Himalayan Journal vol.31
The Himalayan Journal
Vol.31

Publication year:
1971

Editor:
Soli S. Mehta
Index
  1. EDITORIAL
  2. A. R. HINKS AND THE FIRST EVEREST EXPEDITION, 1921
    (T. S. BLAKENEY)
  3. EVEREST REVISITED THE INTERNATIONAL HIMALAYAN EXPEDITION, 1971
    (NORMAN G. DYHRENFURTH)
  4. POST-MORTEM OF AN INTERNATIONAL EXPEDITION
    (KEN WILSON AND MIKE PEARSON)
  5. 'QUESTIONABLE CONCLUSIONS IN EVEREST FILM'
    (KEN WILSON)
  6. ACCLIMATIZATION
    (Dr. PETER STEELE)
  7. THE HIMALAYAN ETHIC-TIME FOR A RETHINK ?
    (DENNIS GRAY)
  8. THE JAPANESE MOUNT EVEREST EXPEDITION, 1969-1970
    (HIROMI OHTSUKA)
  9. CAVING IN THE HIMALAYA
    (A. C. WALTHAM)
  10. THE BRITISH KARST RESEARCH EXPEDITION, 1970
    (JANET M. WALTHAM)
  11. ‘WHERE NO PLANES FLY'
    (JOHN ALLEN)
  12. MANASLU WEST WALL, 1971
    (AKIRA TAKAHASHI)
  13. GANGAPURNA NORTH-WEST RIDGE, 1971
    (KATUHIKO MIYOSHI)
  14. THE JAPANESE MT. API EXPEDITION, 1971
    (KATSUYUKI FUKUZAWA)
  15. DHAULAGIRI IV, 1969
    (LEO GRAF)
  16. ‘AND AFTERWARDS...'
    (KLAUS KUBIENA)
  17. CHUREN HIMAL, 1969
    (PAOLO CONSIGLIO)
  18. THE FIRST ASCENT OF THE MAIN PEAK OF CHUREN HIMAL, 1970
    (RYOZO YAMAMOTO)
  19. CHUREN HIMAL, 1971
    (MAKOTO TAKAHASI, KATSUHIKO KANO and KOSEI IDETA)
  20. ANNAPURNA SOUTH PEAK (7,195 M.) SOUTH FACE, 1970
    (MAURICE GICQUEL)
  21. PT 21,133 FT.-THE EASTERN OUTLIER OF ANNAPURNA SOUTH,1 1971
    (CRAIG ANDERSON)
  22. DHAULAGIRI II, 1971
    (FRANZ HUBER)
  23. THE CZECHOSLOVAC EXPEDITION TO ANNAPURNA IV (7,525 m.), 1969
    (VLADIMIR PROCHAZKA)
  24. THE INDIAN JOGIN EXPEDITION, 1970
    (AMULYA SEN)
  25. PUNJAB, 1970
    (CORRADINO RABBI)
  26. SOUTH MALANA GLACIER AND THE MANIKARAN SPIRES, 1971
    (GRAHAM CLARK)
  27. THE ASCENT OF KULU PUMORI, 1970
    (ASHWANI SAITH)
  28. PAPSURA, 1971
    (FLT. LT. V. P. SINGH)
  29. THE KISHTWAR HIMALAYA EXPEDITION, 1971
    (CHARLES CLARKE)
  30. MALUBITING - THE MUNICH KARAKORAM EXPEDITION, 1970
    (PETER VON GIZYCKI)
  31. THE ASCENT OF K6, 1970
    (EDUARD KOBLMULLER)
  32. FIRST ASCENT OF CHONGRA PEAK (22,390 FT = 6,830 M.)
    (MASAHIKO KAITSU)
  33. THE SECOND CZECHOSLOVAC TATRA EXPEDITION TO THE HIMALAYA -NANGA PARBAT (8,125 M.), 1971
    (MICHAL OROLIN)
  34. ODYSSEY ON NANGA PARBAT
    (REINHOLD MESSNER)
  35. KHINYANG CHHISH CLIMBED
    (ANDRZEJ KUS)
  36. ISTOR-O-NAL
    (DR. IVO VALIC)
  37. SHAH FULADI (5,135 M.), 1971
    (MASAHIKO KAITSU)
  38. EXPLORATION AND ASCENTS IN THE BUNI ZOM GROUP, 1971
    (ROBERT WAGNER and ALBERT WACHTEN)
  39. ALPINE EXPLORATION OF THE WAKHAN 1
    (HENRI AGRESTI)
  40. THE EXPLORATION OF THE HINDU RAJ
    (Dr. A. DIEMBERGER)
  41. SARAGHRAR AND LANGAR GROUP
    (TSUNEO MIYAMORI (JAC))
  42. HIMALAYAN NOMENCLATURE
  43. BOOK REVIEWS
  44. OBITUARY
  45. LETTER TO THE EDITOR
  46. EXPEDITION NOTES
  47. CLUB PROCEEDINGS, 1971

THE JAPANESE MOUNT EVEREST EXPEDITION, 1969-1970

HIROMI OHTSUKA

[Reprinted from the Official Report of the Japanese Mt. Everest Expedition, 1970]

Preface

It was in 1963 that the Everest Project was originally planned by the Japanese Alpine Club, based on the results and experience of Manaslu (8,156 m.) in 1953, 1954 and 1956 and Himal Chuli (7,893 m.) in 1959.

In May 1963 we were granted the mountaineering permit to Mt. Everest during the pre-monsoon season of 1966, and started on our preparation, but soon this project had to be postponed because in 1965 the Nepalese Government banned mountaineering to all the Himalayan ranges.

After a period extending four years, the Nepalese Government lifted the ban and 38 peaks including Mt. Everest were opened for climbers in March 1969.

We, the Japanese Alpine Club, resumed our plan immediately after we caught the news in August 1968.

In April of the following year, we obtained once again the mountaineering permission for the pre-monsoon season of 1970, and so began our busy preparation in full scale.

Our object was to aim at the summit of Mt. Everest not only from the original route (South-east Ridge) but also from one of the virgin routes (the South-west Face). To complete this aim, it was decided to send two reconnaissance parties, first in the 1969 pre-monsoon season and second in the post-monsoon season of the same year.

Besides our mountaineering activities we also planned to carry out some scientific researches such as studies of human bodies at high altitude, meteorological observations and geophysical research.

The expedition was officially named 'The Japanese Mount Everest Expedition 1970' (JMEE '70) and came into being under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, the Mainichi Newspapers and the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation (NHK). The total budget came to 100 million Yen, including expenses of the two reconnaissance parties.

The First Reconnaissance Party (April-June, 1969)

This party consisted of the following four members: Y. Fujita (leader, age 36), N. Uemura (27), T. Sugasawa (24), H. Aizawa (36, the Mainichi reporter).

They departed Japan on 23 April, 1969, and arrived in Kath- mandu on 25 April. They started from Kathmandu for Lukla on 5 May by a chartered plane. Two days after, they started from Lukla with 50 porters, and on 14 May, set up the Base Camp in the upper basin of the Khumbu glacier (5,350 m.). They began to make the route up in the Icefall from 16 May, and after ten days of struggle, on 25 May, two members (N. Uemura and H. Aizawa) reached the height of 6,500 m. of the Western Cwm and closely observed the untrodden South-west Face.

With only a rough inspection, they were assured of the probability to climb up the South-west Face, and brought back much precious data.

The Second Reconnaissance Party (August-November, 1969)

This party consisted of 12 members as follows:

H. Mihashita (leader, 38) H. Tanabe (deputy leader, 38)

H. Nakajima (31) M. Konishi (31)

N. Uemura (28) Y. Satoh (27)

J. Inoue (24) S. Ohmori (medical doctor, 38)

S. Satoh (Mainichi reporter, 31) K. Kimura (Mainichi cameraman, 39)

H. Shirai (NHK TV director, 36) T. Noguchi (NHK TV cameraman, 38).

Their mission was to explore the South-west Face in detail, and they had two objects to follow:

(1) to climb up the face as high as possible.

(2) to allow the members to acclimatize and gain experience at high altitude for the 1970's attempt.

The summary of their activities was as follows:

4 Sept.: All the members gathered at Lukla by chartered planes

16 Sept.: They established Base Camp

20 Sept.: They entered into the Icefall

28 Sept.: They established Camp 2 (6,150 m.) at the head of the Icefall

15 Oct.: They established Camp 3 (6,600 m.) just below the South-west Face

18 Oct.: They established Camp 4 (7,000 m.) on the Southwest Face

29 Oct.: They established Camp 5 (7,500 m.) on the Southwest Face

31 Oct.: M. Konishi and N. Uemura reached 8,000 m. just below the Rock Band

1 Nov.: H. Nakajima and Y. Satoh reached the same point and progressed one pitch further

3 Nov.: All the members returned to Base Camp

13 Nov.: They returned to Kathmandu

During this expedition, the party happened to find the corpse of John E. Breitenbach (AMEE 1963) on the lower part of the Icefall on 24 September, which was later handed over to the family of the deceased through the help of Mr. N. Dyhrenfurth and Mr. Barry C. Bishop.

Winter in Khumbu
The following two members of the Second Reconnaissance Party remained in Khumbu villages during the winter waiting for the main party.

N. Uemura stayed at Khumjung ( 3,800 m.) and made arrangements for the expedition.

J. Inoue stayed at Pheriche (4,243 m.) to engage in meteorological observation and he brought back precious data on meteorological research in the Himalaya by keeping observation for a year from September 1969 to August 1970.

The attempt in 1970
With the result brought by the Second Reconnaissance Party, we managed to complete the preparation for the 1970 pre- monsoon attempt in the remaining two months. Finally the expedition left Japan on 15 February.

Members and their past expedition records are as follows:

Members: 39 (including 9 reporters)

Saburo Matsukata (Age 70) Expedition leader

Hiromi Ohtsuka ( " 45) Deputy leader, Manaslu 1954, 1956, Yeti Expedition 1960

Senya Sumiyoshi, M.D. ( " 43) Himal Chuli 1959, P-29 1961, 1969

Yuichi Matsuda ( " 39) Manaslu 1954, 1956, Himal Chuli 1959
Yoshihiro Fujita ( Age 37) McKinley 1960, Ngojumba Kang1965, Mt. Everest First Recon naissance 1969
Katsutoshi Hirabayashi ( Age 35) Api 1960, Saipal 1963
Teruo Matsura ( Age 35) Lhotse Shar 1965
Hiroaki Tamura ( Age 32) Langtang Himal 1965
Hiroshi Nakajima ( Age 31) Peru-Bolivia-Andes 1961, Mount Everest Second Reconnaissance1969
Shinichi Hirano ( Age 31) Ngojumba Kang 1965
Masatake Doi ( Age 31) McKinley 1960
Masatsugu Konishi ( Age 31) Matterhorn North Face (1967 winter), Mt. Everest Second Reconnaissance 1969.
Miss Setsuko Watanabe ( Age 31) Istor-o-Nal 1968
Takashi Kano ( Age 29) Nupchu 1962
Tadao Kanzaki ( Age 29) Greenland 1966
Hideo Nishigori ( Age 29) Logan 1964, Foraiker 1966
Naomi Uemura ( Age 28) Ngojumba Kang 1965, Alps, Kili manjaro, Aconcagua, Mt. Everest First and Second Reconnaissance1969
Kiyoshi Narita ( Age 28)
Katsuhiko Kano ( Age 27) Khinyang Chhish 1965
Yoshiaki Kamiyama ( Age 27)
Akira Yoshikawa ( Age 27) Dolomite 1966
Chitoshi Ando ( Age 26) Patagonia 1968
Hiroshi Sagano ( Age 25) Greenland 1968
Reizo Itoh ( Age 23)
Michiro Nakashima, M.D. ( Age 39) Expedition Doctor, Chogolisa 1958
Koichiro Hirotani, M.D. ( Age 36) Expedition Doctor, Langtang Li- rung 1961
Shigeo Ohmori, M.D. ( Age 36) Expedition Doctor, Mt. Everest Second Reconnaissance 1969
Masaru Kono ( Age 30) Geophysist, Baltoro Kangri 1963
Masayuki Osada ( Age 28) Meteorologist, Logan 1965
Jiro Inoue ( Age 24) Meteorologist, Patagonia 1968, Mt. Everest Second Reconnais sance 1969.
Katsuhisa Kimura ( Age 39) The Mainichi cameraman
Hirofumi Aizawa ( Age 37) " reporter
Shigeru Satoh ( Age 32) " reporter
Masao Harada ( Age 27) " cameraman
Toshio Naito ( Age 37) N.H.K. Producer
Tokutaro Noguchi ( Age 37) " TV cameraman
Shozo Tateno ( Age 32) " TV cameraman
H iroshi Nakagawa ( Age 28) " Reporter
Local Sherpas: 21. Icefall Porters: 30

Liaison Officer: Govinda Krishna Shresta (Age 30)

1. Approach March (19 February-23 March)

On February, we left Kathmandu on the approach march. Cargoes of about 30 tons were divided into two; one for air transportation (15 tons), and others for porter-caravan. We arrived at Namche Bazar (3,440 m.) on 4 March, and then to Thyangboche (3,867 m.) on 6 March, where we established our first base for the acclimatization of members.

According to schedule, we stayed there for two weeks and went on a training tour for acclimatization. We divided into three groups; they were the Imja glacier group, Mingbo glacier group and the Khumbu glacier group. The Khumbu glacier group had a special mission to decide the siting of our Base Camp.

These tours took all the members as high as 5,500 m. and at least every member spent a night at the height of 5,000 m.

2. First Stage (24 March-12 April)

-The breakthrough of the Icefall and the accidents to Sherpas-

On 23 March, the Base Camp was established amid the moraine just below the Icefall (5,350 m.). Amongst us there were five members who had gone through the Icefall with the previous two reconnaissance parties, but they all were of the opinion that the Icefall of Mt. Everest was in a particularly dangerous condition.

With them taking the lead, the work of route-making was immediately taken up in the dangerous and complicated Icefall. It was on 4 April after about a 10-day struggle that Camp 1 was set up at the head of the Icefall (6,150 m.). The depot-camp was placed half-way up the Icefall (5,800 m.) and the long slog began from 1 April to carry up 12 tons of load. Expedition members also took part in this work carrying 20 kg. on their backs.

During this operation, however, on 5 April, six Sherpas of the Japanese Skiing Expedition were killed at 5,700 m. by a huge glacier avalanche.

Then another accident followed.

It was at 7.20 a.m. on 9 April.

One of our Icefall porters, Kyak Tsering (36), was killed at 5,525 m. by a fall of seracs. Even with the utmost care, it was impossible to overcome the force of nature which seemed to be so strong in the Icefall. On account of these accidents, we were not only given a bitter shock but also forced to be behind schedule.

Some of the members suffered from some kind of a high- altitude sickness at this time, but the acclimatization to the height was generally going well.

Narita, who was resting at Lobuje with a cold, had recovered and joined the Base Camp on 11 April, accompanied by our leader S. Matsukata (71). The following day all the members were present for dinner in the mess tent for the first time.

3. Second Stage (13 April-30 April)

-The death of Narita. Arrival at the South Col and 7,600 m. on the South-west Face-

The object of this stage was to open the route till the point of 8,000 m. and to carry up the necessary loads by the end of April.

To make this possible, the members were divided into the South-west Face team and the South-east Ridge team. On 16 April, Camp 2 was established at 6,450 m. as the Advance Base Camp. For the South-west Face team, the Advance Base Camp (F.A.B.C.) was set up at 6,600 m. on the 17th. As mentioned before, the chief characteristic of our expedition was in having two distinct teams taking different routes and adopting different tactics as well. It would have been better if the grouping of the members were decided beforehand according to their own wishes. Although, it was necessary to observe the condition, aptitudes and intention of every member. Grouping of teams was finally announced on 17 April as follows:

South-west Face team: M. Konishi (leader), Y. Fujita, H. Tamura, II. Nakajima, T. Kano, H. Nishigori, R. Itoh and Dr. S. Ohmori.

South-cast Ridge team: T. Matsura (leader), K. Hirabayashi, S. Hirano, M. Doi, Miss S. Watanabe, T. Kanzaki, N. Uemura, K. Narita, Y. Kamiyama, K. Kano, C. Ando, M. Kano, M. Osada, J. I none. Dr. K. Hirotani, and Dr. M. Nakashima.

The headquarters: H. Ohtsuka, S. Sumiyoshi and Y. Matsuda were assigned.

The two teams now began to work independently, and because the first assault to the summit was scheduled early in May, the priority of this stage was given to the route-exploring and load- carrying up the Lhotse-Face, in the latter team.

On 18 April, Camp 3 was established below the Lhotse-Face (6,980 m.) and FC 3 was established at 7,000 m. on the Southwest Face with little difficulty.

We had relatively fine weather and route-finding progressed smoothly. But the load-carrying operation was apt to be behind schedule because some of the members and Sherpas badly suffered from altitude sickness.

On 20 April, Hirabayashi, who was descending, slipped down together with Kanzaki at 2 p.m. at about 7,200 m. on the Lhotse- Face. Fortunately they were secured by the edge of a rock and free from injury. But this was only a foretaste of the trouble that lay ahead.

The next evening (at 8.50 p.m. on 21 April) an emergency call of Dr. S. Sumiyoshi staying at Camp 1 came in through wireless that Kiyoshi Narita (28) had died of an unexpected heart attack while having his meal. It was so sudden that even Dr. Sumiyoshi and several members sitting beside him couldn't do a thing.

Every member hearing the news was in a state of great shock.

Narita being one of the strongest and youngest member of the expedition, it was unbelievable as to how such a thing could have happened. We remember him that afternoon waving to us with a smile and therefore his death seemed to be a dream. Although he wasn't in a good condition at the time of establishing the Base Camp, he recovered completely by going down to Lobuje to take some rest for a week. He resumed his work with other members at this stage. Was it because he wasn't acclimatized? I was quite concerned over this question. But our doctors judge that this accident may have no relation with the high- altitude sickness, although it is not certified. The following day, all the members gathered at Camp 1 and had a farewell ceremony.

The body was carefully carried down to the Base Camp on 24 April. It was cremated according to the local religious custom in the presence of eleven members at Tukura, one day s march below Base Camp, and later it was handed over to his father who was waiting in Kathmandu, by our leader S. Matsu- kata.

Meanwhile, at higher altitudes, we had a hard time since the active members were reduced to half, as a result of twelve members being drafted to carry down the body of Narita. The South-west Face team with H. Tamura and four others completed fixing ropes to Camp 3 (7,600 m.) on 28 April.

Seven members of the South-east Ridge team led by T. Matsura, established Camp 4 (7,500 m.) on 26 April, and then cleared the route to the South Col (7,986 m.) on 28 April. But the load-carrying was lagging behind schedule.

During this period at A.B.C. the state of affairs such as the lagging schedule due to accidents and the growing number of sickness were discussed and it was decided that they put off the South-west Face assault and concentrate all efforts into making the ascent from the South-east Ridge successful.

4. Third Stage (4 May-12 May)

-Giving up the attempt of the South-west Face and two ascents from the South-east Ridge-

On 1 May, having gone back to the Base Camp, I made a modification of the plan to make complete the original object within the remaining three weeks.

I considered that both the projects still had their chances since our weatherman forecasted fine weather from 10 to 12 May. So I set up a plan of the third stage with the 4 Summit Assault Day' fixed on these days.

The outline of the plan read as follows:

6- Both the South-west Face and the South-east Ridge projects will be carried out.

7- F.C. 4 (8,000 m.) will be established just below the RockBand on the South-west Face by 12 May.

8- The summit assault from the South-east Ridge will be carried out twice, on 11 and 12 May.

9- Matsuura and Uemura were assigned for the first summit assaulting, members. The second assaulting teamwould consist of a member and one Sherpa.

10- 350 kilogrammes worth of equipment and food would be carried up by Doi, Kamiyama and 16 Sherpas to Camp 5 of South Col.

The South-east Ridge

The first summit assault team started out from Base Camp on 5 May after five days' rest and they entered Camp 5 of the South Col smoothly on 9 May.

On 10 May, they established Camp 6 (8,513 m.), the same site as the final camp of the 1965 Indian Expedition, followed by the supporting team of five Sherpas led by Kano. The second assault team of Hirabayashi and Sirdar Chotare held Camp 5 along with Ando and three Sherpas on that day.

11 May, fine weather and no wind, just as our weatherman Osada forecasted. Matsuura and Uemura slept soundly the previous night taking one litre of oxygen every minute. They got up at 4.40 a.m., and had a modest breakfast which consisted of five pieces of marshmallow and a cup of tea. Then they started out at 6.10 a.m. with two bottles of oxygen (A.M.P.) on each back. They roped together taking three litres of oxygen every minute and approached the summit in good spirit.

Reaching the South Peak (8,763 m.) at 8.30 a.m. they found oxygen bottles with the mark of Union Jack which might have been left by Hillary and Tenzing in 1953. Here they changed the oxygen bottles and deposited the half-consumed ones for their descent. At 9.10 a.m. they finally stood up on the summit of Mt. Everest. They buried the portrait of the late Narita together with a piece of cigarette, and enjoyed the splendid panorama of the many giants. They descended to Camp 6 at 11.40 ?.m.where they met with the next assaulting team and gave them some information. It was 5.30 p.m. when they arrived at A.B.C. along with the supporting crew led by Kono.

On 12 May, like the previous day, the second assaulting team, Hirabayashi and Chotare, were blessed with fine weather.

They started off the final camp of Camp 6 at 5.55 a.m. with two bottles of oxygen on their backs. Taking 3.5 litres of oxygen per minute, they followed the track of the first assaulting team and reached the top of the world at 9.55 a.m. The wind grew stronger above the South Peak, but it was not so intolerable. On the summit, Hirabayashi took a picture of Chotare holding the portrait of the King and Queen of Nepal. After staying at the summit for an hour, they started to descend. But at around 8,200 m. their oxygen ran out and the supporting crew went up to them with new oxygen bottles from the South Col. They reached Camp 4 at 6.10 p.m. and returned to A.B.C. safely the following day.

The South-west Face attempt, on the other hand, also progressed favourably after a few days' blank brought by the confusion of leadership.

Camp 4 was established with the duralumin framed platform upon the rock surface of 7,500 m. on 6 May. On 8 May, Konishi and Yoshikawa explored the route to 7,800 m. and two days after, Kano and Sagano climbed as far as 8,050 m. along with two Sherpas.

They used the fixed ropes which the previous party set out till 7,800 m. Then they scaled 45° snow and ice slope taking three litres of oxygen every minute onward.

They found that snow and ice disappeared and instead there were rough surfaced rock with a steeper incline. Crampons and ice pitons were left there since they were of no use. Passing 7,900 m., the rock surface changed into a brittle state and rock pitons which were hammered into the rock didn't look so reliable. They were forced to choose either of the two, the right couloir or the left one. At the junction of these two couloirs, there stood a small rock tower which looked like a dorsal fin. They took a route entering into the left couloir via the rock tower, and they reached 8,050 m. just below the Rock Band after three pitches of 50 m. rope fixing from the junction. But it was the highest point they reached.

On closer inspection, they found that a narrow couloir like a chimney would lead them through the huge Rock Band and out on to the Yellow Band.

They were sure to explore the route to the summit via the South-west Face, if they had ten days more of good weather.

However there occurred an unexpected accident; Kano was hurt from a falling stone at about 5.30 p.m. while they were descending on the ice slope from Camp 3 to FABC. Also Naka- jima was hurt a little on his right knee with another stone-fall in front of Camp 4 the same afternoon.

When I heard of their misfortune, I didn't want them to take any more risks. It looked very difficult to pass over the Rock Band in the remaining 10 days, but this accident was the main reason for calling off the assault via the South-west Face. On 12 May with the news of the successful second assault, I decided to call off the South-west Face project and to put all efforts into making the third and fourth assault from the South-east Ridge a success.

5. Fourth Stage (13 May-20 May)

-Failure of third and fourth assault from the South-east Ridge-

The original plan of this stage was as follows:

(1) The reconnaissance of the South Face between South east Ridge and South Ridge would be carried out.

(2) A. Yoshikawa, H. Sagano and R. Ito will reach the South Col after climbing the ice couloir located left of the Geneva-Spur.

(3) On 19 May, Tamura and Ila Tsering, the third assaulting team, will make an ascent from Camp 6.

(4) On the same day, Konishi and Phenjo, the fourth assaulting team, will attempt a rush-attack from Camp 5.

(5) K. Kano with 20 Sherpas will carry up the loads to the South Col.

The carry-up operation was completed by Kano and 20 Sherpas on 16 May. On 17 May, Yoshikawa and two other members reached South Col at 1 p.m., climbing up the ice couloir directly from Camp 3 of Lhotse-Face. Fujita and others entered Camp 5 on the South Col for the coming attempts, among the supporting members of which, there was a lady member, Miss Watnabe, who established a height record for women.

On 18 May, the weather was turning bad, but the preparation for assault was set up according to the forecast of better weather the following day.

On 19 May, the weather turned out cloudy with snow. On the South Col, snow lay 30 cm. deep and a strong wind was blowing together with snow. Every member stood by for better weather, but Y. Fujita, the leader at the front, came to a conclusion that there was no possibility of the weather getting better and therefore gave up the third and fourth assaults.

On 21 May all of the members returned to the Base Camp and the mountaineering programme ended.

8. Looking back at the Expedition

JMEE 1970 was over with two successful attempts from the South-east Ridge and an abortive attempt from the South-west Face. Moreover, the death of Narita, and the death of a porter by accident, has made it far from a successful expedition.

As deputy leader of the expedition, I would like to state some of the characteristic problems of the expedition and the possibility of the South-west Face.

10- Our expedition was a large force consisting of 39 members, including nine reporters and cameramen. At the Base Camp the members came close to 120, including the Sherpas and local Sherpas. There were more than 60 members living together even at Camp 1 and higher. A 39-member expedition is too large to work as a cohesive unit. One leader should not have more than 12 to work with otherwise there will be a lack of common bond among the members. Furthermore, the pleasures of mountaineering will be stifled.

11- Our expedition consisted of two distinct groups which had the same objective to acquire the summit of Mt. Everest but with a different route and different tactics. This scheme has made the expedition into such a large size. The necessity of such a big expedition should be considered with restraint in the future. I want to pay tribute to the American Expedition which scaled the summit both from the South-east Ridge and the West Ridge. I have come to know how hard it is to keep close co-ordination between the two teams with different tactics. If there is a need to set up an expedition with a similar set-up as ours, it is necessary to set up two distinct ones beforehand, under the powerful organization committee of the expedition. And there are reasons to believe that even such an organizational set-up has its own setbacks.

12- The weather was unusual since there was scarcely any snow during the previous winter. Going over the records of our meteorologist who passed the winter at Pheriche (4,243 m.) there was scarcely any snow during his stay. This unusual weather caused some influences on our expedition.

12 Ice, which we had expected, did not form on the surface of the South-west Face. The rock surface, compared to ice, took us more time to climb. Furthermore, this lack of ice caused falling rocks from the Yellow Band to be more frequent. As a result two of our members were injured.

13 As compared to last fall, the South-west Face became harder to climb although the South-east Ridge was easier than expected. Blessed with good weather, we were able to complete two summit assaults. For the First summit-trial, both the health-conditions and the weather were at their best, and they made an ascent in just three hours from Camp 6.

13- Accidents at the Icefall and its dangerous places. As long us we climb Mt. Everest from the Nepal side, the Icefall lies in the way of every climber who wishes to go higher. Nobody knows where or when the glacier collapse occurs. Its danger is a matter of fate to every Everest climber.

But if we look into the records of the past expeditions, the places where the accidents took place can be pinned down. The head part of the Icefall where the glacier inclines around at 6,100 m. and the caved in area around 5,700 m. are two of the most dangerous places in the Icefall.

The fact that the accidents took place with John E. Breitenbach AMEE (23 March, 1963), Sirdar Phu Dorje JESE (18 October, 1969) and six Sherpas JESE (5 April, 1971) in these areas is a threatening lesson.

To carry up safely the big tonnage of loads to the higher camps is another factor to successful mountaineering. I have to add the fact that the existence of the Icefall is a great obstacle to the acclimatization of the members. The heart attack of Narita, along with sickness of other members, were partly due to the Icefall which prevented our free transit and any safe camping.

The altitude of the Base Camp at 5,350 m. seemed too high, considering the obstacle of the Icefall and a lot of investigation should be made for the 4 second acclimatization '.

(5) The South-west Face and its possibilities.

During the pre-monsoon season of 1971, the international expedition led by Mr. Norman G. Dyhrenfurth, and composing of 30 members from 12 different countries, challenged the Southwest Face but could only go as far as 8,250 m. M. Uemura and R. Itoh, both JMEE members, also took part in this expedition.

After coming back to Japan they stated: 6 If we take the route leading to the Right Ice Couloir, we would need two more camps to the summit. .. But, it is possible.' They looked assured that some day they will make the summit by the South-west Face. But what is the key to success in trying for the summit by the Southwest Face?

Carefully picked climbers who have gone through a well-planned intensive training course can prove a good team only if the team membership doesn't exceed 20. Instead of a support crew from the South-east Ridge or West Ridge, the assault team should plan for a round trip between the final camp and the summit, followed by a supporting team. This can result in better tactics, fewer members, and less expense than the previous plan. The final question to consider is the weather, along with the oxygen strategy.

In the pre-monsoon season of 1970, two big expeditions entered Khumbu glacier and Western Cwm from Japan. One was ours, planned and executed by the Japanese Alpine Club. Another one was officially called 'The Japanese Everest Skiing Expedition 1970', which had no relation with our organization.

JESE '70 consisted of 34 members including two skiers and 10 film cameramen.

Their object was to perform the descent from the South Col by Y. Miura, one of the professional adventure skiers, and to take a Cinema-Scope film to introduce the landscape of Nepal including the ski-descent of Miura.

On 6 May, Miura accomplished his descent with parachute from the South Col, although he tumbled down on the slope.