Himalayan Journal vol.10
The Himalayan Journal

Publication year:

Kenneth Mason
    (F. Ludlow)
    (J. B. Auden)
    (John Hunt and C.R. Cooke)
    (Y. Hotta)
    (J.A. K. Martyn)
    (Kenneth Mason)
  9. NANGA PARBAT, 1937
  10. THE KASHMIR ALPS, 1937
    (James Waller)
    (J. O. M. ROBERTS)
  15. NOTES


Himalayan Club Dinner in London

A club dinner will take place on Friday, the 1st July 1938, at the Cafe Royal, Regent Street, London, W., at 7.30 p.m. for 8 p.m. Brigadier-General the Hon. C. G. Bruce, c.b., m.v.o., has kindly consented to preside.

The cost of the dinner, excluding drinks, will be 8s, 6d. per head. Will members desiring to attend, or to bring their wives or other guests, kindly inform

lieut.-colonel H. W. Tobin, d.s.o., o.b.e., Welford farm house, newbury, berks.

The Himalayan Journal

The present volume is the tenth that I have edited. In previous Journals I have appealed to members to submit their papers for publication by the end of December at latest, and earlier, if possible. The response to this appeal has been so poor that only two papers for the current volume were received by the end of 1937. This has meant a great pressure of editorial work at a very busy time, besides increased expenditure on postage and telegrams to the Club. I would like to acknowledge here the help received from Mrs. Joan Townend, in India, and Colonel Tobin, in England, in beating up the delinquents.

All papers and other communications for publication in volume xi, 1939, must reach the Honorary Editor, The Himalayan Journal, School of Geography, Mansfield Road, Oxford, by the 31st December 1938. No papers received after that date will be considered for publication in 1939. If only two papers are received, only two will be published.

Sketch-maps should be sent to accompany articles, if necessary; they should be clearly drawn in Indian ink; I can make some sort of show at redrawing them for publication if the author does not l ed himself capable of doing so. Photographs for publication should be half-plate size or larger, printed on glossy bromide paper, and should show as much contrast as possible.

Karakoram Glaciers

Members will recollect the excitement caused by the bursting of the Chong Kumdan glacier in 1926, 1929, and 1932. In recent years very little has been heard of this glacier and its activities; but it was degenerating fairly rapidly in 1935. In 1934 I summarized my results of a study of this glacier and others in its neighbourhood in a paper read before the Royal Geographical Society on the 19th November 1934.1 I would be very glad if any traveller who is passing up the upper Shyok would very kindly send me copies of any photographs of the Chong Kumdan, the Kichik Kumdan, or the Aktash glaciers, which he may take, so that I can continue the study of their movements. The Chong Kumdan should now be degenerating fast; the Kichik Kumdan should be on the point of advancing suddenly and rapidly to block the river, if it has not already done so, and it might cause a minor flood in 1939 or 1940; the Aktash should still be well clear of the river bank. Further details of these glaciers will be found in Himalayan Journals, vols, i, I929 PP- 4-28; ii, 1930, pp. 35-47; iii, 1931, pp. 155-7; iv l93 pp. 67-74; v, 1933, pp. 98-102, 128-30; vi, 1934, pp. 157-8; vii, !935 PP- 163-4.

Any information about the behaviour of the three glaciers in Hunza and Nagar, the Yenguts Har, the Minapin, and the Hasana- bad, would also be most welcome. The first two named should be in an extremely interesting condition at present, and are likely to advance suddenly at any time. When last reported upon they were very degenerate, but there was a vast and growing accumulation of unstable ice in the collecting-grounds overhanging their basins. If any one stationed at Gilgit could get to these glaciers early in the spring, say in the months of May 1939 or 1940, when ‘the crops are about a hand's breadth high', they might be able to witness the ice of the glacier advancing rapidly. A series of photographs taken during the advance would be most valuable to glaciologists.

Royal Geographical Society Awards

With the approval of His Majesty the King, the Royal Geographical Society bestowed two of its Gold Medals, in 1937 and 1938, on members of the Himalayan Club, Brigadier C. G. Lewis and Mr. Eric Shipton.

In 1937 Brigadier Lewis, now Surveyor-General, received the Founder's Gold Medal in recognition of the extremely valuable services to geography carried out by him in India and elsewhere over a long period. In 1911-12 he was engaged on exploration in the almost unknown Miri country of the North-east Frontier of India. During the Great War he served both in France and in Mesopotamia, and in the last theatre did much to improve early methods of air-survey. At the end of the war he carried out a rapid 1 Geographical Journal, vol. Ixxxv, 1935, pp. 24-41 but most valuable triangulation up the Euphrates, connecting the surveys of Iraq with those of Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. He was next in charge of the survey work of the Afghan Boundary Commission after the Afghan war of 1919. In 1924 he organized the pioneer air-survey of the Irrawaddy delta, a most difficult region to survey by ordinary ground methods; the success of this work was almost entirely due to Lewis's initiative. The years 1927-8 saw him in charge of the boundary survey on the Turco-Iraq Delimitation Commission, where once more he developed new methods, on this occasion stereo-photogrammetry, for the mapping of ground away from the actual boundary. From 1928 to 1931 he was in charge of the surveys of Dir, Swat, Chitral, and parts of the Gilgit Agency. As the President of the Royal Geographical Society remarked in making the award: ‘He has throughout shown great originality in his methods and has vastly advanced the technique of survey. Like so much first-class work, Colonel Lewis's work has been carried out quietly and without ostentation or publicity. He has already inspired many of those engaged in survey work and has encouraged and advised many explorers.' I may add for the information of our members that it is mainly due to Brigadier Lewis's skill in draughtsmanship that our Indian maps of the glaciated regions of the high Himalaya have reached such a standard of excellence during the last few years.

The Patron's Medal for 1938 goes to Eric Shipton. Members of the Himalayan Club will hardly have to be told of his activities, for they are so recent that all have been recorded in Himalayan Journals of the last six years. Shipton came to the Himalaya from his farm in East Africa, where he had already climbed all the most interesting peaks. He first joined Frank Smythe's successful attack on Kamet in 1931, being one of the party which reached the summit ; later in the course of that expedition he climbed a packet of peaks in the Arwa basin.1 He is next known to us as a member of the 1933 Mount Everest expedition, when he reached Camp 6 in an attempt on the summit with Smythe.2 In 1934 he succeeded in penetrating and exploring the 'inner sanctuary' of Nanda Devi, a feat never performed before, and then carried out some valuable exploration of the Arwa-Gangotri watershed and its neighbourhood.3 In 1935 he was chosen by Hugh Ruttledge to lead the reconnaissance of that year to Mount Everest, a task which he successfully accomplished with a minimum of equipment and expense.4 The following year he was again with the Mount Everest adventure, when it will be remembered that foul weather prevented any serious assault from being launched.[1] Immediately on his return from this he joined the Survey of India party that was surveying the Nanda Devi region, when his technical skill in mountaineering was of the greatest value.[2] The story of his Shaksgam expedition of last year is told by Michael Spender in this volume,[3] and that of his part in this year's Mount Everest expedition will be told, I hope, in the Himalayan Journal for 1939. This is truly a Himalayan record.

1 Himalayan Journal, vol. iv, 1932, pp. 27-45. 2 Ibid., vol. vi, 1934, pp. 31-46.

3 Ibid., vol. vii, 1935, pp. 1-26. 4 Ibid., vol. viii, 1936, pp. 1-13.

Two other awards of the Royal Geographical Society in 1937 are of special interest to members of the Himalayan Club. The Murchi- son Grant was awarded to Ronald Kaulback for his exploration of the Salween valley and south-east Tibet, when a reconnaissance survey of some 50,000 square miles of almost unknown territory was made. Kaulback is a member of the Himalayan Club, but so far has neglected to give us an account of his journey, so I shall say no more about his venture. We hope to have a paper from him next year. The other award of interest is that of the Back Grant to L. R. Wager, in recognition of his researches in mountain physiography, mainly in East Greenland, but also in the Himalaya. He was a member of the 1933 Mount Everest expedition, but is not a member of the Himalayan Club, though he ought to be.

Names and the Spelling of Names

The problem of naming geographical features in the Karakoram that have no names has been dealt with elsewhere in this volume.4 The transliteration and romanization of existing geographical names from foreign dialects and scripts, particularly on the frontiers of India and beyond them, is another difficulty. It is a problem which worries a geographically minded editor considerably; for some authors take no trouble whatever over the spelling of their place- names, others are fussily pedantic, and only a small proportion take the trouble to be straightforward, reasonable, and consistent. It is an advantage in geographical literature that names should be consistently spelt, that they should be recognizable on maps, easily indexed without numerous cross-references, and bear a reasonable resemblance to the phonetic equivalents, so that the ordinary man or woman can use the word in the country without receiving completely blank looks.

On Indian maps the Hunterian system is employed, and the spelling used for names in the Imperial Gazetteer is adopted, unless any change is approved by the Surveyor-General. There are, of course, exceptions where conventional spellings have been accepted from common usage. That system works extremely well for India; but unfortunately it is not applicable to many frontier and transfrontier languages and dialects, with the result that the names of places where these are spoken have not had the same care bestowed on them as elsewhere. This applies particularly to place-names in Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet, and the adjacent provinces of China. The result has been that there are at least three schools of thought on the subject, three widely differing companies of opinion.

There is 'A' Company, composed of men with dirty buttons. One half-company is comprised of people who know no better or who are too lazy to learn; the other half-company is made up of irritating but courageous men who have been driven out of the very select 'B' Company by exasperation. T spell my names anyhow,5 wrote Lawrence in the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, 'to show what rot the systems are.'

'B' Company is composed of men with buttons all over them, front and back, top and bottom. There is a lot to be said for these people if they parade in secret, and only come on show when they have decided where the buttons should be and how few they can do with. But when they turn up before geographers with dots and accents above and below their letters and strange unpronounceable names which look like nothing on earth in the English language, they are a curse. Among these I would include the delightful people who revel in such names as 'Mi-ti Gu-ti Cha-pu Long-nga, or more correctly written Mi-thik Dgu-thik Bya-phur Long-nga'; I would include those superior persons who, in order to make a geographer's life a hard one, first transliterate Mongolian and Turki names into their version of Arabic or Persian, and then into a freakish English, using ‘K's and 'Q,'s indifferently as the fancy takes them for a single sound in the original language. Among them I would also include a certain number of people who have a smattering of the subject and pose as experts. I am no linguist; only a plain geographer with a tendency to go red in the neck when this stuff is forced on him. I have come to loathe eB' Company and all its works. Fortunately there are very few of them in the Himalayan Club.

'C' Company is 'the Geographers' Own'. Its members have few buttons and clean ones. They are men who really try to help, who conform to a sensible simple system that is intelligible to sensible people, who use the spellings already on the map or give good reason for departing from them. To this company belongs the real expert who uses his linguistic knowledge to help geography and not to hinder it, and who, having found his derivation, puts his spelling in a form that is easy to pronounce, remember, and understand.

Occasionally some difference of opinion is expressed regarding the application of a native name, on the grounds of faulty derivation or spelling. It is possible that in the future some better spelling for such a name may be adopted. Surveyors and explorers, however anxious they may be to get at the correct derivation of a word, may not have the requisite language qualifications for the best solution. Many of them do not realize the difficulty of these problems. It is here that the real expert can help, as Colonel Lorimer and others have helped in the problem of Karakoram names (see above, pp. 116-25). Some conventionalism is essential to the needs of ordered geography.

Advertisements in the Himalayan Journal

I would like to suggest to members of the Himalayan Club that they should deal as far as possible with those firms who support us by advertising in the Himalayan Journal. While I cannot, of course, hold myself responsible for any of the goods advertised, or for the service given by any of the firms, I do try to get the best firms to advertise in our pages, and it is only fair that we should support those who support us.

[1] Himalayan Journal; vol. ix, 1937, PP- 1-15*

[2] Ibid., vol. ix, 1937, pp. 74-87.

[3] Ante, pp. 22-39.