Members: Masahiko Kaitsu (leader), Kiyoshi Haras Hisaji Sukuma and Taniya Takahashi.
|Islamabad to Gilgit passed six nights in Gilgit
|Gilgit to Astor
|Astor to Rama
|by two jeeps
|Rama to the Base Camp
|on foot with
|Mountaineering activity for
|Base Camp to Astor
|on foot with 10 porters
|Astor to Gilgit passed 11 nights in Gilgit
|by two jeeps by air
|Gilgit to Islamabad
1. From the Base Camp to the Camp 1
We established our Base Camp beside a small glacier-lake in the ablation valley of the Sachen glacier at about 12,500 ft. (3,810 m.) where we found the last of the green grass. That was actually the furthest point for a comfortable camp.
From 19 July we reconnoitred two possible routes. One was the southern tributary glacier, and the other was the northern narrow glacier or the rock ridge just next to this narrow glacier.
But after the reconnaissances for full five days it proved that these two routes were impractical. These glaciers were unstable and too dangerous to go up. Then, the scree slope of the southern bank was selected.
We pitched a transit camp just under the slope and then began ferrying loads.
It took seven days to establish Camp I. Our only one high altitude porter played the role of ferrying; only in this part. After Camp I he returned back to the Base Camp to cook food for our Liaison Officer and an injured member (see annexure).
The camp was under the east ridge of the Great Chongra and at the head of that southern tributary glacier.
2. From Camp I to Camp II
From this place ice and rock features began. At first we crossed the ice field containing some crevasses and then this ice field led up steeply to the rock ridge. That ridge was the east ridge of Chongra. But it had not such a simple structure as shown on the map. It was composed of hard ice and loose rock portions in turn. The latter gave us extreme trouble. It was so loose that we had to traverse the mountain side most of the time. That part was also dangerous but not as much as the top of the ridge.
Well then, this ridge had a pretty peak in the middle, which has the height of 18,210 ft. (5,550 m.) approximately. We temporarily called it ‘Rama Peak’ because we could see this peak from the Rama Rest House clearly. The second camp was established just on this peak on 7 August. The weather was always cloudy with little snow in the evening, but we could see blue sky only for a few hours early in the morning.
3. From Camp II to the Ice-shelf
From this minor peak we descended about 400 feet and then the most dangerous part began. The ridge was getting narrower and narrower and the ice harder and harder. After one and a half mile of ice, two rock towers emerged which had been seen from the Base Camp. Those were also composed of loose rock. Whenever we placed our foot, there occurred a minor stone fall. So we fixed ropes all the way through this rock ridge. And just at the end of this rock our ropes for fixing were finished. That meant that we had consumed rope more than 4,500 ft. in length.
Then, we came down to Camp I for rest. After two nights there, we started the climb to the summit. One bivouac tent, two lengths of rope and foodstuff for seven days were taken from Camp II on the way. The first night was passed in a small cave which was near the end of the fixed ropes. There was no place to pitch up the emergency tent. So we were obliged to pass that night in an uncomfortable condition. From there we climbed the narrow ice ridge again. One whole day we climbed nothing but hard ice. The corniced ridge was always presenting the danger of falling down the opposite side of the ridge. Our progress was slow there, so we could cover very small distance that day. But in the evening we could see the ice-shelf, from which both the Chungphar and Buldar glaciers flow down. Next day, on 19 August we dumped our luggage on the shelf after detouring the crevasses. The ice-shelf itself had no crevasses and it was almost flat. The shoulder of Chongra could be seen from this shelf, and our route ahead seemed to be easy on ice slope with few crevasses.
4. From the Ice-shelf to the summit of Chongra
Next day we started without the emergency tent. Actually the route proved easy but was covered with new snow, so each step went deep all the way. Soon the night had come. We slept on the snow, covered by a thin nylon cloth. Fortunately, the temperature did not go down so low that night.
Next morning dawned fine, so we left our bivouac at 6.30 a.m. Immediately the surface of the mountain changed into ice from snow. This change was desirable, because on easy ice progress is always faster than in deep snow. We reached the summit of Chongra at 9.00 a.m. on 21 August. The summit was covered by ice completely. We had never been able to see the real summit before, because it was concealed by the shoulder of Chongra. The most impressive mountain was, of course, Nanga Parbat and all the Karakoram mountains were in sight.
5. Descending to the Base Camp
It was getting cloudy, so we started descending at 11.00 a.m. and at 11.30 p.m. we returned to the shelf where we had deposited the bivouac tent.
That night we discussed about the descending route. The unanimous opinion of the three members was that the route from the shelf to Camp II was too dangerous and difficult to descend. So we chose the northern ridge.
It needed full two days to reach the Base Camp. This northern ridge was really easy, but the route from the ridge to the Sachen main glacier was too dangerous to go up.
We reached Base Camp at 9.00 p.m. of 23 August.
After a day's rest at the Base Camp we began to recover Camp I and Camp II. Three days were necessary to complete this job.
On 29 August our team went down the mountain to Astor.