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

BOOK REVIEWS

WHEN MEN AND MOUNTAINS MEET, by John Keay, John Murray £6.50.

The sub-title of this book is 'The Explorers of the Western Himalayas 1820-75'. Mr Keay knows that 'Himalayas' is an incorrect Anglicisation but finds it useful for referring to the mountain systems between the Indian sub-continent and Central Asia. Very little was then known of what lay beyond the vale of Kashmir and the exploration of this region Mr Keay claims ranks in importance with the exploration of Africa or the Poles. Its explorers were awarded as many Gold Medals by the Royal Geographical Society. Mr Keay has certainly told a fascinating story.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part is callcd 'the Pir Panjal and the Great Himalaya 1820-1836,' and we are at once introduced to William Moorcroft on his way to buy stallions and to sell woollen goods in Bokhara. He travelled through Kulu (the first Englishman to do so) and reached Leh where he was delayed nearly three years by hopes of getting to Yarkand, by suspicions of Russian agents and by the desire to make a permanent home in Ladakh. Then we meet an elegant Frenchman, Victor Jacquemont, the first in a long line of botanists to visit the Himalaya- He was fascinated by Ranjit Singh, his 'beloved Maharaja' and had no difficulty in getting the permission without which no- one could go to Kashmir. Then comes a very different sort of person, Joseph Wolff, a German Jew converted to Christianity and anxious to convert the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. He arrived in Bokhara a few years after Moorcroft but not finding any prospective converts pressed on towards JCabul. On the way he was deprived of all his clothes by some Mullahs who were furious that he would not embrace Islam. In Kabul, about 600 miles later, he managed to borrow some clothes from Alexander Burnes who had just arrived there, also on his way to Bokhara. Wolff was thus able to call, suitably dressed, on Ranjit Singh, with whom he found he had little in common, and on Lord and Lady Bentinck who doted on him. He was disappointed to find no Jews in Kashmir. Three years later, in 1935, three Europeans met with each other in Srinagar, Baron von Hugel, an Austrian aristocrat, John Henderson, a deserter from the East India Company, and G. T. Vigne, an Old Harrovian, a hunter and an artist. Some of his sketches are used as illustrations in the book. He spent several years exploring the Pir Panjal, Kashmir and Baltistan- It was possibly because he found no strategic importance in Baltistan that Gulab Singh was allowed to occupy it in 1840' after he had occupied Ladakh in 1836. Mr Keay manages to keep one in touch with the political background to the story of the explorers.

The second part of the book is called 'the Pamir and the Hindu Kush 1826-41' and the first person we meet is perhaps the strangest of all. Alexander Gardiner, in spite of being born on the shores of Lake Superior, by 1836 found himself wandering as an armed outlaw in Afghanistan. He took service with Habibullah Khan, the dispossessed heir to the throne, who gave him a fortress to live in and a princess for a wife. After the two happiest years of Gardiner's life Habibullah was defeated and Gardiner's fortress was overrun and his wife and children killed. He set off on travels that took him to Yarkand and back again to Kafiristan, a place he loved. He finished up in command of Ran jit Singh's artillery, and he died in 1877 in Jammu at the age of 91.

After he had provided Wolff with some clothes in 1832 Alexander Burnes pressed on to Bokhara and after his return to London he wrote a book about it which made his name. A few years later he was chosen to lead a supposedly commercial mission to Kabul and he took with him a naval surveyor, John Wood, to make charts of the Indus. There was little for Wood to do in Kabul and so he set off to look for the source of the Oxus which he thought he found in Lake Sarikol. As Victoria had ascended the throne the previous year he was tempted to call it Lake Victoria, but resisted the temptation. Tragic events in Kabul led to the death of Burnes.

The third part of the book is called 'the Karakorum and the Kun Lun, 1841-1875'. Gulab Singh had become Maharaja of Kashmir but the East India Company assumed some responsibility for his frontiers in case he again tried to send an army into Tibet as he had sent Zorawar Singh in 1841. The Company decided to send a Commission to define the boundary between Ladakh and Tibet but the Chinese did not respond ; nevertheless much useful work was done by the members of the Commission, Henry Strachey, Alexander Cunningham and Dr Thomas Thomson. Thomson pioneered a route from Chamba to Leh and then reached the top of the Karakoram Pass from where he saw not the extensive plain that had been expected but more and more mountain ranges. In 1855 the Great Trigonometrical Survey was extended to Kashmir and from Haramukh, Montgomerie saw K1 (Masher- brum) and K2, and Godwin-Austen went forward to determine their exact positions. When Montgomerie went on leave, his second-in-command, W. H. Johnson, was passed over because he was 'countryborn'- A few years later he left the Survey to take service under the Maharaja of Kashmir and he became Governor of Ladakh but was poisoned. In 1869 a Political Agent was appointed to Leh. Robert Shaw, an uncle of Younghusband, had failed to get into the army for medical reasons and had become a tea planter in Kangra. He now revived Moorcroft's ideas about opening a trade with Yarkand from where Chinese authority had recently been withdrawn. Overcoming tremendous difficulties he reached Yarkand and found the Amir nervous about the very rapid advance of Russia through Central Asia. Shaw's problems were not made easier by the arrival of George Haywood, an explorer who liked to disguise himself as a Pathan and who had a passion to explore the Pamir. A few years later Lord North- brooke did indeed send a mission to Yarkand, but the possibilities of trade were found to be very disappointing and furthermore Chinese authority was being re-established. The last character that we meet with is Andrew Dalgleish who set up as a merchant in Yarkand after the Northbrooke Mission and fourteen years later he and his terrier were killed by an Afghan. With his death the hopes of Moorcroft and Shaw were laid to rest.

I cannot remember when I have enjoyed a book more, and I hope that I have said enough to attract other like-minded readers.

John Martyn

A QUEST FOR FLOWERS, the Plant Explorations of Frank Ludlow and George Sherriff, by Dr Harold R. Fletcher. Edinburgh University Press. £ 10.

When I was about twelve years Old George Sherriff was one of my heroes because of his tremendous deeds on the playing- fields of Sedbergh as a member of the cricket team of my father's house. He was still a hero when many years later he stood me a drink and played snooker with me at the Srinagar Club for I had by then heard about his journeys with Ludlow to Bhutan and Tibet.

Ludlow and Sherriff first met in Kashgar in 1930 when Ludlow came to stay with the Consul-General, Williamson, shortly after Sherriff had arrived to be Vice-Consul. In that year Ludlow was able to travel about 4000 miles in the Tien Shan while Sherriff was only able to get away for occasional shooting trips, but nevertheless they planned a long expedition together as soon as the opportunity arose. It arose sooner than they expected because Sherriff, who succeeded Williamson as Consul-General in 1932, quarrelled with his superiors as he felt they underestimated the dangers of communism and resigned from the service. Consequently in 1933 Ludlow and Sherriff were able to set out on the first of their six joint expeditions.

Ludlow, who was fifteen years older than Sherriff, took his degree at Cambridge in 1908 after studying under Kingdon Ward's father, and came out to Karachi as Vice-Principal of Sind College. He joined the infantry in 1914 and when the war was over became an Inspector of Schools. When in this capacity he was asked to suggest someone to be head of a school for the sons of Tibetan nobles in Gyantse he decided to resign from the Educational Service and volunteer for the post himself. He ran the school for three years, 1923-1926, so successfully that the authorities decided that his influence on his pupils was excessive and they closed the school down. But they allowed him to go on an expedition in search of birds and flowers to eastern Tibet and this became the passion of his life. In 1927 he retired to Srinagar and received the invitation to Kashgar where he was to meet George Sherriff.

Sherriff after leaving Sedbergh went to Woolwich and was commissioned in the Gunners just in time to go to France in 1918 where he was gassed. He then was posted to the North West Frontier and saw action in Waziristan. In 1928 he volunteered for the Consular Service and Kashgar was his first posting.

Ludlow was an academic type to whom anything mechanical was a closed book but Sherriff on the other hand was an expert mechanic and electrician. They were both excellent marksmen, Ludlow with a catapult and Sherriff with a gun; in areas where shooting was forbidden the former was more useful for collecting birds' skins. Before taking up one of his appointments Sherriff had to call on Lord Linlithgow and he saw lying on the Viceroy's table a catapu t; after that the interview became remarkably informal. In 1938 Dr George Taylor joined them on an expedition to Tibet and he noticed that though they had very great affection and respect for each other they never got on to first name terms; they remained "Ludlow" and "Sherriff" to the end.

In 1933 and again in 1934 they visited Eastern Bhutan and then crossed the Himalaya into Tibet and in 1936 they visited the upper reaches of the Subansiri where Kingdon Ward had been the previous year. In 1937 Ludlow could not leave Kashmir and Sherriff went to Central Bhutan on his own. In 1938, the year in which Dr George Taylor accompanied them, they went on a ten months journey from the vicinity of Molo on the Lilung Chu to Gyala at the entrance to the Tsangpo Gorge. They brought back nearly 4000 plant specimens. When war broke out they were both called up and for a short time Sherriff was with an anti-aircraft battery in Assam. In 1942 Ludlow was sent to Lhasa as Head of a Mission and in 1943 he was succeeded by Sherriff who had just married Betty, youngest daughter of Dr. Graham of Kalimpong. When the war was over they met again in Kashmir and| at once began to plan an expedition to south-east Tibet. They started out in September 1946 and did not get back until October 1947. Sherriff's heart which he had strained helping a coolie with a load in 1938 gave a great deal of trouble. They returned to England but hoped to visit Tibet at least once more. In this they were disappointed for permission was refused, but they did get permission to go to Bhutan in 1949 and seem to have found the experience somewhat disillusioning though the fishing was good. Ludlow wrote a letter in which he said: T dare not fish for more than an hour at a time for fear of catching too many; 4 and 5 pounders are an everyday occurrence. The consequence is I am blase. To put things in a Gilbertian nutshell, here is a little poem which sums up my contentions:

When anyone can roam this state,

And thrust his nose in any gate,

Then L & S sad to relate

Become no more than trippers.

If every time I cast a fly

A lusty trout is doomed to die,

For lusty trout I cease to try,

Up goes the price of kippers.

In 1950 Sherriff and his wife retired to Kirriemuir in Scotland where they created a garden strongly reminiscent of a Himalayan scene. Sherriff died in 1967 in his seventieth year. Ludlow lived to the age of 86, dying in 1972.

Unlike Kingdon Ward neither of them wrote books, but both were conscientious in maintaining diaries and on the basis of these Dr Fletcher, former Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, has admirably reconstructed the narrative of their travels and the reproductions of their photographs are excellent. Sir George Taylor, former Director at Kew, who accompanied them in 1938, has written a very informative introduction.

John Martyn

AFTER EVEREST, By Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, as told to Malcolm Barnes. Vikas Publishing House (Pvt.) Ltd., 1977. Pp. 184 with 45 illustrations. Rs. 75.

Tenzing, who climbed Everest with Hillary, in his second autobiography says: "I seem to have lived three different lives, the life of a boy in the high pastures with yaks which ended with my departure for Darjeeling, the life of an ambitious young Sherpa mountaineer based in Darjeeling, which ended with the ascent of Everest, the life of a teacher of other mountaineers that kept me away from other mountain adventures but sent me to far distant lands to meet many people of different kinds and occupations and interest." His first book, A Man of Everest (or Tiger of the Snows) dealt with the first two parts of his life and the present book deals with his third part.

It begins in 1953 after his ascent of Everest and covers the period up to 1976, his retirement as Director of Field Training at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling. Tenzing describes in detail how in the first excitement after the climb he had offers of money, invitations to join films or enter politics and varieties of honours. He decided to stick to mountaineering and with support and encouragement from Prime Minister Nehru, to whom he was very close, H. M. I. was opened in 1954. There are details about H.M.I.'s formation, training area, instructors and training imparted, with achievements of its students.

Most of the latter part covers his various travels abroad with his wife and family, meeting old friends, doing a few climbs and skiing, promoting sale of tea, attending Everest reunions and weddings and escorting tourist trekkers to mountains. He writes

Harish Kapadia

KANCHENJUNQA, by Col. Narinder Kunar, Vision Books; Rs. 200.

The NE. Spur of the third highest mountain in the world was an obvious target for a nation which held the key to its access. It was also in the fitness of things that an Army which guards the area be offered the chance of the lost serious attempt. Col. Kumar and his gallant team grasped this opportunity and in a magnificent effort got to the top-just, for they were racing against the onset of the monsoon.

The tale is well told, with humility and with frankness, and in considerable detail. Surely, this is technically one of the most difficult routes in the Himalaya made more so by its length, thereby straining the lines of communication to its fullest and multiplying the risks of the several objective hazards along it. The mental and physical strain on the climbers and porters must have been considerable and Kumar describes this admirably.

A good number of the colour photographs are breathtaking-unfortunately an equal number are of rank poor quality and inane. Indian publishers must learn to be more ruthless in their selection!

A book that I would not miss having in my collection, although the price is a bit steep-but isn't it so for most books nowadays. It should certainly grace most libraries, and climbing clubs should make a particular point of having it arQUnd as a handy reference.

Readers of the Himalayan Journal can obtain their copies at a concessional price of Rs. 170 plus VP postage charges by giving reference of the special "Himalayan Journal-Vision Books" offer, from Vision Books Ltd., Kashmiri Gate, Delhi 110 006.

Soli S. Mehta

MAP: MT. EVEREST REGION, Scale 1 : 100,000 (1975), compiled and drawn by the Royal Geographical Society, G. S. Holland, Chief Draughtsman. £ 5.00.

This new map has taken into account the height of Mt Everest as 8848 metres in keeping with the latest triangulation of the Survey of India and has then freshly compiled the details from its own previous edition (of 1961) and the larger-scale maps published by Freytag-Berndt and Artaria of Vienna. The names and spellings are derived from the recommendations of the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names and also according to the late Peter Aufschnaiter, one of the foremost authorities on the subject.

The map is on a small enough scale for the trekker coming from the Rolwaling into Khumbu over the Trashi Laptsa (Tesi Lapcha) to wander around up to the borders of Tibet and allowing him to push eastwards up to the iswa and Barun kholas- that is if he wishes to! It is also on big enough scale for the serious peak-bagger to plan his ascents of the numerous peaks of his choice in the area. The scale of 1 : 100,000 is extremely versatile.

The colour scheme and shadings are designed to clarify, the figures and writing easy on the eye and yet in sufficient detail to satisfy the fastidious.

All the latest features of the (inevitable) Everest Base Camp trek are there-the airstrip, Everest View Hotel, some of Sir Edmund Hillary's schools and the hospital-you'll have to get used to the new spellings though.

This map is going to be extremely popular with an increasing tribe of mountain travellers and those who want to stray away from the beaten path and attempt the countless number of five- and six-thousanders in this beautiful land. I've already marked a sufficient number of spots for my kind of fun, but I'm not telling -you go and find your own.

v Soli S. Mehta

GREAT ASCENTS, by Eric Newby, David & Charles. £6.50.

This is an attractive and well-illustrated book subtitled "A narrative History of Mountaineering". Although the publishers' blurb refers to a formidable amount of research, there is very little, if anything, which has not been published at some time elsewhere* However, this does not detract from the interest of the book, and it is always a help to have the highlights of mountaineering history from its earliest days to the present between the covers of one book. It is a story well worth the telling and Eric Newby, to whom I imagine it was a labour of love, tells it well.

The book is divided into sections covering the major mountain areas of the world. As one would expect in a history of mountaineering the largest section is devoted to Mont Blanc and the early days in the Alps where climbing as a sport was pioneered. For more recent times there is a section dealing with the Eiger, whose North Face has over the years been the scene of so much tragedy. Naturally the Himalaya figures prominently, and the Karakoram, Everest, Nanga Parbat and Annapurna are dealt with fully. Probably less familiar to most will be some of the climbs described in the other sections covering the American Continents, New Zealand and Mount Ararat in Turkey.

One of the problems of writing a book such as this must be to decide what to include and what to omit, and I do not think there is anything to quibble about in the author's choice. The selection of photographs and illustrations could hardly be bettered. This is a book both enjoyable to read and useful as a reference; it must be a welcome addition to any mountaineer's bookshelf.

V. S. Risoe

THE SHINING MOUNTAIN, by Peter Boardman. Hodder and Stoughton. £5.95.

The West Wall of Changabang is as severe a test of modern climbing skills as you are likely to find anywhere else in the world. Nobody expected Joe Tasker and Peter Boardman to make much of a dent in it. Only their dreams and a crazy urge to 'try their luck' motivated them, backed up by a feeling of mutual indispensability and confidence in each other-a winning combination.

There are no gimmicks presented in the story-plain straight- forward honest-to-goodness telling of a difficult tale with as much understatement and dry humour as would be expected from a pair of confident technicians having full faith in their abilities and for ever communicating with each other by actions rather than words.

The result is in doubt until the last, and even then the weather could easily have stepped in and made shambles of the courage and tenacity that were demanded from the two. Both Changa- bang and the gods relented at the right time to award a just prize to a heroic adventure.

The detailed description of rope-work and artificial climbing is not allowed to bore-the route called for every trick in the armoury and every measure of self-protection. But the ultimate safeguard was the inherent ability of the participants, their physical strength and their speed of sure movement on terrain of the utmost degree of difficulty. This alone ensured success.

This achievement is yet another example of the recent trends in the Himalaya, and a rather big step towards higher standards, both in terms of ability as well as ethic. The Shining Mountain can well be regarded as a shining example to those that follow.

At first-class book to have on your shelf-absolutely indispensable if you want to make the second ascent of the West Wall!

Soli S. Mehta