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

OBITUARIES

ERIC SHIPTON

ERIC's senior by ten years I had fully expected that he would ' soon be asked to write a few words about me. Alas, that it should be the other way round. We must have met for the first time in the latter half of 1829. We were both growing coffee in Kenya, the farms 160 miles apart, and whether he wrote to me or vice versa I cannot remember; most probably the latter. Earlier that year he and Wyn Harris had made the second ascent of Mt Kenya, thirty years after its first ascent by Sir Halford Mackinder.

In the middle of Eric's plantation was a 200 ft high tooth of granite, an inconvenience on a coffee farm but to those of the Faith as welcome as water in a thirsty land. Eric had worked out several routes up it and to these on my first visit I was introduced. Young though he was, his climbing experience exceeded mine, for I had started late, and he was the better climber. On this and subsequent visits we made plans, and in 1930, on two separate trips, we climbed Kilimanjaro and then made the traverse of Mt- Kenya by the West ridge, a long and difficult climb which Eric led throughout. In January 1932 the ascent of various Ruwenzori peaks completed our joint efforts in East Africa.

In 1933 he was busy upon Mt Everest and I was busy cycling across Africa on the way home; but by January 1934 we were again in touch and I eagerly accepted the chance of a combined effort in the Himalaya, the forcing of the Rishi gorge and the Nanda Devi basin. The large bandobast of an Everest expedition had inclined Eric to go to the other extreme. His wish for simplicity and economy found a fervent backer with the result that together with three Sherpas we spent five happy, memorable months in the Himalaya at a cost of £140 each including fares out and back in a cargo vessel. That we starved ourselves and our followers is patently untrue, for one cannot work as hard and cover as much difficult ground as we did without sufficient food.

Eric led the Mt Everest Reconnaissance of 1935, leading from in front and by example rather than from force of character; and at the end of it had to make the correct but painful decision to exclude Dan Bryant, whom he much liked, as well as myself, from the main attempt of the following year. However, we joined forces again in 1937 for the exploration of the basin of the Shaks- gam River, Eric's Blank on the Map, and in 1938 for yet another attempt on Everest; and it was only the obvious imminence of war and the fact that I was on the Reserve of Officers that kept me from joining his second Karakoram venture which he expected would last 18 months.

My debt to Eric was already great - for that happy fortnight on Mt Kenya with his bold conception and equally bold leading of the West ridge climb, and later for a timely introduction to the Himalaya - and after the war this debt was to be enlarged. Had he not been H.B.M. Consul at Kashgar I should never have set foot in Sinkiang, hobnobbed with Kirghiz chiefs over basins of yoghourt, or visited the source of the Oxus. Our climbs there were not successful. Bogdo Olo proved too hard, and that we threw in our hand at 24,00-0 ft on Muztagh Ata, a couple of hundred feet below the summit, was largely owing to my inability to do my share of kicking steps in soft snow. By that time I was 51 and beginning to suffer from mountaineer's foot - the inability to put one in front of the other.

Although I met Eric at increasingly infrequent intervals in subsequent years our paths diverged, his to Patagonia and later to lecture tours and the conducting of Himalayan tourist parties, and mine to the sea. His friends were legion and understandably so, for in spite of a hesitant and at first seemingly shy manner he soon became interested in people and ready to discuss anything with anybody. It would need a readier pen than mine and someone with more discernment to assess his character; I must content myself with this slight tribute to the most outstanding mountaineer-explorer of our time. Lord Montgomery's highest praise for a man was that 'he would be happy to go into the jungle with him'. Eric Shipton was undoubtedly such a man.

H. W. TIlman

ERIC SHIPTON

I have only just received through a stray newspaper article and' weeks later the news that my father has died. I have just returned to Khartoum from an English teaching post in the far west of Sudan on the Chad frontier where news is an intermittent affair. I had always thought him a permanent object in my life so I find it almost impossible to believe his death to be true. The last time I saw him was just less than a year ago in Shropshire where he was digging his vegetable garden which had begun to keep his attention between his latest journeys around the world, mostly, I think, in relation to lectures and acting as guide to eccentric tourists. Although he was just a little deaf he was in the best of health and physical fitness; we spent the weekend chopping wood and digging. His fitness was really accentuated on a visit to a very old lady in her Shropshire hide-out who treated us both equally as children.

As may be the case with other people who have a celebrity for a father, I have always regarded his fame with a peculiar disinterest. I have as yet read only one of his books from cover to cover which I think was his last One on Tierra del Fuego and only snippets of his autobiography. Various parts of his life I heard from his own lips lying under the stars on an Alpinq* glacier

or on the top of Stromboli, but his achievements have always been a faraway fairy tale to me or a gnawing inspiration.

I don't think we had anything like a normal father-son relationship. Obviously he was never cut out for family life. My mother and he were divorced when I was three or four years old and my childhood was interspersed with staying with him in marvellous country establishments of his friends about England. We always met on terms of a wonderful vagueness due either to me or to him but I think he always was a bit vague about his two sons. He did however teach me some invaluably practical things, the first of which was how to eat and enjoy raw eggs. Although he was an atrocious cook he was fascinated by cooking and taught me how to make lentil curry. His last culinary passion which I know of was creme caramel- The greatest lesson which he always tried to impress on me was the importance in life of an overriding passion. His, of course, was one which very few people can emulate, his intense love of volcanoes, mountains and wild remote country. This I have as a shadow, he has given me an aching feeling when I see savage country and mountains which usually makes me wander unseeing into it. Hi^ vision perhaps has been uprooting for both me and my brother. How can one live an ordinary humdrum existence when one's father has penetrated unexplored areas of Patagonia and Himalayan glaciers ? I think it has left us both with an undying discontent. I feel I shall always be searching for ways to be in the remotest places.

One of the last times I saw him was when I dropped in at his house in Shropshire. He was wearing a mortar-board and making lentil curry. He was really a very warm man and very talkative although somehow not so much to me. In a vague way on this visit he got me on to old H. W. Tilman's annual trip to the Arctic, this time an attempt to reach Ellesmere Island in Baroque, a 1902-built Bristol Channel Pilot cutter. Tilman of course was an old mountaineering friend of my father's and if anything, more of an eccentric. Men like my father and he just aren't made any more.

At the moment I am attempting to extricate myself from the Sudan to return to England to establish the truth of this news. I feel anger at this bug that has struck my father down and anger at the inevitability Oof death. But I know that my father has led one of most marvellous lives that a man can lead.

John Shipton

DOUGAL HASTON

DOUGAL HASTON, the Everest summiter, was killed in Switzerland by an avalanche in January 1977. Dougal was not only a great climber but also a man of the highest calibre and integrity, bringing to mountaineering a nobility the sport deserves. His international reputation was made clear on the 1971 International Expedition to Everest where 'all the dissidents constantly stressed that they respected Haston' (H.J. Vol. XXXI, 1971, p. 86). Dougal was one of the summit pair who reached the top of Annapurna I by its South Face in the Chris Bo-nington 3970 Expedition. Dougal was also the first up with Doug Scott on Changabang in 1974 (Indo-British Garhwal Expedition). Colonel Balwant Singh Sandhu in his article on this expedition (H.J. Vol. XXXIII, 1973-74, p. 91) says this about Haston: 'Dougal rarely talks during a climb and when he does it is sense/ Finally of course Dougal achieved the ultimate-the summit of Everest. He and Doug Scott were the first Britons to reach the top of Everest when they climbed it the hard way by the SW- Face (first ascent of the Face). I would like to add something here which is not emphasised - Dougal Haston was in the lead and could easily have reached the summit of Everest first. However, such was his character that he slackened his pace to allow Doug Scott to come up alongside him so that the two of them could reach the summit at the same time. Surely this unselfishness, this courtesy and consideration for a fellow climber is a fine example that Dougal Haston has left mountaineers.

Mavis Heath