We, the Kansai Mountaineering Club, sent an expedition party to the west region of Dhaulagiri Himal in pre-monsoon season, 1970.

This region includes many of the high unclimbed peaks and is one of the most attractive areas in the Himalayas. In 1962 Col. James Roberts made a reconnaissance of Dhaulagiri IV from the west via the upper basin of the Kaphe glacier, and in 1965 he led the Royal Air Force Expedition to this peak. However, the party had to return from the upper basin of the Kaphe glacier because of avalanche danger. Their contribution was that J. Roberts found Dhaulagiri IV located some 5 miles away to the northeast of the peak they had attempted to climb (we now call the latter peak Dhaulagiri VI).

In 1970 we made the summit of Dhaula VI (7,268 m.), but failed to continue the assault to Dhaula IV: the long, sharp ridge to Dhaula IV would have demanded a highly technical climb and therefore more supply of food and climbing gear, enough to establish another camp.

Our club set out its expedition in post-monsoon season of 1969, sending a reconnaissance party to the South-east face of Dhaula IV, namely the little known route via Konaban Khola. The report was rather discouraging. They suggested that the route was too difficult for the porters, and moreover the final part of the route would incur the risk of avalanches. So we decided to take the route via the Kaphe glacier, same as that of the R.A.F. party.

On 10 February, we sent our freight of 500 kilogrammes in weight (this was all we took from Japan) to Kathmandu by air. All of those packages were delivered with no trouble on the way. On 7 March, all the members (T. Nomura, leader ; T. Yamane, H. Nakamura, M. Mizutani, M. Iwasa, S. Yamamura, S. Kimura and S. Kawazu) arrived at Kathmandu.

After necessary arrangement—purchase of provisions and kitchenware which we could procure in Kathmandu, employment of Sherpas (we employed 3 Sherpas—Sirdar Linsin, cook Norbu and Janboo) and so on—we left Kathmandu by a chartered plane on 17 March. Thanks to fine weather, we were blessed with wonderful views of Ganesh Himal, Manaslu and Himalchuli from the plane. In the 40 minutes' flight, we arrived at Pokhara. Here we stayed two days to purchase rice, sugar, kerosene and some other necessary goods. Mr. A. P. Serchan of Pokhara kindly arranged the employment of porters.

Region West of Dhaulagiri

Region West of Dhaulagiri

On 19 March, we started our march with 37 porters. It was very hot for several days, but a splendid landscape of the Anna- purna range soothed us. On the 23rd, we arrived at Beni, the junction of Mayagdi Khola and the Kali Gandaki, and on the 25th reached Dharbang, the last shopping place on our way to the Base Camp. We found shoes, cloth, kerosene and even condensed milk here. On the 29th, we arrived at Gurjakhani, the last village on our march. Here we had some trouble; 15 of our porters would not go further because of snowfalls, and the rest requested some equipment against the cold and snow. We solved this problem by supplying some of the porters with clothes, woollen socks and shoes, and having the remaining loads carried by the expedition members.

On 1 April, we established Base Camp near the snout of the Kaphe glacier at a height of 4,100 metres. On 2 April, we went into action without further delay. Our loads were small and had already been divided into small bundles. The members of our team were vigorous and needed no rest. Fortunately, we found very little difficulty in establishing the route as far as Camp III, because we followed the same route that the Tomari Mountaineering party had taken in their successful climb of Gurja Himal last autumn. On this day, however, we could transport only 250 kilogrammes to the pre-arranged Camp I site, near the first ice-fall.

The weather during our mountaineering was good in general. Fine in the morning, some snowfall in the afternoon and clear again in the evening was the typical pattern. On 3 April, three members and two Sherpas moved up to Camp I (4,700 m.). The ice-falls above Camp I were technically not so difficult, but numerous crevasses and seracs threatended us. Sherpa Norbu, who was with the Tomari party and came with us this time, told that the seracs had changed very much since last autumn.

On 4 April, Kimura and Norbu went through the ice-falls above Camp I; they clung to the crumbling rocky ridge descending from the middle of the main ridge of Gustang Himal. They established Camp II (5,500 m.) on a small terrace, which allowed only one tent. Then climbing up a steep snow cliff about 100 metres high and a precipitous rock cliff about 200 metres high, they got to the main ridge. Here we set up Camp III. The angle of inclination along the route was about 60° at the upper part and about 40° at the lower part, and we fixed about 800 metres of rope along it.

On the 7th, Nakamura, Kimura and Norbu moved up to Camp III. One could consider two routes from here to Dhaulagiri IV. One was toiling up the ridge projecting from the middle of the main ridge connecting Dhaulagiri VI and Gurja Himal. This route included rock cliffs along the lower part and a precipitous ice cliff on the upper part. Another route was to climb along the ridge descending from the western shoulder of Dhaulagiri VI. Taking this route, we would have to struggle against ice-falls about 600 metres high along the lower part and a steep ice-wall 1,000 metres in height on the upper part. Obviously the former route had more possibility of success and more security. But it was a roundabout way. All things considered, I decided to take the safer route, namely the former one.

On the 9th, the leader and all the members gathered at Camp III, and began to attack Dhaulagiri IV on a full scale. Between Camp III and the foot of the side ridge of Dhaulagiri VI, there lay a vast ice basin with many hidden crevasses. It took about 3 hours to cross the basin, and when snow fell, we had difficulties in walking and route-finding.

Now, some of the members who had been climbing strongly so far began to be affected by the high altitude, and the rock cliff turned out to be more formidable than was expected. Three days' struggle was needed to make the route and to set fixed ropes over this rock cliff-from the foot of the side ridge up to the south ridge of Dhaulagiri VI, we used a total of 800 metres of fixed rope.

At last on the 13th, we could establish Camp V on a little plateau above the rock cliff at an altitude of 6,350 metres. Climbing gear and 230 kilogrammes of provisions were accumulated, and Kimura, Nakamura, Mizutani and Norbu Sherpa moved in. As for the other two Sherpas, I made them watch and wait at Base Camp because their skills were not sufficient for the higher route.

14 April was fine but windy. Nakamura and Kimura climbed up the ice cliff to make a route up to the main ridge of Dhaulagiri VI. The lower part of this ice cliff was not so difficult, but as they went up higher the slope became steeper and snow became harder and finally an ice-wall of 200 metres obstructed them. Striking several ice-pitons and fixing ropes, they continued climbing. Exhaustion increased under the influence of altitude. After a three-hour struggle, they climbed through the ice-wall and reached the south ridge (of Dhaulagiri VI) at altitude 6,820 metres. But it was already near sunset and further progress would have been dangerous. They discontinued climbing and returned to Camp V at 6 p.m. But with their effort, the route to the next camp was cleared, and we got a good idea of the route to the summit of Dhaulagiri VI via its south ridge.

15 April was fine but a strong wind was blowing. As most of the members appeared tired after their constant hard work since we began the assault, we took a full day's rest. On 16 April, six members climbed through the ice-wall and reached the south ridge with the necessary equipment for Camp VI. At noon they established Camp VI on the plateau on the south ridge at about 7,000 metres height. But after some time, it began to snow heavily and the route back to Camp V was covered up. It seemed dangerous now for the members to return to Camp V, so all the six stayed at Camp VI and slept in a small tent. Lucky for them, it was not so cold that night and the two support members who had no sleeping-bags could sleep quite well only in their feather jackets.

On 17 April, the weather improved and the sun shone on Dhaula VI and Camp VI. They got up at 6 a.m., but took much time in cooking as there were too many men in a small tent. At 9 a.m., Nakamura, Kimura, Yamamura and Kawazu started to climb, leaving Mizutani and Norbu to watch and wait. The task of the attack party was first to get to the summit of Dhaulagiri VI and next to find a route to Dhaulagiri IV. Above Camp VI, there was a comparatively broad ridge where the crampons caught well, so they had little difficulty in climbing. At 11.30 a.m., they got to the summit of Dhaulagiri VI. One of our aims was accomplished, but Dhaulagiri IV towered far away. En route to Dhaulagiri IV, there was a series of cornices near the col and beyond them there lay a steep knife ridge of ice. Moreover, the last part near the top was a craggy face which would demand some difficult rock-climbing. It would be fatal for us without sufficient extra climbing gear. And, moreover, I was afraid of the psychological conditions of the members—relaxation of concentration, after bagging one unclimbed peak, often leads to accidents.

I decided to give up proceeding further. We would make another attempt later; now we should be retiring. I ordered all members to withdraw from the mountain. On 19 April, all the members were back in Base Camp arid the next day we left with 12 porters who luckily just arrived with a Korean expedition party bound for Churen Himal. We took only nine days to return from Base Camp to Pokhara.

On 29 April, we returned to Kathmandu and after three days we left Nepal for home.

On the Summit of Dhulagiri VI. In the background left to right: Dhaula IV, Dhaula II, and Dhaula V.

On the Summit of Dhulagiri VI. In the background left to right: Dhaula IV, Dhaula II, and Dhaula V.

Dhaulagiri VI seen from camp III showing the route

Dhaulagiri VI seen from camp III showing the route



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