The Twelfth Annual General Meeting of the Himalayan Club was held in the Army Head-quarters Officers' Library, Imperial Secretariat, New Delhi, on Tuesday, the 27th February 1940. The President of the Club, Lieut.-General Sir Roger Wilson, k.c.b., d.s.o., m.g., took the chair.
The Minutes of the Eleventh Annual General Meeting of the Club held on the 28th February 1939, and of its reassembled meeting of the 9th May 1939, were confirmed. The Honorary Secretary (Major E. St. J. Birnie) presented the Report on the work of the Club for 1939, which was accepted. An abridged copy of the Report, omitting details of expeditions and other matters which are more fully described elsewhere in this Journal, is printed below.1
The Honorary Treasurer (Mr. J. D. Michael) submitted a report on the Club Accounts for 1939 and the budget for 1940. This was confirmed and approved. The Officers, Members of the Committee, and Additional Members of the Balloting Committee for 1940 were elected, and Messrs. A. F. Ferguson & Co. were reappointed Auditors for the year.
Abridged Report on the Work of the Club for the Year 1939
By the Honorary Secretary
Membership-Fifty-one new members were elected during 1939, which is a record. There were four deaths, eight resignations, and ten members were struck off for non-payment of the 1938 subscription. The membership now stands at 497.
Obituary.-We mourn the death of the following members of the Club:
Lieut. M. D. James, who died in September 1936, but whose death was only reported in 1939.
Brigadier-General the Hon. C. G. Bruce, c.b., m.v.o., a Founder and Honorary Member of the Club.
Lieut.-Col. G. W. May, who was killed in an ambush on the North-West Frontier in August 1939.
Mr. P. J. Petrie.
Mountaineering in 1939.-An American expedition to K2 ended in tragedy. The leader, Mr. Wiessner, estimated that he reached a height of 27,450 feet. Mr. Dudley Wolfe and three Sherpas lost their lives.1 The Polish expedition reached the top of Nanda Devi East, but later two members of the party were killed by an avalanche.2 A Swiss party climbed Dunagiri. Later, on Chaukhamba, or Bad- rinath peak, their camp was swept away by an avalanche, two porters were killed, and the two guides Fritz Steuri and David Zogg with other porters were injured.3
1 This has been done as a measure of economy, since members have already received copies of the full Report.
Expeditions proposed for 1940.-The proposed New Zealand expedition to Kangchenjunga has been abandoned owing to the war.
Eastern Section.-There have been no outstanding events during the year 1939 in the Eastern Section, but there has been a steady increase in the number of members making tours with tents off the beaten track and generally involving the crossing of a high snow pass.
The planned purchase of sleeping-bags and other equipment from England was suspended at the outbreak of war, and the money in hand from the hire of equipment will be saved till it is possible to say whether there will be a demand for mountaineering equipment. We regret the resignation of Mr. Marklew from the post of Equipment Officer. He has done a great deal of hard work for the Club and tackled the rather thankless task of constantly checking over the condition of the tents, &c., and of having the necessary repairs carried out. He has also made interesting experiments for getting tents and other equipment made in India. There has been a fairly heavy demand for equipment, but many autumn trips had to be cancelled.
Lectures.-Lectures have been more popular than ever and there have been a hundred or more members and their guests at each. On the nth January Mr. C. R. Cooke gave an interesting account of the month he spent with Captain and Mrs. Hunt during the previous autumn, climbing various peaks and passes at the head of the Zemu valley. The next meeting took place on the 8th February, when Mr. Edward Groth showed a very beautiful colour-film of the journey he made from Srinagar to Gilgit, Hfunza, and through Chitral to Peshawar. He turned aside to visit Nanga Parbat and took a wonderful series of pictures of dawn on the mountain. His running commentary was of great interest. On the 21st April the three mountaineers, Herr Grob (Swiss), Herr Schmaderer and Herr Paider (Germans), who had visited Sikkim in 1937 and made then the second ascent of Siniolchu, arrived in Calcutta. On the same evening each gave a short lecture, the three together making a most interesting evening's entertainment. Herr Grob told the Club about the climbing in Sikkim in 1937; Herr Paider spoke of rock-climbing in Switzerland and the Caucasus, and Herr Schmaderer described briefly the 1938 expedition to Nanga Parbat. The slides were admirable and of great human interest.
1 See pp. 123-8 and 138-40, above. 2 See pp. 64-80, above.
3 See pp. 30-51, above.
On the 11th July Mr. J. E. H. MacLeod gave a well-illustrated account of the trek from Darjeeling by Yuksum and Dzongri to the Guicha La and back by Phalut. On the 25th July Dr. Schaefer gave a very interesting lecture on the work done by himself and his scientists in Sikkim and Tibet.
The outbreak of war caused a pause in the lecture programme and deprived the Club of the pleasure of hearing Professor Tucci, the well-known Italian expert on comparative religions, who has made so many expeditions to Tibet. He passed through Calcutta in the middle of September, hurrying to catch a boat at Bombay, and could not fulfil his promise to dine with the Club.
The final lecture of the year was given by Mr. J. B. Auden, of the Geological Survey of India, on the 27th November. He gave it the title 'Himalayan Passes', and carried his audience along the Himalaya from east to west, but mainly described the passes explored on the Shaksgam expedition of 1937 with Messrs. Ship ton, Tilman, and Spender. There is no doubt that the lectures are not only a pleasure in themselves, but serve the useful purposes of bringing members together and of encouraging people to join the Club.
Eastern Section, Miscellaneous.-As usual, there has been a lot of correspondence, not only with members in India, but also with members and others in foreign countries, seeking information about Sikkim and about the Darjeeling porters. Porters have been sent on a number of expeditions, both British and foreign, in various parts of the Himalaya. A special grade of porters has been created.1
The huts at Mome Samdong and in the Jha Chu valley have been occupied by several members of the Club.2 Fair use has been made of the Eastern Section Library, especially of books purchased early in the year. Warm thanks are due to the Director of the Geological Survey of India, for allowing the equipment and library to be housed in the Department's offices and godowns.
Dr. Heron's departure from Calcutta has been a great loss to the Eastern Section. He had done so much to help the Club to develop and was always ready to give advice and aid. Members of the Club offer him their most grateful thanks.
Central Library.-During the year, 117 books were issued to members as compared with 80 in 1938. One book only was added to the Central Library, as the Library grant was cut as a measure of economy.
1 For details see above, pp. 140-1. 2 See above, p. 137.
The Himalayan Journal.-The Himalayan Journal for 1939 maintained its usual high standard and our thanks are due to Colonel Mason, our Honorary Editor. He is producing a journal for 1940, but owing to higher costs of production the material matter and photographs will have to be cut down. Members are earnestly requested to persuade firms to advertise in the Journal. Cards showing charges can be obtained either from the Oxford University Press or from the Honorary Secretary.
Himalayan Club Dinner.-The dinner this year was again an unqualified success. Owing to the illness of General Bruce, the Chair was admirably taken by Mr. N. E. Odell. The Committee thanks Colonel Tobin for again organizing a successful dinner.