THE ANNUAL General Meeting of The Himalayan Club was held at Army Headquarters, Delhi, on the 25th February, 19£9, at 9-30 a.m. The President, Field-Marshal Sir William Bird wood, Bart., took the chair.
The Honorary Secretary read his report on the work of the Club in the past year, which is printed below. The Club Accounts for 1928 were considered and confirmed. The Officers, Members of the Committee, and additional Members of the Balloting Committee were elected for the year from the 1st April, 1929, and Mr. John Reid, Manager of the Chartered Bank, Amritsar, was appointed Auditor.
REPORT ON THE WORK OF THE CLUB IN THE YEAR 1928.
BY THE HONORARY SECRETARY.
I WILL make this report as short as possible, but I should like to establish the practice of informing members at the annual General Meeting of the activities of the Club during the past year. Our membership is so widely scattered that it will be difficult otherwise for everyone to know what is happening, and what the management is doing to carry out the objects of the Club.
Rules of the Club and Registration.—At the inaugural Meeting last year the Committee of the Club was authorized to frame the Memorandum and Articles of Association (Rules) in accordance with the decisions of the Meeting, and to register the Club under the Indian Companies Act as a Company limited by guarantee of Rs. 50 for each member. We are indebted to Mr. T. E. T. Upton, one of the founders of the Club, for drafting our Memorandum and Articles and putting through the formalities of registration ; and we are fortunate that there was one so competent as the Solicitor to the Government of India to do this for us. I know personally how much trouble Mr. Upton took, and how well the Rules that he drafted have been found to work in the practical administration of the Club's affairs. We also have to thank the Government of the Punjab for allowing us to register the Club without the addition of the word " Limited " to our name. The Club was actually registered on the 19th October, 1928.
Amalgamation with the Mountain Club.—A matter of great importance to the future of the Club, which was also discussed at the inaugural Meeting, was our relations with the Mountain Club of India. It was then decided that the Mountain Club should be asked whether they would be willing to amalgamate, and I was authorized to approach the Mountain Club accordingly. I am glad to be able to tell you that an extraordinary General Meeting of the Mountain Club, held in Calcutta on the 14th December last, agreed that amalgamation was desirable " for the benefit of the common aims of the two Clubs ; " and amalgamation has finally been arranged on the following terms :—
All members of the Mountain Club have now been elected by the Balloting Committee to be ordinary members of the Himalayan Club. The Committee of the Club will to-day propose that Mr. Alexander Marr, Vice-President of the Mountain Club, should be elected Vice- President of the Himalayan Club; that Mr. G. B. Gourlay, the Honorary Secretary of the Mountain Club, should be elected Honorary Local Secretary in Calcutta ; and that Lieutenant-Colonel H. W. Tobin, a member of the Mountain Club Committee, should be elected Honorary Local Secretary in Darjeeling. The Committee will also propose that three other members of the Mountain Club Committee, Mr. J« S. Hannah, Mr. H. Newman and Mr. C. R. Cooke, should be elected members of the Balloting Committee. Some of us, including our President, Brigadier Wilson, Major Mason, Mr. Ruttledge and myself, are also members of the Mountain Club. Thus it may be expected that after to-day's election, seven members of the Committee and five additional members of the Balloting Committee will have been members of the Mountain Club. From to-day on the two Clubs will be a single organization, strong and united to carry out our common objects.
Number of Members,—I know you will cordially welcome the 49 new members whom amalgamation has brought to us. Our membership has now reached 250. There were 127 founder members, and 74 ordinary members, apart from the members of the Mountain Club, have been elected. A steady stream of proposals continues. The last ballot was only a week ago, and already there are 14 more candidates to be elected. And as the value of the Club is recognized— when it is found how easy it really is to go to the Himalaya— I am confident that the number of our members will continually increase.
Information and Intelligence.—Our first year has properly been devoted to organization. A memorandum on " Information and Intelligence " has been sent to all members, and I need not weary you now with the details of our scheme. I feel, however, that the Club in General Meeting would like to thank those who have so freely agreed to place their great knowledge and experience at the disposal of members, as Local Secretaries, Local Correspondents/ Scientific and Technical Correspondents and Assistant Editors. The Club is now organized to assist members travelling in the Himalaya not only with information about the details of their journey, but also with expert advice and information on almost any scientific or technical subject relating to the Himalaya in which they are likely to be interested. We are specially grateful to Major Kenneth Mason, our Honorary Editor, and I know he would like me to say how much he appreciates the contributions of those who have sent him notes and diaries of their journeys. Major Mason is the clearing-house of the Club's Information, and the success of our organization depends not only on him, but also on the willingness of members to furnish him with first-hand accounts of their doings in the Himalaya, which may seem unimportant to themselves but, accumulated, are the only sure basis of the route books and district guides that we hope to produce. He wishes, in particular, that members who are undertaking any considerable journey, will let him know well in advance, so that he can tell them what fresh information is wanted in that district, what old information requires check. A new edition of " Routes in the Western Himalaya, Volume I," will be published in April, and it is satisfactory that 54 out of the 100 routes in it have been checked on the ground since 1922.
Library.—Our arrangements for information and intelligence will be incomplete without an adequate library. The funds of the Club are limited and the purchase of books can only be gradual. Meanwhile, through the kindness of Army Headquarters, the United Service Institution and the Survey of India, books relating to the objects of the Club may be loaned to members from their large and valuable libraries. Catalogues of the books available are now being sent to members. At the same time it is hoped that members will help us to build up a library of our own, and supplement the narrow resources of the Club by donations. Many of our members have themselves written about the Himalaya, and we have to thank some of them for presentation copies of their works. Other members have sent typescript diaries or descriptions of routes and climbs, illustrated by photographs, which are of great value not only to other travellers but also as material for our route books and guides. We are especially grateful to the Alpine Club, which has generously sent us a set of the back numbers of The Alpine Journal that are still in stock, Lieutenant-Colonel E. H. Phillimore has now been appointed Librarian, and we may be sure that our library will steadily grow under his careful guidance.
Photographs.—Photographs are an important adjunct to intelligence, and we hope to accumulate in the Club library a representative collection of Himalayan photographs, arranged in district albums. To encourage this, an experimental exhibition was held in September in conjunction with the Simla Fine Arts Exhibition. The exhibition, which was arranged at very short notice by Colonel W. B. Spalding, was necessarily small; but the fine photographs sent by Mr. C. P. Skrine, Mr. N. A. Tombazi and others were greatly admired, and it is hoped that a larger exhibition will be held during the coming year. Several of the exhibitors generously presented their exhibits to the Club to form the nucleus of our collection. But we do not only want photographs for exhibition purposes. Photographs which may not be works of art, may still be most valuable to illustrate routes and to form a pictorial record of the country and its life. Members travelling in the Himalaya are asked to take photographs, especially photographs of topographical interest, and to send copies to the Librarian for the Club collection.
Equipment.—There is no matter on which travellers in the Himalaya require information more than on equipment. It has been decided to appoint a Sub-Committee to examine the question, and to prepare a note on the equipment and stores suitable for various types of Himalayan expeditions. Brigadier R. C. Wilson has kindly consented to act as Chairman of the Sub-Committee, and we are fortunate to be able to call on his wide experience and sound judgment.
"The Himalayan Journal".—Last and most important is The Himalayan Journal. The Committee has authorized Major Mason to produce the first number of the Journal, and it is hoped that it will be published by the end of April. It will be welcomed, I am sure, not only as a record of the activities of the Club and its members, but for its great interest and scientific value.
Expeditions in 1028.—Although the management of the Club has been concentrated on organization, the year has been an important one for Himalayan exploration, in which our members have played their part.
In Kashmir the ornithological expedition organized by Admiral Lynes, with two of our members, Mr. Hugh Whistler and Mr. B. B. Osmaston, has made a large collection of birds in the Lolab and Sind valleys, Baltistan and Suru, and the Gilgit Agency. The collection totalled 1,150 specimens and about 450 birds' eggs. Mr. Whistler is now engaged in the detailed study of this collection in England.
At the eastern end of the Himalaya, another member, Mr. Kingdon Ward with Mr. H. M. Clutter buck made a botanical exploration of the Mishmi Hills. A large number of new plants has been collected, and further interesting evidence of the eastern extension of the Himalayan axis has been obtained. We hope to publish detailed accounts of these two expeditions in the forthcoming Journal.
We were particularly glad to welcome another member of our Club, His Royal Highness the Duke of Spoleto, on his arrival in India for his preliminary expedition to the Karakoram. He successfully formed his depot of supplies at Askole, the nearest village to the great Baltoro glacier. On the way back Dr. Balestreri made the first ascent of the rocky peak, Cheri Chor, immediately west of the Skoro La. This year the main Italian expedition will be occupied in the Karakoram, while the Duke himself will endeavour to cross the Central Asian watershed at the head of the Baltoro glacier to the mid Shaksgam valley.
Another member, Lieutenant -Colonel Reginald Schomberg, who left India for Kashgar in the autumn of 1927, is still travelling and exploring in the Tien Shan. He has not yet been able to give us an account of his doings.
Kashgar has been a centre of considerable activity, and it is unfortunate that the Chinese authorities do not at present look favourably on scientific exploration. We have, however, received brief descriptions of two interesting tours made by members, one by Mr. F. Williamson, the Consul-General, and the other by Lieutenant G. Sheriff, the Vice-Consul. The former traversed entirely unexplored country, the area of the eastern outer hills of the Pamir massif, between Kichik Karaul in the Kin-Kol valley and Kaying Aghzi in the Kara- tash, where he reached the route described previously by Mr. C. P. Skrine. Unfortunately Mr, Williamson had to curtail his visit to the " Alps of Qungur " owing to the murder of the Chinese Governor at Kashgar.
Lieutenant Sheriff has sent us some interesting notes of a journey he accomplished from Kashgar to the Tekkes valley, about four marches from Kulja.
Hearer home, though still a month's journey from the rail-heads of northern India, another member, Mr. F. Ludlow, crossed the Depsang plains to examine the lake in the upper Shyok caused by the advance of the Kumdan glacier. He has enabled us to keep in close touch with the situation there, and the possible danger of a flood.
Of the minor expeditions made by members, of which there have been many, mostly for the purposes of sport, I may mention that of Captain and Mrs. Lethbridge, through Spiti and Rupshu to the Tibetan border.
Two important expeditions, which have been carried out in Central Asia by German explorers, were completed during the year. -The first was the journey of Dr. Emil Trinkler, the geologist, through eastern Ladakh and over the barren Aksai-chin plateau to Chinese Turkistan, where he studied the orography of the Mazar-tagh and the origin of the Takla-makan desert, with most interesting results.
The second was the expedition of Dr. Wilhelm Filchner, who entered Chinese Turkistan at Kulja. From here he passed through Urumchi and Hami, and crossed the Gobi desert to Anhsi. He spent the winter of 1926-27 on the Sino-Tibetan border near Koko Nor, where he encountered General Ma and Marshal Feng. In May 1927 he made for Lhasa, but was stopped 150 miles to the north, and was compelled to turn westwards to Ladakh, which he reached partly by a previously unexplored route about mid-February 1928. Dr. Filchner established a number of magnetic stations during his travels, and his final results, now being compiled in Berlin, will be awaited with interest.
Accommodation and Staff.—There are two other matters which I should like to bring to your notice—uninteresting perhaps, but of considerable importance in the daily administration of the
Club—namely, accommodation and secretarial staff. In these early days, when our income is small, it is especially necessary to reduce overhead charges to a minimum. And we have to thank the United Service Institution at Simla for so kindly housing us during the first months of our existence, and allowing us to share a clerk. The growth of the Club has now made it necessary to terminate this arrangement, and during the forthcoming summer, thanks to the Surveyor General we shall be accommodated in the office of the Survey of India at Simla. We can, however, only regard this as a temporary convenience, and I think you will agree that we should so direct our finances as to be able to provide for our own permanent Club room.
We have been able to effect a great economy in our secretarial charges by the appointment as Honorary Assistant Secretary of Mrs. Pattinson, well known to climbers as Miss Mabel Capper. The Club is greatly in her debt. Speaking for myself, I do not think that I could have carried on the duties of Secretary without her cheerful and efficient help. She knows our affairs, and there is no more sanguine optimist about our future.
We are hardly less indebted to my Personal Assistant, Mr. Ramchandra, who has done an enormous amount of work for us, and to Mr. Raja Ram of the Foreign Department who, during the absence of Mr. Young in England, carried on under Mr. Acheson's supervision the work of the Honorary Treasurer.