TUKCHE, 1974


The Yukitoiwa Alpine Club Himalaya Expedition

THE total number of members of the mountaineering group comprised four climbers, and two locally employed high- altitude porters, one cook, one kitchen-boy, two mail-runners, a local porter and a liaison officer.

Our members were as follows; Yoshio Ogata (leader), Kazumi Fujikura (deputy leader), Hisao Miyazaki and Norio Shimoda. Nepal Government appointed Mr. Dhruba Hada (police sub- inspector) as liaison officer. We had Sherpas: Ang Dorje (Sirdar), Dawa Dorje (high-altitude porter), Nima Thondup (cook), Gyalzen, Ang Gyalbu, Bal Bhadur and Aug Phurba.

On 10 March, we started our journey to Base Camp with 23 porters and 15 mules.

We reached the village of Tukche, which was once an important changing-post for caravans from Tibet. It was 16 March, and it had been seven days' journey from Pokhara. At Tukche we intended to change all porters from Pokhara, as they were very poorly equipped and presumably were not used to hard work at relatively high altitudes.

Taking one days' rest, we left Tukche and climbed the extremely steep slopes to reach the yak-alp above Tukche at the height of 3,930 m. On the fourth day we set up a stopgap Camp I at a height of 4,340 m. The scenery hereabouts was magnificent: straight ahead of us rose the 3,000 m. high north-east face of Tukche Peak, while across the valley opposite soared the Nilgiris, with just a glimpse of the so-called Grande Barriere behind them. From stopgap Camp I, earring the all our luggage to Base Camp by ourselves, we took ten days and became well acclimatized through this hard work.

On 1 April, all the luggage of about one tonne was carried to the Base Camp at a height of 5,100 m., situated on a moraine an hour to the west of Dhampus Pass. Next day we climbed to the Little Tukche Peak (5,846 m.), situated near the our Base Camp. Our four climbers and two Sherpas reached the top of this mountain at 11-25 a.m. and it took us about three hours from Base Camp.

On 3 April, seven members went on to the north ridge of the Junction Peak up to 5,640 m. height, where Camp I was to be established. The route up to Camp I went along a lengthy snow ridge, with no technical difficulty. The route from Camp I passed over a col-like ridge and reached a very steep ice wall just below the snow plateau. On 7 April, Ogata and Fujikura left Camp I early in the morning, and finished the route-making work on the ice wall. The slope of the ice wall was about 60 degrees, and ropes were fixed for about 150 m. On 8 8c 9 April, Miyazaki, Shimoda and Ang Dorje tried to establish Camp II on the upper plateau, lying under the Junction Peak, but they could only reach a height of 6,190 m. Camp II was set on following day by Ogata and Fujikura, at a height of 6,300 m. Ogata and Fujikura stayed the first night at Camp II. Next morning we started the laborious work to carry up the luggage to this place. From the next day, we started on the route along the snow ridge to the Junction Peak, and ropes were fixed all the way. After three days' work to complete this route, Miyazaki and Shimoda reached the Junction Peak on 14 April, and they told us about the Wonderful sweep up to the summit which can be seen from the Junction Peak of the socalled '"false" summit. On 15 April, all members returned back to Base Camp for rest. The summit assault team started out from Base Camp on 19 April, after three days' rest, and we entered Camp II smoothly on 20 April.

On 21 April, we got up 1-30 a.m. and Ogata, Fujikura, Miyazaki and Shimoda made a start at just 3-00 a.m. in biting cold. Our four climbers reached the plateau on the ridge to the east of the Junction Peak in two hours flat. From it we were able to see the magnificent views of the main summit greetings us in the Morgen Rot. Our neighbour, Dhaulagiri I was impressive more for its bulk than its stature. The route from this place descends to the lower-col, and we had to be careful and avoid the promity of the ridge with its huge overhanging cornices. The route from the lower-col traversed a very steep ice and snow slope, and reached a point under the triangle of the summit, a ice and snow-slope of about 200 m. rising at a uniform angle of about 50 degrees. We were compelled to do the laborious work of step-cutting to the summit. At 11-30 a.m. we finally stood up on the summit. We buried the some moments, and enjoyed the splendid panorama of the mountains. We enjoyed about an hour's rest on the summit, an unsual pleasure in the Himalaya. Summit-hours have to end, we came back the same way and reached Camp II at 6-30 p.m.

Nexrt morning we separated temporarily. Fujikura, Shimoda and i\rig Dorje had rest at the Camp II, because Fujikura was suffering: from a slight snow-blindness, while Ogata and Miyazaki went down to Base Camp.

On 22 April, all members were at Base Camp. After that, we explored of the Hidden Valley for about a week.

North ridge of Tukche from Base Camp (5,100 m.)

North ridge of Tukche from Base Camp (5,100 m.)