EXPEDITIONS AND NOTES
THE FIRST ASCENT of Yalung Kang (8505 m) from the north was the basic aim of our expedition. The most attractive but also the most unsure and dangerous route leads along north buttress directly to the summit. The north ridge seems to be a little easier but longer and exposed to the same ice-avalanches as north pillar. The third possible route to climb the mountain from the north is to continue one of the unfinished routes in the Kangchen-junga north face which were tried by Americans, Germans and Swiss.
From 11 to 25 March approach march of first group: Hille - Doban - Ghunsa - Pangpema (base camp 5050 m).
From 23 March to 6 April approach of second group. Altogether, first and second group had 240 porters.
On 26 March reconnaissance of the approach route to north pillar and north ridge.
On 27 March reconnaissance of approach route to north face of Kangchenj- unga.
The place for first camp (Tl, 5720 m) was reached. On this day we decided to continue Warth's route (1983) on north face of Kangchenjunga to snow-couloir between Kangchenjunga and Yalung Kang and across snow-slopes and ridge to the summit of Yalung Kang (8505 m). Later a party of four climbers should try (from T2) to climb north buttress to the summit in alpine style and descend across new normal route. We decided to establish only 4 camps.
On 1 April we established Camp 1 (5720 m, 4 tents).
From 2 to 8 April: A steep ice-step between 6000 m and 6200 m was climbed and equipped with fixed ropes and ladder.
On 9 April Camp 2 (6520 m, 2 tents) was pitched.
From 10 to 14 April: The steepest part of the face was equipped with fixed ropes (6700 m - 7350 m).
On 15 April Camp 3 (T3, 7350 m, 2 tents) was pitched.
On 16 April Bence and Podgornic climbed the hardest part (VI) of the face (7500 m) and reached snow-slopes which are leading to rocky summit pyramid of Yalung Kang.
On 19 April Kozjek the member of next climbing party reached the place for Camp 4 (8100 m), left a tent and returned back.
On 20 April Karo and Knez brought sleeping and cooking equipment and established Camp 4 (T4, 8100 m, 1 tent). Karo passed the night in tent, but he returned to Tl next morning
On 22 April at 6.30 a.m. Bergant and Cesen left T4 - Bergant decided to climb without additional oxygen. From couloir between Kangchenjunga and Yalung Kang they reached east ridge of Yalung Kang. They climbed it on south side (bad rock). At 14.30 hrs after radio contact with BC they found a good passage around rocky edge and at 15.00 hrs they reached a not very steep snowfield which led them to the summit. They reached the summit at 16.30 hrs. This was the first ascent of Yalung Kang (8505 m) from the north side. On the summit they found bamboo stick of Korean expedition and they left Cesen's oxygen bottle. They took some photos with Slovene-Nepali flags. At 17.00 hrs they had last radio contact with BC. During their ascent and descent the weather was fine.
In the last difficult place in snow-couloir (200 - 250 m above T4) Bergant slipped without any objective reason and disappeared in depth at 21.00 hrs during their preparation for abseiling. Due to crevasses above T4 Cesen stopped his descent and made a narrow terrace in ice-slope where he walked all the night not to fall asleep and get frostbite. With Bergant walkie-talkie was also lost.
On 23 April at 7.00 a.m. Cesen descended to T4. From BC we saw two persons descending but later we made sure that was only our imagination. During his descent Cesen looked over crevasses but he didn't find any trace of his friend. He had a short rest in T4 and later continued his descent. At 10.30 a.m. he met Bence and Podgornik and via their walkie-talkie sent report about accident to BC.
On 24 April we were looking for traces of Bergant on the face under T4 at the height of T2 (6500 m). During night new snow fell and avalanches were so often that it was impossible to find anything.
On 28 April we had a ceremony near base camp at Pangpema. On a big rock we cut Bergant's name.
Route on Yalungkang. Note 1
Lobuje West from BC. East ridge on right. Note 3 (T. Ohnishi)
On summit of Annapurna I. Note 5 (N. Joon)
Slovak Everest Expedition
THE EXPEDITION WAS organized by the Slovak Academy of Science and owing to that comprised both climbers and scientists. Some members together with all equipment came to Kathmandu by truck, the rest arrived by plane.
The approach march was very exhausting in full monsoon. However the base camp was established on 6 September 1984. After that started the quick acclimatizing programme, during which Camp 1 and Camp 2 were built up. Camp 2 was located in Western Cwm at 6400 m. The whole procedure was done in good time, six days after establishing the base camp. Previous expeditions had already equipped the path through the main obstacle, the well known icefall.
On 16th Orolin and Neumann began a recce of the Polish route which was our target. They ascended the upper part of the Western Cwm. The results were very hopeful. A lot of snow had fallen during the last monsoon. It turned into the solid stable snow presenting good climbing conditions.
The entry into the buttress was chosen nearly 100 m to the left from the starting point of the Poles. This change decreased the objective danger to a minimum.
We did not succeed in preparing very strong Camp 2 like most other previous expeditions which usually make their second base camp here in Western Cwm. In our case we preferred to descend for a rest directly to base camp.
In the following phase of our expedition a big effort was made in order to build up Camp 3 at 7300 m. On 28th, Psotka, Demian, Petrik, Orolin and Brabec dug a large platform here. The second tent of Camp 3 was pitched on the next day. For the first time fixed ropes were laid above Camp 3.
After this date height was quickly gained. Every work above Camp 3 was very tiring, however we got more than 700 m within next five days. This hard work was done by Just, Launer and Fiala. Their nice accomplishment was crowned by Neumann, Zahoransky and Povraznik together with two Sherpas. The last camp was established at 8050 m. The expedition was in high spirits and its leadership decided on the final assault. In the meanwhile Psotka with Demian laid 240 m of fixed ropes above Camp 4, Further ropes were laid by Petrik and Brabec and at last by Fiala and Launer uptd 8300 m.
The route to summit was prepared, it remained only to shift necessary material, Oxygen and food J TwoicUmbers, Just and Ang Rita supported by four Sherpas transported all necessary material and equipment. But there was' string wind arid the final assault had to be given up. Two days later Neumann and Zahoransky set out, but again bad weather and Zahoransky's sickness prevented them to continue climbing.
Another attempt began on 14 October. Psotka, Demian and Ang Rita pitched a tent at 8300 m - actually Camp 5. The next day they set out for the summit. Their route led right from the southern buttress in mixture of rock and ice. In upper part one of them went ahead making tracks in a deep layer of snow. They roped up just under Hillary Step. Climbing non-stop they reached summit on 15th, at nearly 3.15 p.m.
After photographing they started the descent. At 5 p.m. they announced by walkie-talkie their intention to go down by normal route, via South Col. This was their last contact by walkie-talkie, because the batteries collapsed. The alternative descent via South Col had been agreed before with the Nepalese expedition which was operating on the normal route. Also tents and some equipment left at South Col were taken into the consideration.
The night approached and under South Summit, Demian went ahead. He wanted to make a path for two remaining climbers. Psotka and Ang Rita descended after him, however considerably slowly because of Psotka's exhaustion.
Demian arrived at South Col but he found the camp destroyed and tents torn off. He decided to continue his descent in night to the camp at 7200 m. But because of darkness and bad conditions he missed this camp and he reached the Camp 2 at 6400 m. It happened on 16th at 1 a.m. in the night. Demian was frostbitten and extremely exhausted and he had to receive an infusion.
In the meanwhile two remaining members of the assault team descended to South Col,-in the night. Psotka stopped here and refused to go down at night. Ang Rita left him there and went down alone. The next day, on 16th at 8 a.m. he reached Camp 2 and informed about Psotka's situation.
The next summit team, actually operating between Camps 3 and 4, 'was stopped and all expedition members including Sherpas searched for Psotka. They made a traverse from Polish route to the normal route. They did not find Psotka at South Col, and following the, fixed ropes 1000 m lower they found him crushed and dead.
Psotka’s body was buried into a deep crevasse and all expedition activity was stopped.
Everest via Southern Buttress - so called Polish route of 1980.
Normal route via South Col.
The bottles of oxygen were brought but not one has been used.
LOBUJE WEST AND LOBUJE
T. OHNISHI and D. HEMBISE
Lobuje West (T. Ohnishi)
THE OSAKA ALPINE CLUB Expedition succeeded in climbing Lobuje West (6145 m) from the Lobuje glacier from its east side in autumn of 1984.
We started from Kathmandu on 30 August, 1984. The approach march for nearly two weeks from Maina Pokhari, mostly in rain, brought us to Lobuje glacier, located just behind the Lobuje tea-shop. On 16 September we settled our base camp on the glacier at 5000 m. The splendid view of the overwhelming west face of Nuptse, widely open before our eyes fascinated us.
From the next day, we started to work for the reconnaissance and carrying up the loads along the glacier. Within a week or so, we could make a route in the labyrinth of huge icefall, using nearly 1000 m fixed rope. From the base camp, we could see only the vast sea of broken ice of the glacier ahead of us. Huge icefall completely concealed upper glacier basin and the couloir leading to the summit ridge. Only a tiny snow-pyramid visible above the icefall seemed to be our target. (Photo 39)
On 26th, our assault party, Kamakura and Taguchi, left base camp at 7 a.m. and entered the camp which had been pitched on upper glacier basin at 5650 m on previous day. Next day, a few hours climbing on the snow-slope brought them to the foot of a steep couloir which had an inclination of over 60 degrees. At its
lower part, they climbed to the left of the snow-couloir by four pitches, about 300 m and then traversed it to the right by 120 in Then after a few pitches they reached a big rockwall just below the summit ridge and bivouacked there.
At 8 a.m. on 28th they left the bivouac site and continued to climb on the snow-wall, and reached the summit at 10.15 a.m. The summit of Lobuje West was so sharp and knife-edged that they could hardly stand on it alone.
For about an hour, they enjoyed the excellent view of the Himalayan giants around them, riding upon the top show-ridge. They began the descent by noon, rappelling down all the uppei part of the route, reached the base camp at 6 p.m. They were greeted by all other members there.
T. Ohnishi (leader), Y. Kamakura, Y. Taguchi, K. Kanazawa, Ms A. Kanazawa and Ms K. Nishihira.
After a long trek, begun two weeks ago at Maina Pokhri, we saw our summit, Lobuje (6119 m) for the first time from a pass close to Pheriche. Impressed by the seracs and the steep summit ice-needle 2000 m high, we stayed a long time looking at details of our mountain.
Three days later, we erected our base camp at 5000 m, near a small green lake above Dughla. On 27 October 1984, the weather was still very fine, so without spending time we opened the barrels and began to work and prepare the loads. Two days later, we carried the first loads for Camp 1, climbing the rocks above the base camp and crossing a large snow-slope in the direction of two small rock walls.
Few hours later, 5500 m .... A platform at the base of the first wall, we left the small but heavy loads. I feel tired, but without rucksack we climb ‘quickly’ a steep snow-slope on the right and Everest appears 10 km in front of us ... . fantastic. On the left, 100 m above, we can see something that looks like a good place for a camp. 'O.K., that's enough today, Camp 1 will be tomorrow.'
Indeed, Camp 1 was established two days later, at 5700 m, with two tents, numerous loads of food packs and equipment.
In the same period, Bernard and Francois had prepared their skis and they had skied down the south face from Camp 1 to base camp. Above, skiing was almost impossible due to poor frozen snow and danger across the seracs.
The easiest part of the expedition was over. We intend to climb the south face to the east-west ridge, then follow this ridge to the summit. Within two days, we fixed many sections of ropes crossing a serac area, then a steep ice-wall.
At last, on 5 November, everything was ready and we reached the end of our fixed ropes early and climbed the sharp ridge to a flat area at 6000 m.
Then we discovered the major obstacle of the ascent .... Our route crosses three minor summits connected by a very thin and steep ice-ridge, less than 10 cm wide .... On the left side 700 m, on the right side 1000 m fall to the glacier.
More than one hour was necessary to climb this ridge and reach the third summit which separated our final objective, the Lobuje ice-needle, by a small pass 50 m below.
One rappel in a very steep gully drives us to the pass and now, we know that 70 m ahead, it is the summit. The slope is still steep but the ice is not too brittle, we are winning ....
At 2 pm., we reached the summit, climbed for the first time by a U.S. team, in spring 1984 according to official Nepali information.
All around, we can't see anything other than mountains, Cho Oyu, Pumori, Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Ama Dablam .... A fantastic show that nobody can forget.
Lobuje 1984 route seems to be tlae easiest way to this 6119:
m summit. From the base camp to Camp 1, technical difficulties are minor, only a good altitude acclimlatization is required.
Above, between the camp and east-west ridge, we can say that ximleulties are medium. The slope is sometime steep (60 degree) and some ice-screws, deadman and fixed ropes are useful. From 6060m to the summit, ropes are necessary with four or five dead man.
Serge Chartoire, Denise Hembise, Dominique Hembise, Samyr Lazizi, Bernard Nief and Francois Ryter.
DEPARTURE FROM KATHMANDU by bus, through Dharan-Hille. The expedition reaches the Hillary base camp, situated south of Makalu, on 10 September.
Arrival at the north base camp situated under the west face at 5350 m. Liaison officer remains at the Hillary base camp, with an Italian expedition.
Installation of base camp. During the afternoon on 13 September (time 3.30 p.m.) the liaison officer who remained with the Italian expedition, died of oedema.
Romolo Nottaris goes down to the Italian base camp, in order to arrange formalities for the liaison officer.
Nottaris and Petrini come back to base camp while Righeschi goes up in order to make the first ferry of equipment at 5800 m.
to 19 September
Bad weather. Expedition members take this opportunity to a&-climatize at the base camp.
Nottaris, Petrini and Righeschi transport equipment and set up Camp 1 at 6100 m.
Nottaris and Righeschi climb the ridge up to 6600 m over the pillar equipping it with 150 m of fixed rope. Petrini makes a ferry of equipment in order to set up Camp 2 at 6400 m.
Nottaris and Petrini fix the most difficult part of the pillar up to 6850 m placing 100 m of fixed rope. Righeschi makes a ferry from Camp 1 to Camp 2 under the pillar. During late night all members go back to base camp for rest.
Nottaris and Righeschi go up to Camp 2 and while Romolo places a small tent, Claudio reaches 6850 m bringing up Romolo's rucksack with all the necessary items for the last attack. Then they go down until 6400 m where they spent the night.
3 a.m. Nottaris leaves, reaching the top of the fixed rope with the dawn's light, goes on his solo climb and reaches 7800 m, under the band of final rocks at 5 p.m, Righeschi goes back to Camp 1 leaving all the equipment that Romolo should need in case of retreat. Claudio spends the day observing Romolo with the field-glass, and he can follow him until 3 p.m. at 7600 m.
Righeschi stays at Camp 1, scanning the final ridge and the way of descent in case Nottaris would retreat. Nottaris is obliged to stay inside the tent until 10 a.m. due to the strong wind. At that moment the wind becomes calm and Romolo has the possibility to continue his ascent. He reaches the summit ridge at around 2.30 p.m. and then the last step is reached at about 6.30 p.m. At 7 p.m. he is on the top. He stays there for about 10 minuted and then starts the long descent, by moonlight and with his head lamp, fie reaches 7500 m between midnight and 1 a.m. where he bivouacs.
At dawn Nottaris starts to descend, going under walls of Makalu'I and Makalu II, and then reaches the top of the pillar at 7100m. After having made some signals for Righeschi confirming that everything was OK, he goes down and using fixed ropes, reaches 6400 m and continues on the central glacier under the west face at 6000 m where he meets Righeschi at 4 p.m. They continue until base camp and with the help of a Sherpa and a porter, arrive there at 9 p.m.
The expedition abandons the base camp, and leaves for Europe,
Romolo Nottaris, Sergio Petrini, Claudio Righeschi.
ANNAPURNA SWISS EXPEDITION
THE FORMER EXPEDITION LEADER and initiator of the expedition was the Swiss mountain-guide Jori Bardill. Unfortunately he was killed by an ice-avalanche in the Swiss alps just 3 weeks after he'd got the permit from Nepal.
Ours was a very strong team. Loretan was on the top of 5, Joos of 2 and Buhler on one 8000 m peaks, Tschirky on the highest peaks of all continents (except Asia) and Durrer and Hobi on some 6000 m high peaks before. All of them had climbed a great number of difficult routes in the Alps.
The east ridge of Annapurna I was tried twice before. In spring 1969 a strong German team had to break off its attempt from Roc Noir (7485 m) because of bad weather and strong winds. In spring 1981 a Swedish team came up to the last col (7500 m) in front of the last slope up to the east peak perhaps 3 km away from the main peak. They had to break off above all because of exhaustion.
The Swiss expedition has taken a new route up to the col between Fluted Peak and Glacier Dome. In contrast to the former expeditions the Swiss reached this col from the west. This route was more difficult but less dangerous than the old route. From the col the Swiss took the same route as the Germans and the Swedish have taken. The Swiss base camp was also on a different place which was at the foot of Annapurna South Face.
On 3 September 1984 the Swiss reached Kathmandu with 600 kg equipment.
On 17 September they reached 4300 m high base camp, with 72 local porters and 2000 kg equipment. Above the base camp they had no high altitude porters and used no oxygen.
On 19 September Hobi, Joos and Buhler established Camp 1 at 5700 m. The route up to Camp 1 went over steep grass- and rubble-slopes, a 300 m high rock-cliff (200 m of fixed ropes) and a flat glacier.
From summit of Glacier Dome: Rock Noir (left) and Fang.. Note 5 (F. Tschirky)
On the col between the Central and Main Peak (background) of Annapurna I. Note 5 (E. Loretan)
On summit of Rock Noir. Annapuna I and South i n background. Note 5 (B. Durrar)
Machhapuchhre from C2. Note 5 (F. Tschirky)
On 27 September Loretan, Joos and Buhler established Camp 2 at 6500 m on the col between Fluted Peak and Glacier Dome. (Photo 44)
The route up to Camp 2 followed a 800 m high pillar. Technically this was the most difficult part of the whole route (used about 500 m of fixed ropes). It was mixed rock- and ice-climbing.
On 2 October Tschirky, Durrer and Hobi established Camp 3 at 7100 m directly below the top of Glacier Dome. The route up to Camp 3 went over easy slopes. (Photo 3)
On 6 October Loretan and Joos established Camp 4 (a snow-cave) at 7500 m directly behind the top of Roc Noir. The route up to Camp 4 followed the partly narrow and steep ridge between Glacier Dome and Roc Noir.
After 3 weeks of excellent weather conditions the weather was bad during next 2 weeks. Finally on 20 October Durrer and Buhler succeeded to open the way to Camp 3 again.
On 21 October Loretan and Joos left the base camp and reached Camp 2 on the same day. Next day they reached Camp 4.
On 23 October they started from Camp 4 at 5.30 a.m. They reached the last slope of the east peak at 8.30 a.m. The ridge to this col was partly very narrow. At 2.30 p.m. they reached the 8020 m high East peak of Annapurna I. The slope up to the East peak was broad and not very steep except the last 50 m. On the col between East and Central peak they made a snow-cave and stayed over-night there.
On 24 October they reached the 8050 m high Central peak of Annapurna I at 10 a.m. The ridge down to the last col in front of the Main peak was difficult. (Photo 42)
On this col they left their 12 kg heavy rucksacks behind. At 1.30 p.m. they reached the 8091 m high Main peak of Annapurna I. (Photo 40)
They descended on the French route (north side) down to 6800 m and made a bivouac.
On 25 October they continued their descent over the difficult Dutch spur and made a bivouac on 5100 m.
On 26 October they reached the base camp of the Japanese/ Czech Nilgiri expedition. During their descent on the north side they had no help from the Swiss or other expeditions and no contact with the Swiss or any other expedition.
Loretan and Joos reached Kathmandu over Kali Gandaki-Ghorapani-Pokhara on 4 November.
Further attempts to reach the East peak from Camp 4 by Tschirky, Hobi and Buhler were wrecked on 24 and 25 October.
On 2 November the Swiss expedition left their base camp and reached Kathmandu on 6th and were back in Switzerland on 14 November.
Frank Tschirky (leader), Dr Bruno Durrer, ,Er£ard
Loretan, Fritz Hobi, Norbert Joos, Ueli Buhler.
Photos 3, 41 to 44
DHAULAGIRI WEST FACE
First ascent of one of the highest walls in the world
V. SMIDA and JIM NOVAK
THREE CZECHOSLOVAK CLIMBERS, Jan Sirnon. Jaromir Stejskal and Karel Jakes reached the summit of Dhaulagirj, 8167 m, on 23 October 1984. Their achievement concluded the first ascent through the west wall which is nearly 4300 m high.
The expedition activity starts on arriving at Kathmandu, on 13 August, 1984. The approach march began soon, a couple of days after, however in full monsoon. Crossing of flooded rivers on very poor bridges together with attacks of blood-thirty leeches were horrific experiences.
First tents of the base camp were pitched on a meadow opposite a glacier, on 28 August at 3700 m. Thorough recce started on 29th. It was a pity, that no one of expedition's members has ever been under that gigantic wall. Moreover they did not have any quality photograph. It was quite obvious that the west, face of Dhaulagiri is dangerous besides its terrible length. The period of
exploration was concluded by a decision to find a route on the left half of that wall.
Camp 1 (4700 m) had been established on 3 Septemloer, The weather during this time was hopeless. Monsoon which was expected to be over still persisted in full swing.
After first sortie onto the wall came also the first disappointment.
Camp 1 was swept by an avalanche, which was not the last one. Most of the avalanches were failing in a gully through which the route led to further climbs. Large quantity of snow, falling from that gully had even hidden a big rocky step of 100 m.
Despite these ugly conditions, the dangerous gully was finally crossed and Camp 2 pitched at 5500m. The next, camp followed at 6000 m. Avalanche danger was so strong that men sleeping in tents were tied up to a fixed rope in order to resist against air pressure created by avalanches.
Bad weather finished when autumn arrived. Expedition made a remarkable progress. Briefly explained, the climb begin right from the center of wall. The route went diagonally to the left, to Camp 1. After that it followed right side of the gully already described, upto about 5200 m. Then came a traverse to the left which finished on a buttress going parallel to above mentioned gully. Camps 2 and 3 were pitched just on this buttress. There were a band of seracs above the buttress which had to be passed below in order to reach a large snowfield situated on northwest ridge. Camp 5 was pitched on this ridge, at 7600 m. From this point a passage of 500 m of difficult climb started and after it was a long easy ridge till the summit itself.
The main problem was establishing Camp 4 which was built on 1 October by Simon and Smid. Three days later one tent of key Camp 5 was pitched up by Martis, whose nice acclimatization was obvious because of his participation in a spring expedition to Lhotse Shar. Martis supported by Jakes, Silhan and Rajtar wanted to attempt the summit, but the weather made them go down after a few days waiting at high altitude. They were exhausted arid some of them also frostbitten.
After that others also made their attempts. High altitude camps were in full operation during this time. But the weather did not improve. One of the best Czechoslovak solo climbers Miroslav Smid who spent several days at altitude of little under 8000 m had been forced to give up the summit.
However the effort of climbers did not finish. Another crew of three men, Jakes, Simon and Stejskal, dug a cave in snow above Camp 5 at 8000 m. The next day, 23 October they set out for the summit. The last part of the northwest ridge was long but not difficult. The summit of Dhaulagiri (8167 m) was reached the same day before noon. But Simon who suffered from toothache wanted to go quickly down. So he left two remaining men behind and sped ahead.
Nobody knows what happened to him. As a matter of fact, Simon did not reach any of the lower camps. Some parts of his personal gear had been found near Camp 4 as a final confirmation of his death.
The great success of the expedition was paid for by the life one of Czechoslovakia's best young climbers.
Jiri Novak (leader), Doubal, Jakes, Kastak, Martis, Jerliak, Mrozek, Mzourek Pelikan (doctor), Rybicka, Schnabel,
Stejskal, Silhan, Simon, Smid, Rajtar, Patocka, Ms Hofmanovar
Ms Siehlikova, Giorgio (Italian climber). f
MONSOON MADNESS AND SEVEN
WILLIAM McKAY AITKEN
WHEN THE YELLOW beam of Ashok Dilwali's fog-light appeared through the Mussoorie mist late in July 1985 my heart sank. He was taking a week off from Delhi to photograph Shastru Tal, a little-known but much-referred to lake northeast of Uttarkashi. The monsoon had started late and was making up for it with a vengeance. All the roads were rumoured to be blocked and here was Ashok in his jeep enticing me from my typewriter to face landslides, leeches and leaking tents. What everyone forgets about the monsoon in Garhwal is the staggering beauty of the buggials when the flowers are at their peak.
The moment we crossed to the second ridge between Mussoorie and Chamba the weather cleared and we were out of the rain. Finding a porter in Uttarkashi was a problem because very few of them had been to our lake(s). Eventually we took Nand Bahadur an old faithful of Ashok's, and Kesh Bahadur, an HAP who had been to the dharmashala at the base of the climb to Shastru Tal. We drove to Malla, parked the jeep and crossed the furious Bhagirathi to start the three day pull up along the Pilang gad to its source.
The first few kilometres to Sila proved something we were loathe to admit. In spite of our lightweight one-week starvation diet, both porters were unfairly weighed down and our camera equipment amounted to another man's load. So at Sila we took on Deep Chand, an old hookah addict with the craggy looks of Abraham Lincoln and the lead-swinging tendencies of the professional hypochondriac. The path drove up relentlessly past the oak to spruce and juniper. We camped in a buffalo shed on the ridge just short of Kush Kalyan which we translated as 'happy and glorious'.
Next morning it rained down our necks and we hastened to put our translation behind us. We had been adopted by an old Bhotia sheepdog, the archetypal shaggy variety, with a dignified, mournful expression and slightly wobbly hindquarters. He was however the match for three other dogs as we were to find out on several occasions. As he insisted in curling up outside our tent we called him ‘Tambu’. He trailed Abe Lincoln like a Pinkerton detective as though to suggest This guide is not to be trusted’. How right the dog was, for almost every decision Abe took turned out to be the wrong one. At the end of each debacle he would clinch the proceedings with 'I'm not as big a fool as you think’. No one dared call his bluff !
Mana (7272 m) from Vasundhara Tal. Note 8 (J.R. Raul)
Dhaulagiri V,III and II (1to r) from C3. Note 6 (J. Novak)
From C3: Dhaulagiri V (right) Note 6 (J. Novak)
Czech route on Dhaulagiri I west face. Note 6 (J. Novak)
East Kamet glacier from summit of Kamet. Note 8 (D. Muni)
The second night saw us still on the same ridge, at Bhowani buggial, and when we presented ourselves outside a Gujjar's straw hut he panicked and showed us what he called a cave, which was in fact an overhang with mild pretentions. Ashok and I cowered under it preferring the pyrotechnics of a monsoon storm to the creepie-crawlies inhabiting the inside of the Gujjar's hut. Abe had declared he was dying when he retired, but next morning his sudden rejuvenation led to ribald comments about the Gujjar's wife and daughters.
A glorious morning provided sensational views of the Bandar-punch massif and as we toiled up Halmot dhar
to swing eastwards along our ridge, we were confronted with a tangle of peaks which we knew had to be the Jogin-Gangotri family but could only distinguish Jaonli. The flowers made for an unforgettable voyage and I spotted several yellow poppies. By noon the mist clamped down and we were in trouble. Our official guide could be relied on to miss the way. It would have been simpler to ask him and then walk in the opposite direction! Thanks to the Gujjar we had been able to make a large helping of khir and passed the time waiting for our guide to appear out of the mist by eating gouts of portable rice-pudding. A wearisome traverse of the eastward trending Halmot dhar
beatling over Budha Kedar saw us straggle into dharmashala camp. This was a stone hut built by a humanitarian District Collector for pilgrims. Already half of the wooden planks on the roof had been ripped off for fuel by thoughtless visitors and we sternly forbade our porters to contribute to the ingratitude. A party of herb-collectors turned up later to fill the small space under cover so Ashok and I elected to sleep in the tent, a horrible come-down after our air-conditioned buffalo-shed and split-level grotto. During the night the tent was struck by a heavy animal and the dog went berserk for half an hour afterwards.
The fourth morning dawned dismally with a grey canopy but we had noted the day before that the south was clear of cumulus so this was local weather and not the monsoon. As we were fighting our schedule to be back in Delhi in a week, we had no choice but to set out hopefully. The first lake, Lamb Tal, was hardly a kilometre away, a circular tarn about fifty metres across. A steep climb to Kokuli dhar
passed a second lake with a much more dramatic setting. This was called Kokuli Tal but since it was long and narrow (over 200 yards long) it seemed to be more likely Lamb Tal. On the climb we saw a monai browsing on the craggy ridge making a striking silhouette.
From the dhar there were splendid views of Jaonli with its formidable crevassed mowftelds guarding the approaches. To the east a sharp bl*ok pointed peak, which we had first espied from Halmot was our beftoon, tot Bhastru (Dirshan) Tal lay under it. Looking across the valley we could see a lovely lake half way up the far side with an island in the middle. This was Pari Tal and we had to drop a thousand feet and then reclimb to reach it. The sun had come out and we pushed up a rocky slope towards the Pilang glacier. A small lake with cloudy water, marked by a huge Riibik Cube of stone, was Dodhi Tal. Another struggle up through boulders brought us to the tiny but peerlessly pure Nar Singh Tal. Higher up the glacier and spilling over to form the Pilang gad was Ling Tal, the name no doubt coming from the dramatic rock tower in the background. That left only Shastru Tal the seventh and biggest. It was nowhere in sight along the glacier and the guide couldn't remember where it lay. The presence of Saussurea gossy-piphora
suggested we were around 15,500 ft and the lake eould not be far off. It was now past ten and the clouds were beginning to assert themselves. Abe's memory-button switched on and he pointed to a feeder to the main glacier opposite the black spire. Sure enough after a short clamber over rocking boulders we crested a rise to find a saffron flag fluttering on a cairn. On climbing to the cairn we were not disappointed. The lake was larger and more mysterious than Hemkund. The reddish rocks along the far shore seemed like pillars of basalt from the distance. I just had time to struggle up the chaos of rocks to get a wide-angle view of the green expanse before the clouds rolled in and changed the face to navy blue. Ashok meanwhile covered the shoreline but was pulled up by some cliffs. From my position the lake resembled an artist's palette in shape, with inlets adding another dimension to its mystery. Time did not allow us to explore the head of the glacier and by now the thick mist made our return problematical.
Abe managed to lose the track and was well on the way to leading us over a precipice when the porters put their foot down. It was a dangerous moment for with an obstinate guide the party could have been split. Fortunately when a vote was taken even the dog Tambu turned his back on his master. We followed in Tambu's footsteps and he led us straight back to the trail above Pari Tal. We didn't reach dharmashala till four. After discussing the balance of misery, it was decided to spend another night in the tent and beat a hasty retreat early in the morning straight down the Halmot dhar
to Jorau, the first village on the Pilang gad. By pushing it, we could be back in Uttarkashi by nightfall and in Delhi next day, exactly on schedule. That night the monsoon caught up with us and the tent reeled under the onslaught. Squelching noises and a cold Socratic numbing of our lower reaches made for an apprehensive night. I was awakened by Ashok holding a dialogue with the dog, imperviously wedged at the sopping tent entrance. Our boots were bobbing about in three inches of water. 'Have you seen the eighth lake?' asked Ashok looking out dreamily. 'What's it called?', I enquired expectantly, thinking he had spotted something in the distance. 'Tambu Tal ('Tent Lake') he said in disgust and began to wring out his sleeping bag.
KAMET AND ABI GAMIN CLIMBED
KAMET AT 25,447 ft stands as the third highest peak in India. Abi Gamin, 24,130 ft, is joined to the Kamet massif by Meade's Gol. Measured by Richard Strachey the credit of first ascent in 1931 goes to Frank 3. Smythe. The first Indian ascent was led by the late Major N. D. Jayal in 1955.1
The Climbers and Explorers Club, Delhi, organised an expedition to Kamet and Abi Gamin in August-October 1985. The team left Delhi on 25 August, 1985 under the leadership of J. P. Singh.
We started our approach march on the 31st. Our first halt was at village Niti (11,500 ft). Next day we halted at the confluence of the Dhauli ganga and the Raikana nala at Shepuk Kharak (13,500 ft). Here we had to ferry the loads across the river on rope (which is permanently fixed) because the mules could not take the loads across. On 2 September we established base camp at Vasudhara Tal (15,500 ft). (Photo 52)
After a reconnaissance of Camp 1 (16,500 ft), load ferry started. The route to Camp 1 was along the true left of the East Kamet glacier on the lateral moraine ridge. Camp 1 was pitched on a dry river bed. There was a small stream of water flowing which served well as our water point (incidentally, it had dried out on our return). Camp 1 approach from base camp was around two and a half hours.
Camp 1 was occupied on 6th and the route to Camp 2 (18,300 ft) was opened by an advance party. The route to Camp 2 continued along the true left of the East Kamet glacier. After a walk of about half an hour on the moraine ridge, we had to climb down about 300 ft to the glacier and cross over some ice-bridges to the centre of the glacier. This was the turn of the East Kamet glacier. The route continued along the medial moraine for about 2 hours and then dimbed steeply to Camp 2 (18,300 ft). Time taken was around 5 hours to reach Camp 2 with loads. We had skipped the normal Camp 2 site, which is at the turn of the glacier, and placed our Camp 2 at the normal Camp 3 site. Although this involved an extra march of about two and half hours, it saved a few days and reduced the logistical problem. All through the route was over the moraine stretch and in 2 to 3 days of load ferry most of the members' sneakers were in tatters.
1. See H.J. Vol. IV, p. 27 and Vol. XIX, p. 214.-Ed.
On 11 September weather turned bad. 8 of our members were already occupying Camp 2 and movement between camps was not possible. The route to Camp 3 (20,500 ft) had been opened. On 15th the members came down to Camp 1 to save on valuable rations and to prevent deterioration at that altitude. The weather remained packed till 19th.
Finally on 19th the weather cleared partly and we all moved up to Camp 2. The climb to Camp 3 involved the use of 800 ft of fixed rope in the gully. There is a constant danger of rockfall in the gully and twice the members had a narrow escape. It is advisable to move between Camp 2 and 3 early in the day to avoid the rockfall. The route becomes extremely slippery after snowfall.
We occupied Camp 3 on 21st and the route to Camp 4 (22,000 ft) was opened. 1800 ft of rope was fixed. It took around 4 hours to reach Camp 4 with loads. It involves a rock traverse and the gradient of the climb would vary between 60°-70°. Camp 4 was on a snow-hump which is visible all the way from the turning of the East Kamet glacier and Camp 2. After stocking Camp 4 the first two parties occupied the camp on 25 September. Next day a four member team attempted Abi Gamin from Camp 4 while the second team occupied Camp 5 for the Kamet attempt.
The Abi Gamin team led by Homyar Mistry, consisted of Mahendra Sharma, R.C. Bhardwaj and Neema Chewang. They left Camp 4 at 4.30 a.m. using head lamps because the moon had set early. A few crevasses had to be crossed. There was thigh-deep dry powder snow and breaking route was extremely strenuous. The party was caught in a blizzard for a short time at Meade's Col. This obliterated their tracks and on return they had to open the route all the way back as well. By 11.30 a.m. they were on the top of Abi Gamin (24,130 ft). (Photo 53)
On reaching the summit the first sight was a view of Tibet - a breathtaking sight. Kamet across the Meade's Col looked like a giant. After spending a short time on top they started back and were in Camp 4 by 4.30 p.m. The same day 6 members and 2 Sherpas occupied Camp 5 at Meade's Col to attempt Kamet on the next day. On 27th the first attempt on Kamet was made. 3 members and 2 Sherpas started off at 4.30 a.m. They had to wade through hip-deep snow and progress was very slow. By around 2.30 p.m. they had reached a height of around 25,000 ft when the weather started deteriorating and wind speed increased so they decided to return. At the same time the second summit party reached Camp 5.
Kamet (7756 m) SE face. Meade's Col on right Note 8 (D. Muni)
View from summit of Kamet. Note (D. Muni)
On 28th the second attempt on Kamet wtfs made. 3 members and the cook started off from Camp 5 at 3 a.m. They were hoping that they would be able to use the tracks made by the first party but to their disappointment they found that the high winds had covered all earlier tracks. In the darkness the team diverted off the route and as a consequence were caught in a wind-slab avalanche. To their good luck it did not take them more than a few feet away. They extricated themselves and carefully retraced their steps only to find that they nearly started another avalanche so they hurriedly turned back towards camp. By 7.30 a.m. they were back in camp.
Considering the snow-conditions it was felt that it would not be possible to make it to the summit from Camp 5 at Meade's Col. So it was decided that the summit camp should be shifted higher for the third attempt. On the same day the third summit party packed 2 tents and rations and shifted Camp 5 to 24,300 ft. The party consisted of Bachan Singh, Divyesh Muni, Sherpas Lakhpa and Ki Kami and cook Madan Singh and was led by Shobah Bisht.
At 6 a.m. on 29 September the six member team set off for the summit. Progress was extremely slow because of altitude and waist-deep powder snow. By 1130 a.m. they reached the high point reached on the first attempt. From there the route was along the sharp ridge to the summit. One can see the full East Kamet glacier 6000 ft below the east face of Kamet. (Photo 49)
Two ice-humps had to be skirted before reaching the summit at 3.15 p.m. Far away the" peaks and glaciers unfolded themselves. The top of Nanda Devi was seen peeking above the vast expanse of cloud which shrouded the lower peaks. They could see far into Tibet over Abi Gamin and Meade's Col. Such was the beauty that we were all filled with a sense of satisfaction and tranquillity. In spite of the sunshine the temperature had dropped considerably due to altitude and wind. After spending 10 to 15 minutes on the summit, they started back for the summit camp.
Due to dehydration and constant exposure to cold one of the summiters, Bachan Singh was frostbitten. It took two hours to go down to Camp 4 from the summit. After spending the night, next day all the members returned to Camp 3.
All the members moved down to base camp. At base camp Bachan was attended to by the doctor of the Mana expedition team from Bombay. Finally he was transported on a mule down to Joshimath.
Photos 45, 49 to 53
THE PEAK SUMERU PARBAT (6331 m - 20,770 ft) is situated to the south of the meeting point of Gangotri and Ghanohim glacier. It is not a very prominent peak in Garhwal but was mentioned in the Mahabharata.
It is surrounded by Kharchakund (6612 m) in north and by Yeonbuk (5953 m) in south. It was first climbed in 1971 by an expedition from Mountain Lovers' Association, Asansol, Bengal. They followed the Ghanohim glacier and climbed the north face.
Our approach march started on 26 September 1985 morning with the aim to establish our BC at Tapoban. We took the traditional Gangotri-Bhujbas-Tapoban route. From BC we got the majestic view of Shivling and Bhagirathi group of peaks. Tapoban itself looked very gay and brilliant, with delightful colours of all shades of tents of various teams.
Next morning a team set out to select a suitable camp site for ABC. They dumped their load at a place near the junction of Kirti and Gangotri glaciers at 16,000 ft. Next day the members ferried loads and finally on 30th ABC was established and occupied by 4 members and 2 Sherpas. Sumeru was peeping through the passage between Kharchakund and Kedar Dome.
On 1 October 4 members and 2 Sherpas moved to select site for Camp 1 and to ferry loads. They dumped their load at the terminal moraine of Ghanohim glacier. It took 2£ hours from ABC. Next day team from Camp 1 was sent to reconnoitre the feasibility of the route through the Ghanohim glacier near Kharchakund. On return they reported that the viability through the route was less as there were series of rockfall and avalanche prone zones throughout the route. As such, we decided to climb the peak from the other side i.e. through the NE face. On 5th we set out to select an alternative site for Camp 2. It was about 5 hours walk when they reached near the south ridge of Kharchakund, traversing the complete east face of Kharchakund. The route was through the lateral moraine of Gangotri glacier. They dumped their load opposite Swachand glacier meeting point and returned at about 6 p.m.
Camp 2 was at 18,500 ft, which was finally established and occupied by 4 members and 2 Sherpas on 6th.
On 7th they set out to select a suitable site for Camp 3. After about 3 hours they dumped their loads on a huge snowfield just at the foot of Sumeru Parbat. The route was very risky as it passed through a large number of crevasses. From here they had the first clear view of Sumeru. Next two days (9th and 10th) were spent to open the route for the summit.
11 October was the summit day. Five members and two Sher-pas started for the summit bid at 6.30 a.m. Moving towards south through the vast icefield they reached the foot of the south face of Sumeru Parbat. They followed the route opened on the previous two days. The route was full of innumerable crevasses. They moved along the precipice of some of them which required them to be extra cautious. At about 9 a.m. their steady progress was hindered by a narrow fissure. By support of two ropes fixed on the previous day they negotiated it. As the day advanced they had to trudge through knee-deep snow. The summit was not visible. For ajbout three hours they made a steady progress. The gradient was about 45°/50°. At noon they faced the second challenge. There was a great wide depression. They climbed down to the bottom of the depression. They climbed up the massive pile of ice-blocks and attained a buttress-like intermediate ridge on the face. Just by the other side of that ridge ran parallel a deep, dark and seemingly bottomless crevasse that rendered the climb rather risky. Keeping the crevasse on their right they moved east along the ridge for about 100 yards. There they came across a steep 20 ft wall of 75° gradient. With help of a fixed rope they climbed the wall. The weather was so far clear and bright. But the scorching sun overhead and the exhaustion of the climb was draining out their strength and energy. The prospect of reaching the summit within an hour offered a great relief The weather condition all of a sudden started worsening. At 3 p.m. snow-flakes started falling. Keeping the first hump on their right they started traversing to south towards the peak. At that point they joined two ropes in a single one having Ang Dawa in the lead. At about 3.30 p.m. they reached the ridge that led to the summit. A very deep and wide crevasse was winding through the broad ridge which gradually narrowed. They plodded along the ridge very cautiously and in completely worn-out condition reached the peak at 3.45 p.m. It was snowing incessantly. Ang Dawa fixed an aluminium peg high on the summit as a mark. They started climbing down at 4.15 p.m. As it was snowing, they found it difficult to retrace the trail they followed in climbing up. But the experienced Sherpas somehow managed to lead them on the right path. Ultimately, at about 9.30 p.m. all of them returned to Camp 3 after a 15 hour battle. On 12th they wound up the summit camp and joined with the leader and other members waiting eagerly at Camp 2 and together they came down to BC on 13 October.
The mountain of the great snake
C. O. LABURU
ON 26 AUGUST 1985 the group left Paris for New Delhi. From Gangotri it took us 2 days to reach Nandanban. Wonderful place used as base to climb Bhagirathi I, II and III, Chaturangi, Chandra Parbat, Kalindi, Satopanth and our Vasuki Parbat, all of them mountains above 6000 m. From Nandanban and after a 4 hour walk on a comfortable path you can reach Vasuki Tal (4800 m). There we erected our advance base camp. This camp was placed and inhabited by 3 members on 5 September.
Vasuki Tal is just below the impressive Vasuki Parbat north face, from the same place starts the northwest ridge, that was our team's target. At first we climbed over easy loose rocks up to 5600 m where we found the first problem of the route, a vertical, 20 m high wall (IV) on which we fixed rope. On top of this wall we found a good platform that provided a wonderful and very ideal site for our Camp 1. This camp was established and occupied by 2 members on 9 September.
The rocky platform was at the bottom of a big tower with vertical faces, 200 m high on loose rock. We bypassed this tower by means of a traverse on mixed ground on its north. We fixed 150 m of rope on this traverse. After the traverse we climbed the snow-slope of the north face itself. This slope was fairly steep (60°) and we placed 250 m of fixed rope on it, the last 20 m passed over a vertical cornice on hard ice and was the hardest section of the whole climb.
After this pitch there was a level platform and some easy ground for some meters up to a platform, a snow-slope of 40° steepness that required 150 m of fixed rope. It was necessary to climb another cornice on the top of this and though the style of the pitch was similar to the previous one we had climbed, the whole of it was not so hard. The top of this platform was at 6000 m and we pitched our Camp 2 here.
After this platform the northwest ridge decreased its steepness for a while and the climb went on an easy but very crevassed ground. At this point the ridge ended abruptly against a vertical, rocky spur that led to the north pinnacle (6300 m). This spur had on its right (west face of Vasuki Parbat) a deep gully, 300 m high and of 55°/60° steepness. We reached this gully by means of a second traverse along the base of the spur.
The end of this gully joined the summit (north) ridge, narrow and heavily corniced that had been climbed by a Japanese team in 1982. We reached a height of 6200 m on 19 September and we were forced to abandon the climb because of lack of material and time to make it to the summit and be in time to catch the flight back to Europe ('to climb mountains is not the better hobby to match with your work in a bank', this is what our employers say!). Anyway we didn't climb particularly fast may be because 3 of the* members of the team were ill with mountain sickness during the first week and couldn't help with the porterage, etc. Besides we are slow climbers anyway.
We took 8 porters on the descent and we abandoned some 900 m of rope. The weather was supposed to be magnificent during the whole expedition but was not so. It wasn't very bad nor very good but it was possible to climb. Anyway it wasn't that 20 days beautiful weather some expeditions had reported to be.
To summarize it, we didn't reach the top but we climbed a new route on a wild, remote and beautiful .... very beautiful mountain. And we liked it.
PHAWARARANG (6349 m) IS SITUATED in Kinnaur at the head of Tiruing Gad, a tributary of the JSutlej. This area does not receive many expeditions, and as a result most of it is unexplored. The region is easily accessible, the porterage is cheap and the hospitality of the locals must be seen to be believed. Phawararang was first climbed by a team led by Col Balwant Sandhu in June 1977.1
We, the members of the Mountaineering Club of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay chose this peak as our objective for May 1985. The team consisted of Amit Bhargava (leader),-Madhukar Bhatia, Jay ant Kulkarni, Tapas Mallik, Ajit Mayya, Manoj Padki and Anand Pai. We decided not to take porters beyond base camp.
An advance party left Bombay on 6 May to arrange for equipment and inner line permits, while the main party left Bombay on the 8th. We reached Simla via Delhi and Kalka on the 10th. A twelve hour night journey brought us to Morang on the 11th. We transferred our load from the road to the Indo-Tibet Border Police post with the help of their van. Since neither porters nor kerosene were available in Morang, the next day was spent in hiring mules from Thangi village and getting kerosene from Powari. Motmg
has a small general store where minor odds and ends are available but no shops which can be relied upon for supplies for the whole expedition.
1. See H.J. Vol. 36, p. 99 for details and 2 sketch-maps.-Ed.
On the 13th, all the members along with the mules set out for Thangi, the first halt. We moved along the true left bank of the Stitlej till the point at which Timing nala joins it. Here we turned left into the narrow valley of Tiruing Gad. Construction of a jeepable road was in its final stages at the time, so further expeditions can expect some sort of transport to the base of Thangi, which is situated on a hill about 500 ft above the path on the true right of Tiruing Gad.
The next day's destination was Shurtingting, another ITBP out-pos, t. The initial part of the trek was through a pine forest. Then the route descended right down to the banks of Tiruing nala and continued till Lambar. From here onwards it was all barren till Shurtingting. At Shurtingting we crossed the nala to its true left and reached the ITBP camp. Here again we were their guests, staying in a cosy little room fitted with a bukhari
to keep us warm.
On the next day, we set out for Lalanti, our base camp. Now we moved along the true left bank of the Shurtingting nala. Lalanti is used as a grazing site by the villagers of Charang, Kino and Thangi. It is at a height of about 14,500 ft. We pitched our tents on a grassy field while a stone hut built by the villagers served as our kitchen.
All of us acclimatized and recceed the area for the next three days and then climbed up along the Jabgayagarang nala, at the head of which we placed our Camp 1 (17,000 ft). Amit, Tapas and Anand moved into Camp 1 on the 19th while Bhatia, Jayant and Manoj ferried loads from the base camp to Camp 1. Beyond Camp 1, after climbing about 200 ft on the east, the route turned into a wide snow-gully running north. At the top of the gully for the first time we had a clear view of the peak and its southeast face. A temporary camp was established here. From this point, the route, over soft snow and rock, along a ridge running west, curved almost through at a right angle, joined the south ridge of Phawararang. However, blocking the way was a massive rock gendarme, around 250 ft high. The crossing of the gendarme involved an exposed traverse and then a steep climb of about 100 ft, all along which a rope was fixed.
The col between the gendarme and the south ridge made an excellent site for Camp 2 (19,000 ft). Arrrit, Tapas and Anand moved into the camp on 25 May, while Bhatia, Jayant and Manoj moved into Camp 1 after stocking it. At Camp 2, a few old tins and bottles were found, presumably from the expedition led by Col Sandhu.
After a cold and windy night, in Camp 2, the first team left lor the summit on the 26th. They left the camp at 0630 hrs, traversed the rock buttresses on the ridge from the left and climbed the rocky ridge till about 1030 hrs. Initially the progress was slow 'due to the cold and strong winds. Then they zigzagged up the rsoutheast face till the summit ridge. This east ridge of Phawara-rang was sloping gently and heavily corniced on the north. On the north side was a steep drop to the Damana glacier. The ridge was reached at 1230 hrs and the summit at 1400 hrs. After spending about half an hour on the summit, the team returned to Camp 2 at around 1700 hrs.
The next day, Bhatia, Jayant and Manoj moved to Camp 2. After a day of rest at the camp, the team left for the summit on the 29th and climbed the top at 2.30 p.m. in poor weather.
After a visit to the scenic village of Charang, the team returned to Morang on 4 June and back to Bombay on the 8th.
CHANDRA BHAGA EXPEDITION
Fig Off AMIT CHOWDHURY
OUR OBJECTIVES, CB 53 and CB 54 (both 6096 m) are a pair of beautiful peaks in the Chandra Bhaga region of Lahul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh. CB 53 was named 'Sharmili' by the Japanese who climbed it in 1981. Jupiter Sporting of Calcutta, who gave us most of the information, had also attempted the peaks in 1984.
We started from Batal on 30 June with six mules carrying half the expedition load. Doc and Probal stayed back with one porter to bring the rest of the load. We reached Daka nala which had to be crossed by a stee