F. KINGDON WARD AND EXPLORATION IN THE EASTERN HIMALAYAS AND THE RIVER GORGE COUNTRY OF SOUTH-EASTERN TIBET (Geoecological Research, Vol. 3), by Ulrich Schweinfurth and Heidrun Schweinfurth Mar by. (Franz Steiner Verlag, GMBH). Price: DM 32.00).
Professor Schweinfurth and his co-outhor have put us all, bota¬nists, geographers, meteorologists and explorers, in their debt by compiling a most painstaking list of the printed works of F. Kingdon Ward——the legendary figure who led no less than twenty-four expeditions (some over two years) in the eastern Himalaya. The detailed bibliography is accompanied by an excellent introduction describing F. Kingdon Ward's life and his contribution to science—both in writing and collection of plants. The plant collections at the Botany School at Cambridge, Royal Botanic Gardens at Edinburgh and Kew, the Chicago Nat. History Museum, the British Museum at London and the Botanical Gardens at Gothenburgh and New York would be much poorer for the absence of the specimens that he presented during his various travels. He was, as the author states, in a class of his own. No one travelled more widely, collected more discriminately and pre¬sented his observations so effectively.
The catalogue comprises lists of expeditions, his books, list of articles (all well annotated), a regional index of articles, a subject index of articles, two excellent maps (compiled by H. Schwein- furth-Marby) accompanied by an index of place names marked on the maps.
A more scholarly and detailed appreciation of a remarkable man's achievements could not have been wished for—it is as if the researchers have experienced the same instinctive drive for perfection as the man who inspired them to describe his works —a fitting tribute to a great explorer.
SOLI S. MEHTA
TRAUMLAND NEPAL, by Dietmar Frank, Suddeutscher Verlag, Munchen, 1974, Price : DM 65.00; Size : 24 x 35 cm.
There are already several books about Nepal on the market (for instance by Toni Hagen and in the Silva Verlag) with very beautiful colour photographs. But Dietmar Frank's is also a great achievement. Totally 116 colour photographs tell of mountains, landscapes, cultural sites and human beings. Especially photo¬graphs of the last category are a great success—without forgetting the double-page and impressive photographs of the great mountains.
The book is not only very beautiful, but also richly e quipped with 14 maps, much informative text and a good trekking e.uide as well as an original prayer streamer as supplements.
Dietmar Frank knows Nepal well, he has wandered through large parts of it and speaks of his own experiences. Therefore the composition is well balanced. The text beneath the photo¬graphs mostly extensive is well expressed. For a specialist of summits more of such details would perhaps not be unwelcome and the list of all Seven-thousanders in Nepal contains some mistakes. But these are not important objections, the book of Frank is strongly recommended.
EXPLORING NEPAL, by Stan Armington, La Siesta Press;
Price : $2.75.
To a seasoned Himalayan trekker this excellent little book is an eye opener—to the first-time trekker in Nepal it must be made compulsory reading (I was going to add, especially if you happen to be an American—but I would be patently unfair to the residents of the U.S.A. if I believed that they behaved any different from the affluent of any other nation—that goes for us Asians—Indians and Japanese who frequent the lesser paths of the Himalaya).
Stan has taken great pains to explain the scene to the new¬comer—the customs, the way of life, the psychology of the locals, their values and how the foreigner fits into their pattern of thought —all very chastening and salutary I can assure you. There are wholesome hints on how to behave, and I recommend this part of the book as its most important contribution. The local popu¬lation who have travelled little beyond a small radius from their villages judge all foreigners by the representatives they have the rood or bad fortune to meet. It takes only one boorish party to spoil the impression gained by several 'sympathetic' visitors. Stan cautions all on this aspect. Would that his words are read and heeded.
The other sections of this guide are almost technical by com¬parison—where to go—how to trek ("do-it-yourself", "the back¬packing approach", "live off the land", "complete trekking through an agent")—each has its own limitations and benefits—ye pays yer money and ye takes yer choice !
Then there are hints on what to take—clothing and where¬withals—equipment and utensils. Health and fitness figure pro¬minently as do hints on medicines and warnings to amateur doctors ! The rest can be gleaned from a travel agent's brochure. The whole impact of reading this book is of wanting to pack up and go—to Nepal of course.
A thoroughly readable and useful book—applicable to all moun¬tain regions in the world. I'm glad Stan sent me a copy.
SOLI S. MEHTA
HIMALAYAS photographed by Yoshikazu Shirakawa, Shogaku- kan Co. Ltd., 2-3-1 Hitotsubashi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, First edi¬tion 1975. Price : 7200 Yen. Size : 27 x 36 cm.
If one has seen Shiragawa's The Alps, one experiences another climax with Himalayas. This Japanese edition is now avail¬able for everybody. Formerly there was an American luxury edition for about US-$ 150, which was out of print in a few months' time !
What is now available is indeed fascinating. Such grand, breathtaking illustrated books only the Japanese are able to print nowadays considering compilation, standard, print and price. And what's more, one need not consider every photograph as a masterpiece, some are even artificially coloured. But the total impression is simply outstanding, several photographs are taken from the air and are furthermore geographically exceedingly interesting and clarifying.
Unfortunately such photographs are missing from the Kara- koram—a fact concerning similar illustrated books nowadays—as there may not be photographs taken from the air for military reasons. Otherwise there is a great variety and what is captivat¬ing above all is the kind of photographs, the artistic dimension and the reproduction. There are photographs where the spirit of Vittorio Sella is clearly tangible, but Shirakawa himself is gifted enough to communicate the grand, challenging and out¬standing beauty of these mountains. That is why Himalayas is so impressive, breathtaking. Also non-climbers will be able, through Shirakawa, to experience the majesty and grandeur of the third Pole, as well as the irresistable enticement of these mountains. Up to now an unsurpassable work of art of its kind.
MOUNTAIN PEOPLE OF THE WORLD—Ere Their Traces Vanish, by Reinold Messner, 136 pages, 85 coloured illustrations and several maps. Size : 18.5 x 25 cm. Editor : Athesia Bozen, 1975. Price: DM. 39.00.
The latest mountain book by Reinold Messner reveals new perspectives. It shows that this young, extreme climber not only perceives icy peaks and extreme walls, but also has eyes for the world where he can give proof of his excellent qualities. As a motto for this really very beautiful book one could write: "I looked for mountains—and found human beings".
Messner has already seen and experienced a great lot of the mountains of the world—and has observed the traces of the mountain people in our world today slowly and unreprievably vanishing. And that is why he wrote this fascinating book about these human beings whom he had met in several continents, and has caught with his camera a fine feeling and artistic sense for pictures. The landscape photographs reveal much of the author's capacity of comprehension. Several maps serve to simplify this UN COmmon trip around the world. With Rcinold Messner, we meet first the mountain farmers of the Alps—he starts at home, in South Tyrolia. Then on to the Kurd’s and mountain people of the Sahara. After Hindukush we meet the farmers in Wakhan (Afghanistan), the Baltis and Hunzas in the Karakoram, the farmers around the Nanga Parbat, the Bhutanese, the Sherpas (Nepal), the Tibetans, the Danis in New Guinea and the Indios in the Andes.
This volume is very significant and when reading it one realises the xperience of high and different values. Amongst the colour photos are many brilliant ones reproduced on high quality of paper and print (Graphic plants of ATHESIA). ATHESIA shall be praised for the good get-up of the book.
Finally what puts Messner's work on such a high level is the poetic larity with which he treats his theme, as well as the moral insight of the value of work and the respect for the spiritual symbols and religions of the various mountain people.
If one loves mountains and only has some ethnographic interest one finds here a valuable book, modelled by humanism and very beautiful colours. Naturally it is not a complete treatise on the theme mountain people and some added remarks and small corrections should be mentioned. But these are unimportant details in this really recommendable book.
Not unexpectedly Messner's book on Mountain people has been awarded the prize for the best Mountain Book of the year 1975.
One may only hope that Remold Messner as author continues in this direction. We await with great expectations his next volume Arena of loneliness—from the Baltoro Muztagh in Great Karakoram.
YALUNG KANG, Report from the first ascent of Kangchenjunga, western Summit (8505 m.), by Kyoto University Yalung Kang Expedition, 1973, Kyoto, Japan; December 1975. Price : 5500 Yen.Size: 26 x 18 cm.
A new book from Japan with dramatic happenings. 10 colour photographs and 90 in black and white tell about the successful expedition of the Academic Alpine Club of Kyoto 1973. In the Annals of this club one finds the first ascents of Saltoro Kangri (7742 m.) ) Noshaq (7492 m.) and Chogolisa NE-summit (7664 m.). Since 1964 they applied for the western summit (Yalung Kang) of Kanchenjunga —until at last in October 1972 the consent of the Nepalese government arrived. In spite of tht short time given for all pieparations, the Base Camp was established at 5200 m. at the end of March 1973. In the middle of May, Camp 5 was at 7950 m. and the first assaulters, Matsuda and Ageta could start.On May at 18.00 hours they reached the summit after considerable difficulties. But they had to bivouac the followingnight at 8300 m. approximately and the following morning Matsuda was after some time unable to continue the descent. They had lost their route, in spite of being in the vicinity of an oxygen deposit. A rescue team at last met Ageta on the evening of 15 May—but the search for Matsuda was in vain. They only found the broken handle of his ice axe.
After this calamity they refrained from further attempts and evacuated all camps.
The book is almost exclusively in Japanese, both in the text as well as the titles of the illustrations, and is therefore un¬fortunately not easily accessible to Western readers. A great shame, as there are many illustrations of great geographic and alpine value (for example the survey towards Talung Peak- Kabru). But there is a supplement in English : a folder entitled The First Ascent of Yalung Kang, edited by the expedition leader Haruo Giguchi. Due to this rather extensive report one can well follow the dramatic events and understand most of the illustra¬tions. However, this book has great documentary value and concluding there shall especially be mentioned the new altitudes of the Kangchenjunga massif, as measured by the Japanese expedition :
Kangchenjunga Main summit (basis altitude) : 8600 m
,, Western summit "Yalung Kang" : 8505 m
,, Middle summit (Southern ridge) : 8478 m
,, Southern summit : 8491 m
Kangbachen Peak (as by new governmental survey) : 7,902 m
ERFOLG AM KANTSCH (Success on Kangchenjunga), by Gunter Sturm, BLV Verlagsgesellschaft, Munchen, 1975.
This is the book about the Himalaya expedition of the German and Austrian Alpine Club 1975. The Western Kangchenjunga summit or Yalung Kang, 8437 m. was ascended for the second time. In 1973 the Japanese succeeded with the first ascent and in 1974 another Japanese expedition got as high up as one hundred metres below the highest point of this great satellite of Kangchen¬junga.
A small-size book about a great ascent one might say. With a panorama (by Vittorio Sella 1899) and several good photographs in black-and-white and colour. With the help of a sketch map and indicated route one can very well follow the ascent. Leader was Sigfried Aeberli and altogether nine men reached the summit of "Yalung Kang".
A very successful expedition without doubt. The book is very comprehensive. One gets informed about history and other expedi¬tions. Other chapters treat medicine, science, oxygen and food, as well as regulations about Sherpas and equipment. All very valuable informations, and as an expedition report this book is exemplary. It is easily read and enriches our knowledge substantially about a modern and well organised Himalaya expedition.
REKA JMENEM CERVANKYA ('River of Dawn'), by Jaromir wolf, Olympia Verlag, P'raha, December 1975.
The book about the Czechoslovak Makalu Expedition 1973 with several maps, sketches and 80 photographs. Price : 26.50 Kcs.
River of Dawn is the river Aran in Eastern Nepal. Since the first ascent in 1955 by French climbers fifteen years passed by until Japanese climbers opened a new route from SE (second ascent). In 1971 another French team accomplished the third ascent—over the western ridge. And in 1972 a Yugoslav party tried to force the direct southern wall, but without success.
The Czechoslovak Expedition in 1973 composed of very strong member (leader Ivan Galfy) attacked the south-western wall via the 3000 in. high pillar which leads directly to the South-eastern summit (8010 m.), later by named "Czechoslovak Pillar." After the establishment of Camp 5 at 7850 m. some members reached the altitude of 7900 m. but after an unexpected tragic disaster the expedition withdrew.
The book is well illustrated: a survey of the entire chain of the Himalaya, revealing sketches of the approach and ascent, a map sketch of the region with indicated routes of the French and Japanese expeditions until 1971. Each chapter is nicely decorated by sketched vignettes. The photographs are varied and informative, sometimes even dramatic. Also the text is informative and an english edition would be very welcome and is strongly recomended.
EVEREST : The Preliminary Report of the Japanese Expedition to Mt. Everest (8848m.), 1973. Rock Climbing Club, Japan.
In about 50 pages the post-monsoon expedition of 1973 is told in Japanese when the Japanese of the Rock Climbin Club (Tokyo) reached 8380 m. on the southwest face of Everest and achieved it’s first ascent in the post-monsoon via the southeastern ridge.
12 pages in black-and-white are also subtitled in English. These photographers are above all of great documentary value and snow on the whole wintry conditions. Some telephotographs one wishes to be published have later on enlarged as they also show other mountains of the world (Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Kangchenjunga etc.) in this season (October-November). At the end of the volume follows a chronological list in English and a list of all the members including Sherpas.
The autumn expedition 1973 was again a grand Japanese achievement on everest.
For short report in English, see Sangaku 1974, pages 21-27 (at the beginning) Southwest Face of Everest, 1973 by expedition leader Michio Yuasa.
MOUNT EVEREST, 1975—An illustrated paperback about the successful Japanese Women's expedition 1975. Price : 900 Yen, Size A 4, Text underneath photographs also in English. Sup¬plement : A 2 poster of Mount Everest at sunset.
Again a graphic masterpiece from Japan—entirely in colour photographs. And an exemplary documentation of the first Japanese Women's ascent of the highest summit on earth. Many double- page photographs are very impressive, they convey the grandeur and beauty of the culmination of the Himalaya. Other photo¬graphs are dramatic, they show exhaustion, avalanches, difficult passages, joy, triumph. And anyway, these Japanese women know how to photograph mountains. But the keynote always remains documentary.
And one hundred pages with as many colour photographs is available for only 900 Yen—possible probably due to the advertise ments which hardly disturb.
A beautiful, extremely valuable edition, of Japanese quality and finish.
CHANGABANG—by Bonington, Boysen, Hankinson, Haston, Sandhu and Scott. (Heinemann—£5.75).
Six characters in search of a mountain—six mountaineers deter¬mined not to write "another bloody expedition book". I might concede that a slightly novel approach to story telling is a great help in making the printed word more than readable, but the authors are no mean writers themselves—result—a most enjoy¬able escape into the mountains of Garhwal. You can read it all at one sitting and afterwards re-read your favourite bits.
Too much introspection, too much of the confessional and slushy philosophising can be a bore. This book manages to keep a tight check on this and yet generates the atmosphere of a bi-national expedition by its straight-forward sincerity and mature behaviour of its members.
The narrative has the typical blend of British humour and its well-known art of the understatement. It is also extremely easy to follow the technical side of the venture. The photographs are well chosen and most ably support the text.
Only two small bellyaches—when will the authors in English fever learn to drop the S in Himalayas—they all seem to persist in this folly of double plural like Sheeps ! Secondly what would Hanuman think if he was going to be mis-spelt Harunam (and in italics at that)—he would indeed suspect some monkey tricks at the Press.
A lively book to have and excellent value for money.
SOLI S. MEHTA
NANGA PARBAT 8125 M.—by Arno Puskas and Ivan Urbanovic sportVerlag, Bratislava 1974. Foto-album 25 x 28 cm. Price: 75 Kcs.
The book about the successful Slowak Expedition to Nanga Parbat in 1971 attracted very little attention in western countries. Already in 1969 Slowak Alpinists from Czechoslovakia made a first attempt on the "classical" route of the German expeditions in the thirties—where so far only one human being got through alive until 1971 : Hermann Buhl—the legendary Austrian climber.
It has to be said straight away: This is up to now the most beautiful and best illustrated book about Nanga Parbat. The Slowaks were well organized, and they were excellent climbers who knew that their challenger was a dangerous mountain. When the weather improved just five minutes to twelve, they were ready for the final attack. Nine men reached the 'Silver Saddle’, the heighest camp was established on 7000 m. and in one day only—on 11 July 1971—two members reached the main summit while a third one waited on the shoulder (8072 m.) and three other climbers ascended the fore-summit (first ascent) and the rest climbed the smaller 'Silver Jag' (7530 m.).
These remarkable achievements are documented in mostly excellent photographs. Especially the shots above the 'Silver Saddle’ (7-150 m.) are very impressive, wherefrom no photographs exited or were brought back until 1971.
The Silver Plateau, the Diamir Saddle, the Razhin Gap, the Fore summit, the Shoulder and the main summit: everything is present. Step by step one can follow Hermann Buhl's ascent, also the gendarme (just below the Shoulder) named after him is clearly visible, now the route of these purposeful and experienced Slowaks : Fiala, Orolin, Zahoransky, Urbanovic, Puskas, Psotka, Krissak and others. Also the retreat was organized masterfully, without incidents or frostbites. Thus the first Eight thousander was won for Czechoslovakia.
More ever, an enjoyable fact about this book: the excellent printed colour photographs. They really do transmit the unsurpassable mountain world of Nanga Parbat. There are several revealing sketch-maps as well as a summary in English and German. What the Germans and Austrians could not show from this giant, the Slowaks have accomplished.
Doubtless a remarkable mountain book of high standard.
KOHE PAMIR—WAKHAN (1975 and Second Edition, 1976),
KOHE WAKHAN—PAMIR (1976),
HENDUKUSE ZEBAK (Third Edition, 1976),
By Jerzy Wala. Published by Klub Wysokogorski, Krakow.
Once again one acknowledges a debt of gratitude to the pioneering work of small Polish teams in the Hindu Kush, and in particular to the indefatigable Jerzy Wala whose latdtet publi¬cations deal with areas of the Wakhan hitherto represented as blanks on the few published maps available.
The three regions dealt with in these three papers fall within the Hindu Kush range north and north-west of Chitral, situated around Long. 74° E and Lat. 37° S. There is a slight overlap in two of the regions described which are almost contiguous stretching in a line roughly SE to NW. Thus the eastern borders of Kohe Pamir (Wakhan) are the Kilik and Mintaka rivers and the Tagdumbash Pamir extending to China, whilst the western borders of the Kohe Wakhan (Pamir) extend to the Darya-i-Pamir river on the edge of the SE Pamir in USSR territory.
In the Kohe Pamir (Wakhan) the position of 155 mountains has been fixed, four of which are given heights above 6000 m., and fourteen above 5500 m. of these one peak of 5400 m. was ascended by Polish mountaineers in 1974. Since then, the area does not appear to have received much attention. The Kohe "Wakhan (Pamir), or rather a small section of it containing 9 peaks above 6000 m., has been visited between 1971-75 by Polish, Japanese, Austrian and Italian parties who have climbed 7 of the highest peaks.
The booklets describing these regions, there are two on the first and one on the second, contain several panoramic views sketched from summit photographs which presumably have pro¬vided the basis for much of the detail shown on the accompanying sketch-maps. It would appear that place and mountain names have, with some exceptions, e.g., Kohe Marco Polo for Peak 6174, followed local usage ; and it must be assumed that heights are as near accurate as possible without the elaboration of detailed surveying methods.
The paper on the Zebak group of mountains contains a good sketch-map on the scale of 1:100.000, marking the position of four main and several subsidiary glaciers as well as 278 peaks, four of which exceed 5800 m. in height. The map is based en¬tirely upon exploration carried out by 5 Polish expeditions be¬tween 1966-1975. This group lies directly to the NW of the Noshaq and can almost be reached by a motor-road.
There is no doubt that all three regions provide a marvellous field for small expeditions, containing mountaineering opportun¬ities to satisfy all tastes. One of their chief merits lies in their relatively easy and unrestricted access through Afghanistan.
As always, Mr. Wala acknowledges the sources from which he has drawn in preparing bis papers. These include USSR, USA, Japanese, Austrian, Italian, Afghan and Polish publications, in addition to the early Survey of India map-sheets which still con¬stitute the basic reference material for all these peripheral areas.
Since these publications are privately distributed under the auspices of the Polish Mountaineering Club and are therefore not generally available, those interested in obtaining copies should write direct to Mr. Jerzy Wala, 31-452 Krakow. Ule.P.Wlod Kowica 4157. Poland.
ALPINE FLOWERS OF JAPAN 1—in the serial: Yamakei Colour Guide. Published by Yama-to-Keikoku Sha Co. Ltd. 1-1-33 Shibadaimon, Minato-ku, TOKYO, Japan. Price : 980 Yen, Small size.
This Japanese Alpine Flower book presents a hundred different plants in extremely beautiful, even artistic colourphotos, their names follow also in Latin. One finds surprisingly many spcimen which are also found in Europe as for example Dryas oluiHttala Anemone narcissi-flora, Viola biflora, etc.—and other differerent Japanese variations of our alpine flowers.
It is a genuine joy to read this book and enrich one's knowledge, The photographs—also excellently printed—convey the great love to all flowers and plants in Japan !
AS I SAW IT—by Jack Gibson—Mukul Prakashan, Delhi— P. 723; Price Rs. 96.00.
The book covers, as author himself puts it 'records of a crowded life in India, 1937-89'. It covers many varied fields of author's life in form of letters written to his parents in U.K. and others. It covers his career as an educationist, advisor to government on military matters, life at Doon school and Mayo college, his views on India during war and period of independence struggle and of course his mountaineering exploits.
From the point of view of mountaineers those chapters which cover author's visit to Himalayan range would be read with interest. Many persons may not be aware that Mr. Gibson was among the early pioneers in introducing mountaineering in India long before it received official encouragement and recognition. It is very pleasing to read about those small expeditions and outings organised very economically. Various area covered makes a long list like Dodi Tal, Climbing of Banderpunch, Chaturangi Bamak, Kalindi Pass, Lahul, Baspa Valley and Shinka Pass, Nela Pass, Har Ki-Doon, Climbing of Black Peak, Charnba, Chini and Kinnaur, Sikkim and Bhutan in the Himalayas. It also covers swat, Chitral and Gilgit in the Karakoram. Special mention must " be made of Banderpunch and Har-ki-Doon areas which are covered it great details from author's various trips here. The book would make a good reference book for those who are planning to visit the above areas or are interested in them. Hwever, for a general reader they may not be of equal interest as there is little continuity due to the Format of letters written at different periods. There are four sketch maps. One wishes there were more and in greater details. Illustrations cover people and places well but not enough of mountains or the ranges visited.