Himalayan Journal vol.09
The Himalayan Journal
Vol.09

Publication year:
1937

Editor:
Kenneth Mason
Index
  1. THE MOUNT EVEREST EXPEDITION, 1936
    (HUGH RUTTLEDGE)
  2. SURVEY ON THE MOUNT EVEREST RECONNAISSANCE, 1935
    (MICHAEL SPENDER)
  3. THE ASCENT OF NANDA DEVI
    (H. W. TILMAN)
  4. STRUCTURAL STUDIES IN THE CENTRAL HIMALAYA, 1936
    (ARNOLD HEIM)
  5. THE MOUNTAINS SOUTH OF DRAS
    (MAJOR E. A. L. GUETERBOGK)
  6. The Ascent of Siniolchu and Simvu North Peak
    (Dr. Karl Wien)
  7. SURVEY WORK IN THE NANDA DEVI REGION
    (ERIC SHIPTON)
  8. CLIMBING IN LHONAK, 1936
    (LIEUT. J. B. HARRISON)
  9. THE ZEMU GAP
    (H. W. TILMAN)
  10. THE FRENCH KARAKORAM EXPEDITION, 1936
    (CAPTAIN N. R. STREATFIELD)
  11. QUETTA ROCK CLIMBING
    (LIEUT. J. R. G. FINCH)
  12. THE PROBLEM OF MOUNT EVEREST
  13. PEAK 36, SALTORO KARAKORAM A MOUNTAINEERING ANALYSIS
    (JOHN HUNT AND JAMES WALLER)
  14. EXPEDITIONS
  15. IN MEMORIAM
  16. NOTES
  17. REVIEWS
  18. CORRESPONDENCE
  19. CLUB PROCEEDINGS
  20. CLUB NOTICES

NOTES

The Khillanmarg Avalanche, 1936

Early in 1936 a disastrous avalanche fell from the slopes of Apharwat behind Gulmarg, in Kashmir, and overwhelmed the hut erected by the Ski Club of India. Three British officers and the chowkidar who were in the hut lost their lives.

The hut was an extremely strong structure, built on the Canadian system of logs dovetailed into each other, the roof and sides being strongly bolted together. It was erected during the summer of 1932 on a site chosen with considerable care by a committee which had the advice of the Chief Conservator of Forests and of the local people. The site was believed to be absolutely immune from avalanches. In view of the extraordinary features of the disaster we publish a brief report which has been communicated by Major- General R. G. Wilson.

The Ski Club of India holds two meetings annually from their headquarters in Nedou's Hotel at Gulmarg (8,700 feet). The best ski-ing slopes are found on the plateau of Khillanmarg (10,100 feet), where the Club hut is situated, and on Apharwat mountain (13,592 feet) across the plateau. From Gulmarg to the hut the track leads through fir woods for two miles and rises 1,400 feet in that distance. The first photograph shows the Club hut and the caretaker's hut in the foreground; in the middle distance is the Khillanmarg plateau, rising 500 feet in 1,100 yards to the foot of the Apharwat ridge. This ridge forms the background of the illustration and rises 3,100 feet in 2,100 yards. A buttress of Apharwat projects towards the hut, on each side of which there is a depression. The ski tracks in the foreground lead from the woods mentioned above to the hut, a distance of 200 yards. The photograph was taken at Christmas 1935 when there were three and a half feet of snow on the plain.

In February 1936 a meeting was held which ended on the 25th, when most of the members left. Snow had been falling since the 22nd February, and conditions were not good for ski-ing. On the 27th February three members of the Ski Club1 went up with their kit to the hut with the intention of staying there a few days, the caretaker only being with them. With short intervals it snowed continually from the 22nd February onwards.

On the 4th March Khillanmarg was visited by the two brothers of the caretaker. They found no trace of the hut or its occupants. On the 6th March a search party arrived from Srinagar and found one level expanse of snow. After eight hours' work the hut was located under 14 feet of snow.

1 Lieutenants J. L. Nolan, r.e., A. R. Hingston, r.e., and J. K. G. M. Graham, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

The view was much as in the second illustration which was taken from the site of the hut and shows in the foreground the snow disturbed by the digging operations. There was, at the time, no other sign of disturbance.

When a portion of the hut had been uncovered, it was found that the roof had gone and the walls had been pushed over towards the right (west), but were standing. The bodies of the victims were found in the sleeping-room with ski kit and boots on; two were lying on bunks and the third reading near the fire. The caretaker was sitting over the fire in the next room. Unconsciousness had been instantaneous. The hut was packed with snow, over and under everything, and was a mass of beams and debris.

The damage done to the trees below the hut was tremendous, between 250 and 300 trees of ages ranging from 60 to 200 years having been broken and uprooted. The area damaged in the woods below the hut was half a mile wide and extended for a distance of a mile. There was a certain amount of damage on the flanks of this area.

As one of the victims left some notes of the doings of the party which were written up after dinner on the 29th February, and as they were fully dressed when found, it is almost certain that the catastrophe occurred during the day of the 1st March. From investigations made by an experienced member of the Club towards the end of March, on the spot, and from the observations of those who took part in the search, it is surmised that the disaster was due to an enormous fall of snow from Apharwat. This avalanche was accompanied by a great wind, which was sufficient to remove the roof of the hut and cause most of the damage to the trees. The snow was very deep everywhere and huge accumulations were found in the woods below the hut, in the course of the avalanche.

The second illustration, taken towards the end of March, shows a very great change in the middle distance. It has been marked to show the probable course of the avalanche. The sequence of events was probably somewhat as follows:

A very heavy snowfall lasting for more than a week accumulated in the form of masses of powder snow on the old substratum of crust. This powder snow collected in drifts in the depressions on and to the sides of the Khillan- marg plateau, filling them and levelling the whole plateau. At the same time it collected and lay in unstable masses on the steep slopes of Apharwat.

A high wind caused the snow on these slopes to slide; and owing to the levelling-out of the nullahs which normally catch such falls, the avalanche took an unusual course across the plateau itself. The powder snow must have flowed almost as water, spreading out as it went, and the end of the fan caught the hut.

No appreciation or praise can be too great for the prompt assistance, in conditions of extreme difficulty and no little danger, given by the members of the search party. This included officials of the Kashmir State, European ladies and gentlemen, and other residents of Srinagar, as well as local inhabitants.

This report is based on the very thorough investigation carried out by Captain Bruce Bakewell at the end of March, with the assistance of those ladies and gentlemen.

Ski Club of India Hut on Khillanmarg (10,100 feet) with Apharwat (13,592 feet) behind

Ski Club of India Hut on Khillanmarg (10,100 feet) with Apharwat (13,592 feet) behind



Track of the avalanche of 1st March 1936 (Photographed towards the end of March)

Track of the avalanche of 1st March 1936 (Photographed towards the end of March)



There are certain extraordinary features about the disaster. Medical evidence confirmed that death was instantaneous. No effort had been made by any member of the party to escape. At the time of the avalanche one was lying on a bunk reading a paper, a second was sitting on a bench, having made a cup of tea, the third was asleep. Everything was firmly packed with snow. The conclusion reached in the official report issued by the Ski Club of India is that the avalanche turned to the east at the 'Bump', swept down over the marg, and spread out, preceded by a terrific wind. The blast of this wind tore off the roof of the hut and killed the inmates instantly. With the wind would be immense quantities of very fine-grained powder snow which must have filled the roofless hut at once. The hut seems to have been on the extreme western edge of the avalanche which followed the wind and powder snow, and it was this fact, and the spreading out of the avalanche westwards, that pushed the walls over to the west.

A very special word of praise is due to the staff and boys of Canon Tyndale-Biscoe's Church Mission School in Srinagar. This is hardly the place to mention, except in passing, the immense benefits institutions such as this and the Mission Hospital have brought to the people of Kashmir. The work of both has been the admiration of all visitors to Kashmir for over fifty years. The first news of the disaster reached Srinagar on Thursday the 5th March. A party from the school immediately volunteered for rescue work, and by 7 o'clock the next morning a party composed of staff and students, including Mr. and Mrs. Eric Tyndale-Biscoe, and Dr. Marian Smyth, of the C.M.S. Women's Hospital, were working with shovels at the site of the hut. It was not discovered till 4 p.m. The Governor of Kashmir, Rajah Mohamed Afzal Khan, had already taken prompt and energetic steps in sending up coolies to assist in the digging, and himself arrived during the day to superintend the work. No praise can be too high for the promptness of the action taken by the search parties.

The Survey of the Kumaun Himalaya

In the Himalayan Journal, vol. viii, 1936, p. 145, a brief account of the progress of the modern survey of the Garhwal and Kumaun Himalaya was given. The following short note of the work during 1936 has been received from Major Gordon Osmaston, who was in charge.

'The Survey of India has continued the modern half-inch survey of the Tehri and British Garhwal Himalaya. The area completed during 1936 includes the Great Himalaya from Bandarpunch in the west to Nanda Devi in the east. The Gangotri glacier and the watershed separating it from the Alaknanda has at last been completely surveyed. Smythe, Birnie, Shipton, Tilman, and Marco Pallis have all tackled this area since 1930, and the present survey is a fitting conclusion to their explorations. It is largely due to these expeditions that attention was drawn to the limitations of the old maps, and that the necessity of a new survey was made apparent. Major Osmaston, helped by Mr. Shipton, did a photo-survey of the Nanda Devi basin in the autumn, just after the mountain had been climbed by the Anglo- American party.'

From another source comes a tale of adventure during the survey of the Gangotri glacier earlier in the season. Mr. Fazal Elahi, of the Survey of India, was camped near the head of the Gangotri glacier with four khalasis when he was caught by the early arrival of the monsoon and completely snow-bound. His supply coolies, who had gone to the mouth of the glacier for fuel and rations, were unable to reach him, and after five days of bad weather, and with fuel and food exhausted, Fazal Elahi decided to abandon camp and make for Gaumukh at the glacier snout. The five set out with two blankets each and the plane-table map. Sinking into the fresh snow up to their waists at every step, they made little progress during the day, and were forced to spend the night huddled together in the snow with no food and more snow falling.

The next day they were weaker, and had to abandon one blanket each. They struggled on all day through the soft snow, eventually reaching an ablation valley at the edge of the glacier after covering in all about three miles. Here they spent a second night in the snow in an exhausted state, having been without food for two days. On the morning of the third day it was only Fazal Elahi's fine example that got his men to move. Having discarded their last blanket, they stumbled on in the remote chance that their coolies might possibly come to look for them. Late in the afternoon it seemed certain that they would have to spend a third night in the snow, this time without blankets. Suddenly in the dusk figures were seen. In the last few moments before the rescuers arrived three of the khalasis collapsed and had to be carried into camp. Fazal Elahi and the other managed with support to get in under their own steam. All were badly frost-bitten and had to have their boots cut away. The whole party deserves the highest praise for their courage and endurance.

It may perhaps be mentioned that during this survey one of Major Osmaston's regular theodolite stations in the Gangotri region was at about 21,000 feet; it is believed to be the highest theodolite station of the Indian Survey directly connected to the Indian triangulation.

Exploration and Climbing in the Sikkim Himalaya

A paper by Lieut.-Col. Tobin under the above title was published in the Himalayan Journal, vol. ii, 1930. The Honorary Secretary, Eastern Section, has sent me some notes of climbs since 1929, and I had hoped to find time to compile a complete list of peaks climbed and attempted up to date in Sikkim, but I am afraid I must leave it to some enthusiastic member of the Eastern Section who has the necessary time. Meanwhile the following list, amplified and rearranged from Mrs. Townend's notes, taken in conjunction with Colonel Tobin's paper, will, it is hoped, be found useful. The mountains are placed in alphabetical order, with approximate geographical co-ordinates measured from Kurz's map, Das Massiv des Kangchendzonga, where possible. Outside the area of this map reference is made to the Survey of India maps 77d and 78a, while in the area of the Zemu glacier, Bauer's map, issued with the Himalayan Journal, vol. vii, 1935, is quoted. References to papers dealing with the climbs which have been published in Himalayan Journals are also given.

4Black Peak:

North Sikkim, near Podon La, 6,020 m. (19,750 feet).

1936. Climbed by P. Bauer and A. Gottner on 10th October

(H.J., ix, 1937, p. 70).

Chomiomo.

North Sikkim, 28° 02' 10", 88° 32' 50", 22,430 feet, map 77D. The first ascent was made by A. M. Kellas in July 1910 (H.J,, ii, 1930, p. 10).
  1. Attempted by G. A. R. Spence and J. Hale on 27th October. Point reached about 21,000 feet (H.J., v, 1933, pp. 94-7).
  2. Attempted by G. B. Gourlay, who, with Dorje, reached summit ridge at about 22,000 feet, some 600 yards and 400 feet from the summit.
Choten Nyima La, West Peak.

North Sikkim border: probably 270 57' 44", 88° 11' 46", Kurz; height 22,486 feet1 (not given by Kurz).

1935. Climbed by F. J. L. Wigram and H. W. Tilman on the return journey from Mount Everest reconnaissance.

1 Kurz's height for the Choten Nyima La is 5,639 m. (18,500 feet) which is the same as that shown on the Survey map 78A. In 1932, Capt. G. Osmaston, Survey of India, determined its height accurately as 19,037 feet. I am uncertain whether the height (22,486 feet) for the West Peak, given here, was also determined by Osmaston. (H.J., v, 1933, p. 109.)

Chumunko.

East Sikkim border: 270 27' 35", 88° 47' 20", map 78A; height about 17,500 feet, though not given on map.

1933. Climbed by E. E. Shipton, P. Wyn Harris, L. R. Wager, and J. L. Longland, on the way to Mount Everest.

Crevasse Peak’

Zemu valley region: peak west of 'Kegelberg', 5,920 m. (19,420 feet), Bauer.

1936. Climbed by Marco Pallis and J. K. Cooke (H.J., ix, 1937, p. 148).

Dodang Nyima.

North Sikkim border: 270 56' 48", 88° 09' 23", 7,150 m. (23,460 feet), Kurz.

1930. Climbed by H. Hoerlin and E. Schneider, about 5th June. Height given by them, 23,623 feet (H.J., iii, 1931, p. 89).

'Fluted Peak:

Lhonak: 270 52' 27", 88° 14' 09", 6,260 m. (20,540 feet), Kurz.

1932. Attempted in June by G. Osmaston, F. C. Osmaston, A. B. Stobart, and J. Latimer, who reached a point within 200 feet of summit. Captain G. Osmaston determined the height of 'Fluted Peak' as 19,881 feet (H.J., v, 1933, p. 108).

1936. Climbed by F. Spencer Chapman, J. B. Harrison, and J. K. Cooke, in June (H.J., ix, 1937, p. 93).

‘Green Lake Peak’:

North Sikkim, near Podon La, height unknown.

1936. Climbed by P. Bauer and A. Gottner on nth October (.H.J., ix, 1937, p. 70).

Jonsong Peak (.Dongme Kang).

Junction of Sikkim, Nepal, and Tibet: 270 52' 54", 88° 08' 06", 7,459 m. (24,472 feet), Kurz.

In September, 1909, Dr. A. M. Kellas reached 22,000 feet on west ridge (H.J., ii, 1930, p. 11).

1930. (1) Climbed by H. Hoerlin and E. Schneider on 3rd June (F. S. Smythe returned with G. Wood-Johnson, who was ill, before reaching the summit).

(2) Climbed by F. S. Smythe, U. Wieland, M. Kurz, and G. O. Dyhrenfurth on 8th June (H.J., iii, 1931, pp. 88, 89).

Kabru.

West Sikkim border: 270 37' 19", 88° 07' 28", 7,315 m. (24,002 feet), Kurz. (See Notes, pp. 172-3.) W. W. Graham claimed to have climbed Kabru on 6th October 1883; on 20th October 1907 G. W. Rubenson and Monrad Aas reached a point about 100 feet from the summit. (.H.J., ii, 1930, pp. 8, 9.)
  1. Climbed by C. R. Cooke, early in November (.H.J., viii, ^S6* PP- ^-17).
Kangchenjunga.

For the various attempts on Kangchenjunga, see Himalayan Journals, ii, pp. 13-20, iii, pp. 77-91, and iv, pp. 116-22. For an analysis of the problem of the climb, see H.J., vii, 1935, PP- 67-75.

Kang Peak.

West Sikkim border: 270 30' 55", 88° 03' 35", 5,572 m. (18,283 feet), Kurz.

1930. Climbed by H. Hoerlin and E. Schneider in April. They gave the height as 18,735 ^eet by barometer observations. (.H.J., iii, 1931, p. 81.)

Lachsi.

North Sikkim: 270 59' 30", 88° 30' 50", 21,100 feet, map 78A.
  1. Attempted by R. K. Hamblin and J. R. G. Finch in May. They were stopped at about 20,000 feet by a rift about 500 feet deep. (H.J., ix, 1937, p. 150.)
'Lagerberg

Zemu valley region: c. 270 47' 30", 88° 20' 50", 5,505 m. (18,060 feet), Bauer.

1936. Climbed by R. C. Nicholson and J. K. Cooke (H.J., ix, 1937, p. 148).

Lhonak Peak.

North Sikkim border: 270 55' 20", 88° 07' 55", 6,480 m. (21,260 feet), Kurz.

1930. Climbed by G. B. Gourlay and W. Eversden, with Lewa and Nima, on 13th October (H.J., iv, 1932, pp. 123-34).

1933. Climbed by E. E. Shipton and Ila Kitar on 19th July (.H.J., vi, 1934, p. 52).

‘Liklo (northpeak).’

Between Siniolchu and Lama Anden, exact position not known, height about 19,000 feet.

1936. Climbed by G. Hepp and A. Gottner on 31st August (H.J., ix> 19?>1> P- 62).

‘The Mouse.’

North-west ridge of Kangchenjunga: 270 44' 20", 88° 05' 38", 6,260 m. (20,540 feet), Kurz.

1930. Climbed by F. S. Smythe and E. Schneider in May (H.J., I93l> P- 86).

Nepal Peak.

West Sikkim border: 270 46' 33", 88° 11' 13", 7,153 m. (23,470 feet), Kurz. On Bauer's map the height is 7,180 m. (23,560 feet).

1930. Climbed by E. Schneider, 23rd May (H.J., iii, 1931, p. 87).

1936. Climbed by A. Gottner and K. Wien, 10th September (.H.J., ix, 1937, p. 65).

It is uncertain whether the summit reached in 1936 is identical with that reached in 1930.

‘Podon La Peak.’

Position and height uncertain.

1936. Climbed by P. Bauer and A. Gottner, 10th October (Z/.J., ix, i937> P. 7°)-

Piimakangtso (Gordamafi), West Peak.

Northern Sikkim, south of Gordamah lake: not identifiable on the Survey of India map 77A: c. 22,200 feet.

1936. Climbed by E. E. Shipton and E. G. H. Kempson, on 3rd July (H.J., ix, 1937, p. 156).

Pyramid Peak.

West Sikkim border: 270 49' 10", 88° 10' 35", 7,132 m. (23,400 feet).

1936. Attempted by F. Spencer Chapman, J. B. Harrison, and J. K. Cooke in June by north-east ridge. The subsidiary summit on this ridge, called by them 'the Sphinx' (c. 22,300 feet), was climbed (H.J., ix, 1937, p. 92).

Ramthang.

North-west ridge of Kangchenjunga: 27° 44'42", 88° 05'38", 6,700 m. (22,000 feet), Kurz.

1930. Climbed by F. S. Smythe and E. Schneider in May (.H.J., iii, 1931, p. 86).

‘The Sentinel.’

Tibet, just north of the Choten Nyima La: c. 270 58' 25", 88° 13' 00", 6,700 m. (22,000 feet), Kurz. The height given by

Dr. Kellas for this peak, which he climbed on 21st May 1910, was 21,240 feet (.H.J., ii, 1930, p. 11). In October 1932 Captain Osmaston determined its height accurately at 21,233 feet, a remarkable tribute to the accuracy of Dr. Kellas' work (H.J., v, I933> P. 109).
  1. Climbed by H. W. Tilman and E. H. L. Wigram in
July-

Simvu Massif.

East ridge of Kangchenjunga (Great Himalaya) between Tong- shyong and Zemu glaciers.

In September 1907 A. M. Kellas made three attempts with European guides, but failed owing to fresh snow and foul weather (.H.J., ii, 1930, p. 11).
  1. 'Point 6,550 m.' (21,490 feet), attempted by M. Pallis, F. Spencer Chapman, and J. K. Cooke in May (H.J., ix, 1937, pp. 148-9).
1936. 'Point 6,545 m.' (21,473 feet) climbed by P. Bauer, A. Gottner, and G. Hepp on 2nd October (H.J., ix, 1937, p. 69).

Points 6,550 and 6,545 may be designated the north-east and > north peaks respectively. It is believed that Kellas attempted point 6,790 m. (22,280 feet).

Siniolchu.

Watershed between Talung and Zemu valleys: 270 42' 42", 28° 19' 14", 22,600 feet, map 78A. The best map to show the ascent is Bauer's map, issued with H.J., vii, 1935, where the height is given as 6,891 m., or 22,610 feet. Kurz gives 6,895, or 22,623 feet.

1936. Climbed by K. Wien and A. Gottner, on 23rd September. P. Bauer and G. Hepp remained below the summit in close support (H.J., ix, 1937, pp. 66-8).

‘Sugar Loaf.’

Eastern spur of Twins, 6,440 m. (21,128 feet).

1931. Climbed by E. Allwein and J. Brenner early September (.H.J., iv, 1932, p. 119).

Heights of Various Features seen from Darjeeling

Mr. C. R. Cooke sends us some interesting details of research carried out by him on the heights of certain features, mountain summits and saddles, of the well-known panorama seen from Dar- jeeling. Mr. Cooke obtained data and instructions from Colonel Wheeler and Major Bomford, of the Survey of India, for calculating corrections for curvature and refraction. Twelve summits whose heights are known with a considerable degree of accuracy were used as a basis. The subtended vertical and horizontal angles of the twelve points at the lens of the camera were calculated, and a continuous curve plotted showing the error in the apparent position of points falling on different parts of the photograph due to a combination of lens distortion and error in the assumed refraction coefficient (0.7). The photograph was then measured up. Mr. Cooke claims no great accuracy for the method, but it probably gives better results than any we have for the features at present, and they are certainly worth recording.



The 12 peaks, with their heights, which were used as data, are the following (the figures in the first column refer to the outline drawing of the panorama):

Table i. Known Heights
Ref. No. Name Height Map
2 Janu 255294 78A
4 Little Kabru 22,000 78A
11 Kabru South 24,002 78A
17 Kabur 15,814 78A
19 Forked Peak (S) 20,017 78A
26 Kangchenjunga (3) 28,146 78A
28 Pandim 22,010 78A
29 Kangchenjunga (1) 25,522 Bauer
30 Kangchenjunga (0) 23,492 Bauer
3i Jubonu 19,530 78A
32 Kangchenjunga (2) 27,887 Bauer
In Table 2 below are given the results of the investigation. For convenience certain provisional names have been given to features which at present bear no names; these are shown in italics.

Table 2. Measured Heights
Ref. No. Name Height Remarks
1 Koktang Peak 20,385
3 Tower Rock 19,422 Rock peak 1 m. E. of Koktang.
5 Little Kabru Saddle 20,862
6 The Bastion 21,760 Junction of 2 spurs where S. ridge of Kabru S. bifurcates.
7 Upper Bastion 22,782 A point higher up on the S. ridge of Kabru.
8 Top Kanzel Rock 18,346 A prominent rock in the middle of the Kabru ice-fall.
10 Camp I Shoulder 18,641 A buttress on SW. ridge of the Dome, dividing the Kabru ice-fall from a minor glacier S. of the Dome.
12 Bottom of Ice-wall 20,069 See illustration, p. 113, H.J., viii, 1936
13 Isbrae 23,765 Highest portion of Kabru ice-field visible from Darjeeling
14 Dome Ridge Peak 21,787 A minor peak on the ridge between the Dome and Kabru N.
15 The Dome 21,479
16 Kabru N. 24,176
18 New Peak 23,803 A peak on the ridge between Kabru N. and Talung Col. Not shown on Kurz's map.
20 Talung Col 22,565 The high saddle between Kabru N. and Talung Peak
21 Talung Peak 23,868
22 Talung Saddle 21,930
23 Dome Glacier I 19,482 Minor peaks along the ridge dividingthe Alukthang valley from an unnamed glacier flowing NNE. from theDome into the Talung Glacier.
24 Dome Glacier II 19,624
25 Dome Glacier III 19,405
27 Guicha Peak 19,972
It will be seen that Kabru North works out 174 feet higher than Kabru South, that Talung Peak is about 308 feet lower than Kabru North, but 1,938 feet higher than the Talung Saddle. New Peak, between Kabru North and Talung Peak, is 373 feet lower than the former, and 65 feet lower than the latter.

Kolahoi in 1926

With reference to my foot-note to John Hunt's account of his ascent of Kolahoi by the south face, on p. 106, Himalayan Journal, vol. viii, 1936, Mr. G. R. Cooke informs me that he and Lieut. B. W. Battye climbed the peak on the 9th July 1926. They approached it by the same route that Dr. Neve and I took in 1912, by the Armiun Nar, the Hari Gati pass, and established their base camp by Har Nag. The peak was tackled from a light camp near point 15,314, about if miles ESE. of it, shown on the Survey of India Map 43 N/8. It was first attempted by a long rib of steep but easy rock at the eastern end of the south face. They then followed the crest of the east ridge, reached the prominent rock tower at about 16,200 feet, which was turned with some difficulty, and regained the arete beyond the saddle which terminates the long narrow snow couloir extending the whole length of the south face. The descent from here was made by the rocks at the side of this couloir, the same route taken by Dr. Neve and myself in 1912, as a small avalanche had been seen sweeping the whole length of the couloir while the party was rounding the rock tower. A second, and this time successful, attempt was made by the easier route up the side of the couloir to the east ridge, and the summit was reached at 1.30 p.m., seven and a half hours from the glacier.1



Himalayan Club Hut at Mome Samdong, Sikkim

The Honorary Secretary, Eastern Section, sends us the accompanying illustrations of the new Himalayan Club Hut at Mome Samdong, near the head of the Lachung valley in Sikkim. The hut is well placed to serve both the Sebu La and the Donkhya La. It is to be hoped that funds will shortly be available to build a second hut on the Sebu La route, so that the Lachen and Lachung valleys will be linked up without the traveller having to take tents.

Siwalik Erosion

To illustrate the paper by Mr. A. P. F. Hamilton on Siwalik Erosion that appeared in the Himalayan Journal, vol. vii, 1935, pp. 87-102, Major J. G. Pocock sends us an interesting photograph of the effects of erosion in a Cho five miles east of Hoshiarpur, on the road to Una. The soil has been completely eroded from the roots of the tree and it cannot be long before that tree must die. The photograph was taken by Miss Bosvile.

1 Alpine Journal, May 1927.

The Himalayan Club Hut at Mome Samdong, Sikkim

The Himalayan Club Hut at Mome Samdong, Sikkim



The Himalayan Club Hut at Mome Samdong, Sikkim

The Himalayan Club Hut at Mome Samdong, Sikkim



Erosion in Cho, east of Hoshiarpur

Erosion in Cho, east of Hoshiarpur



The Watts-Leiga Photo-theodolite

At my request, Mr. Michael Spender has sent me the following description of the instrument used during the Mount Everest reconnaissance in 1935.

'The combination of a Watts theodolite with a Leica camera called the Watts-Leica photo-theodolite was evolved at the Royal Geographical Society by Messrs. Hinks, Flower, and Spender in co-operation with the Watts firm. The light mountain theodolite is a standard instrument listed at about £50, which had been in the possession of the Society since 1926. A bridge was cast out of aluminium and arranged to fasten to the uprights of the theodolite with four screws. The bridge was in plan T-shaped, with three points of contact to define the position of the camera; the three contacts were the usual socket, groove, and plane used when it is desirable to have a precise return to position. The corresponding plate was attached to the ordinary removable shield of the camera. Here lay the least satisfactory part of the design, because this shield was not intended to fit with any great precision to the camera and therefore to the optical system.

'To design a satisfactory photo-theodolite a calibrated camera must be so related to a theodolite that the collimation marks on the photograph can be used to reconstruct the horizontal through the principal point. Calibration means a fixed relation of lens, marks, and focal plane where the magnitude of the principal distance and the position of the principal point are known. In the present design a thin glass plate was cemented (with "Durafix") to the metal "gate" or frame of the camera.1 This can be regarded as rigidly connected with the lens, for in this camera the lens is held in position by a retractable tube which, when extended, is firmly locked with the frame. The marks were defined as the intersection of a pair of perpendicular lines engraved on the glass with the camera frame. Tests have shown a high degree of correspondence in the registration of the film against this glass plate: and the lens (Elmar 5 cm. f. 3.5) is certainly adequate for any single-picture photogrammetry.

'The weakness of the present arrangement is that the system "lens-camera-frame" is not rigidly connected with the theodolite. Patently later design must meet this defect. The question then becomes: can the arrangement be used for stereoscopic or double-picture methods of photogrammetry where it is intended to plot in a machine? To my mind a combination of a miniature camera and a precision, eye-piece reading theodolite would make a very suitable equipment for the exploratory surveyor. He would use the theodolite for astronomical determinations of position, triangulation, and range- finding by the method of an optically measured base. The Zeiss firm have now developed such a combination on the well-known Zeiss II model theodolite. The theodolite, tripod, and bridge are listed at 1,750 RM., the Gontax camera at 380 RM., prices ex works. The outfit weighs 40 lb. The weights of the Watts-Leica instrument are

1 This it was only possible to do in a demonstration model of the Leica camera with a removable back. Such a camera would not be generally obtainable.

Theodolite................................ 6-7 lb.

Case for instrument. . . . 3-8 lb.

Camera and bridge in case . . 6-4 lb.

Standard tripod . . . . 5-7 lb.

22-6 lb.

‘A tripod specially made but lost on the 1936 Mount Everest Expedition weighed only 3 lb.'

The Naming of Peaks in the Himalaya

Attention is called to the letter from Brigadier H. J. Couchman, Surveyor-General of India, dated the 1st October 1936, regarding the invention of names for peaks and other features of the mountains to the north of India. The full text of the letter is published in the Honorary Secretary's Report for the year on p. 196, and it should be carefully studied. The Surveyor-General asks that his letter should be brought to the notice of travellers and will be grateful to explorers for any suggestions they may care to make. Names where possible should be given in the local vernacular, and English names should be given very sparingly. The words local vernacular are important. In an uninhabited area, such as parts of the Karakoram, the use of Balti or Ladakhi should, of course, be preferred to the language of Kashmiri shikaris or Darjeeling porters. In his letter the Surveyor- General asks that proposed names with sketches or annotated copies of Survey of India maps should be sent to him either direct or through the Himalayan Club. Full reasons should be given for the proposed names, with their meanings in English and the language adopted. Personal names will not be considered.

The Watts-Leica photo-theodolite for high mountain survey

The Watts-Leica photo-theodolite for high mountain survey



It is to be noted that the Surveyor-General is the sanctioning authority for the adoption of new names. Geographical names have been given by explorers in the past, a few of them with the consent of Surveyor-Generals, others without. The only knowledge the Survey has of some of the latter class is when a new traveller goes to a region and reports that a certain name is not known; in that case he sometimes suggests a new one. Once a name has been sanctioned by the Surveyor-General it is more in the interests of geography that future travellers should try and make the accepted name as widely known as possible in the district, so that that name and no other becomes current among the neighbouring people.

With the approval of the Surveyor-General, a small committee has for some time past been investigating the names of mountains in the Karakoram, and it is hoped to publish the results of the work of this committee in the next Himalayan Journal.

Rules for the Engagement of Porters

Attention is called to the rules and regulations for the employment of porters through the agency of the Himalayan Club, which are printed at the end of Club Proceedings, pp. 198 et seq.

Correction to Himalayan Journal, vol. viii, 1936

In Karl Wien's paper, 'Weather Conditions on Nanga Parbat, July 1934s, Table 1, p. 81, for Rainfall in mm. read Rainfall in cm.