1. The Japanese Ascent of Nanda Kot
  2. The Spelling of Asiatic Names



1 The Japanese Ascent of Nanda Kot

To the Honorary Editor,

The Himalayan Journal

Dear Sir,

It will be seen (Himalayan Journal, vol. x, p. 73) that the Japanese party made four camps above my old bivouac of 1905, while I took eight hours {Alpine Journal, vol. xxiii, p. 211) from my camp to reach the snow dome, 21,450 feet, of the Japanese, which is seen in plate 3 (H.J., vol. x, p. 73) to the left of the summit well beyond their Camp IV site. Certainly I had the very great advantage of the fine icemanship of Alexis and Henri Brocherel; but a comparison of this plate 3 with mine in the Alpine Journal, vol. xxiii, p. 211, will show the real reason of the comparative slowness of the Japanese party. The easy route we found in 1905 to the left, in the Alpine Journal photograph, up the ice-fall, no longer exists, and the Japanese thus had a far more difficult problem than we had to face.

I think that the more broken character of the seracs and crevasses is due to a thinning out of the depth of the ice on this face, a matter sometimes overlooked through concentration of observation on the advance or retreat of the snout of a glacier.

Though the first part of the route is not so steep as the east face of the North Col on Mount Everest, yet neither my Alpine Journal photograph nor plate 3 or 7 in the Himalayan Journal indicates the steepness of the final ridge (vide Somervell, in A. J., vol. xxxix, p. 78). Plate 7 must have been taken from the 'col' below the snow dome and the commencement of the steep final ridge is masked by this feature. The Japanese party found safer snow conditions in October than we found in June.

In contrast with the above case of glacial diminution, I find that Lieut. J. F. S. Ottley's photograph of Deo Tal and the Abijugan glacier, on the Mana pass, taken in August 1937 (H.J., vol. x, p. 182) shows no perceptible regression compared with my own, a copy of which is in the Royal Geographical Society's collection, and which was taken on the 21st July 1907.

Yours faithfully,
Tom G. Longstaff.

19 St. Edmund's Court,
St. Edmund's Terrace, London, N.W. 8.
3rd October, 1938.



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2 The Spelling of Asiatic Names

To the Honorary Editor,

The Himalayan Journal.


I was glad to see the protest in volume x of the Journal against the too meticulous spelling of Asiatic names on maps and the very necessary defence of the unfortunate letter 'K'. The 'dots and accents' are apt soon to be lost or misunderstood, the result being far worse than a bold and frank attempt to get as near as possible to the native pronunciation with the letters of our own alphabet, subject to the rule, 'English consonant and Italian vowel pronunciation'. In particular, the custom of putting 'h' in to harden or alter the Tibetan consonants, K, P, T, Gh, &c., does great harm. Kh has a special sound in Persian and some other Asiatic languages, and this sound is apt to be transferred to a Tibetan name with disastrous results. Similarly, ph has a special sound in English. An example of the deplorable results of the use of this 'h' is in the word Phari, the well-known town on the road to Tibet and Mount Everest. This has now come to be pronounced Fari (no doubt the French 'lighthouse' has helped to lead us astray), whereas Pari would have been much nearer the correct pronunciation. No doubt these extra letters and marks are helpful to the expert who may want to read from the English the native spelling of the word; but the expert is a rare bird who in any case will know or learn the correct pronunciation, and we do less harm if we cater for the general public and go for greater simplicity.

In several recent books on Tibet the spelling of previous travellers has been altered. This is all right where explanations for the change are given, but where one traveller has taken the trouble to get a name spelt in Tibetan by the local people the name should be left alone. Spelling is in an uncertain state in Tibet. The Prime Minister himself spelt the name for Everest both Cha-mo-lung and Cha-ma-lung, the latter more often.

Yours faithfully,
F. M. Bailey.

3rd March, 1939.


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