Himalayan Journal vol.35
The Himalayan Journal
Vol.35

Publication year:
1979

Editor:
Soli S. Mehta
Index
  1. EDITORIAL
  2. THE STORY OF THE HIMALAYAN CLUB, 1928-1978
    (JOHN MARTYN)
  3. FIFTY YEARS RETROSPECT AND PROSPECT
    (TREVOR BRAHAM)
  4. THE PASSANRAM AND TALUNG VALLEYS, SIKKIM
    (DR EUGEN ALLWEIN)
  5. NANDA DEVI AND THE SOURCES OF THE GANGES
    (H. W. TILMAN)
  6. THE MOUNT EVEREST RECONNAISSANCE, 1935
    (ERIC SHIPTON)
  7. THE SHAKSGAM EXPEDITION, 1937
    (MICHAEL SPENDER)
  8. GANGOTRI TRIANGULATION
    (Major GORDON OSMASTON)
  9. EVEREST, 1976
    (MAJOR M. W. H. DAY, R.E.)
  10. LHOTSE, 1976
    (KANJI KAMEI)
  11. THE SECOND ASCENT OF LHOTSE, 1977
    (DR HERMANN WARTH)
  12. MAKALU, 1976
    (ANDERS BOUNDER & OTHERS)
  13. THE CLEAN-UP TREK, 1976
    (MICHAEL CORDELL)
  14. THE THIRD KOREAN MANASLU EXPEDITION, 1976
    (JUNG SUP KIM)
  15. THE HONGKONG KANJIROBA EXPEDITION, 1976
    (DICK ISHERWOOD)
  16. AVALANCHE ON SISNE, 1977
    (R. A. L. ANDERSON)
  17. DHAULAGIRI IV, 1975
    (KUNIAKI YAGIHARA)
  18. NORTH SIKKIM, 1976
    (HARISH KAPADIA)
  19. NANDA DEVI FROM THE NORTH, 1976
    (H. ADAMS CARTER)
  20. NANDA DEVI SANCTUARY - A NATURALIST'S REPORT
    (LAVKUMAR KHACHER)
  21. A BOTANICAL SURVEY IN THE NANDA DEVI SANCTUARY, 1974
    (N. C. SHAH)
  22. AN ATTEMPT ON NITALTHAUR, 1974
    (MANIK BANERJEE)
  23. CHAMRAO GLACIER EXPEDITION-1977
    (M. DEY)
  24. CHIRING WE, 1977
    (HARISH KAPADIA)
  25. KINNAUR-1976
    (LIEUTENANT-COLONEL BALWANT SANDHU)
  26. BLACK PEAK, 1976
    (MANDIP SINGH SOIN)
  27. NILAMBAR EXPEDITION, 1977
    (RANVIR SINGH)
  28. POLISH K2 EXPEDITION, 1976
    (JANUSZ KURCZAB)
  29. A CRAWL DOWN THE OGRE
    (DOUG SCOTT)
  30. ISTOR-O-NAL NORTH I, 1976
    (RONALD NAAR)
  31. THE ASCENT OF SHERPI KANGRP 1976
    (PROF. KAZUMASA HIRAI)
  32. AFGHAN DARWAZ, 1975
    (RYSSZARD W. SCHRAMM)
  33. SWISS THUI EXPEDITION, 1975
    (DR ADOLF DIEMBERGER and HANS SCHIBLI)
  34. CLIMBING SHERPAS OF DARJEELING
    (DORJEE LHATOO)
  35. OF MOUNTAINS & MEMORIES
    (SITU MULLICK)
  36. EXPEDITIONS AND NOTES
  37. OBITUARIES
  38. BOOK REVIEWS
  39. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
  40. CLUB PROCEEDINGS, 1976
  41. EXPEDITIONS 1975-1977

LHOTSE, 1976

KANJI KAMEI

CLIMBING LHOTSE by the west ridge was our objective- we had previously tried to ascend in 1973, and the climb has yet to be achieved successfully.

In 1975, an Italian team made an attempt at climbing to the top by the west ridge, but their activity terminated at a height of 22,200 feet, on this side of the ridge which was covered with ice.

Kathmandu-Base Camp
Climbing equipment, medicines and foods which were brought from Japan, came to 15 tonnes and we got 8 tonnes more in Kathmandu.

From 4 February, we began to carry the expedition equipment by chartered plane to Luglha.

However, the plane carrying the gear could not often fly because of the unsteady weather, so that the schedule for the establishment of the Base Camp had to be delayed.

The approach march was made in three groups. The first group made Base Camp on 29 February, but it was destroyed by a strong wind just after it had been established, and the group returned to Dingpoche.

There they joined the main group who left India later, and re-established the Base Camp on 2 March, on the side of Lhotse glacier at a height of 15,960 feet. The site was free from any avalanche danger from the South Wall of Lhotse.

Establishment of three camps

Making the climbing route to Camp 1 began on 4 March and it was established on 8 March on the south ridge at a height of 17,400 feet, at the junction of the Lhotse and West Lhotse glaciers.

Between Camp 1 and Camp 2 on the south ridge, there were two protruding rocks 450 feet and 750 feet high. Both rocks were very fragile. None of the pitons hit into the cracks had given us enough confidence and every time we used the ropes that were tied to the pitons we had to be cautious.

On 19 March we established Camp 2 after overcoming the rocks. It was on the narrow ridge covered by deep snow and at a height of 19,200 feet. We were able to look at Makalu from there whenever the weather was clear.

Along with the pioneering of the climbing route, the equipment was carried up from Base Camp to the higher camps by the Sherpas and the members. Although there were many inactive days due to strong wind and snowstorm, we worked out a tentative Camp 3 at a height of 20,700 feet on 25 March and succeeded in stocking a formal Camp 3 at a height of 21,750 feet on 2 April, where we found the remains of one of the Italian camps of the 1975 expedition.

A 500-foot wall-Key-point on the south ridge
A 500-foot wall covered by ice blocked our route to the west ridge. The wall was one of the most difficult and important parts of our climbing strategy. We thought, discussed and thoroughly investigated the possibilities here, and finally planned three routes-its centre face, east face (right side of the wall) and the very steep ice-fall on the left side of the wall. On 17 April, we established a temporary Camp 4 at the foot of the wall.

On 1 May two members could work their way to the top of the wall through the centre face, using artificial climbing aids.

Two other members got to the top from the east face on 4 May and joined the previous party there. The east face route was finally chosen as the easier for ferrying loads.

Blizzards terminate the climb

A party had pioneered the route toward the west ridge from the temporary Camp 4 during a snowstorm, and had reached 22,800 feet on 9 May where they deposited a little gear before desending to the temporary Camp 4.

From the next day, blizzards continued every day until 18 May. The temporary Camp 4 was isolated and the four members in it were forced to climb down to Camp 3. At the same time, carrying up of the loads had to be interrupted between Camp 2 and Camp 3, since the Sherpas hesitated to carry because of avalanche danger. Camp 3 had food shortages and so did the temporary Camp 4.

On 19 May four climbers again ascended to the temporary camp 4 and stayed there. The next day although they fought hard with deep snow, they could not reach the previous high point and disappointedly returned to Camp 3.

That night I discussed with the deputy leader who was inv Camp 3 about the climbing situation. As a result, we decided to terminate the climbing by 25 May and to ascend up to 23,340 feet high by then, if possible.

On May 25 the three selected members climbed from Camp 3 to the temporary Camp 4 together with a Sherpa. At 5a.m. of the next morning, two of them could scarcely get to 22,800 foot high point which was reached 15 days ago-spending ten hours on the steep slope and deep snow.

That was the highest point attained during this expedition- 22,800 feet high, just below the west ridge. I think that we might have reached the west ridge in another three hours, if the weather had permitted.