Himalayan Journal vol.05
The Himalayan Journal
Vol.05

Publication year:
1933

Editor:
Kenneth Mason
Index
  1. CHITRAL MEMORIES
    (Lieut.-Colonel B.E.M. Gurdon)
  2. NANDA DEVI
    (HUGH RUTTLEDGE)
  3. A SCIENTIFIC EXPLORATION OF THE EASTERN KARAKORAM AND ZANSKAR-HIMALAYA
    (HELLMUT DE TERRA Tale North India Expedition)
  4. A NATURALIST'S JOURNEY TO THE SOURCES OF THE IRRAWADDY
    (F. KINGDON WARD)
  5. THE PASSANRAM AND TALUNG VALLEYS, SIKKIM
    (DR. EUGEN ALLWEIN)
  6. THE ATTACK ON NANGA PARBAT, 1932
    (WILLY MERKL)
  7. KULU
    (A. P. F. HAMILTON)
  8. THROUGH KULU-SARAJ
    (R. MACLAGAN GORRIE)
  9. A PROPHET OF OLD
    (Captain G. C. CLARK)
  10. AN ATTEMPT ON CHOMIOMO
    (G. A. R. SPENCE)
  11. THE CHONG KUMDAN GLACIER 1932
    (Lieut.-Colonel KENNETH MASON)
  12. EXPEDITIONS
  13. IN MEMORIAM
  14. NOTES
  15. REVIEWS
  16. CORRESPONDENCE
  17. CLUB PROCEEDINGS
  18. CLUB NOTICES

A SCIENTIFIC EXPLORATION OF THE EASTERN KARAKORAM AND ZANSKAR-HIMALAYA

HELLMUT DE TERRA Tale North India Expedition

Upon my return from Dr. Trinkler's Central Asian Expedition in 1928 I was almost certain that another journey to eastern Ladakh and the Tibetan borderland would in the near future prove to be necessary. Our previous work called for additional and more detailed data which would be of great help in completing our scientific knowledge of this little known and yet most promising region north of the Himalaya.1 The intermediate position of this portion of Ladakh, which lies between the highly elevated Karakoram peaks in the north-west and the flat, rolling plateaux of the Lingzi-tang and Chang-tang in the south-east, makes it not only a great field for geographical studies, but for geological and morphological research as well. The queer 'disappearance of the high Karakoram towards Tibet is one of the most striking features of the high relief in southern Central Asia. To date geologically the origin of the uplift of the Karakoram and to determine the processes which created those vast and highest plateaux of the earth seemed especially inviting at this time when problems concerning mountain structure and origin stand in the foreground of scientific discussions. In addition there are a great many lakes between the Kashmir valley and the north-western Tibetan plateau which awaited thorough biological investigation, and I believed that such work might also contribute to a reconstruction of the younger mountain history of this region. The expedition plan embraced also the Kashmir valley and portions of the Salt Range, so that the five summer months of 1932 which we spent in Ladakh, represent only about one-third of the entire undertaking. The present article deals only with the journey into the Panggong, upper Chang-chenmo, and Tso Moriri regions.

The staff of my expedition, which was sponsored by Yale University and by the American Geographical Society, consisted of Mr. G. E. Hutchinson, assistant professor of biology at Yale, of Mr. G. E. Lewis, fellow in vertebrate palaeontology, of my wife and myself, who undertook the leadership. Thanks to the interest and kind assistance of the Surveyor-General of India, a surveyor was attached to our party for the Karakoram portion of the journey. We were extremely lucky in getting the well-known and highly experienced mountain surveyor, Khan Sahib Afraz Gul Khan, the same man who did such invaluable work when attached to the former expeditions of Sir Aurel Stein, Colonel Mason, and Mr. Visser.

1 Himalayan Journal, vol. iii, pp. 42-50, 143-5. d

Srinagar was again our meeting-place, and everything was prepared there for our start on 16th May. My wife had succeeded in solving the 'packing of the rations' problem for four people in such a way that it was only necessary for us to open one box for each week. Most of our provisions and equipment were sent ahead to Leh, but we still needed forty animals. A local caravan-dealer was commissioned to bring us and our baggage to Kargil-an arrangement which proved a great success, for it freed me of the normal worries attendant to hiring coolies and collecting transport at Gund. The Zoji La was still officially closed and heavily snowed up. We crossed it between two and six in the morning, ascending the ravine through deep, soft snow which a warm southerly wind had brought almost to the melting-point even during these early morning hours. Avalanches began to fall a few hours after we had crossed the pass, blocking it for twenty-four hours, so that we felt that our night march was well rewarded by the safe arrival of the entire party at Matayan.

Once in Leh the transport problem had to be tackled first. After considering the various factors involved in our journey to the Tibetan borderland, I decided to purchase about thirty local ponies and to rely on a limited amount of additional transport to be obtained from the local villages around the Panggong Lake. Yaks were both scarce and expensive that year in Ladakh, their numbers having been greatly diminished by pestilence; and besides, yaks require ample grazing-grounds, which would very probably not be at our disposal. Sabur Malik of Stok village was engaged as caravan- bashi. He was in charge of the horses as well as of the twelve coolies, most of whom came from Tia village near Nurla. Sabur, who had been employed formerly by both Dr. Trinkler and Mr. Visser, was not quite the type of man I wanted, but to get a really good man, similar to Sven Hedin's old Mohamad Isa, appeared to be impossible. The purchasing of ponies, saddles, and coolie rations together with their equipment occupied our time; but we managed to find some hours also for local biological and geological excursions in Leh and its environs. A short trip to Hemis Gonpa, undertaken for the sake of the mystery plays, proved at the same time successful scientifically, for I exploited a locality of fossil plants which I had found previously. The plants appeared in the tertiary rock formation which builds up the southern flank of the Indus valley and could be easily collected from the greenish shales. An entire petrified forest appeared before me: palm leaves, swamp plants, leaves of a great variety of trees which must once have clad the slopes of an ancestral Karakoram range!

On 21 st June we started from Leh. As is usually the case, the first march with a self-owned caravan seemed full of little troubles and hindrances, and it was late in the evening when the last ponies appeared at Digar Polu (15,200 feet), our first high camping-ground. Darkness fell too quickly to suit us, for the evening was so inspiring and perfect with the blue-violet light resting below in the deep furrow of the Indus valley and the snowy Zanskar range beyond glowing in transparent tints of rose. The crossing of the Digar La (17,860 feet) is without any serious obstacles though its southern flank presents a steep ridge over a thousand feet high, overstrewn with coarse boulders which make riding quite impossible. The Khan Sahib, optimist that he is, set up his planetable amidst thick clouds, patiently waiting for a sunnier moment to start his work. Finally it came, and in camp that afternoon he presented the first part of his map for our inspection and for discussion of our various observations. But things were not too cheerful at camp for two members of our party were very much the worse for the altitude until black coffee and several pills of Kola cum lecithinum started them on the way to recovery.

The path to Digar leads at first along the broad valley floor, then descends steeply across huge moraines which plunge like boulder cascades downwards to Digar. This sudden fall in the relief, which amounts here to almost 5,000 feet, is very characteristic of most of the high valleys in Ladakh. It indicates that the young erosion of the Indus drainage system affected a much older and flatter relief, carving a steeper pattern out of a highly elevated, smoother land surface which presumably dates back to the period which, in these regions, preceded the Great Ice Age. No other cause than extensive uplift can in this case be made responsible for this very active erosion which creates these sudden breaks in the valley floor. We camped near Labaps (11,800 feet) situated at the outlet of the Tang-yar valley which we planned to follow on the next day. This meant ascending once more, from 11,800 feet to over 14,000 feet, and when we reached our tents at Sundung we had, by ascending and descending, accomplished within forty-eight hours a range in altitude of 12,000 feet! On the way to Tang-yar we passed Kurgon Gonpa, a weird-looking lamasery of the yellow-capped sect, built on pyramidal pillars of rock. Tang-yar serves as a trading-post for the salt-caravans which come from Rudok province in Tibet. And here the lamas of the Nubra monasteries wait to exchange their grain for the Tibetan salt. A herd of thirty bharal appeared in the vicinity of our camp, but we could not discover a single decent head amongst the lot. The lambadar of Labaps had arranged for twenty yaks to meet us at Tang-yar from where we were to cross the Nebuk La towards Tankse (Tang-tse). I wished to spare our own ponies as much as possible, for some of them already showed saddle-wounds for which the U-shaped straw saddles used by Turki traders and enthusiastically recommended by Sabur Malik were, in my opinion, to blame. In the course of time these pack-saddles proved to be great failures. Whether this was due to the fact that they may have been filled with the wrong kind of straw or that they were otherwise badly made I cannot say, but I should in the future always prefer the Leh type of pack-saddle which appeals to the visitor by its simple construction. On the following day we found that, due to a heavy fall of snow, the Nebuk La was impassable, so we made for the neighbouring Shakya La (18,100 feet), which the Tibetan salt- caravans had been using for the past month. The ascent from Tang- yar was gradual, and we found snow only on the pass itself and 200 feet below. The view from here was magnificent: the high Karakoram peaks due north-west near Panamik, the jagged line of peaks east of the Shyok bend, and the Ladakh range, due south-east and south, with its U-shaped valleys, afforded a complete panorama such as is rarely to be found in Ladakh. From here it became evident that the Tang-yar valley separates the Ladakh range from a high and distinctly marked but short section of range which lies between the Shyok and the Tang-yar valleys. My geological survey here confirmed a former1 suggestion of mine, that this short section of a range is the linking orographic element between the Kailas-Karakoram in the north-west and that of the Panggong regions south-eastwards. From the Shakya La we moved on and down, into the valley along which runs the regular route from Leh over the Chang La to Tankse. We camped beside the river which provided us with a nice catch of snow trout for our dinner. When we woke the next morning we found that all our ponies had disappeared. Our coolies claimed that the yak people from Tang-yar had played a trick on us and had driven our animals back with them across the pass under cover of darkness. Later in the morning, however, they were driven into camp, and a strong sermon on the subject of tying up horses during the night having been delivered by the bara sahib, we were able to start. We followed the valley down by Durbuk, reaching Tankse at six o'clock in the evening. Five years ago, while doing geological work in the surrounding country, I had camped here for a week, and I well remembered the bright nights with a full moon shining into the rocky gorge above which rises an old monastery remarkable for its ancient and beautiful frescoes. Across from the monastery lie huge granite blocks with the inscriptions of Nestorian christians, relics of bygone missions which carried the gospel into Tibet at a time when Anglo-Saxon tribes in central Europe were just beginning to be converted.

1 See H. de Terra, Geologische Forschungen im Westl. K'un-lun und Karakorum- Himalaya, Berlin, 1932.

Two more marches brought us to the north-west corner of the Panggong Lake, where we found the depot which had been established for us by the caravan which had carried the larger part of our baggage along the regular route and which had left Leh a few days ahead of us. Half a mile below Lukung we found a good grazing- ground which had the additional advantage of being well sheltered from the sand-storms which make camping on the shores of the lake so uncomfortable. The lake could be reached in a half-hour's ride, and Professor Hutchinson set to work at once unpacking the canvas- covered, rubber boat and his biological apparatus which our coolies looked upon as instruments for black magic. Fortunately for us, our larger supply of grain arrived promptly from the monastery at Durbuk which had sold us twenty-six maunds at a price lower than that fixed officially at Leh. Suddenly the weather turned truly Tibetan. Hail- and snow-storms followed each other at short intervals until the lake basin was almost invisible, especially as tremendous dust clouds filled in the intermissions, blowing with great force from the Muglib side and for two days completely obliterating the most beautiful lake I know of.

Our negotiations with the people of P'hobrang, the last inhabited spot south of the Chang-chenmo, for additional transport for the next part of our journey, were successful as far as the animals were concerned. They refused, however, to go beyond the Lanak La, the frontier pass towards Tibet, and hesitated even to promise to accompany our party from there along the boundary via Nyag-zu and back to the northern shore of the Panggong. I won their confidence by promising to allow their animals to graze and rest at Kyam, and as they realized that we would also have to utilize the scarce grazing-grounds for our own animals, they finally consented to hire us yaks and ponies for twelve annas a day and six annas for each day's halt.

A week's excursion to Mang, a larger village on the southern shore of the Panggong, served to acquaint us with the biology and younger geological history of the lake and its basin. The latter, especially, attracted my attention, and my work around Mang confirmed Dr. Trinkler's idea that the clay beds which surround the lake must be interglacial in origin. At Mang shell-bearing clays are thickly covered by terminal moraines which surround the oasis, and from their relative positions to the present lake shore and their composition, I found that the last ice advance, during the Pleistocene, could not have reached the lake. An older and evidently much stronger glaciation is to be held responsible for the glacial features which give to the Panggong lake-basin its trough-like appearance. Professor Hutchinson found the deepest sounding here at forty-nine metres. The lake water appeared to be almost brackish and to be inhabited mainly by Gammarus and Daphnae. A few fish could be seen in one of the larger lagoons east of Mang, but most of them were dead and had been injured by sea-gulls and terns. A day's excursion to one of the more prominent glaciers south of Mang proved that the lowermost limit of the present glaciation lies at 17,000 feet. From this vantage point I looked down at the cobalt blue lake and its surroundings. The relief north of the Panggong is that of a gently dissected, highly elevated plateau surmounted by a few isolated, conically shaped, and snow-covered summits. The plateau level seemed equal in height to the one on which I stood further south. Here the Kailas-Karakoram, very much dissected and divided by numerous deep glacial troughs, appears with a set of high, top- levelled spurs which slope down to the lake in such a manner as to give the impression of having once been cut off by a huge mass of moving ice which must have filled the lake basin before the last interglacial period. Towards the north-west a high, snowy range forbids one to look into the Shyok region, and I decided at once to visit it before our trip to the upper Chang-chenmo.

I planned to go from our depot-camp at Lukong, via Chagra, into the upper Ku-lungpa, and then cross over into the lower Chang- chenmo, passing on the way a couple of high mountain lakes, of which the Ororotse Tso seemed, to our biologist, to be the most promising. From the lower Chang-chenmo we hoped to follow upstream by Pamzal to Kyam, where a second depot was to be established by a special caravan. Having sent the latter ahead to Kyam, our party started on the same day for the Ku-lungpa. From Chagra we followed the valley up-stream and by turning into a western side valley came to two low passes (17,600 feet), which we crossed without any difficulty. The descent from the second pass into the upper portion of the Ku-lungpa was, however, tiresome. The path led over extremely coarse boulder rock down 1,500 feet and then up again to a third flat pass, christened by us the 'Kyang La'. From here we reached the broad, undulating plain which represents the head portion of the Ku-lungpa. Right in front of us lay the high, precipitous peaks which make the watershed between the Shyok and the Panggong basin. They form a most impressive sight, with glaciers flowing down to the high plain, which, though over 17,000 feet above sea-level, is overwhelmed by those towering peaks, the highes of which is 21,050 feet. No traveller who passes through the Panggong area should miss an excursion up here, for the upper Ku-lungpa offers not only very grand alpine scenery but a certain amount of game as well. The moraine lakes near Togarma, where we pitched our tents, abound with duck, while the near-by Ang-tung La is good shooting-ground for bharal, and there are plenty of alpine flowers and smaller mammals which should yield new and interesting material to any one who is scientifically inclined. The extraordinary contrast between the high plain and the snowy range which rises so abruptly above it, reminded me at once of the relief in north-west Tibet where the Aksai-chin plateau is locally surmounted by glaciated massivs which are, however, less dissected than these and smoother in outline. As the level of this Ku-lungpa plain is the same as that of the western Tibetan plateau, there can be little doubt that the former is a remnant of the great plateau which must once have extended not only across the western Karakoram but over the entire Panggong as well and farther south-east into the Indus region. My geological survey proved that here lies the continuation of the high Muztagh-Karakoram, for the snowy range is built of the same granite massiv and marble which characterize the main axis of the Karakoram system.

On the 11 th of July we left our camp at Togarma and started for the Ororotse Tso, riding north and ascending the pass which forms a flat divide between the Ku-lungpa and the Chang-chenmo. As the sun broke through deep hanging clouds the majesty of the scenery around appeared more inspiring than ever. The plain was still veiled by drifting mist, and the icy cascades seemed to fall from the granite spires into earth bottomless and imaginary. Our Ladakhi coolies must have been similarly impressed by the grandeur about them for, once arrived at the pass, they erected a mani which they adorned with a prayer flag-a piece of cheese-cloth printed with lamaistic prayers. They seemed to be well provided with these flags for they repeated this ceremony at intervals during the coming weeks, especially at such places and passes which were as yet innocent of manis or where the existing ones had been neglected. From half a mile beyond the pass we looked down on a big lake which was entirely frozen over and deeply set into a huge cirque within bleak rocks. It resembled the magic mirror of some mountain ghost, in fact the whole region wore an eerie air. Our biologist friend could soon be seen on the middle of the lake, standing on a sheet of ice over three feet thick and searching for cracks through which to reach the lake bottom at different places. By afternoon he had already gathered an amazingly rich collection; the frozen lake appeared to be swarming with life, especially at those places where the slightly warmer and more nourishing stream waters had access to it from the shore. Accompanied by one coolie I descended into the valley which leads from the Ororotse Tso down towards the lower Chang-chenmo. A small shepherd trail, indicated by stone heaps, proved difficult to follow, and had it not been for the instinct of my coolie I should have lost my way amongst the huge boulders. These boulders fell step-like on the terraced floor of the ravine at a rate of 2,500 feet in one and a half miles. I descended another thousand feet and looked from a moraine wall down into a tremendous gorge which in itself must be at least 2,000 feet deep. It was flanked on either side by almost vertical rock plates of granite and choked with gigantic blocks which barred the view towards the junction with the Chang-chenmo valley where the river seemed to squeeze its way through precipitous walls of green slate. Higher up and opposite the valley junction appeared a high range lifted above plateau-like spurs, and from here a glacier of considerable size descended southwards into the barren valleys. Again there was this twofold arrangement in the relief: a higher relief with broad valleys and levelled spurs, and a lower, steeper one. As to the gorge, it seemed absolutely impossible for our caravan to descend that way. Coolies might manage it after a very long and tiring march; but with loaded animals it was out of the question, and in addition I pictured to myself a Chang-chenmo swollen by the melting snows, blocking the passage at each bend! The return to Chagra via the Ororotse Tso therefore seemed inevitable, and I consoled myself with the fact that I had at any rate had a good look into the abyss of the lower Chang- chenmo and its northern mountains where I had recognized the same formations which form the Aghil-Karakoram farther east. But this time Hutchinson ran away with the lion's share of scientific results, and he decided to stay a day longer at the lake. The day with a pass of over 18,000 feet, a consequent descent of 4,000 feet, and a difficult re-climbing of 17,600 feet, had proved to be rather strenuous. I longed for better air and more oxygen and therefore returned with the others along a different route, but over the Ororotse La, back to Chagra.

As our depot caravan was waiting for us at Kyam in the upper Chang-chenmo, we left Chagra after a short halt. After our last experiences the Marsimik La seemed tame and easy, and after a two-day's march we reached Pamzal in the Chang-chenmo. The granite core of the Karakoram which one crosses on this route seems to be underlain by crystalline rocks; this suggests that the 'Karakoram granite', like so many granite massivs in the Alps, is alloch- thonous in a geological sense, that is, it has been thrust by moun- tain-making processes over different formations. This creates a peculiar structure in which the higher peaks are made of granite while the lower regions, exposed in the deeper valleys, display the underlying crystalline rocks. On entering the Chang-chenmo even a layman must be struck by the sudden change in the relief and in the general colouring of the rocks. This is due to an important geological boundary, for it is here that the marine sediments of an ancient mesozoic sea abut an older metamorphic rock floor. Between this region and the K'un-lun in Chinese Turkistan we would find mainly those marine strata locally rich in invertebrate fossils. At one locality three miles from Kyam I collected a few hundred specimens which must once in the Permian period have lived on a coral reef. This find was important for it confirmed the geological theory of the former existence of the Tethys sea which connected the Mediterranean with the Himalayan and Karakoram regions.

The Khan Sahib, who had been working at his plane table continuously from the Digar La onward, left us for a week at Kyam. I sent him towards the Lanak La so that he might survey the head of the Chang-chenmo and work his way down along the border until he could join up with us on our route to Drogpo-karpo some twenty miles south-east of Kyam. I had already seen that region while working with Dr. Trinkler's expedition, and therefore preferred to stay in the neighbourhood of Kyam working out the complicated structure, which promised important results. Animal life also seemed to be interesting hereabouts and the hot springs yielded a peculiar fauna with forms absolutely foreign to their surroundings. Our collection of mammals was here enriched by a Tibetan antelope and a fox which was caught by our coolies almost in front of our tents.

On the 25 th of July we left Kyam and turned south-east towards Nying-ri. The road led us over an easy pass where a herd of kyang staged a beautiful performance for my motion-picture camera. In looking at them I was reminded of the exercises of a cavalry squadron for, although no commands were audible, they moved in a perfect line with the greatest precision, for all the world as if they were on a parade ground. Around Nying-ri we met wild yak, ammon, bharal, and wolves, in fact the whole valley with its high neighbouring ridges seemed almost like a game reserve. This was of course due to abundant grazing which made the area into a paradise for large and small game. The climbing of a neighbouring ridge afforded a wide view towards Tibet. From a height of 19,300 feet I looked over to the great plateau which clearly is dissected, along its southern and western edge, by a meagre drainage system belonging to the upper Chang-chenmo. Due east I could see a glaciated massiv which showed the morphological features of the Muztagh- Karakoram. The survey shows it as a heavily glaciated group of at least three peaks over 21,000 feet, which lie due south of the Lanak La. From there all along the Tibetan border towards Drogpo-karpo, the orographic trend of the Karakoram ranges becomes rather obscure. The only clearly defined range lies south of the latter place, and this, with regard to its glaciers, general outlines, and height, resembles the Muztagh-Karakoram south of Pamzal where we had surveyed a peak of over 21,000 feet. It seems as if this range grows lower towards the east where an undulating relief, in the neighbourhood of 19,000 feet, indicates the adjoining Tibetan plateau. The Muztagh-Karakoram can thus be quite accurately traced from the Shyok bend over the Marsimik La and south of Drogpo-karpo to the Tibetanfrontier, south of the Lanak La, where it loses its most characteristic features: its great height and strong glaciation. The world's second highest mountain range is here replaced by a few isolated snow massivs (e.g. 'Tartary Peak,' north-east of Dyap Tso) which surmount the plateau of west Tibet, which in itself, as I have previously pointed out,1 consists of at least three peneplains in levels between 19,000 and 17,500 feet. That a younger volcanic activity occurred on the northern slope of the Muztagh-Karakoram can be seen at Pamzal and around Drogpo- karpo, where dikes and other intrusions of trachyte are frequently met with in pleistocene gravels.

Scarcity of water forced us to proceed to Migpal-kongma, which valley we followed down to Nyag-zu. Although we had passed large patches of nieve penitente on our way (15,900 feet) this spot was warmer than any other, the solar radiation thermometer climbing up to 1450 F. at noon! Willows and tamarisks were abundant, and amongst them lay the scattered bones and horns of ammon, bharal, and kyang, who evidently winter here in this sheltered spot.

From Nyag-zu our caravan split into two parties and proceeded towards the Panggong. The Khan Sahib chose the route via the Kiu and T'hrat-tsang La and we turned south into the Ane-lungmo towards Chartse on the northern side of the Panggong. On this latter route we crossed a regular 'sheet-structure' in palaeozoic and metamorphic mesozoic rocks. These are thrust towards the north in the fashion of regular dip-folds similar to the arrangement in the Alps, which is taken as a sign for highly complicated nappe-structure. We reached Chartse within two days and, although the second march had been a long one, I thought it best to go that afternoon to the westernmost bay-side in order to investigate the road. The P'hobrang people claimed that this shore-route, which is marked on the old maps, had been abandoned long ago because of the rising lake-level. I found this statement to be correct, for the old path could be seen clearly five feet below the present water-level which had risen to the wave-cut cliff. This, especially, made it entirely useless, and our coolies had to construct a new path which led above the cliff and brought us safely back to Lukong. The considerable rise of the Panggong lake-level called for further investigation. Our surveyor discovered that an old trigonometrical station which had been determined in the centre of the lake opposite Yaktil, sixty-five years ago, had entirely disappeared. Hutchinson made several soundings on the spot and discovered a drowned islet, six feet below the water level. This fact gave a more accurate picture of a rise of the lake level-which we could now estimate at ten to twelve feet.

Our journey from Lukong via Mang to Shushul added fresh evidence. Walking for miles along the shore line, I found three old drowned beach-levels and several inundated gravel-fans. Tamarisk trees and bushes were found swept along the lake shore where their roots were seen hanging freely into the water. Some of them had been swept fifty feet into the lake where they lay on a flat gravel- beach three feet under water.

From Shushul, Hutchinson and the Khan Sahib set out for the neighbouring Pangur Tso, and two of our most intelligent Ladakhis were sent across the border to the upper portion of the Panggong Tso, called by the Tibetans 'Tso Nyak'. Our coolies joined us at our camp five miles south of Shushul, bringing back a good collection of lake fauna and an equally good set of rock specimens. This experience proved to my satisfaction that an intelligent Ladakhi, properly trained in scientific collecting, can be of great assistance. The biologist returned from the Pangur Tso with a new fish, and this was the first time that the western portion of the Pangur had been thoroughly mapped. The geology around Shushul affords an excellent ground for research, especially with regard to the late cretaceous folding of the Karakoram and its subsequent movements in tertiary times. These latter must be made responsible for the great fault-line which passes Shushul and which is clearly marked by hot springs.

On 16th August we ascended the Sta-t'hrao La, minus one pony which had been gored by a yak overnight; this was the only transport animal which we lost during the entire four-and-a-half months' journey to Ladakh! The Mitpal Tso, a beautiful example of a kar lake, gave further evidence of the recent rise in lake levels in Ladakh. There are over thirty old beach-marks on the eastern shore of which the four lowest are inundated. The surroundings of the Mitpal Tso (16,000 feet) are remarkably rich in game, and we frequently sighted herds of ammon and bharal. The route from here to the Yaye Tso across the Kak-sang La is easy and follows the valley which leads eventually from Ladakh granite into the softer formations of the Indus Tertiaries. These fall down to the Indus in sharply dissected ridges, a most remarkable demonstration of a sudden break in the relief. The Indus river was crossed by boat and skin raft near Nyoma, and, following the lower Puga valley, we reached the Kyagar Tso (15,335 feet) on 25th August. This salt lake gave even better evidence of a recent rise than did the Yaye Tso, but an examination of the interglacial gravel terraces which surround its basin proved particularly interesting. Levelling with a Zeiss level showed clearly a definite tilting of these lake terraces and the strata themselves dipped in a similar fashion. It seems certain, therefore, that this region, like the Kashmir valley, has suffered a sub-recent crustal movement of which I could find no traces within the Karakoram regions.

From here to the Tso Moriri it is only a half-day's ride and we established our camp there on a green spot near the north-west bay of the lake. To the south we had a high range built of gneissic granite on which a broad plateau rest was prominent. And this continues across the lake towards the north where it forms an undulating relief over metamorphic, presumably mesozoic, formations. Here, then, we find a part of 'Chang-tang' which in itself is only a remnant of a former extension of the Tibetan plateau.

A visit to Karzok Gonpa proved well worth while. Not only is the building itself both interesting and well kept but the road leading there along the shore of the lake is very beautiful, offering a wide view on the blue lake with the snow massivs of Spiti in the background-a superb view which is unrivalled anywhere. Here I saw numerous mani-walh of ancient build which had collapsed entirely due to the rise of the lake-level. And the path which formerly circled the walls was found lying under three feet of the transparent water!

On 31st August we started for the Kar Tso. This lake basin is a huge depression of presumably structural origin, and it presents the most complete set of ancient lake terraces. There are more than thirty and the highest lies 360 feet above the present lake-level. From here our party returned via Gya and Miru down the Indus valley to Leh.

In summing up some of the more general results of our work in eastern Ladakh, so far as this can be evaluated at the present time, I should like to mention the following:

The mapping of 4,600 square miles between Leh and the Tibetan border on a scale of two miles to one inch.

The geographical reconnaissance of the orographic trend in the eastern Karakoram, especially of its main axis, and a morphological survey resulting in the view of a pre-pleistocene extension of the Tibetan peneplains across portions of the Karakoram and Zanskar- Himalaya.

A geological survey showing the geological structure of those ranges, based on numerous cross-sections and on new fossil evidence of which a large collection was made from localities hitherto unknown.

The biological and chemical investigation of nine high mountain lakes which resulted in the amassing of completely new facts concerning their origin and their faunistic character.

A zoological collection comprising a large number of fish, crustaceans, insects, and a few mammals.

A herbarium of Ladakh plants with over 500 representative specimens.

Gravel beaches in bay of Chartse (Panggong). Through the transparent lake water the drowned part of the lower beach levels may be seen

Gravel beaches in bay of Chartse (Panggong). Through the transparent lake water the drowned part of the lower beach levels may be seen



Changpa nomads near P’hobrang

Changpa nomads near P’hobrang



Mitpal Tso, a typical Kar lake in the range

Mitpal Tso, a typical Kar lake in the range



sketch map of the Panggong and Tso Moriri regions

sketch map of the Panggong and Tso Moriri regions



Up The Tso Moriri: snow massifs of Spiti on left   Down  The snowy range of the Upper Shyok (Muztagh- Karakoram)  as seen from Ku-Lungpa

Up The Tso Moriri: snow massifs of Spiti on left Down The snowy range of the Upper Shyok (Muztagh- Karakoram) as seen from Ku-Lungpa