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

SWISS THUI EXPEDITION, 1975

DR ADOLF DIEMBERGER and HANS SCHIBLI

IN 1975 the Swiss expedition under Hans Schibli climbed and explored areas in the Hindu Raj. By the Hindu Raj, one understands the area, particularly the enormous mountain ranges which in west and north divide the north-east Chitral from the Gilgit Agency (Yasin, Ishkuman). Along this the old Kashmir boundary is situated.

Reginald Schomberg has written 'The mountains behind Darkot, that is the range between Chitral and Yasin are described as the Hindu Raj'. (AJ 251, 316)

Along the flanks of Chitral runs the enormous Yarkhun mountain wall. The area of Gilgit where the Gilgit river enters, is known as Ghizar in the upper region. The calley takes its name from Yasin, the main place, which is also the name of the District. From Yasin, the Thui valley passes through the pass of the same name (Thui An, 4411 metres).

One can approach the peaks around Thui An from the Yarkhun valley through the Gazin Gol as well as from the Ghizar valley from above Yasin and the Thui valley. On leaving the Yarkhun valley and entering the Ghazin Gol, one marches through an old path which connects Thui An with Chitral and Kashmir. The climber first beholds the imposing group south-east of Thui An towards the south of Aghost Bar glacier.

Two gigantic summits tower over their surroundings and between them, lie a pair of two five-thcusanders. From here a ridge leads north-east towards Thui An over a summit of 4900 m. The eastern six-thousander (6158 m) is named Thui Zom on the well-known map of Linsbauer.

The western summit (6191 m) is named Thui Peak on some ketches. ,of the middle group the higher one (5800 m) connects Uie two six-thousanders by a ridge, while from the other (5700 m) the above mentioned long ridge runs north-westwards. In this report, the eastern six-thousander is named Thui Zom East, and the western summit is described as Thui Zom West. The two five-thousanders should be termed as the Middle group or the Central peaks. For the whole group, the term Southern Thui Group should be used, in order to differentiate the summits "ii the main east-west chain, and in the north (Thui I-6661 m, Thui II-6523 m and Thui III-6175 m, comprising the North Thui Group). Thui Zom East is separated from the Middle or central peaks by the West Saddle. Thui Zom West is separated from the connecting summits by the South Saddle. Both the saddles will probably hold key positions during future climbing attempts. Three big glaciers cover this Group, in the west, the Gazin glacier along with its side outlets; in the north, the Aghost Bar glacier; in the south, the Ghalsapar glacier. The latter allows entry to the above-mentioned saddles.

In 1967, the first mountaineering expedition arrived-a Japanese two-man team came from Yarkhun over Thui An. M. Ebihara and Y. Takahashi studied the north flank of Thui Zom East. They did not attempt to climb to the summit. They observed its enormous wall, which was approximately 2000'm high, at an average angle of 70° with hanging glaciers here and there (Sangaku, Vol. LXIII 1968, 8). In another report, they stated that 'the scale is larger than that of the Grande Jorasse'. The team, therefore, scaled three summits north-west and north of Thui An.

The twelve-man Swiss Thui Expedition of 1975, led by Hans Schibli, was sponsored by the Rossberg section of the S.A.C. Originally, the main aim of the expedition was Thui I and Thui II. Thui I, however, was found to have already been climbed and Thui II was earmarked for a British expedition which never came. The Pakistan government gave permission only for Thui Zom East.

The team flew from Zurich to Rawalpindi and then onwards to Gilgit, reaching Yasin on 9 July after a jeep drive. From II to 13 July, the team marched through Thui valley to Sholtali, at the eastern end of Aghost Bar glacier and set up the Base ('amp on 14 July at an altitude of 3790 metres.

On 16 and 17 July, the climbers went towards Thui An and then concentrated on climbing Thui Zom.[1] According to the expedition report and exchange of letters, the leader of the team concluded :

'A direct assault on the 2200 m north wall is not possible due to the huge hanging glaciers which threaten the upper portion of the wall. The only possibility appeared to be to climb through the north-west part of the wall over the west ridge.'

They climbed from Aghost Bar glacier towards the west saddle, hugging the western wall to protect themselves from the hanging cinders. At about 4300 metres they crossed the couloir and reached the base of the wall at about 4600 m. They now climbed vertically (about 200 m east of the large hanging glacier) up the wall, up to 4900 m, and fixed about 300 metres of rope. The difficulties, according to Schibli, were between 4 and 5 At 4600 m, a materials camp was established. Since the team needed more provision, they went down to the Base Camp. Next day, as the group was ascending the whole material depot was destroyed by rock-fall which fell from a height of 5100 m. The team gave up for the time being any further attempts on Thui Zom (East- Ed) and they turned towards Thui III, where they had more luck.

They climbed the summit (6175 m) lying between Thui I and Thui II and named it Thui III. Camp 1 was established at 4450 m where the Qalander Gum glacier turns towards the west, and Camp 2 was set up at 5050 m. 'From there, we climbed through the 1000 m high ice wall (50°) into a narrow gap. Then along the South ridge, very difficult in parts, over the fore summit, to the main summit which was only a few metres higher. Since the team was also filming the ascent they had to bivouac at 6080 m.

1. First ascent of Thui III (6175 m)-23-7-1975

H. Doswald, M. Dubacher and J. Huber.

2. Repeat ascent-24-4-1975

J. Huber, H. Bumbascher, Veronika Merz and K. Stadlin.

3. Repeat ascent-28-7-1975

H. Schibli and J. de Vries.

The expedition also climbed smaller summits particularly in the unknown area east of Thui glacier, which we would like to name, for the time being, 'Swiss glacier'. The following were climbed:

1. Thui Heto 5160 m

2. Thui Majoe 5166 m

3. Tretorre 4920 m

4. Pt. 4580 m

5. Pt. 4398 m

Apart from the climbing, the Swiss have had a very successful expedition. Far too little notice has been taken of the fact that the team thoroughly explored the Thui South Group. The results have not yet been published. From the excellent photos and correspondence with the leader, it is clear that here is a new area for mountaineering-steep granite rocks and difficult walls, calling for high technical skills.

The following notes have been made by Hans Schibli, the leader, on the various possibilities that are offered by this interesting mountain group :

Thui Zom East (6158 m)

The North wall is really to be compared to the Grand Jorasse, as the Japanese have written. It is 2200 m high. All pillars pose great difficulties (upto 5-6). The main problem is, however, the objective dangers. On the upper portion of the wall, there are many hanging glaciers which have their tongues projecting over "the pillars and which give rise to ice-avalanches (2 to 4 times a day). In the case of some of the pillars, one would have to climb over such hanging glaciers.

The South wall is pure rock wall, which is covered with snow at the upper portion. However, it does not have any glaciers. Along the summit fall-line, the wall is about 2400 m high. It is very steep and it is also very difficult. Given enough time, it is possible to climb, though it is less interesting compared to the North wall. A realistic climbing route would be over the west saddle. The Ghalsapar glacier wanders far up towards the west saddle, but is full of crevasses and its crossing poses great difficulties. The route up the west saddle is easier from the south than from the north (which we tried).

Attempting the peak by the south-east ridge and the Aghost Bar glacier, the going is easier when quite a distance from the summit. Then follows a long ascent over a ridge which has a lot of technical problems.

Thui Zom West (6191m)

The summit actually lies south-west from the eastern Thui Zom. The main ridge turns south-westerly here. The summit has a west and an east flank. The only climbing route is seen from the west side which is not easy and is quite dangerous. The east side offers a better route over the Ghalsapar glacier towards the south saddle of Thui Zom West. Even here the Ghalsapar glacier is heavily crevassed. The climb through the couloir in the south saddle would not be easy. Still more difficult would be the first high buttress on the South ridge.

Middle Group (summits 5800 m and 5700 m)

The north walls have similar difficulties as those of Thui Zom (East-Ed.), Along the north-west ridge and Pt 4900 m, the climbing route would be very long with lots of technical difficulties. From the south side, it is possible to have a feasible route over the west saddle of the Thui Zom East. On the west saddle, a difficult corner has to be overcome.

This article has tried to introduce the reader to an unknown mountain group with its mountaineering problems and challenges waiting to be taken up and it is to be hoped that the instructive notes of the expedition leader would be of some help to future expeditions.


1. This is the old name-now described as Thui Zom. East in this article.-Ed.

Thui Zom East (left) and Thui Zora West (right) viewed from the north.

Thui Zom East (left) and Thui Zora West (right) viewed from the north.



Thui Zom West (left) and Zhang Tek (right) viewed from the north.

Thui Zom West (left) and Zhang Tek (right) viewed from the north.



South col and Thui Zom West (right) from Ghalsapur glacier.

South col and Thui Zom West (right) from Ghalsapur glacier.



Thui Zom West, South col (left) and West col of West col of Thui Zom East (right),  from Ghalsapur glacier.

Thui Zom West, South col (left) and West col of West col of Thui Zom East (right), from Ghalsapur glacier.



South wall of Tui Zom East from Ghalsapar glacier.

South wall of Tui Zom East from Ghalsapar glacier.