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


The Seventh Annual General Meeting of the Himalayan Club was held in the Army Department Committee Room at New Delhi on Tuesday the 26th February 1935. The Vice-President, Mr. A. H. Lloyd, took the Chair.

The Honorary Secretary, Major K. G. McLean, presented his report on the year 1934, which was read and adopted. The report is printed below. The Club accounts for the year 1934 were presented by the Honorary Treasurer and confirmed. In view of the large balance held on fixed deposit, it was decided to invest about two-thirds of this balance in Government securities, the balance to remain on fixed deposit. The Officers, Members of the Committee, and Additional Members of the Balloting Committee for the year 1935 were elected, and Messrs. A. F. Ferguson & Co. were reappointed Auditors to the Club.

It was decided that the Club should accept responsibility for the compilation and publication of the series of Himalayan Route-Books projected by the Survey of India, of which the 2nd edition of volume 1 (Routes in the Western Himalaya, Kashmir, &c.) by Major Kenneth Mason, was published in 1929.1 The Club also undertook to keep them up to date by means of amendments. It was resolved to ask the Eastern Section of the Club to undertake the compilation of the volume on the Eastern Himalaya, and that the Committee should call for a volunteer to compile volume ii on the Central Himalaya. A general editor for the series is also required.

The suggestion of the Honorary Treasurer that notices should be sent to members during December each year advising them that their annual subscriptions fall due on the 1st January was adopted. The Meeting agreed with the resolution of the Eastern Section Committee that any narrowing of the qualification for membership of the Club would be contrary to the Articles of Association. The Committee undertook to examine during the year the existing system of election.

The suggestion of the Eastern Section Committee that rules should be framed governing the conditions under which assistance should be given by the Club to expeditions in obtaining Darjeeling porters, and that all expeditions which appeal to members for help in this connexion should be referred to the Club, was accepted in principle. The Eastern Section was asked to appoint a sub-committee to draft rules, which after scrutiny by that Section should be referred to the Central Committee for approval.

1 The position regarding these route-books was discussed at the Annual General Meeting held on the 7th March 1934 {Himalayan Journal, vol. vi, p. 184), and is discussed in the Correspondence section of that Journal, pp. 181-3.-Ed.

A suggestion that the annual subscription should be reduced was considered by the Meeting to be premature and was rejected.

On the motion of Major-General W. L. O. Twiss, which was seconded by the Chairman, votes of thanks were passed to the retiring Honorary Secretary, Major K. G. McLean, and the retiring Honorary Treasurer, Major F. B. Webb.

Report on the Work of the Club in the Year 1934

By the Honorary Secretary

Membership.-The steady increase in the membership of the Club has continued: 44 new members were elected during 1934, whilst there were 6 deaths and 8 resignations. Four members were struck off the List of Members owing to their subscriptions being long overdue. The membership now stands at 386, an increase of 26 over last year.

Obituary.-We mourn the death of several valued members of the Club.

Mr. J. W. Young, who was a Founder Member of the Club and its first Honorary Treasurer, died during the year.

Major H. R. C. Meade of the Survey of India, also a Founder Member of the Club, was killed in an aeroplane accident near Calcutta.

Rai Bahadur Shiv Ram Kashyap of the India Educational Service, a noted botanist, who only last year was awarded a Doctorate of Science for his botanical researches in the Punjab, also died during the year.

Herr Willy Merkl and Herr Wieland lost their lives on the ill-fated Nanga Parbat expedition.

Dr. W. Raechl, one of the survivors of the Nanga Parbat expedition, was killed in an accident in the Bavarian mountains.

Expeditions.-The year has been a fruitful one for expeditions. Members of the Club have taken part in those mentioned below, amongst others.

Western Himalaya.-An international expedition led by Professor Dyhrenfurth visited the Karakoram and climbed all four peaks of the Queen Mary group. Frau Dyhrenfurth reached a height of over 24,000 feet, the highest yet attained by a woman climber.

Herr Willy Merkl led a German expedition on a second attempt on Nanga Parbat. The expedition was strengthened by the employment this time of Darjeeling porters for the high altitude work. In addition to the Germans, Captains Frier and Sangster of the Indian Army took part in the expedition. During the first attempt on the summit Herr Drexel caught a chill in a snowstorm and died of pneumonia. A second attempt was made, during which the climbers reached a height of nearly 26,000 feet. Only a ridge 1,000 yards long and 800 feet high separated them from the summit. Disaster, however, took them, just as the goal, was within reach, in the form of a raging snowstorm and blizzard, lasting several days. During the retreat Herren Wieland, Welzenbach, and Merkl, together with six Darjeeling porters died of starvation or exhaustion: one of the heaviest disasters in the history of Himalayan mountaineering.

Lieutenants Harrison and Waller visited Kashmir during June with the intention of climbing Nun Kun. Trekking via the Sind valley and Kargil, they formed a base camp in the Ringdom valley at a height of 12,500 feet. They climbed the 'White Needle peak in a snowstorm and reconnoitred the final Nun arete.

Mr. Marriott visited the glaciers at the head of the Kishanganga valley above Gurais. He states that several of the peaks in that locality show good possibilities for climbing.

Colonel Schomberg has been carrying out exploration work in the Karakoram and has visited Gilgit.

Lieutenant P. R. Oliver had twenty days leave in Kashmir, and with Lieutenant Barton, r.e., climbed the middle dome of Haramukh.

Central Himalaya.-Messrs. Ship ton and Tilman explored the region of Nanda Devi, paying special attention to the Rishi Ganga gorge.

Messrs. Vernede and Chaldicott spent a month's leave at Ramni in Garhwal, where they had some excellent fishing in the Gohna Lake and visited the Kuari pass. Mr. Vernede recommends it as an enjoyable and inexpensive form of leave. His expenses for the month only amounted to Rs. 250, which included six marches out and back.

Eastern Himalaya.-The Eastern Section of the Club has been as active as usual.

Mr. Ludlow and Captain Sheriff have again been in Bhutan for some months, collecting birds, butterflies, and flowers.

Herren Panzerbeiter and Gosling started out at Easter to reach Dzongri via the Phalut-Singalila ridge. Held up by snow about three days march beyond Phalut, they were unable to carry out their original programme, so they turned down the ridge and made their way to Pamionchi with some difficulty, since the track marked on the survey map did not appear to exist.

In May Messrs. Percival Duncan and D. B. Tregoning travelled into northern Sikkim, and leaving the ordinary track from Thangu to the Donkhya La went via the Gordama lake, of the beauty of which they gave enthusiastic accounts.

Sir Charles Bell and Colonel Harnett, i.m.s., were in Tibet from May till November.

In the autumn Messrs. G. B. Gourlay and J. B. Auden broke new ground and made interesting observations up the Sebo Chu, northeast of Lachung. They had hoped to find and cross the Karpo La to Mome Samdong, and later to cross the Donkhya La and climb Pauhunri, but were foiled by early falls of winter snow. The Donkhya La being impassable at this time of the year, they returned to Chungthang and approached Pauhunri up the Lachen valley. They climbed a mountain in the Pauhunri group of about 21,000 feet, but intense cold and strong winds drove them off Pauhunri itself.

Expeditions in 1935.-The indefatigable Dr. and Mrs. Visser are preparing for their fourth expedition to the Karakoram in 1935. Mrs. Visser will be responsible for the botanical collections; Dr. Visser will make the glaciological and meteorological observations; while the expedition will be accompanied by Dr. Wyss, the eminent Swiss geologist.

A French Himalayan expedition, under the leadership of M. Jean Escarra, ex-President of the Swiss Alpine Club, is expected to visit the Himalaya in 1935. They propose to attempt one of the high peaks but have not yet decided on the locality they will visit.1
It is understood that Professor Dainelli will again visit the Himalaya in 1935.

If any members propose to carry out expeditions in the Central or Western Himalaya, and are looking for companions, the Honorary Secretary will be glad if they will write to him, as he may be in a position to put members in touch with each other. Mrs. Townend, the Honorary Secretary of the Eastern Section, is often able to do the same for members proposing to visit the Eastern Himalaya.

Eastern Section.-Some of the many activities of the Eastern Section have already been described, and during the autumn many more parties went out on short treks into Sikkim and Tibet than it is possible to mention.

The Club had the pleasure of entertaining at dinner in January, Lady Bell (wife of Sir Charles Bell), Lieut.-Colonel Sir Frederick O'Connor, and Mr. and Mrs. Williamson. After dinner Mr. Williamson, Political Officer in Sikkim, showed excellent Cine Kodak films of his journey across Bhutan to Lhasa, and of his return through Tibet.

1 It is understood that this project has since been postponed.-Ed.

In February Captain Kingdon Ward, who had just returned to civilization after an absence of almost a year in south-eastern Tibet, was the guest of the Club at dinner and gave a lecture with splendid photographs of his recent travels.

Another dinner was held in March, when Messrs. J. D. Tyson and G. B. Gourlay showed pictures and described their travels in Sikkim. Mr. Tyson showed some Cine Kodak films of the route over the Donkhya La in northern Sikkim and Mr. Gourlay showed photographs of his climb on Chomiomo, of his crossing of the Sebo La, and of an attempt to climb Lama Anden.

In April Herr Willy Merkl spared his only evening in Calcutta to show the Club magnificent pictures of his previous attempt on Nanga Parbat.

All these dinners were well attended, an average of twenty-five members and fifteen guests being present on each occasion.

Several members of the ill-fated German Nanga Parbat expedition visited Calcutta on their return, and Herr Schneider gave a most vivid lecture on the expedition, illustrated by beautiful slides.

On the 1st August a Service of Remembrance was held in Calcutta for Herr Willy Merkl, Herr Wieland, Dr. Welzenbach, Herr Drexel, and the porters of the German expedition who perished on Nanga Parbat. Practically all the German community in Calcutta attended with most of the members of the Eastern Section resident in Calcutta. Wreaths were laid by the Consul-General for Germany, the Honorary Secretary of the Eastern Section, and Havildar Dhan Bahadur Limbu on behalf of the Tibetans. Arrangements for the service were made by Mr. Marklew in consultation with the Honorary Secretary of the Eastern Section and the Consul-General for Germany.

The Club's stock of equipment has been put to good use and it is hoped that it may be possible to supplement this by certain tents and equipment belonging to the 1933 Mount Everest expedition.

The final plans and estimates for the huts which it is proposed to erect in Sikkim are expected to be ready soon. The proposal is to erect two huts, so as to link up the Lachen and Lachung valleys by a route via the Sebo La. One hut would be built near Mome Samdong and one on the other side of the Sebo La at the head of the Palong valley. Great interest is being taken in the project by members. His Highness the Maharaja of Sikkim has most kindly consented to give the land for the sites of the huts and free wood and stone. Rai Sahib Faqir Chand Ali, State Engineer of Sikkim, whom we welcome as one of our new members this year, has taken great trouble over the plans and estimates, and has most kindly undertaken to arrange for his department to carry out the building.

There have been about twenty-four new members in the Eastern Section during 1934. The Club has done a good deal of useful work in putting members in touch with one another and helping them with advice about tours.

The compilation of a register of Darjeeling porters has been begun and is going forward as information is collected. In conjunction with this, 6 chit books' are being prepared to issue to each man whose name is on the register. The books are small with a photograph of the owner on the first page and each is wrapped in a mackintosh wallet.

Library.-Major J. R. Foy has taken over the duties of Honorary Librarian. A sum of £10 was again spent on the purchase of books during the year. Twenty new books were added, of which four were presented and the remainder purchased. Sixty-one books were issued to members during the year, of which thirty-six were sent outside Simla. The majority of requests were for guide-books or route-books giving information regarding Kashmir, Kulu, Lahul, and Garhwal.

Miscellaneous.-The Honorary Treasurer has had considerable difficulty in recovering subscriptions from members. Although subscriptions are payable annually on 1st January in advance, by June this year numerous reminders had to be sent out. This is partially due to members being on leave. The Honorary Treasurer would be very grateful if as many members as possible would pay their subscriptions by banker's order. Necessary forms can be obtained from him.

The question of qualification for membership has also been under discussion. One or two members have suggested that there should be a definite qualification, e.g. the applicant should have actually carried out some expedition in the Himalaya before joining the Club. Others, again, have suggested that there should be two types of members-ordinary members and associate members. The former would have some form of qualification and the latter would be members who are interested in the Himalaya, but do not intend to travel there.

My opinion is that the objects of the Club are too wide to lay down any qualifications for membership: that Article 5 of the Rules covers the question and that each applicant should be balloted for by the balloting committee on his merits. The question will be discussed at the Annual General Meeting, and I shall be grateful if any member having contrary views will write to me before the meeting.

Mr. Shebbeare and Mr. Lloyd are due to retire this year from the office of Vice-President, under Rule 34 of the Club. The Committee propose in their places Major-General Twiss and Dr. Heron.

Three vacancies occur on the Committee owing to the appointment of Dr. Heron as Vice-President and the resignation of Colonel JefFery and Mr. Eustace. The Committee propose in their places- Lieut.-Colonel Tobin, Mr. Lloyd, and Dr. Visser.

Three vacancies occur in the Bajloting Committee owing to the appointment of Major Gueterbock to the Honorary Secretaryship, the death of Major Meade, and the resignation of Mr. Newman, who is leaving India. The Committee propose in their places Major Glennie, Mr. Fawcus, and Captain Birnie.

Major Webb has had to resign the Honorary Treasurership owing to his having received an appointment in England, and Mr. J. B. Shearer is proposed as Honorary Treasurer in his place.

I regret that owing to pressure of work I am unable to continue as Honorary Secretary. The Committee propose that Major Gueterbock, who is a very keen mountaineer, with considerable Alpine experience, should be appointed Honorary Secretary.