Himalayan Journal vol.07
The Himalayan Journal

Publication year:

Kenneth Mason
    (H.W. Tilman)
    (I. GENERAL r. finsterwalder)
  5. A VISIT TO NUN KUN, 1934
    (F. S. SMYTHE)
    (J. B. AUDEN)
    (A.P.F. Hamilton)
    (Captain F. KINGDON WARD)
    (P. C. DUNCAN)
    (Lieut.- Colonel Kenneth Mason)
  16. NOTES


Peter Young, as he was known to his friends, was a son of the late B. J. Young of Richmond Park, Sheffield, and was born on the 18th September 1885. He was educated at Stonyhurst College, . 1 ml then went to South Africa. In 1909 he entered the Indian Audit and Accounts Service and was posted to Bihar. During the Great War he was at Simla, working under Sir Bhupendra Nath Mitra, (he present High Commissioner for India, in the Military Finance Department; and he was made an O.B.E. for his services. After .mother short period of duty in Bihar, he was lent to Jodhpur State, where he spent the last ten years of his life. As Accountant-General, as Finance Member of the State Council, and finally as Chief Minister, he was a watchful guardian of the State's resources and a prudent administrator who had the complete confidence of the Durbar. He was adviser to the Indian States' Delegation at the second and third sessions of the Round Table Conference, when his knowledge of State finance, his caution and good sense were of great value. Returning to India, he was seriously ill and was forced to go back to England again in the spring of 1934 for an operation which his devotion to duty and the interests of Jodhpur had dangerously postponed. He died after the operation on the 23rd May.

Young was not a mountaineer in the technical sense, but he enjoyed a trek through mountain country. He was a Founder Member of the Himalayan Club, its first Honorary Treasurer, and a member of an informal committee which met at Simla in the summer of 1928 to draft the Rules and Articles of Association. The Club was fortunate to have in its early days a financial adviser of his quality, and will remember him with gratitude.

G. L. Corbett.



Henry Richard Caine Meade, son of the late Lieut.-Colonel J. W. Babington Meade, was born on the 9th July 1890; both his father and grandfather were in the Indian cavalry. He did particularly well both at work and at cricket at Dulwich and at Sandhurst, where he passed out top of his term and was awarded the Sword of Honour.

He came out to India in March 1910 and, after a year at Quetta with the Essex Regiment, was posted to the 8th Gurkha Rifles in Shillong (Assam). He went with his regiment on the Abor-Miri Mission in 1911, and was for a time attached to the Lakhimpur Military Police Battalion towards the Dafla Hills. In 1914 he was posted to the Political Department as a probationer, but was recalled to military duty on the outbreak of the Great War, during which, like so many other officers of the Indian Army in the Survey of India, he was kept in India training reinforcements, though he was with his regiment in Mesopotamia for six months in 1916.

In October 1920 he was appointed to the Survey of India, which had been his aim for several years, and one of his early experiences was a strenuous four months' trip through Bhutan and South Tibet in 1922, in company with F. M. Bailey, then Political Officer in Sikkim. They came back by way of the Yamdo Tso and Gyantse, and, though monsoon weather was unfavourable for survey for most of the time, Meade brought in a large amount of valuable reconnaissance survey.1
Whilst with the Survey of India Meade was employed at various times in the jungle tracts of Orissa, the Buxar Duars, and the Darjeeling Hills. He took an interest in the geography of the Himalaya, specializing on the section east of Nepal. From May 1932 until his death he was Assistant Surveyor-General.

He was a Founder Member of the Himalayan Club and helped in every way he could. He took charge of the Club library whilst stationed at Simla in 1930, and had offered to put in hand a route book of the eastern Himalaya. The following notes are written by the Honorary Secretary of the Eastern Section of the Himalayan Club at Calcutta, where Meade had been stationed since 1932.

Major Meade was a very active, keen, and helpful member of the Eastern Section of the Club. ... I found him the greatest help here in Calcutta. He was always ready at any time to see any traveller who wanted help or advice, and to do anything he could for them. When we wanted to borrow maps or get lantern slides made in a hurry for our lectures, he always did everything possible to help. . . . When I was making the mountain profile panoramas for the new edition of Tours in Sikkim, Major Meade gave up a lot of time in helping me to check the names of the mountains. We miss him sadly. . . . His death was a great tragedy.

Harry Meade will indeed be missed, and remembered. He had a very charming, lovable personality, and made a host of friends wherever he was stationed. He played all games with great keenness and unselfishness, and was a particularly useful cricketer; he was probably still better known as a fine billiards player, and held the Amateur Billiards Championship of India for 1933.

1 Accounts of this expedition will be found in the Geographical Journal, vol. Ixiv, 1924; and in Records of the Survey of India, vol. xxi.



Meade was very much interested in Air Survey, and whilst on leave both in 1926 and 1931 had taken courses in air photography with the R.A.F. at Farnborough; he wrote a valuable paper on the subject which was recently published departmentally. He was anxious to gain a pilot's certificate, had just completed his course with the Bengal Flying Club at Dum Dum, and had started to fly solo, when his tragic crash occurred on the 3rd December 1934. While flying in the neighbourhood of the Dum Dum aerodrome his machine was seen suddenly to nose-dive. It was found completely wrecked in a paddy field. Meade must have been killed instantly.

Harry Meade was married on the 16 th November 1925 to Joan, daughter of the late Sir John Kerr, at that time Governor of Assam, and leaves her with a son and two daughters.

A friend writes: 'This was no ordinary man. His memory will inspire all who knew and loved him. His death was as gallant as his life, and as clean. He never did a mean or petty deed, and was kindly to high and low alike.'

R. H. P.

WILLY MERKL1 I900-1934

Throughout his life Willy Merkl aspired towards the heights; and Fate was kind to him unto his last breath! His career as a mountaineer was a chain of outstanding successes. When at last he reached out for the crown of his endeavours, tragedy put an end to his life on the threshold of victory. Nanga Parbat's glittering snows have kept him in their embrace, with three of his closest friends and six of his brave porters.

When after the disaster on Nanga Parbat we abandoned the lower camps, it was just twenty years since my first climb with Willy Merkl. It was always a time of sunny youth, a glorious symphony of the mountains from the hills at home to the crashing finale on Nanga Parbat. Hundreds of times the rope joined us, while our hearts were as one, bound by a common will and purpose. Always it was Willy Mcrkl's methodical nature that determined our plans. Every new climb took us one step farther than the step before; and never did lie set his aim beyond what bodily fitness could endure or technical ability achieve.

1 Translated by W. Rickmer Rickmers.

He became a magnificent cragsman. His name resounded among the wild pinnacles of the Kaisergebirge. At various times he succeeded in repeating such famous climbs as the east face of the Fleischbank, the direct west face of the Totenkirchl, the north and north-west faces of the Kleine Halt, the Dulfer chimney, the western rib of Predigtstuhl and the second traverse of the 'Schule-Diem’ route.

The mountains filled his life and made him the truest and most trusted of comrades; and comradeship has ever been the real secret of leadership. On his last great adventure he was friend and leader in one. It could not be otherwise. He was thorough in preparation, cautious in plan, but, when committed, grim in his determination; he chose carefully, but acted vigorously.

With such a character he succeeded in his profession; he was held in high esteem among his colleagues and superiors in the German State Railway Department, in which he was a technical inspector. Yet he found time to devote himself to the mountains. Many important first climbs in the Eastern Alps stand to his credit; the forbidding south wall of the Kl. Miihlsturzhorn, the north ridge of the Sauhorn, and the imposing northern buttress of the Rothorn. His long mountain tours cover the Alps of Berchtesgaden, the Lofer- Leogang, the Tannheim, the Wetterstein, Karwendel, and Gosauk ranges; the south face of the Schiisselkarspitze, the north face of the Lalidererwand, the fifth ascent of the Daumling, the third climb of the south face of the Gr. Bischofsmiitze. In 1924 he visited the Dolomites for the first time: the red crags rise from the green pastures: and after a hard struggle the beauties of a southern land lay spread beneath his eyes. Three successive summers he went there. He mastered the Treussriss5 on the Kleinste Zinne, was the second to climb the Torre del Diavolo, the first up the south face of the Punta Civetta, and subsequently the first along the north ridge of the same peak. In 1926 he tackled the Pala group, where he crossed the three Lastei Towers and fought his way across the north-west wall of the Cima di Campido.

Merkl now took on great ice expeditions. Many a holiday was happily spent in the Western Alps. He visited the groups of the Dauphine, Bernina, Mont Blanc, Valais, and the Bernese Oberland. In 1927 the Meije satisfied his cravings. In 1928 we managed Mont Blanc by the Peteret ridge. A mountaineer of the first rank, modest and unassuming, he approached the mountains with profound reverence. A passage from his diary runs: 'Full of astonishment and reverence we entered the secret places of the majestic mountains; we lay in the open with a thousand stars above us and learned to feel the joy of solitude as never before.5
But he was never a dreamer. He never stood still to look back. No wonder that he soon looked far beyond the Alps. In spite of professional and financial difficulties he succeeded in traversing the length of the Central Caucasus. In 1929 Willy Merkl, Walter Raechl, and I set out for Russia. The enterprise was entirely successful. I can say so, for the merit was Merkl's, who planned and prepared it. We climbed all the peaks of our long programme from Giulchi to Elburz. The north ridge of the Koshtantau was conquered for the first time; proud Ushba for the third time.

Surely a man with such a record was entitled to cross swords with the giants of the Himalaya and Karakoram! With the great deeds of British and German pioneers ever before his eyes, he took over the scheme of his friend, Willi Welzenbach, in 1931, and in 1932 led seven mountaineers to Nanga Parbat. Victory was denied them. Untrained porters impeded progress. Blizzards drove them back from Camp 7. But the reconnaissance was most valuable. A way to the top had been discovered, and already Merkl had decided to return to the assault.

His circle of friends grew. A member of the German and Austrian Alpine Association, the Austrian Alpine Club, the Alpine Club, and the Himalayan Club, though not for the sake of their badges, Merkl was the true mountaineer, valiant in deed, modest among his friends. He spoke little, but to the point. On his return he began at once to prepare for a second assault more efficiently organized than the first. His enthusiasm fired the imagination of the German railway men. Their various sporting organizations collected the money required to make the enterprise possible; and tens of thousands of his countrymen associated themselves with his plans.

Nanga Parbat has claimed him. He fell in a catastrophe which has no parallel in the annals of mountaineering. Defeat and victory lay side by side. He rests with his friends upon the same icy heights where lies Mummery, his great forerunner.

Fritz Bechtold.



Ski-running first brought Ulrich Wieland in touch with the mountains, great winter expeditions strengthening and maturing his powers. Starting from his native town of Ulm, his tours ranged through the Black Forest, while in the Allgau he developed his skill. When as a student he came to Munich in 1921, he found a number of friends after his own heart in the Munich Academical Ski Club; his happiest years were spent with these. As a competitive ski-runner he was as successful as he became later as a mountaineer.

1 I am indebted to Colonel E. L. Strutt, President of the Alpine Club, for translations of the notices of Ulrich Wieland and Willi Welzenbach.-Ed.

In the winter of 1924, with the late Rudolf von Tscharner, he accomplished the first ski traverse of Mont Blanc from Gourmayeur to Chamonix. The great 4,000-metre peaks of Switzerland were, summer and winter, his ambition, though he was also anxious to extend his activities far beyond the Alps. During a year's study in America he climbed several of the loftiest peaks of the Rockies. A year or so later he was one of the most successful members of the Dyhrenfurth expedition to Kangchenj unga.1 As he was for years engineer-adviser to his father's successful factory at Ulm, his friend Merkl's invitation to join in the second attempt to climb Nanga Parbat was only accepted after much searching of heart. He died near Camp 7 on that mountain on the 9th July 1934.

Walter Hofmeier.



Willi Welzenbagh was born in Munich on the 10th November 1900. He was educated at the Oberrealschule in that town, and was called up for service in the last year of the War, without, however, seeing active service. From 1920 he was at the Technical High School, obtaining his certificate as a constructional engineer in 1924.

His mountaineering career began at school; in 1920 he joined the Munich Academical Alpine Club, and with friends of similar tastes and with the experienced elder members of the club, he went through an intensive training. First devoting himself to rock-climbing near Munich, he quickly became expert on rock. He then turned to expeditions on snow, first in the Eastern Alps, and later, in 1923, in the Western. In the winter of 1923 he visited Valais and traversed the Bernese Oberland; in the summer he accompanied Hans Pfann to the Mont Blanc Group and Zermatt. In the latter district he climbed the Matterhorn by the Z'mutt ridge, and incidentally accomplished the traverse from that peak to the Dent d'Herens. During Easter 1924 he visited the Bernina and was later again in Valais, while at Whitsuntide he again visited the Bernina with Paul Bauer. In July of the same year he began his great series of remarkable cnorth-face' ascents with the conquest of the north-west face of the Gr. Wiesbachhorn with Fritz Rigele. It was during this ascent that he employed ice pitons in the conquest of the overhanging ice- wall, half-way up, thus, for the first time applying modern rock methods to ice work. In the summer he travelled mostly with Eugen Allwein in Valais, climbing the north face of the Breithorn, the Nadelgrat, and the east face of Monte Rosa. In the autumn of the same year came the conquest of the Griesener Kars, as well as the then hardest tour in the Wilde Kaiser, the Fiechtl-Weinberg route on the Predigstuhl with Paul Bauer. In 1925 he was at Easter on the Grand Combin, and again, during the summer, with Allwein, in the Mont Blanc Group, where he accomplished the fourth ascent of Mont Blanc by the Peteret ridge. His greatest feat of the year was, however, the first direct ascent of the north face of the Dent d'Herens -certainly one of his best ice climbs.

1 Ulrich Wieland contributed an interesting short paper on 'Ski-ing in the High Eastern Himalaya' to the Himalayan Journal, vol. iv, 1932, p. 55.-Ed.

In 1926 he accomplished a new variation of the north-west face of the Zermatt Breithorn, and, with Wien, climbed the north face of the Gross Glockner, the north-west face of the Glockerin, and the north face of the [Tauern] Eiskogele. In the autumn he prepared yet another Climbers' Guide to the Wetterstein, the proof of his competence being the chronicling and description of his twenty new routes in the district. These include the north face of the Schon- angerspitze, with Paul Bauer. During the winter he published studies of his experiences with avalanche and snow-corniched terrain, which are of great scientific value.

During the autumn of 1926 he suffered a serious illness which kept him away for long from difficult expeditions, but not from lesser ones, for with a stiffened elbow-joint he climbed the Gross Glockner by the Pallavicinirinne, Mont Blanc by the Brenva, and the Grandes Jorasses, In 1930, however, thanks to surgical skill, he recovered much of his former power, setting to work once more on great Alpine problems: in 1930, with Tillmann, the direct ascent of the Fiescherwand, and in 1931, with Merkl, the north-face variation of the Grands Charmoz, where he was held up by very bad weather for five days and nights. In 1932-3 there followed further 'north-face' routes in the Oberland: Grosshorn, Gspaltenhorn, Gletscherhorn, Lauterbrunnen-Breithorn, and Nesthorn.

These almost unique performances of Welzenbach in the Alps were due to his unconquerable will and to his systematic training from the beginning for every possible difficulty. His plans were of the most daring nature, and were justified by his amazing skill when confronted by difficult problems. In 1934 he started for Nanga Parbat with Merkl. He had himself first conceived the plan in 1931, but health and duty had then kept him away. From Nanga Parbat he never returned.

Karl Wien.


Rai Bahadur Shiv Ram Kashyap, Professor of Botany at the Punjab University, Lahore, was known to many members of the Himalayan Club as a distinguished student of Himalayan flora. He had made several journeys through the Kumaun mountains into Tibet, had visited the sacred sources of the Ganges, and had made the circuit of holy Kailas. An account of the latter, of special interest to us, he published under the title 'Some Geographical Observations in Western Tibet' in the Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. xxv (1929), p. 25. The Rai Bahadur took his degree at Cambridge University, was a Doctor of Science in the Punjab University, and a past president of the Indian Science Congress. He had promised to put together for the Journal a paper on the historical and cultural associations of the great pilgrim route to Badrinath, but pressure of university work had left him insufficient leisure to complete it, and death has now prevented him. He was elected to the Himalayan Club in 1932. Mr. Hugh Ruttledge writes:

I had the pleasure of meeting the Rai Bahadur while on my way over the Lipu Lekh pass into Tibet in 1926. We visited lakes Rakas Tal and Manasa- rowar, and went round Mount Kailas together, continuing over the Anta Dhura pass on our way back to India. The Rai Bahadur, though apparently of frail physique, was a very determined traveller and an excellent pedestrian. We corresponded a little after my retirement. I greatly regret his death.

K. M.



Dr. Walter Raeghl was born on the 2 7th February 1902. He was the geographer and geomorphologist in the scientific group of the German Himalayan expedition to Nanga Parbat in 1934, previous to which he had accompanied Merkl and Bechtold to the Caucasus in 1929. He was particularly fitted for the task, for he was a fine climber and possessed a keen intellect, assiduously mastering the works of previous writers on the physical geography of Nanga Parbat before he set out. He also assisted Professor Finsterwalder with the stereo-photogrammetric survey of the region. Hardly had he returned to his native land than he was the victim of a climbing accident. On the 28th December 1934 he fell when traversing the Watzmann in the Bavarian Alps during a snowstorm, and sustained severe internal injuries. He was brought down to Berchtesgaden where he died the following day. He was buried at Traunstein, his native town, on the 31st December. Dr. Raechl was elected to the Himalayan Club in 1934.

K. M.


gaylay nima tashi

dakshi nima norbu

nima dorje ii pinju norbu

More than a passing tribute is due to the Sherpa porters, who, faithful to the end, lost their lives on Nanga Parbat. Gaylay was first known to Himalayan mountaineers as Captain J. G. Bruce5s servant on the 1922 Mount Everest expedition, where he did good work. He then joined the army, and not till 1934 was he again available for a big expedition. When the porters were being selected by Herr Wieland in Darjeeling in April 1934, he was at first considered too old, till Lewa, the well-known sirdar, persuaded Wieland to reconsider his decision, offering to be surety for Gaylay5s endurance and energy. How well he deserved Lewa5s trust he amply proved, not only by his death, but by his splendid performance at the time of Herr Drexel's death, when he and Dakshi carried loads of oxygen from the Base Camp to Camp 1 in just over two hours, part of the journey being performed in the dark. During the storm that caused the final disaster, Gaylay, one of the last to leave Camp 8, spent the nights of the 8th, 9th, 10th, nth, and 12th between here and the saddle near Camp 6, where the night of the 13th was passed in a snow cave. The following morning he deliberately chose the heroic part of staying beside his leader and master, and sent down the younger porter, Angtsering, to safety. There can be little doubt that he knew he was facing certain death. He was married and leaves a widow.

Dakshi was a porter of the 1933 Mount Everest expedition, on which he did splendid work throughout, especially on the North Col. He was so reliable and so natural a mountaineer, that he was permitted to go up and down the North Col slopes accompanied by one other porter, and without a British mountaineer with him. Of a cheerful temperament, he never had the opportunity of going higher than Camp 4 on Mount Everest, though he would have been quite capable of doing so. He perished on Nanga Parbat between Camps 8 and 7 during the night of the 11 th July, where he had remained with Gaylay and Angtsering. His father, Aphuli, lives in Darjeeling; his widow has returned to Nepal.

Nima Dorje II was one of the 'tigers’ on the 1933 Mount Everest expedition. He was Brocklebank5s servant on that expedition, but, though never very strong, was one of the party that carried loads to Camp 6, 27,400 feet. He should not be confused with Nima Dorje I, who had previously been Hugh Ruttledge's servant on his Nanda Devi climbs, who had practically reached the summit of Kamet in 1931, and who during the 1933 expedition crossed the passes into Nepal to recruit extra porters from Sola Khombu. On Nanga Parbat, he was one of the three porters who left Camp 8 with Herren Schneider and Aschenbrenner to break the trail for the descent on the 8th July, and perished on the 10th, among the ropes of the Rakiot peak above Camp 5, probably from sheer exhaustion. His widow, Pasang Sherpani, and a son live at Darjeeling.

1 These notes have been compiled by me from various sources, information received from the Hon. Secretary, Eastern Section, members of the last Mount Everest expedition, and Herr Paul Bauer. The photographs of the porters are by Mr. J. J. Gosling, of Darjeeling.-Ed.

Nima Tashi was with Paul Bauer in 1929 and 1931, on Kangchenjunga, and acted as occasional mess-boy on the Mount Everest expedition in 1933, when he reached Camp 4. He went from Shekar to Sola Khombu in that year with Nima Dorje I to recruit extra porters. On Nanga Parbat he left Camp 8 above the Silver Saddle with the main body on the 8th July, and died under the same conditions as Nima Dorje II on the ropes of the Rakiot Peak near Camp 5 late on the 10th July.

Nima Norbu was about 20 years of age but looked much younger. He was on the Mount Everest expedition in 1933, where he acted as assistant to his brother Lhakpa Cheday, head mess-man and occasional cook, and was mess-boy at Camps 3 and 4. He was not permitted to go higher on account of his age. He died from exposure in the snow between Camps 8 and 7 during the night of the 8th July. Nima Norbu was unmarried; his brother, Lhakpa Cheday, is still living at Darjeeling, but his father, Apute Sherpa, left in 1934 for Nepal.

Pinju Norbu, alias Pinzo or Pintso Norbu, or Phinju Sherpa, son of Tanzing, was with Paul Bauer in 1931 on Kangchenjunga, and accompanied Allwein and Brenner on their ascent of the 'Sugarloaf' Peak. He was also a porter on Mount Everest in 1933, going as high as Camp 5. He was a good natural mountaineer, who did excellent work on the North Col. On Nanga Parbat he left Camp 8 with the advance party under Schneider, and died under the same circumstances as Nima Dorje II, just outside Camp 5, late on the 10th July.

All six Sherpas who died are said to have come from the same village, Sola Khombu, in the head basin of the Dudh Kosi in Nepal.1

K. M.

1 It is impossible to identify a village of this name on modern maps. The name is probably a local one for a group of villages in Khumbu, the northernmost sub- district of Okhaldunga district, which contains the highest hamlets of the Dudh Kosi basin, immediately south and south-west of Mount Everest. The men of Khumbu are accustomed to carry loads over the Nangpa La into Tibet by the Kyetrak glacier.



Nima Norbu

Nima Norbu

Nima Dorje II

Nima Dorje II



Pinju Norbu

Pinju Norbu

Nima Tashi

Nima Tashi