THE aim of the expedition was to climb the North Face of Nuptse (7879 m- 25,850 ft) from the Western Cwm without Sherpa support and without the use of fixed rope. The idea germinated on the Southwest Face of Everest during 1975, when Dougal Haston and Doug Scott had time to observe all of the North side of Nuptse.
Unfortunately, Haston was killed in the Alps and Paul Braith- waite, who was to have replaced him, contracted a lung disease whilst on K2 earlier in the year. A few weeks before departure a team emerged, experienced in light-weight expeditioning, consisting of Michael Covington from the U.S.A., Joe Tasker and Doug Scott from England.
The team, with all its baggage, flew to Kathmandu on 29 August. On 3 September, with 22 porters, a liaison officer, a cook and cook-boy, they began the 180-mile approach march from the road- head at Lamasangu to the Everest Base Camp. The walk took place in almost constant rain and low cloud, and, on 23 September, Tasker and Scott reached Base Camp where the German/ French Everest Expedition was well established. Covington unfortunately succumbed to hypothermia and mild pneumonia and .stayed at the last permanent settlement of Pheriche to recover. He arrived later at Base Camp, on 26 September, his pneumonia over but with a severe pain over his liver area which was to trouble him for most of the expedition.
On 28 September Tasker and Scott established their Camp 2 in the Western Cwm, about half a mile from the German/French Camp 2 and just opposite the North Buttress of Nuptse. The team had, so far, followed the icefall route pioneered and mainlined by the Everest Expedition, which enormously assisted their progress.
The North Face of Nuptse was plastered in fresh snow—the result of a big storm that had deposited 3 metres of snow in the Western Cwm prior to the Nuptso team's arrival. It was hoped the during the following two weeks this snow would either consolidate or be blown off the mountain, leaving ice or hard packed snow suitable for climbing.
Unfortunately more now fell on 1 October and then again on 4 October for three days, during which eight feet of snow fell at Camp I where Tasker, Scott and also Covington were camped. Various medicaments given by the German and French doctors appeared to have enhanced Covington's recovery.
The snow conditions on the North Face of Nuptse were now not at all encouraging, and neither were the prospects. Being a North Face, however, there was little—if any—melting, nor were there any strong winds. On 9 October Tasker, Scott and Coving- ton arrived at Camp 2 with enough food and equipment to spend up to seven days on Nuptse North Face, Tasker and Scott having humped most of the provisions up to Camp 2 just before the storm of the 4th.
On 10 October Tasker and Scott set out on to the lower part of the Face. At first there were grounds for optimism as hard snow and ice-patches were encountered, allowing for rapid progress, but soon this deteriorated into soft, waist-deep snow covering the steep rocks.
It took five and a half hours to gain 200ft and so, with the prospect of deeper snow ahead and 5000 ft of climbing to goy the attempt was abandoned at 22,500 ft in the certain knowledge that the two climbers could not sustain such a climb to the top in the conditions prevailing. It was impossible to carry the provisions needed and to maintain light enough rucksacks to move in alpine style.
The mountain was abandoned and all the equipment (except for four pitons) recovered and taken in huge loads (80 lb) down to Base Camp and then back to Kathmandu.
The line chosen was safe from avalanche; the problem was simply a physical one of not being able to make sufficient progress in the deep snow. The storms experienced were due to the un- seasonal depressions over West Bengal, where they experienced the heaviest rainfall in four hundred years, causing severe flooding and loss of life. It was estimated that after a period of two weeks or so the Face might have been in condition. Unfortunately the members of this expedition did not have the time to wait out this possibility. It may be that for a light-weight, alpine-style expedition the pre-monsoon season, or towards Christmas-time, would be the most favourable where Nuptse's Face is concerned.
HIROSHIMA SHUDO UNIVERSITY sent its first Himalayan expedition to Nepal in 1978. The expedition successfully conquered Pumori (7145 m).
We had already sent a reconnoitring party consisting of four members in 1975. On the basis of their reports we talked over and over which mountain to try, and found Pumori the most favourable. We carefully examined several routes leading to the summit and finally decided to take one along the South ridge. Then we prepared necessary equipment for our climb. Our party was organized as follows : Teruhiko Nagato (Leader), Soichiro Yagiri, Satoshi Tamura, Kenji Tao, Meiso Kunihiro and Tomohumi Ito.
On 28 February, 1979, two of our party started for Kathmandu. The other members started on 10 March and all the members of our expedition assembled at Kathmandu on 11 March.
On 17 March, we left Kathmandu, flew to Luglha. But our equipment had not arrived yet, because the weather was very bad for three days. On 21 March, we left Luglha with 80 porters, and stayed at Namche, Tengpoche, Pheriche and at Lobuche. During the walk-in, we tried to adapt ourselves gradually to the height.
On 2 April, we established the Base Camp at 5200 m. The next day the members and Sherpas began to make a route. On 7 April, Camp 1 was made in the middle of the ridge (5800 m). Camp 2 was established at 6200 m on the south ridge on 14 April. Camp 3 was established at a height of 6500 m on 27 April. It took so many days for us to climb only 300 metres.
On 30 April, two members started for the summit. But Camp 3 was too far from the peak and to make matters worse, the weather was awful. They were forced to turn back. The final Camp 4 was established at a height of 6800 m on 2 May. But the same night the camp was hit by an 'avalanche and swept away. They had to give up going on. Our leader ordered them to come back to the Base Camp. All the members assembled at the Base Camp and took three days' rest.
On 6 May, Tamura and Pemba Kama (climbers), Kunihiro and Ang Pasang (in support) left the Base Camp for the summit. In the early morning of 8 May, they left Camp 3. It was 12.55 a.m. when Tamura and Pemba Rama managed to stand on the summit. The supporters had fixed the ropes as far as 7080 metres, right near the summit, so the summiters could safely reach Camp 3.
On 12 May, we removed the Base Camp, and returned to Kathmandu on 20 May.
A TEAM consisting of teachers at the National School of Skiing and Alpine Climbing (Yves Pollet-Villard, leader, Anselme Baud, Pierre Blanc, Jean Coudrny, Maurice Cretton, Charles Daubas, Yvon Masino, Georges Payot, Raymond Renaud and Jean-Paul Vion) set out to climb Dhaulagiri I by its South Pillar in the autumn of 1978. This pillar, 2500 m high, is west of the South Ridge which was first climbed by a Japanese team in the spring of 1978. It rises from the snowy plateau at 5200 m which constitutes the South col and rises to 7500 m at the SW end of the great snow-covered slopes which make up the summit of Dhaulagiri ('the white roof). It is the most prominent pillar in the whole of the immense South face, bounded on the West by a ridge overlooking the high valley of the Mayangdi Khola and on the East by the very long ridge above the Kali Gandaki.
From the South col at 5200 m the route followed the crest of the spur and can be divided into four well-defined parts:
The members of the expedition, with a liaison officer, 9 Sherpas, 5 high-altitude porters, 2 cooks, 2 postal runners, 4 Base Camp workers and 230 porters, left Pokhara on 8 September and reached Base Camp at 3600 m after 14 days on the approach march. As the monsoon had not withdrawn completely movement during this period was interrupted by torrential downpours.
On 25 September, after reconnaissance and the fixing of 400 m of rope, Camp 1 was established on the South col plateau at 5200 m, then on 2 October Camp 2 at 5650 m, on 9 October Camp 3 at 6100 m, and on 20 October Camp 4 was reached but not properly established until the 25th. On 28 October the climbers in Camp 4 had to come down to Camp 3 on account of bad weather and could only return to Camp 4 on the 29th.
Between 25 October and 4 November the climbers at Camp 4 made several attempts to begin climbing the terminal pillar.
But climatic conditions changed from 20 October. During September and October they had been acceptable, but they changed suddenly from post-monsoon to winter conditions, which in this part of the Himalaya are characterized by violent northwest winds and a noticeable drop in temperature. These conditions got worse and worse, forcing the climbers in Camp 4 to remain for whole days in their tent (winds of more than 100 km an hour and temperatures of —25° to —30° in the tent at night). It became clear that in these conditions, when the Sherpas refused to carry, it was impossible to continue the climb and on 4 November it was unanimously agreed to evacuate the camps.
In spite of very unfavourable weather, a reconnaissance had been made to a height of about 7200 m on the terminal pillar.
Route of French attempt on South Pillar of Dhaulagiri I
OUR EXPEDITION was sponsored by the Spanish Mountaineering Federation. The team was composed of 12 members from Navarra and 4 from Barcelona (Catalonia). We had two doctors.
In early December we sent our equipment, food, medicines, weighing nine tons, by ship. However, due to several reasons (docks on strike, political situation in Iran, etc.), our five cases weren't unloaded in Bombay port till mid-March.
We rented three big trucks and after driving day and night for four days, we reached Pokhara (Nepal), having crossed the border between India and Nepal at Bhairawa.
Finally, we started the approach march from Pokhara, with 260 porters on 24 March. We chose the Myangdi Khola route, because in spite of being a little longer than the Kali Gandaki route, we didn't need to cross the high passes of Dampus (5100 m) end French Col (5150 m), both snow-covered. We spent fourteen days to reach the foot of the Myangdi glacier, at the height of 3610 metres. We had brought from Spain eighty pairs of boots, lasses, gloves, caps, socks, etc., and we distributed them among eighty selected porters, who, during the next four days, were carrying loads to the intermediate Camp (4100 m) and finally to the Base Camp (4600 m), which was established on 8 April.
From the Base Camp, below the North Face of Dhaulagiri I, we started to climb the glacier which starts on the Northeast Col of Dhulagiri I, and on 11 April we spent the first night in Camp 1 (5150 m). The tents were set up below a big serac in the middle of the glacier. From there to the col (600 m higher), we used fixed rope again and moved carefully, because of the danger of avalanches and snow-bridges. On 15 April Camp 2 was established in a huge col on the Northeast, and while some memberswere making a reconnaissance of the ridge itself the rest of the team, Sherpas and high-altitude porters were carrying up all the necessary items to Camp 2, which was converted into an Advanced Base Camp.
Weather conditions were generally good and we had satisfactory acclimatization. Our efficient Sirdar Sonam Girmi and the Sherpas were co-operating bravely with the party, and five days later we pitched three tents at 6630 m (Camp 3), on the same Northeast ridge. A heavy snowfall and strong winds followed our arrival in Camp 3. For two days we couldn't move and two tents were damaged.
From Camp 3 to Camp 4 (7180 m) we had to use fixed ropes all the way because it is quite steep, and for carrying loads a route is needed.
Dhaulagiri 1 is the first high mountain in the western part of Nepal, and normally is affected by strong winds and bad weather : that is why it is also called 'Mountain of Storms'. This mountain, 8167 m high, is the seventh highest mountain in the world. It was the first one to be attempted by a French expedition led by Maurice Herzog in 1950, and the last but one mountain to be conquered, by a Swiss group in 1960, which used for trans- portation a small plane brought especially from Europe. Members and loads landed at 5700 m at the Northeast Col.
Three other expeditions have succeeded in reaching the top. A Japanese expeditition in 1970, an American expedition in 1973 and an Italian expedition in 1976, which followed the only known route in the mountain. In 1978, two Japanese expeditions opened two new routes.
On 2 May, we arrived at Camp 4, and during the next ten days the whole team was working in order to allow members to set up Camp 5. Five members (four Spanish and one Sherpa), slept at 7600 m in Camp 5 on 10 May. They hoped to reach the top next day. They could not sleep that night thinking of the summit.
Nevertheless, at dawn they realized that bad weather had arrived. They tied their tents strongly (one tent had flown away two days before, while we were installing it), and resigned themselves to spend the whole day inside their small tents.
On the 12th, they awoke at 1.00 a.m. and two hours later, five men left. They kept on climbing the Northeast ridge, but the wind was very strong and they decided to go westward to the foot of a steep couloir, which they climbed up, till the 8167 m summit was reached. The time was 2.00 p.m., making eleven hours from Camp 5.
It was the fifth ascent of the Northeast ridge and the seventh of the mountain. We didn't use oxygen during the climb. A 16 mm camera was taken to the top of the mountain.
Next day, while we were celebrating our victory, a French expedition led by Sylvain Saudan, had an accident at 7600 m, Two French climbers and one Sherpa died, when they were trying to reach the top.
Dhaulagiri I had claimed its contribution once more.
THE BAN on any climb by Nepalese authorities compelled us to explore an unnamed peak in the Annapurna Himal, in autumn 1965, which was to be christened Tilitso Himal (7134 m — 23,405 ft) newly surveyed; (till remote, and tso lake in Thakali langu- language), after the Tilitso Lake at the northern foot, with agreement of the Thakalis living nearby.
On the release of the ban in 1969, we immediately applied for the permission to the mountain, only to be refused under what they called domestic affairs. Then, that year we were obliged to try our first ascent to Gurja Himal in the Dhaulagiri range, with success*.
The priority, however, having been decided, repeated applications were made to the authorities every year, and when Tilitso Himal was released in 1978, another application was submitted, But, for some reason the French expedition got the first attempt permit to it for autumn 1978, with ours in the following spring. It was fifteen years for us since the plan had been first made in 1964. And besides, our proposed approach route by way of the Kali Gandaki was changed to the one of the Marsyandi river, for the reason that Jomoson-Thini-Mesokantu Pass area is prohibited, where Kesang Camp of Nepalese Army is stationed in replacement of Tibetan Khampa Camp.
Our Japan-Toyama Himalaya Expedition 1979 consisted of the following members. It was led by the leader as far as Kath- mandu, with the further lead by the climbing-leader. Yoshimi Yakushi—Leader, Ikuo Saeki-—Climbing leader, Akira Ohta, Hitoshi Tsuji, Takashi Araki, Haruo Yamamoto, Yutaka Oe, and Fumitaka Koyama as doctor.
On 22 March the expedition started from Pokhara with 65 porters, and arrived at Khangsar on 1 April, via the Marsyandi river, where we switched the porters. Base Camp was established on 3 April, at the lower height of 4200 m, for the snow was too deep for the porters. At first Base camp was expected to be 4900 in high on the western shore of Tilitso Lake.
On 7 April the Advanei Base Camp was put at 5050 m on the ridge, south side of the East Tilitso Pass and Temporary Camp I (4900 m) was set on the western shore of the lake on 11 April. The transport between ABC and T-C 1 was being nun. Done by sledges assembled by skis over the frozen lake. On 14 April Camp I was established at 5150 m at the end of the north rocky ridge of Tilitso Himal. On the following morning the great avalanche fell from the Grande Barriere at 4.45 a.m. in the lake, and the ice of the surface was broken to pieces. Consequently it caused a tidal wave on the western shore, so that the members retired for a while to a safer place from T-C 1. The ice was of two strata inserted in 10 cm of water : the upper was 10 cm thick, and the lower 80 cm. This avalanche crushed the route between ABC and T-C 1 on the lake and forced us to take a long way around the northern shore. With our transport, however, almost finished, there was little effect on us. This day we all withdrew T-C 1 and moved to Camp 1.
On 16 April we set to work making the route on the north ridge of easily broken rock, fixing ropes of some 1800 m between C 1 and C 2. Passing over the rocky ridge, Camp 2 was established at 6000 m on 24 April.
25 April was fine weather. The first attacking team (Araki, Yamamoto, and Mingma Tenzing) left C 2 at 5.30. They climbed the ice slope of 100 m straight up, traced on the snow ridge of 300 m, and came upon the cornice from where they traversed to the left facing the Tilitso Lake. Further on, they were going up on the left side of the iced slope, when just below the summit Yamamoto's condition deteriorated. Then, they were forced to bivouac in a snow-hole at 5.00 p.m.
At 6.00 on 26 April, the three started out of the snow-hole and stood on the summit at 7.45 under the clear sky. After an hour's stay, they descended to C 1 at 6.30 p.m. On the same day the second team (Oe and Nawang Yonde) started from C 2 at 4 a.m., reached the top at 1.57 p.m. and came back to C 2 again at 6.00 p.m.
On 28 April all the members went down to BC, which was withdrawn and Khangsar was reached on 29 April. The party left Khangsar on 1 May, with 25 porters. Crossing the Thorung Pass, down to Muktinath and walking along the Kali Gandaki river, the party finished the expedition at Pokhara on 9 May.
Tilitso Himal: x x French royte 1978. - - Japanese route ascent 1979. (Photo: YoshimiYakhushi)
OUR EXPEDITION to Mount Api (7132 m) left Italy on 10 September, 1978. It was made up of Alberto Bianchi, Rolando Canuti, Claudio Cavenago, Cesare Cesa Bianchi, Luigi Leccardi, Mauririo Maggi, Ivano Meschini, Marco Polo, Angelo Rocca, Giampiero Rodari, Vittorio Tamagni, Marco Tedeschi, Franco Villa, Madam K. C. liaison officer and me as leader.
This was the second Italian expedition to Mount Api after the one led by P. Ghiglione in 1954 when three out of four members died. The mountain was climbed in 1960 by a Japanese team from the north side. Afterwards, two other Japanese teams tried to reach the top from the South Face.
The area is one of the less known in Nepal and it is very difficult to approach. The living conditions of the people are very poor.
From New Delhi, where we bought most of the food, we left for the border, entering Nepal at Jhulaghat, where we had to face quite a few problems. We met the Sherpas there and collected the porters.
After a ten-day approach route along the Chamlia Valley, we set up Base Camp on 29 September at the foot of the Api South Face. Mount Api and Nampa are surrounded by many unnamed and unclimbed 6000-6500 m high peaks.
The first few days we could not explore the area nor see the mountain because of heavy snowfall. Then the weather turned fine and we decided the route to follow thereafter.
All the members co-operated in setting up the three higher camps and helped to carry loads from one camp to another.
Camp 1 was set up at 5050 m on a rock pillar. Before establishing Camp 2 at 5620 m we had to overcome two seracs and climb up a long couloir.
Great difficulties had to be faced between Camp 2 and Camp 3. A very steep ice-wall (mean slope 55/60°) interrupted by rocks (difficulties of IV-V°) was entirely fixed with ropes. Camp 3 was finally set up at 6300 m at the Api-Nampa Col. From Camp 3 the route followed the east ridge, first sharp-corniced, then with great rock pillars. We had fixed rope only for the first 400 m of this tract.
A four-man group composed of Cesare Cesa Bianchi, Maurizio Maggi, Angelo Rocca and Vittorio Tamagni, attempted the final climb on 16 October. As they reached the summit in the first hours of the afternoon, the weather turned bad and a terrible snowstorm began. Their descent, which ended late at night down the same east ridge, in a storm and through numerous spindrift avalanches, was always under control. Only a few minutes' panic : one of the members slipped and fell 60 m just under the top, but was immediately recovered by the others with no ill consequences. During the whole preparation and ascent five walkie-talkies helped us to keep in touch with one another and enabled those at the higher camps not to feel alone.
Only a very strong friendship and an excellent technical training made possible this exciting and fascinating experience which led us to the top of one of the best peaks of the Himalaya.
South Face of Api with route of Italian ascent, 1978.
FOR A LONG TIME I was waiting to take an expedition in to the Kumaon region around Kalabaland Glacier as it was almost virgin and all the peaks around it were even unattempted. We selected Bamba Dhura, 6334 m-—20,730 ft. We left Calcutta on 7 September 1977 and arrived at Kathgodam, the rail-head. After 5 days of approach, we set up our Base Camp at 13.500 ft on the medial moraine of the Shankalpa glacier more than a kilometre short of the junction of Shankalpa and Kalabaland glaciers on 18 September.
We followed the lateral moraine of the Shankalpa glacier. After about one hour's march we arrived at the junction of Shankalpa and Kalabaland glaciers. Here we turned left and followed more or less flat Kalabaland glacier for about one and half kilometres. We then crossed the glacier, reached the medial moraine on eastern side of Kalabaland glacier and decided to put Camp 1 there, 15,000 ft.
On 22nd, following the moraine we came to the foot of the icefall in an hour's march. After moving for more than two hours, and when we were almost in the middle of the lower part of the icefall, we decided to fix our Camp 2 there at 16,500 ft. It was about a kilometre from where the moraine ends.
Next day, after negotiating quite a few vertical, steep and crumpled ice-walls, a number of deep crevasses, and a huge icy gangway, we crossed over the lower part. Then traversing a huge icy cwm full of knee-deep soft snow we found the place for Camp 3 at 18,000 ft on the upper part of the icefall. This was the most difficult portion in entire route of the expedition.
Camp 4 was established on a huge snowfield at the foot of Bamba Dhura and crisscrossed with crevasses at an altitude of 19,000 ft. About 4 km route between Camp 3 to 4 passed through knee-deep snow, bypassing plenty of huge crevasses.
The first summit party, consisting of Ujjal, Krishna, Debu, Amulya, Kami and Sona, left for Camp 4 on the 29th. To our dismay we came to know on their return that their attempt was thwarted by the fury of fluctuating weather. The weather turned bad and it started snowing when the summit team was about to gain the sound summit ridge of Bamba Dhura after trudging through knee-deep snow and negotiating huge crevasses and ice-walls for about six hours in the small icefall which ultimately leads to the col between Bamba Dhura and Chiring We. This icefall was, however, much less dangerous and difficult compared to the earlier one. Second attempt also failed on 1 October.
The third attempt was made on 3 October, now by northwest ridge. But when they were just 400 ft short of the summit their progress was halted by a huge and deep crevasse which cuts the northwest summit ridge in two. They had no other alternative but to retreat to Camp 4 in a snowfall which turned into a blinding blizzard and continued throughout the night.
It was a very clear morning after a long gap on 5 October. The summit team of Bidyut Sarkar, Krishna Kamal Des Sherpa Kami Tsering woke up at Camp 4 to an unusual clear day after a spell of bad weather and heavy snowfall. The summit party left Camp 4 at 05.55 hours. After slogging through knee-deep snow, for about more than a kilometre they reached the col between Bamba Dhura and Chiring We.
Describing their experience the summiters said, 'We had to be very careful as the summit ridge we followed was all along corniced. We enjoyed the views of innumerable mountain ranges around, specially on our right at the sight of brown, barren land of Tibet. Ultimately, we reached the summit of Bamba Dhura at 12.50 p.m.* The summit party stayed at the top for thirty- five minutes.
THE EXPEDITION comprised David Hopkins (leader); Alan Kimber (deputy leader); David Challis (travel); Ben Beattie (medicine); Andrew Wielochowski (liaison) and David Nottidge (food).
We suffered three major set-backs during the expedition; (1) severe difficulties and delays due to the withdrawal of permission to climb Nanda Devi by the Indian Government on our arrival in Delhi in early August. This was apparently occasioned by the sensitive political situation which developed as a result of the recent public disclosure in India of the American nuclear device on Nanda Devi. (2) Further delays due to an abnormally severe and late monsoon, which brought appalling flooding and tragedy to Northern India. (3) The death of William (Ben) Beattie from a 2500 ft fall from 21,500 ft level of the Southwest Face of Nanda Devi East on 15 September.
The expedition originally had two objectives; to attempt a new route on the Southwest Face of Nanda Devi East and then to traverse alpine style from the east to the west summits, descending by the South Face of the West peak. However, we were operating within a limited time-frame and the unexpected and prolonged delays in Delhi due to the difficulties in obtaining permission and en route due to landslides and flooding meant that the latter objective had to be abandoned. The death of Beattie effectively precluded the resolution of the former objective.
An advance party of Beattie and Kimber established base camp in the Nanda Devi Sanctuary on the site of the 1976 Indo-Japanese base camp on 1 September, having left Joshimath on 24 August. They were hampered by heavy snowfall due to the late monsoon but managed to establish and supply a camp at 19,000 ft on the face on 9 September. Two days later Hopkins and Wielochowski arrived at base camp fresh from bureaucratic triumphs in Delhi; the remaining two members of the expedition, Challis and Nottidge, were further delayed by participation in another expedition and illness respectively. Almost immediately Beattie and Kimber, Hopkins and Wielochowski, climbing in pairs, made a serious alpine style attempt on the face. Progress was satisfactory until, descending alone from a bivouac at the 22,000 ft level on the face, Beattie slipped and suffered a fatal fall. This occurred at 08.00 hrs on 15 September.
We cleared the mountain, and at base camp that evening decided (1) to recover Beattie's body, (2) that Hopkins return and report his death to the family and (3) to continue the expedition in a limited fashion. Following a difficult evacuation, Beattie was buried on 17 September at the 18,000 ft level on the Southwest face of Nanda Devi East. On the following day Hopkins and Nottidge left for Delhi and Kimber went trekking alone. On 19 September Challis and Wielochowski returned to the face and, climbing rapidly, soon reached the 22,000 ft high point on 21 September. They rested the following day, and on the 23rd followed the obvious curving arete which exited them from the face onto the south ridge at 23,000 ft. Continuing along the original south ridge route they were halted at the second step, 23,500 ft, some 800 ft below the summit. This is where the Indo-Japanese party had used considerable fixed rope (and oxygen?). By this time both were very fatigued; given this and their lack of support, the pair decided to retreat. On their descent they were joined by Kimber and the three cleared the mountain as best as they could. The expedition left base camp on 26 September and arrived in Britain on 8 October.
The line of the route is given by the large slanting 50° icefield in the middle of the face. It is approached through the triangular rock buttress beneath; first up difficult iced-up slabs, then by the obvious central contour, and the easy-angled snow- field leading left to its foot. We placed a tent at this point 19,000 ft for the duration of the expedition. The icefield was followed for c. 2000 ft to a distinct ridge we called the 'Bianco- grat' which led to an easy-angled snowfield and an excellent bivouac site in a cave at 22,000 ft. The route then followed the obvious curving arete above, which was approached by a gully on the left, and exited from the face on to the south ridge at 23,000 ft. The normal south ridge route then leads to the summit.*
THE CZECHOSLOVAK Mountaineering Expedition to Himalaya 1978 was sponsored by the Central Sporting Organization, North Moravian Section. The preparatory committee decided to ascend some unclimbed peak of Garhwal region.
After long negotiations with the Indian authorities, the expedition obtained permission for Nanda Devi from the northern side. It is necessary to add that the north branch of Nanda Devi Sanctuary is still regarded as1 one of the little-known parts of Garhwal, especially the upper end of Uttari glacier. It was proposed to attack one of three pillars at the large North Face stretching between Nanda Devi and the northwest end of the so-called Northern Ridge.
The whole expedition comprised eight men plus the liaison officer. The people, equipment and food came by special lorry leaving Europe on 17 April 1978, to Chamoli, the last town on a road passable for the expedition lorry. We were delayed by a revolution in Afghanistan, where we lost four days, and customs difficulties took another ten days.
The approach march began on 17 May from village Reni. The expedition had great difficulty in hiring porters because several expeditions had started their activities in the same area just one week ago. There were not more than 28 porters available. This meant dividing the expedition into several groups. The last one with 80 porters finished the approach march to the Base Camp on 28 May.
The Base Camp was set up by Haaj Kund, at the geometrical centre of the northern branch of Nanda Devi Sanctuary.
Mountaineering activities were concentrated first of all on the survey of the North Face of Nanda Devi. But owing to insufficient quantity of fixed ropes as well as owing to the delay, it was finally decided to select the North Ridge of Nanda Devi with its dominating summit 6895 m, unconquered and unnamed till now.
The access route was found on the first pillar (from the northwest) making the left edge of the triangular wall seen from the Haaj Kund lake. This pillar starts with black rocks and mostly rotten debris at its lower part. In the middle, rotten rocks are replaced by steep ice and steep snowfields.
The high-altitude Camp 1 was established at 5500 m on 27 May. Three days later two tents of Camp 2, were pitched at the altitude of 6100 m. Camp 3 was pitched at 6600 m on top of the so-called first peak of North Ridge on 3 June. This camp was separated from Camp 2 by a very steep ice slope of nearly 60°, completely smooth on its middle part. From the transportation point of view, the terrain between Camps 2 and 3 was regarded as one of the most difficult sections of the ascent.
The further part of North Ridge, that is to say, the part between the summit 6600 m and the peak at 6895 m, was rather easy. The ridge here is covered by ice, and although some parts are rocky, the climbing is not very difficult.
On 7 June Ludek Zahoransky, Petr Hapala and Bretislav Husicka reached the unnamed summit 6895 m. The next day, two other climbers, Petr Gribek and Vlastimil Smida, raised their ice-axe with Indian and Czechoslovak flags on the top of peak 6895 m. Six more members of the expedition reached the summit afterwards.
The assault did, not end by reaching peak 6895 m. The aim was to make Camp 5 just under the prow of Nanda Devi which presented another target. So Camp 4 had to be provided with a lot of food and equipment. The next part of the North Ridge was not simple at all. After a short descent from peak 6895 m, a long and sharp ridge composed of rocky towers and partially covered by bad snow, was a serious obstacle. Especially the rotten rock made fixing ropes very difficult. From the climbing point of view this part of North Ridge was of grade IV according to Welzenbach's scale. The rocky part of the ridge had to be equipped with fixed ropes pitch by pitch.
The final attempt to build Camp 5 was begun on 19 June. Four climbers Otakar Srovnal, Josef Kulhavy, Leos Horka and Vlastimil Smida, quickly reached Camp 4 but were caught there by heavy snowfall with a strong wind. They dug a small cave in the snow and spent a bad night. The next day they continued their attempt. Fixed ropes were extended from the sharp rocky ridge up to the next peak of the North Ridge (the peak located between the already mentioned peak 6895 m and the prow of Nanda Devi). The top part of this peak was reached in the late afternoon of the same day. This was the exact point where the expedition was forced to give up further climbing. The continuing snowfall and gradually increasing wind-storm made a thick layer of fresh snow on the ridge. These conditions, together with the approaching date of porters' arrival, prevented an attempt on the main summit of Nanda Devi. On 21 June the assault crew left the equipment at the place they had reached two days before. Many fixed ropes, pitons and other equipment for future Camp 5 was abandoned there and can be used by the next expedition.
Four climbers descended to the Base Camp within one day. Their descent was accelerated by the great danger of avalanches, especially on the ice-face under the peak 6600 m. The weather and snow condition showed the approaching monsoon. There was no option but to give up further activity.
The return to village Lata via Dharasi saddle was phased into three days. The first day to Ramani, the second day to Dibrughetta, and the third day to Lata. A three-member group was sent two days in advance in order to prepare the rope crossing of Rishi Ganga. All went well. However, during the descent from Patalkan to Ramani a stone avalanche led to an accident in which two members, Ceslaw Wojcik and Kami Karafa, were injured. Four members and six porters remained in Ramani with the doctor and both the injured climbers, who had to stay in bed. The rest of the expedition together with porters had to continue to Lata. With the help of extremely devoted porters this group with the injured men reached Lata on 7 July.
However, Chamoli town did not end our difficulties. The trip by the expedition's own lorry from Chamoli to Delhi was by no means simple. Many times we met heavy landslides caused by monsoon downpours, and it took a long time to clear these landslide obstacles. At one place the members of the expedition had virtually to build a 30-metre stretch of road with their own hands.
Results of the expedition
The summit 6895 m was reached by the following climbers :
7 June — Zahoransky, Hapala, Husicka
8 June — Smida, Gribek
12 June — Kyvla, Srovnal, Kulhavy, Horka
17 June — Charousek, Wojcik
The snow summit half-way between peak 6895 m and the prow of Nanda Devi:
21 June — Smida, Horka, Srovnal, Kulhavy
Members : Vladimir Starcala (leader), Vlastimil Smida (climbing leader), Dr Jan Charousek, Kamil Karafa (driver), Ludek Zahoransky, Ceslav Wojcik, Bretislav Husicka, Petr Hapala, Jan Marek, Josef Zeitler, Josef Kyvala, Leos Horka, Petr Gribek, Josef Kulhavy, Otakar Srovnal, Martin Novak, Milan Martaus, Augustin Milata.
Nanda Devi north ridge with Czechoslovakian route marked.
THE AIM of the expedition was the ascent of the inviolatcd peak of Bethartoli Himal. Then had been four previous peak attempts from (1977), 1 German (1936), 1 British (1952) and 2 Indian expedtions (1970).* We avoided this approach because we thought it too dangerous and chose to climb along the north ridge, the most logical and interesting route to climb Bethartoli Himal.
We left on 26 August 1977 for New Delhi and reached Joshimath on 1 September. There we collected and organized porters. From Lata, not very far from Joshimath, we started the approach route and went up the Rishiganga valley for 5 days.
Travelling light, we approached the mountain up the Trisul Nala and placed Base Camp at 14,100 ft on the moraine at the foot of the basin below the northeast face. Camp 1 was at 16,400 ft below the face. Camps 2 and 3 were at 17,750 and 19,000 ft on the north ridge. On 17 September, Cesare Cesa Bianchi, Maurizio Maggi and I set out from Camp 3 for the summit. The technical difficulties were in the first third of the ridge. We first fixed a rope up a steep, icy knife-edge and another on a rock tower of rotten rock. From there to the summit, we had to climb the ridge, keeping between the huge cornices that overhang the northeast face and the steep slope on the right. We arrived on top at 1 p.m., followed an hour later by the two other members, Marco Tedeschi and Gianluigi Landreani, who had ascended from Camp 2.
Bethartoli Himal, North face, Route of ascent. (Photo: Renato Moro)
TRENT THOMAS and MRS KETRON, Sr.
BRAD SHAVER, aged 26, of Asheville, North Carolina and Karl Ketron, aged 22, of Kingsport, Tennessee were reported missing and presumed dead on 20 October 1978, while descending the Southwest Ridge of Dunagiri 23,184 ft in the Garhwal area of the Himalaya.
On the ascent, alpine style, they established a base camp on 9 October, advanced base camp on the 10th. They rested on the 11th at the advanced base camp. They were seen leaving Camp 1 (18,000 ft) on the 12th, Camp 2 (19,000 ft) on the 13th, Camp 3 (19,500 ft) on the 14th, Camp 4 (20,500 ft) on the 15th, Camp 5 (22,500 ft) on the 16th, Camp 6 (23,000 ft) on the 17th, on the summit on the 18th at 9.30 a.m.
They descended from the summit to Camp 5 passing Camp 6. On the evening of the 18th at the appointed time of 6.30 p.m. an all's well flashlight signal was received from Camp 5. On the 19th, the first sighting of a climber was about mid-morning and then only one figure was seen momentarily. Storm conditions prevented any further sightings that day and no signal was received that evening.
A search party on the 21st found a pack, stove, and food belonging to Ketron at the lower lip of a crevasse above Camp 1. Nothing else was found and due to the storms, the search was called off.
During the search one of the search party members was killed when he fell into a crevasse. The weather and terrain conditions prevented recovery of his body.
66. Route of ascent of the 1978 Brown Himalaya Expedition on Devastan I (left) and II. From Camp 3, located below the saddle between the two peaks, in all 24 members reached the summit of these peaks.
Illustrated Note 5
67. Ski route on Trisul, followed by Alberto Re and Ezio Laboria on 14 October 1978.
Illustrated Note 6
Route of the German expedition on Putha Hiunchuli in April 1978 led by Dieter Steigleiter. Camp 3 was destroyed by an avalanche forcing them to abandon the expedition. Intended route shown ahead Illustrated Note 7
Illustrated Note 8
68. A new route attempted on Phabrang (Lahul) by Donguri Mountaineering Club, Japan, expedition led by N. Tsutsumi. The highest Point reached is marked-X.
Illustrated Note 8
69. Papsura (left) and Dharamsura (White Sail) on Tos Glaicier. These peaks were attempted by M. Masuda (Japan), in 1978.
Illustrated Note 9
The support team for this climb originated in New Delhi and was composed of Ketron and Shaver, the climbers, a cooking staff, Major D. Kumar, two high-altitude porters, several Sherpas and Akbar Hussain, the liaison officer. The climbers were observed daily by members of the support team, and their reports are the source of the above route description and events.
Ketron and Shaver both had considerable experience in ice and snow climbing, having climbed in many areas all over the world, They climbed together in Switzerland and France last year.
Dunagiri was climbed successfully by the Roche expedition in 1939; not again until Tasker/Renshaw (British) climbed the SE. Pace in 1975; Japanese expedition in 1976; Ketron/Shaver (American) climbed the SW. Ridge in October 1978. Four Americans, three of them Californian, were also killed on Dunagiri two and a half years ago.
EVER SINCE WE SET OUT from Chandigarh for the beautiful Baspa valley of District Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh, the thought of climbing the Yamrang La (5400 m) had become an obsession with me. After reaching Chitkul, our Base Camp, and spending a few days in acclimatization, I got confidence to take up the challenge that lay ahead.
We crossed the treacherous Arsomang river in the early morning of 24 July 1978 in waist-deep water and pitched camp at Nithal (4240 m, Camp 1). Then started the somewhat difficult trekking from Nithal to Nakdum, closely following along the right bank of Arsomang river. The mule train was etching the once much-used trade line, which, according to local people, was in operation till 1962. It was raining most Of the time with the mercury dropping day after day. On 2 August an attempt to cross the mighty Arsomang at Nakdum (Camp 2) proved futile. The water gushing down at jet speed and the rumbling sound of big boulders being pushed underneath shook our faith. In the process a donkey on that day got washed down in the torrential current and all efforts to save the poor animal failed. After this the idea of crossing the river was abandoned for the day and a spot selected for crossing over next day after careful examination and long discussion.
Next morning we all got up quite early so as to cross the river safely while the waters were still low. Fortunately the night temperature had dropped considerably and the river discharge was low as expected. We crossed the river safely and by noon we reached a camping site (5000 m Camp 3) at the base of Yamrang La. Although tired and hungry, a gleam of satisfaction came on our faces as now we could clearly see the Yam- rang La.
On 4 August the morning was unusually bright and the sky clear like a crystal. Bassi, my colleague, and myself after a quick breakfast set out for the last stretch along with three porters, leaving, the rest in the camp.
A faint trace of the once-famous trade route now could be clearly seen with vast patches in between washed down by huge landslips, some of them still active and sensitive to our movement. We were riding mules and moving along the northern slope while to the south huge hanging glaciers could be seen. The mules at places would not budge unless the man riding behind gave them a lashing. The climb at places was so steep and the turns so sharp that the mules got out of breath. After negotiating the steep climb, we were almost on level ground and the La was now clearly visible along with a few rickety flags left by the previous visitors. My heart was thrilled on being so near to the goal. One of the porters riding ahead of me would often request me to lead the party and his requests became even more frequent at this point as we reached nearer the La.
After an ascent of about 100 m we left the mules short of the La by about 300 m and decided to walk the rest of the distance. At 12.30 sharp we were right on the La. It was a moment of tin ill, a most satisfying experience. A look on the other side put nude all fears and we felt relaxed and easy. Across the La varied hues of brown, green, yellow and maroon gave a colourful touch to the vast stretch of barrenness. Not even the wildest creatures could be seen. A small patch of green about a thousand loot vertically below indicated a rarely used pasture. Suddenly the weather took a turn for the worse and it started drizzling as we posed for a snap. We put on our windproofs and had a quick smoke. Previous travellers had placed a few tattered flags, torn by the high-speed winds but still flying high. After spending about 45 minutes on this narrow ridge line which once formed the gateway to Tibet for traders and now stood as a barrier between two nations, we said our prayers and took a last look on the other side. Before Bassi gave orders for the journey back I quickly started looking for a souvenir. And for a geologist a stone is the ultimate choice after all. I picked up a piece of red shale and inscribed the date and name of place on it and quickly put it in my pocket. Ours was a case of achievement and satisfaction known only to adventurous mountaineers with solid hearts of slate.
SKETCH MAP SHOWING THE LOCATION YAMRANG LA AND THE ROUTE FOLLOWED
CUOSS-COUNTRY skiing in the Himalaya has received little attention in the past. Skis have been carried on to snowfields in India and Nepal since early in the century, and several major peaks have had ski descents in recent years. However, few parties have used skis as tools to cover long distances. An Indian Army expedition skied down the Warwan Valley above Kishtwar in 1976. In 1977 an Englishman named James Crowden used cross- country skis in the Suru Valley in Ladakh. It is likely that more routes have been done than have been reported, but the number of expeditions is certainly very small. The winter resort at Gul- marg has given some attention to the promotion of cross-country skiing, but efforts in this direction are slight compared to the plans for the development of Gulmarg's downhill ski facilities.
In February, 1978, following the Himalayan Club Golden Jubilee meeting in Delhi, Jim O'Neill, Jim Miller and I travelled to Kashmir to investigate ski-touring possibilities in the Pir Panjal and transhimalaya ranges. Bad weather forced us to wait several flays in Gulmarg before setting out on our first expedition. On 7 March we finally left the resort intending to traverse the northern Pir panjal range above timber-line to Pir Panjal Pass.
We travelled up the ridge above Ferozepur Nala, crossing a pass into the wide basin of Tosha Maidan. Deep wet snow made for slow skiing, and we were already a day behind schedule when a major storm hit us south of Tosha Maidan. Our food and fuel exhausted, we descended through steep forest to the village of Rengaxabal at snow-line. Two days of trekking and skiing brought us to Yusmarg, where we had cached supplies for the Second part of our route.
When the storms lifted, we skied west up the Romushi Valley to below Sunset Peak, then south between Sunset and Shipkor Peaks. Continuing southwest over a 14,500 ft pass, we dropped down steep bowls and gullies to the bottom of the Rimbiara Valley near Ghund, a few kilometres east of Pir Panjal Pass. Our descent of the old mogul road to Hirpur provided some of the most exciting moments of the trip. The steep snowed-in road cut required us at times to carry the skis and cut steps with ice-axes.
We came out of the Pir Panjal on 24 March, and turned our attention to the Himalaya. Another American expedition had intended to ski across the Himalaya to Ladakh in February, but had been unable to reach the start of their route at Kishtwar due to landslides on the road from Srinagar. The road to Kishtwar was cleared in April, and our group decided to attempt the transhimalayan crossing.
We began trekking up the Warwan River from Kishtwar on 8 April, reaching snow-line below Inshan on the 14th. A heavy snowfall near Sokhniz collapsed our tent. We took refuge in a Forest Department Rest House, wondering if we were in for another month of storms. The weather improved within forty- eight hours, but hot afternoon sun brought another danger: avalanche. Numerous slides came down in the narrow valley of the upper Warwan, and we were glad to reach the relative safety of the wider Kaintal Nala at Hampet.
Two days of easy skiing east up the Kaintal brought us to the Bhot Kol Pass (or Lanvillad Gali) below Peak 19,330 ft. We spent ,a day at the pass before descending north to Panikher on the Suru River. On 25 April we arrived in Kargil by bus from Sanku, becoming the season's first tourists in Ladakh.
The potential for ski-touring in Kashmir is enormous. The terrain and snow offer both great possibilities and formidable challenges, Supply problems and avalanche hazard will have to be carefully considered on any major traverse. The limited availability of maps presents an obstacle to safe route selection. On many routes, summer reconnaissance treks may be the only way to obtain the detailed topographic information required by skiers. Nevertheless, it is likely that Kashmir will see numerous cross-country ski expeditions in the future.
Approaching Peak 19,330 ft on Kaintal glacier in Kashmir. Bhot Kol pass (Lan Villed Gali) to Saru Valley lies ahead. (Photo: Talbot Bielefeldt)
8 August 1978
Main party arrived via Srinagar and Kargil to Tangol, where the last village to Nun is situated on the right bank of the Suru river.
On the plain of left bank of Sentik river, we established Base Camp at the altitude of 4100m. From there we climbed up along with Sentik river and Sentik glacier for about four hours and at the right bank of Sentik glacier established Camp 1 at the altitude of 4900m.
All equipment, food etc., was brought up from Tangol to Camp 1 by fifty porters of Tangol village in two days. Arrangements of vehicle and accommodation from Srinagar to Tangol were done by our Travel Agent in Srinagar and by our excellent liaison officer at a reasonable rate. The charge for porters was Rs. 25 per day per person in ordinary job and Rs. 35 for altitudes.
We climbed an icefall of about 400 m and reached the snow plateau. From there we passed a snow plateau about 6 km long and established Camp 2 (5340 m) via tentative Camp (5300 m) at the south edge of the snow plateau.
Kun (left) and Nun. Note page 197 (Photo: M. Oki)
WEST FACE OF KUN FROM SNOW PLEATEAU.
On the snow plateau, in the daytime, it was very hard work to make progress due to the melted deep snow, and when snow was falling it was quite difficult to find the route.
On the rock ridge, we established Camp 3 (5800 m). We fixed 1000 m long rope. It was a very steep and risky slope. But we could pass with much care.
After four hours of climbing from Camp 3, we reached the altitude of 6200 m and established Camp 4 (6200 m). It was on a narrow place with snow on the west ridge.
The first summit party reached the top of Nun just at noon, after about six hours' climbing from Camp 4. It was led by Azuma and included Takahashi and Nima Sherpa.
On the same day, the second summit party led by limura and consisting of Teramoto and Nawang Sherpa, started from Camp 3 and reached the top at 13.30.
They found an Indian flag on the top. Weather was fine but the summit was surrounded by fog. They could see only Kun (7087 m), the next peak to Nun. The top of Nun was a quite narrow snowfield of two square metres only.
Two summit parties climbed down to Camp 2 on that day. The last member came back at about 20.00 in the night. They were warmly received by the climbing leader, Ogawa and one of the members, Yashima.
The leader, Oki, members Susuki and Ando were waiting for them at Camp 1 and got this good news by walkie-talkie.
On the way back to Camp 2, Ogawa, Susuki, Yashima, and Takahashi ascended D 41 (Barmal Peak, 5813 m).
On the next day, all members climbed down to Camp 1.
Some luggage left at Camp 2 was brought down.
All members and luggage were gathered in Tangol and immediately transferred to Kargil and on the next day reached Srinagar by vehicle.
Members: Masato Oki (leader), Tsutomu Ogawa (climbing leader), Masaki Susuki, Tadao Ando, Tomihiko limura, Taichiro Takahashi, Hideki Azuma, Hiroshi Yashima, Mayayuki Teramoto, Sherpas Nima Norbu (Instructor of HMI Darjeeling) and Nawang Thundup.
IN SEPTEMBER 1978 after monsoon the 6-member team of Czech mountaineers climbed in Ladakh district (Kashmir Himalaya). The team arrived in the mountains on 10 September, where near village Panikar the loads were transferred from the car to 5 mules and after two days of walking, Galmatonga at the height 5800 m was reached. By help of a rope-way the equipment was transported across the river Suru and a reloading camp was established. The Base Camp was set up at 4400 m on the right side of Shafat Glacier. It took six days; to transport 400 kg of material to the Base Camp. Camp 1 was set up at 5400 m near an impressive rock tower, under the southeast hillside leading to t ho plateau. From here during 21 and 22 September the climb to White Needle was undertaken. The route of the climb led across a snow plateau and seracs to a rock buttress southeast from White Needle's summit. Here, a high camp was established from which 11 it following day after overcoming the rock buttress interrupted by ice-walls, three members (Matus Jan, Mikeska Jan and Jursa jan) ascended the south ice-wall up to the summit. On the same day they descended to Camp 1 and after a day of relaxing they climbed the ice-wall (45°) lengthways southeast rock buttress above Camp 1 to the plateau where they set up a tent at 6000m. The next day they crossed the plateau under bad snow conditions (above 50 cm fresh snow) and pitched a tent on an upper part of the plateau near a big transverse crevasse at 6200 m. On 25 September in the morning Matus and Jursa overcome the rest to the plateau and ascended the ice-wall to the saddle between Pinnacle Peak and Kun Peak. From there only Jursa went on. At the first he had to traverse to the left border of the saddle under the hill side of eastern ridge. Then again he traversed to the right and along a snow-knife 100 m uphill and again a traverse to the saddle under rock tower. From here by avoiding seracs and crevasses, he reached the summit. It was snowing on the peak and the fog made it difficult moving during a descent. The following day the mountaineers descended to Camp 1 and the next day to the base Camp. Here they were unpleasantly surprised. During their absence a Himalayan bear visited their camp and destroyed it including all foodstuffs. Four days later the team returned to Srinagar and on 14 October they arrived in Czechoslovakia.
A CZECHOSLOVAK Himalaya Expedition to the Pakistan part of Himalaya was organized between 2 May and 5 August 1978. Its aim was to reach for the first time the Northern Peak of Nanga Parbat through the Diamir wall. The climbing-research expedition was organized by the Section for High-Mountains Research SGS at SAV and by the Sports Club IAMES in Bratislava.
Apart from the sports programme the expedition also laid down scientific-research aims and these were realized in the following spheres: (1) following the adaptation of the human organism to great altitudes, and the occurrence and prevention of illness at high elevations. (2) collection of natural objects—botanical, entomological and geological. At present the material is being examined in scientific institutions in Czechoslovakia.
The expedition set out from Bratislava to Islamabad according to its proposed route on an adapted Tatra 148 vehicle. The expedition left Islamabad on 25 May and eleven days later they put up the Base Camp in the Diamir Valley at an altitude of 4000 m.
After the reconnaissance of the terrain the first high camp was put up at the altitude of 4850 m on 7 June on the site of the preceding expeditions (Germans 1961 and 1962, Japanese 1976, USA 1977). From there followed a traversing route through the foot of the west wall above the glacier Diamir directly under the Northern top of the Nanga Parbat. Our expedition put up Camp 2 on 9 June above the foot of the wall at the height of 5150m. For a few days the camp was being supplied and at the same time the route was being built. On 18 June, Camp 3 was put up at the height of 5750 m and the preparation of the way went on. On 18 June we reached 5900 m, on June 19 — 6100 m, on June 21 — 6350 m. Camp 4 was finished on 23 June at the height of 6450 m and thus technically the most complicated part of the Western wall was, overcome.
For the section from 5000 to 6450 m 2000 m of ropes were fixed on combined snow-ice-rock terrain. The wall reached the maximum slant of 60° between 6200 m and 6300 m. These 1500 m wore the key section of the whole ascent.
Gradually the wall became prevailingly water-iced and under I. lie influence of heat a great many stones were loosened which made our ascent especially dangerous. The stones directly threatened Camps 2 and 3 and both of them were hit. Finally Camp 3 was almost entirely destroyed by a rock avalanche on 26 June. Unfortunately Camp 3 was situated on the only possible place. Rolling stones threatened the whole ascent, the ropes were destroyed several times and had to be constantly repaired, exchanged or cut out of the ice.
On 24 June the first attempt to reach the top was undertaken. The team, the members of which were A. Belica, G. Haak, J. Just and M. Zatko, retreated from the altitude of 7200 m because of the insufficient acclimatization and illness of one member. All the participants were forced to descend to the Base Camp because of bad conditions and weather in the period 27-30 June.
On 30 June a four-member team (A. Belica, J. Just, the brothers J. and M. Zatko) left the Base Camp and reached Camp 2 that day. On 1 July they climbed up the wall to Camp 3. Their tent was destroyed and two of them had to bivouac because of the falling rocks. On 2 July they surmounted the lower part of the wall and they came to the safe Camp 4. At night at 2 a.m. the decisive moments of the enterprise started —the team reached an altitude difference of 1000 m in one day and they established Camp 5, in which one member had to bivouac again. The next night at 01.30 the whole team started through the steep combined terrain in the direction of the peak. At about 7 a.m. they reached the edge of the Silver plateau and at 8 a.m. the Northern Peak of Nanga Parbat, 7816 m.
On 5 July the whole expedition left the mountain and on 8 July also the Base Camp.
The expedition, led by Marian Sajnoha, consisted of the following members : Dr Milan Simunic, Andrej Belica, Zoltan Demjan Gejza Haak, Dr Rudolf Mock, Stanislav Marton, Peter Valovic, Dr Juraj Zatko, Marian Zatko.
AN ITALIAN expedition led by Tullio Vidoni was composed of Danilo Saettone, Gian Luigi Sterna, Gian Piero Soster, Emilio De Tomasi, Alberto Ezio, Gianni Calcagno and me. We left Chitral by jeep on 5 July 1977 and drove to Mush Gol below the Zani An. After crossing this pass, we continued through Shagrom, past Atak and up the Tirich Glacier to Base Camp at 15,750 ft, which we reached on 10 July. Camp 1 was placed at 19,000 ft on the upper Tirich Glacier and Camp 2 at 20,000 ft right below the rocky 4000-foot southwest face. The first 2000 ft of the wall were reconnoitred and 3500 ft of rope were fixed on the red granite slabs and ice chimneys. After the initial snow couloir, the first part of the face offered sustained technically difficult rock climbing with no objective dangers. On 20 July Calcagno, De Tomasi and I headed up the face from Camp 2 and reached the end of the fixed rope at noon. Ezio was suffering from stomach troubles and had stayed behind. The face was easier above and we ascended a large snow couloir. We decided to bivouac at 22,650 fl at 6 p.m. rather than to descend. Without enough bivouac equipment or food, the night was long and uncomfortable. We set off early. At eleven o'clock we were amazed to be overtaken by Ezio, now recovered. The final obstacle was a 650-foot snow couloir, which was in miserable condition. This led close to the summit. I quit there, but the other three continued, arriving on top at 3.15 p.m. on 21 July. On 22 July Vidoni left Camp 2 and climbed solo to the summit. This was a completely new route, the Spaniards in 1976 having climbed the peak from the col between Tirich IV and III.
THE ZONE OF TIRICH MIR. HINDU KUSH
Photo Plate 60
IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE WORLD TREND we directed our activity into the region of Shakhaur that gave us the possibilities of serious first ascents. We were especially interested in gaining ascents through the northeastern and the northwestern walls of Kohe Shakhaur in alpine- style without building successive camps.
On 31 August 1978 we built the base camp in the Shakhaur valley 3950 m above sea level. A descending way from Kohe Shahaur through the western mountain ridge across glaciers was it used for acclimatization. We built two camps that became the bases for climbing the neighbouring 6000 m mountains.
7 August. Bednarik, Talla, Tallova reached along the eastern mountain ridge the summit M3 (6140m). The ridge of the IInd difficulty was extraordinarily brittle. This first-climb was repeated by Cidl and Skricka on the next day (No. 1).
The same summit was scaled by Benes and Krch through the ice wall with an average inclination of 40° with two swings 80° (No. 2).
The M2H (6424 m) summit was reached after the first ascent along the nice eastern ridge by Ruzicka and Schwab. A section of the IIIrd classification turned at some places into the ice-ridge with an inclination of 50° (No. 3).
Because of the late season and the shortage of rain this year, there was hard ice on the walls.
The acclimatizing part was finished by Benes, Talla, Tallova by the first ascent on the northern wall of Kohe Nadir Shah (6814 m). The thousand-metre wall with combined terrain with difficult ice parts of about 70° was climbed in two days (No. 4).
On 16 August Bednarik alone climbed for the first time the northeastern wall of 6600 m elevation point in the eastern ridge of Kohe Shakhaur (7116 m). The 1500 m wail had sections of the IVth difficulty with the inclination of icefields up to 65°. He reached the summit of Shakhaur and returned to the base camp in 37 hours (No. 5).
Two pairs, Ruzicka, Schwab and Cidl, Skricka began their ascent of the northern pillar which leads via the French way. The fourth passage through the pillar was finished by the first pair in three, by the second pair in four days (No. 6).
18 August. Krch, Talla, Tallova started their climb of the 2000 m northwestern wall of Kohe Shakhaur which had not been scaled up to that time. Because of heavy rains they started in the afternoon and bivouacked under the rock pillar. On 19 August in the morning they were caught by a stone avalanche by which Tallova was hurt. Nevertheless this trio finished their first ascent through the pillar of the IVth classification and through the ice section with the inclination of 70° (Nov. 7).
All these above-mentioned groups have used the prepared descent way which was, however, long but secure in some sections.
The most difficult ascent was the passage through 3000 m north-eastern wall of Kohe Shakhaur which was, because of a great avalanche danger, performed by Benes and Bednarik on 21-23 August even in the night. After reaching the summit they per formed, for the first time, the traverse to Udren Zom (7131m) on 23 August and returned. They chose the French pillar for their descent (No. 8).
To mention all ascents of the expedition it is necessary to introduce two more.
9 August. Cidl, Bednarik climbed the west ridge of Kohe Nadir Shah and reached the summit on 10 August (No. 9).
25 August. Ruzicka and Schwab finished the ascent of the III- IVth classification on Kohe Hawar (6250m) (No. 10).
The Czech Expedition to Hindu Kush, Afghanistan, 1978 : Sylva Talla (leader), Tomas Skricka (doctor), Jan Krch, Vilem Schwab, Peter Bednarik, Karel Cidl, Jiri Ruzicka, Jaroslava Tallova, Jiri Benes, Miroslav Mrkyvka.