THE HON. CHARLES GRANVILLE BRUCE
Members of the Himalayan Club will have heard with the deepest regret of the death of our distinguished Founder Member, General Bruce, on the 12th July 1939. It had been intended to publish a memoir in this volume, but, owing to the pressure of war duties, the writer who had undertaken it was unable to complete it before going to press. It is hoped to publish the memoir in the Journal for 1941. Meanwhile, perhaps we may quote from a short appreciation by Sir Francis Younghusband, which appeared in The Times of the 14th July 1939:
Brigadier-General the Hon. Charles G. Bruce remained a boy his whole life. Bubbling over with all the jollity of a child, he was unique. No one was like Charlie Bruce-his joviality was infectious. Any circle he entered became instantly alive. His jokes were of the simplest but he himself laughed so immoderately at them that no one could help laughing with him.
His great love was mountaineering. Next to mountains he loved Gurkhas. And when he had mountains and Gurkhas together he was in his element. He had climbed much in the Himalaya, and also in the Alps. As quite a young officer he had thought of climbing Mount Everest, and after his retirement he led two Mount Everest expeditions. But in addition to his skill as a mountaineer he had extraordinary aptitude for entering into the lives of mountain peoples, learning their fables and even singing their songs. He so obviously liked being with them that they would open out their hearts to him. And as he sang with them they would roar with delight.
He saw active service in many an Indian frontier campaign, as well as at Gallipoli. But it is as a gay mountaineer and lover of mountain folk that Bruce will always best be known. And right along both the Himalaya and the Alps, hillmen will join in mourning his loss.
Colonel Henry Wood, late of the Survey of India, died suddenly in January 1940 at his home at Driftways, Lower Bourne, Farnham, Surrey. Born on the 28th October 1872, he was commissioned in the Royal Engineers in 1892 and joined the Survey of India six years later.
It was in 1903 that Lord Curzon, then Viceroy of India, obtained the consent of the Nepal Durbar to settle the controversy regarding the identification of the Himalayan peaks in Nepal. Gaurisankar was first put forward as the native name for Mount Everest by Hermann Schlagintweit in 1852. This view was never accepted by the Survey of India, which had good reason to believe that Gauri Sankar was a separate peak 36 miles away.1 As the result of Wood's work there was no longer any doubt that the Survey of India view was correct.
At the end of the Tibet expedition in 1904 Wood accompanied Ryder on his remarkable journey through southern Tibet from Gyantse to Simla, when for the first time the course of the Tsangpo was surveyed to its source.
From 1905 to 1914 Wood was mostly in charge of topographical parties in central and southern India, but in 1914 he accompanied De Filippi on his great scientific expedition to the Karakoram, when many of the head-waters of the Yarkand river were explored and mapped. This adventure was brought to a premature end by the outbreak of the Four Years' War, Wood returning to London to take up military duties by way of Central Asia, Russia, the Near East, and Rome. During the War he served in France and Salonika, where it largely fell to him to introduce modern artillery survey methods and to reorganize the triangulation and survey of that part of the world.
After the defeat of Germany in 1918 Wood returned to the Survey of India, anxious to complete with De Filippi the exploration of the Shaksgam, which had had to be abandoned in 1914. Lack of financial support from Italy forced De Filippi to drop out, whereupon Wood offered to bear a large portion of the cost himself. When all preparations were complete and when he was within a few weeks of starting, final sanction was withheld, and the expedition had to be abandoned. Though bitterly disappointed, he most generously placed all his accumulated knowledge at the disposal of the present writer, who was fortunate in obtaining the necessary permission to carry on the Shaksgam exploration a few years later.
Wood was a Founder Member of the Himalayan Club and a member of the Alpine Club. For his work on the De Filippi expedition he received the thanks of H.M. the King of Italy, and was awarded the Order of the Crown of Italy and the Silver Medal of the Italian Geographical Society. In 1930 he received, rather belatedly, the Murchison Grant of the Royal Geographical Society. Soon after settling near Farnham, on his retirement from the Service in 1927, he suffered a long illness. He made a good recovery, however, and his sudden death came as a surprise and shock to his many friends.
For a brief note on this controversy see Himalayan Journal, vol. iii, 1931, pp. 126-8. In spite of being proved wrong, German maps and writers still persist in perpetuating this error.
MRS. JENNY VISSER-HOOFT
The sudden death of Mrs. Visser-Hooft, the wife and constant travel companion of Dr. P. G. Visser on his several Karakoram expeditions, occurred at the Royal Netherlands Legation at Ankara, just after the outbreak of war in September 1939. When the Himalayan Club was founded in 1928, ladies were ineligible for election; otherwise Mrs. Visser would have been invited to become a Founder Member. As a Karakoram traveller she was outstanding, and both in the field and in society she had a most accomplished, charming and captivating personality.
PASANG KIKULI, PHINSOO SHERPA, AND PASANG KITAR
The brief story of the American expedition to K2
has been told elsewhere in this volume. The mistakes made cost the lives of three Sherpa porters who gallantly made every effort to bring down Dudley Wolfe from the high camp at 24,700 feet where he had lain alone for six days and nights. The three porters who thus gave their lives were Pasang Kikuli (No. 8), Phinsoo Sherpa (No. 141), and Pasang Kitar. It will be remembered that on the 28th July, Pasang Kikuli and Tsering accomplished the amazing feat of climbing from the Base Camp at about 17,000 feet to Camp 6 at 23,400 feet over ground much of which was difficult; the following day Pasang Kikuli and the two porters, Phinsoo Sherpa and Pasang Kitar, who were awaiting them in Camp 6, reached Wolfe at Camp 7, but were unable to persuade him to descend, and after making him as comfortable as possible were themselves compelled to return to Camp 6, as they had no tents or equipment with them. On the following day they made another attempt to reach Wolfe and bring him down. They were never seen again. The three men gave their lives in the attempt to save the American climber. They have added new honour to the record held by the Sherpa and Bhotia porters.
Pasang Kikuli (No. 8) was one of the first of the Himalayan Club porters to be enlisted. Born in 1911 in Sola Khombu, Nepal, he went on all three Kangchenjunga expeditions, in 1929, when he was only 18 years of age, in 1930, and in 1931. In 1933 he was on Mount Everest and reached Camp 5; but for frost-bite he would have gone on to Camp 6, for Ruttledge wrote of him that he was one of the best porters and a great worker. Pasang Kikuli was one of the few survivors of the terrible Camp 8 on Nanga Parbat in 1934.1
On that occasion he was Uli Wieland's personal servant, and remained with him until his death at Camp 7 on the 9th July, before starting down with Kitar, Dawa Thondup, and Nima Tashi. Three of these eventually reached Camp 4 terribly frost-bitten.
In his chit written after the expedition, Bechtold wrote: 'Reached Camp 7 on
Owing to his frost-bite in 1934 and other causes he was unable to take any part in expeditions the following year, but he was out again in 1936 with Tilman's Nanda Devi expedition. Frost-bite again prevented him from going high, but Emmons wrote that he was by far the best porter, a fine personal servant, energetic, and hardworking. He was the only porter with Houston and Tilman on their first crossing of the Nanda Devi pass1
over the eastern rim of the Nanda Devi basin.
He was on the K2
reconnaissance in 1938, when Streatfeild wrote of him: 'A really excellent porter in every way. Good on rock and ice and always safe on a rope. Acted as Sirdar and carried out his duties admirably. An excellent orderly.' Wiessner writes after the tragedy in 1939: 'The death of Pasang Kikuli takes away one of the finest men and best climbers from the climbing fraternity.' This veteran of the hills, though only 28 years of age, is indeed a loss. He leaves a widow and two young children.
Phinsoo Sherpa (No. 141) was born in 1913 in Sola Khombu, but was a comparative beginner in technical mountaineering. He was a brother of Kirken Sherpa, the old Mount Everest porter. He was on the K2
reconnaissance of 1938, when Houston remarked on his sense of humour, willingness, and cheerfulness. 'He was unavoidably exposed to stone-falls on several occasions and showed no visible reactions'; but though a novice and only of moderate ability on difficult rocks 'he learns quickly and with more experience would be quite reliable'. Phinsoo Sherpa was unmarried.
Pasang Kitar Sherpa was a novice, and had not yet been given a number. That he was a promising climber is proved by what he did on the expedition on which he lost his life. He leaves a young widow and two babies. His wife was the daughter of Songlu Sirdar, one of the old porters who climbed with Dr. A. M. Kellas in Sikkim and who was on the early Mount Everest expeditions.
NIMA DORJE I (No. 26)
Many of our members will hear with regret of the death of that fine old veteran Nima Dorje I. His climbing record included Mount Everest (1924), Kangchenjunga (1929, 1930), Kamet (1931), Nanda Devi (1932), Mount Everest (1933), Chomiomo (1933), Nanga Parbat (1934), and he was with Kaulback in Tibet from 1935 to 1937. He had served with General Bruce, Bauer, Dyhrenfurth, Smythe, Ruttledge, Gourlay, and Merkl, and his name appears often in the pages of our Journal. He was born in 1903 and died while on a trading expedition to Gyantse in the autumn of 1938.
Nanga Parbat at 26,000 feet, and was one of the 6 men to return alive. Good orderly and porter.' There is no doubt whatever that, from Bechtold's own account, Pasang Kikuli reached Camp 8 (Himalayan Journal, vol. vii, 1935, pp. 34-7, 167).
See Himalayan Journal, vol. ix, 1937, p. 35, where he is merely alluded to as 'Pasang'.
NUKKU SHERPA (No. 70)
Nukku Sherpa, who was born in 1910, was on two Mount Everest expeditions, in 1936 and 1938, under Ruttledge and Tilman, and was with Shipton in the Shaksgam expedition of 1937. He died of fever while in Assam with Tilman in the early part of 1939.
NIMA TSERING SHERPA (No. 129)
Nima Tsering, who was born in 1907, claimed to have been with Dyhrenfurth on Kangchenjunga in 1930, but had lost his chit. He then went back to Nepal for some years and on his return was with several small expeditions in Sikkim, where he showed his capabilities. He was then with the Anglo-American expedition to Nanda Devi in 1936, with Grob on Siniolchu in 1937, and with Waller on Masherbrum in 1938. He died in Darjeeling on the 10th February 1939-
Note. The two porters who were killed in the avalanche on Chaukhamba (Badrinath) in Garhwal in September 1939, while with Andre Roch's Swiss expedition, had not been engaged by the Himalayan Club, though one of them, Gombu, a novice, had already done some work for the Club.