is only when the travellers have descended to more normal levels that any overwhelming regret at leaving the mountains can be felt. However, if only the party is not too long at the high camps, this business of discovering passes and minor peaks is the most fascinating form of Himalayan mountaineering. The climber who cares only for capturing a big peak necessarily knows exactly where he will get to if he is successful, for the top is a blatantly obvious goal. On the other hand, the explorer of passes is often shielded from the commonplace certainty of knowing where he is likely to come out. In Garhwal, for instance, he cannot tell whether he will be deflected back into his own valley, or lured into the wilds of Tibet, or find himself admitted unexpectedly into the secret high recesses of the immense and unexplored Gangotri glacier. As Mr. Smythe remarks, this glacier may quite possibly turn out to be the biggest Himalayan ice-field east of the Karakoram. It is such uncertainties as these that give mountaineering a thrill which is absent from the infinitely more toilsome and perhaps more tensely exciting task of besieging a big peak.

The mountains to which the expedition now proceeded were the ranges surrounding the various sources of the Ganges. Mr. Smythe describes the sacred river where, under the name of Alaknanda, it emerges from the combined snouts of the Bhagat-Kharak and Satopanth glaciers. The true source of the Alaknanda is no doubt here, but the book omits to mention that 'the slender thread of the lotus flower' does actually and unmistakably 'fall from the foot of Vishnu', for it is only a few miles down the same valley that a tributary, a prodigious jet of water, shoots out horizontally from a glacier hidden far up in the recesses of a mighty precipice and falls hundreds of feet through the air. The foot of this astonishing fall is frequented by worshippers, and for all pilgrims this is the sacred source of the river.1
The expedition also visited the Arwa valley and thoroughly explored the watershed of two more sources of the Ganges. Peaks were climbed from here and passes leading over into the great Gangotri glacier system were discovered and crossed.

1 This fall resembles the waterfall above Bergli, the sensationally situated hamlet in the Vispthal, but the fall in the Alaknanda valley is on the Himalayan scale, and dwarfs its European rival.

Excellent photographs by the author accompany the book and appendices in which Dr. Greene writes as a specialist on the medical aspects of high climbing and suggests a new treatment; Mr. Holds- worth in a fascinating description of the flowers considers the ratio of altitude between Garhwal and the Alps to be as 2 to 1, and consequently infers that as Alpine plants from European altitudes between 7,000 and 10,000 feet are grown at home successfully, gardeners should not find it more difficult to grow Central Himalayan plants from levels between 14,000 and 18,000 feet.

In conclusion, it is to be noted by those who come after that there are several streams that can claim to be called the Ganges and that the problems in the considerable area of their watersheds have been by no means completely solved. The predecessors of the Smythe expedition crossed the actual crests of the passes from the Satopanth and Bhagat-Kharak glaciers, but returned by the same routes and in neither case continued downwards for more than a few hundred yards along the apparently easy reaches of the glaciers leading presumably to Kedarnath and Gangotri respectively. Even when the Smythe expedition crossed from the head of the Arwa valley time did not allow of continuing down the newly discovered glacier system on which they found themselves, but they made a round and crossed back again into the Arwa valley by means of another new pass. High-level journeys completely uniting Mana with Kedarnath and Gangotri have never been recorded. The fulfilment of these adventures will be the privilege of those who come after.

C. F. Meade.

UM DEN KANTSCH: Der zweite Deutsche Angriff auf den Kangchendzonga, i93i.1 By Paul Bauer. Munich: Knorr und Hirth, 1933. 9X6 inches; pp. 191+72 illustrations, 2 panoramas, and a map. 12 R.M.

The story of Herr Bauer's 1929 attempt on Kangchenjunga as told in the Alpine Journal2 has been incorporated into Great Travel Stories of all Nations.2, His book, relating the same adventure,4 is long out of print after undergoing many editions. All these facts indicate that a magnificent expedition has been commemorated worthily by its leader. In Urn den Kantsch, Herr Bauer gives us the narrative of his last equally gallant but even more unlucky attempt. I use the word 'unlucky' purposely. The expedition gained a height of over 26,000 feet and then with all the serious difficulties overcome, within 1,800 yards horizontally and 2,000 feet vertically of the summit, saw their hopes dashed to the ground by a wretched patch of bad snow resting on ice only a very few score of feet in height. The fact that this great party was wise and brave enough to retreat has proved how well they understood and respected the ethics of mountaineering. Their members' fame is sealed for ever.

1 Published by courtesy of the editor of the Alpine Journal.

2 Alpine Journal, xIii. 185-202; Himalayan Journal, ii. 13-20.

3 Edited by Elizabeth D'Oyley (pp. 893-905). London : Harrap, 1932.

4 Im Kampf um den Himalaja. Munich: Knorr und Hirth, 1929. Reviewed in Himalayan Journal, iii. 136.

Reading between the lines of the story of 1931, we realize at once in a self-effacing narrative why 'the soldiers of the 10th Legion were devoted to Caesar'. Sahibs, porters, whether belonging to high altitude parties or to L. of C., seem to have had no idea for personal comfort, providing their efforts could bring the advance nearer the goal. The start from Darjeeling was encouraging, Sherpas and Bhutias from all parts poured in as anxious recruits and, if a short hold-up did occur, this was due to prior events in no way connected with Bauer's party (pp. 15-16). Peace was restored quickly, and these first pages of the book form a touching memorial to the relations of Sahibs and porters throughout. Several Sherpas and Bhutias have died since, including Herr Bauer's personal porter, Gami, one of three heroes who fought it out high up with their Sahibs to the bitter end.

I have no intention of making a precis of this deeply interesting volume: those absorbed in mountaineering and daring adventure will read the story for themselves. But I will add that no one, whatever Herr Bauer may have published elsewhere in Alpine periodicals, can have realized hitherto how terrible and tremendous is an attack on Kangchenjunga pushed right home. And yet the north-east spur is declared generally to be the only feasible route! Two solid months anchored to a knife-edged and be-pinnacled ridge; never a single step to be taken lightly, never a moment of relaxation of tension, and with the ever-present peril of the inevitable Kangchenjunga tempests. A truly glorious adventure and undergone for the second time by many of the party, amateur and professional. The story of the accident (pp. 40-51)-and never was disaster more truly an 'accident'- is among the best-written chapters in the book. No one can read it unmoved: Bauer's unaccountable forebodings, the sick men racked with fever yet striving to find reliefs, the burial in the rocky islet of the Zemu (see the fine illustration facing p. 96), and lastly, prompted by Hermann Schaller's previous words, the great resolve to continue the attack. True, and no wonder, many porters had reached the breaking point; fully half the Europeans were down with chills and malaria, but the remainder of all ranks-the survivors of the fittest- still push on. And all this happening before the party had attacked the crest! Soldier-volunteer of 1914, Ober Leutnant of the Somme, lying helpless and wounded by his dying Commander, Bauer proved himself a worthy leader on yet another stricken field.

Pushing over the ice pinnacles-in the literal sense of the word- hacking a gutter-like track through corniche and snowy slab, after weeks of crushing toil, Allwein and Wien on the 18th September attain their highest point (7,940-8,000 m.=c. 26,200 feet), just below the main north arete. The attack on the mountain proper had lasted since the 14th July. Exhausted, defeated-not knowing their leader breathless, without blankets and alone in a lower camp-but undaunted, they retire. The three splendid porters, Gami, Pemba, and Keddar, had reached the highest camp, XI.

Of the retreat there is little to say. Storms such as nearly overwhelmed the party in 1929 were due, but Providence proved merciful. The weather held up while the weakened, crippled mountaineers, the machine-gunners of November 1918, fought downwards slowly but surely as ever. On the 30th September the long- drawn agony was over.

The diary and appendix contain the movements of the now widely-separated members. Some visit the Tibetan border, others the Simvu Saddle and the unknown Passanram glacier and glen.1 One, Wien, to the great benefit of Himalayan cartography, surveyed the Zemu glacier neighbourhood. The narrative of these explorations is not the least valuable in the book.

Of the appearance and general get-up of the book it would be difficult to speak too highly. The print (Roman) is excellent and the illustrations simply magnificent: the student or expert must seek the best out for himself. I should like to add how much British readers will appreciate Herr Bauer's graceful concession in the matter of reversion to British spelling of place-names (p. 21, footnote). The title of the book is, as the author points out, a concession to popular journalism!

As for the map in three colours, 'Karte des Zemu-Gletschers', on a scale of 1:33,333 (5° m- contours), a scale to be adopted very probably by the Federal Topographical Bureau for the future great map of Switzerland, it will be sufficient to quote the words of a distinguished Himalayan explorer and surveyor: 'It is a landmark in Himalayan cartography. Its excellence is due to the method of ground stereo-photogrammetry, in which the Continentals are some ten years ahead of our people, owing solely to the conservatism and obstinacy of our own surveyors. I wish Finsterwalder could have seen his way not to put the contour values on some of the glaciers upside down, but apparently it is the German practice to put the values the right way up for a man ascending the glacier. But in one place at least, he has the contour value upside down on the map and also to the man ascending the glacier! However, this is a minor point in a very excellent production.
1 See also Dr. Allwein's account in this volume, p. 58

In wishing this book the success it deserves and assuredly will command, I can add that student-mountaineers are certain to follow the reviewer's example, and read the volume through at one sitting.

E. L. S.

KASHMIR: THE SWITZERLAND OF INDIA. By Dermot Norris. Calcutta: W. Newman & Co., 1932. 7 ½ X 5 inches; 268 pages; illustrations and maps. Rs. 10.

This is a handbook of information for the guidance, primarily, of those unacquainted with Kashmir, or for those who have some experience of the pleasures Kashmir can offer and wish to venture somewhat farther afield.

The author has obviously much practical experience and knows the ropes well on these more accessible pleasure-grounds with which he deals. Without being wearisome in description or tedious in detail, he passes on the benefit of much sound common-sense observation, which should enable the tourist, or the man on leave, to plan a very happy and economical holiday in Kashmir.

Apart from the less strenuous but very enjoyable summer holiday in and about the main valley, and the treks to Ladakh and Baltistan, the long and thorough chapter for the winter-sports enthusiast should be most helpful, and the information on shooting and fishing must be of great assistance to the stranger to Kashmir. The advice on servants, houseboats, camp equipment, and stores is all adequate and sound; it will be especially appreciated by the man of modest means, as the author in no way caters for the over-indulgent.

With the exception of a few small and immaterial details, such as a reference to ski-ing at Gilgit, which he may be confusing with Chitral, his information is very accurate.

There are some good photographs, and in the appendices will be found summaries of the State rules for visitors, and of the shooting and fishing regulations, whilst a bibliography is provided for the visitor who may wish to know more of Kashmir, its history, and its peoples. There are more exhaustive and more studious guides to Kashmir, but this little volume should be very useful to the many who seek quiet repose or energetic relaxation in this beautiful and fascinating country.

H. Todd.

SIMLA TO MUSSOORIE OVER THE HILLS. By Major C. Davenport. Calcutta: W. Newman & Co. 7 X4 ½ inches; 31 pages. Rs. 2.

This neat little guide-book should prove useful to an inexperienced traveller contemplating the short hill journey between Mussoorie and Simla. Major Davenport gives hints for the journey and details of the route.

K. M.

ON ANCIENT CENTRAL-ASIAN TRACKS. By Sir Aurel Stein, k.c.i.e. London: Macmillan & Co. Ltd., 1932. 9X6 ½ inches; 342 pages, numerous half-tone and coloured illustrations, panoramas, and maps. 31s. 6d.

This beautifully illustrated and comprehensive account of Sir Aurel Stein's geographical and archaeological explorations in Central Asia was published after the Himalayan Journal had gone to press. A detailed review will appear in vol. vi, 1934. All that can be said here is that the volume has been magnificentiy produced and the colour plates, illustrating some of the archaeological treasures of Sir Aurel's expeditions, are the finest I have ever seen. They are by Messrs. Henry Stone of Banbury.

K. M.