Himalayan Journal vol.43
The Himalayan Journal
Vol.43

Publication year:
1987

Editor:
Soli S. Mehta
Index
  1. THE ASCENT OF KULA KANGRI FROM TIBET
    (PROF KAZUMASA HIRAI)
  2. EDITORIAL
  3. KANGCHENJUNGA CLIMBED IN WINTER
    (ANDRZEJ MACHNIK)
  4. GYACHUNGKANG, 1986
    (LT COL JEAN-CLAUDE MARMIER)
  5. THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MERA
    (MAL DUFF)
  6. DHAULAGIRI 1984-85
    (ADAM BILCZEWSKI)
  7. DHAULAGIRI I EAST FACE
    (STANE BELAK AND MARJAN KREGAR)
  8. FIRST ASCENT OF SULI TOP
    (RAMAKANT S. MAHADIK)
  9. AN INDO-FRENCH MOUNTAIN ROUND-UP
    (COLONEL BALWANT S. SANDHU)
  10. POLICEMEN IN KEDAR BAMAK
    (P. M. DAS)
  11. INDO -SWEDISH EXPEDITION TO MERU 1986
    (MANDIP SINGH SOIN)
  12. A VERY MODEST MOUNTAIN
    (EMLYN THOMAS)
  13. BASPA AND ROPA, 1986
    (M. H. CONTRACTOR)
  14. A NOTE ON KINNAUR
    (HARISH KAPADIA)
  15. MENTHOSA; ALMOST
    (ALOKE SURIN)
  16. SIA KANGRI, 1986
    (MAJOR K. V. CHERIAN)
  17. SASER KANGRI III 1986
    (S. P. CHAMOLI)
  18. THE SOSBUN GLACIER BASIN
    (LINDSAY GRIFFIN)
  19. 1986 BRITISH K2 EXPEDITION
    (DAVE WILKINSON)
  20. AN ATTEMPT ON GASHERBRUM III, 1985
    (GEOFF COHEN)
  21. EXPEDITIONS AND NOTES
  22. IN MEMORIAM
  23. BOOK REVIEWS
  24. CORRESPONDENCE
  25. CLUB PROCEEDINGS, 1986

POLICEMEN IN KEDAR BAMAK

P. M. DAS

Ascents in the Jogin Group - 1986
IT WAS AN EXPEDITION organised by the British Metropolitan Police Officers, the first of its kind. The sixteen members were at varied levels of alpine and British rock experience and, but for Lew Hardy (the climbing guide and researcher in sports medicine at University College of North Wales, who was on his second visit) had no Himalayan experience before. I was also invited to join the group.

The group was in Gangotri on 24 August and base camp was established at 15,566 ft, above the Kedar Tal by 26 August. The walk-in was made memorable by the colourful primulae, thyme and the views of Bhrigupanth and Thalay Sagar. We also ran into herds of bharal near the base camp.

Beyond base camp, we were devoid of porters and all load carrying, setting up of camps and route opening were done by the members.

The ascents of Jogin I
On SO August we established Camp 1 at 16,400 ft on the lateral moraine on the western side of the Kedar Bamak. Between 31 August and 1 September, Lew Hardy and Chris Parker (an 'aspirant' guide who unfortunately later withdrew from the expedition because of illness) occupied Camp 1 and opened a route up a steep icefall on the West Kedar Bamak. This icefall, the crux of the climb, was 50 degrees at points and the condition of the ice was such that it required climbing only in the early mornings. By noon this 2300 ft ice-wall was running with melt water and it became difficult to push in the ice-screws. On 2 September, 10 members including my rope of Robertson, John Peck and I who shared a tent, occupied Camp 1 and on 3 September established Camp 2 at the foot of the icefall. The camp was on a snow-basin after crossing the icefall dropping from Jogin II which loomed as a crumbling mass on our right. We pitched two tents here at 17,400 ft and descended to base camp.

On 4 September, the first group under Chris Parker occupied Camp 2 and on the next day they occupied Camp 3 at 19,300 ft, short of the col joining the ridge between Jogin I and Jogin III. On 6 September, Steve Malloy, 'Eric', Trevor Barnes set off from Camp 3, ascended the col and followed the ridge over its humps to reach the summit of Jogin I at 21,210 ft. They descended to Camp 3 and returned to base camp the next day. On 8 September

Lew Hardy, Fraser on one rope, and John Peck, John Richmond, P. M, Das climbing on another, reached the summit of Jogin I in 3 hours 15 minutes from Camp 3. Because of an early start they were rewarded with superb views of the Kedarnath-Bhartekhunta peaks to the south. Jaonli, the Gangotri peaks to the west. The Indian tri-colour and the British Police flags fluttered in the harsh wind as they shot metres of video film and then descended to Camp 3 well before 1.00 p.m. The descent down the icefall next day was carefully belayed as they crossed the third team consisting of Tony Dawson (an Oxford University graduate and a dedicated police constable) Steve Sands and Nick Southern, labouring up. On 10
September Tony and Steve reached the summit, making it a total of ten members while more waited for a turn at Camp 2, nursing bad health. Unfortunately the latter problem won the day and Chris Parker and Gordon Briggs were compelled to even leave for England after a few days, followed by John Richmond who suf
fered from mild frostbite of his toes after the ascent.

The attempt on Manda III (6529 m)

Across the lake below the base camp and the glacier, along the ridge extending from Thalay Sagar, north of Bhrigupanth, is this beautiful, regal-looking virgin mountain. The plan was to place a camp below the steep snow and ice-face to its west and another on the ridge leading to the summit from the north. On 13 September, 4 members with 2 in support occupied a camp below the snow and ice face. Unfortunately from the afternoon of this day, for the next 3 days the weather remained inclement and the forecast spelled 60 km winds with low temperatures, overcast skies, snow fall and thunder clouds.

Despite the dismal forecast the climbing conditions were not altogether unsatisfactory and on 14 September while we at base had a grandstand view through field-glasses and a telescope, Lew Hardy, John Peck, Steve Molloy and Steve Sands climbed for 13 hours, pitching and belaying up some 3000 ft to reach the corniced ridge just as darkness fell. They managed to pitch one of the tents but to their horror discovered that Steve Molloy and Sands had got frostbitten fingers. The night was uncomfortable and on the next day, the weather had not improved. An attempt to move along the corniced ridge to the summit revealed dangerously avalanche-prone snow. Hardy decided to call off the attempt and on 16 September they descended for 13 hours bringing in both the Steves with blistered and blue fingers.

Alpine-style ascents on the south of Kedar Bamak
While Lew Hardy was to lead his team on to Manda III it was decided, that I would lead another group (those who were slow to acclimatise and who had not been able to get up Jogin I) up the south of Kedar Bamak, pushing up without static camps or the use of fixed rope and attempt some heights at the head of the glacier We waited out the period of bad weather at base and on 15 September, despite slight snowfall, occupied glacier camp 1 at 16,500 ft at the foot of Thalay Sagar. On 16 September with bright skies above, indulging in an orgy of photography, Jim Price, Stuart Davis and P. M. Das made an ascent of a rock peak of c. 17,300 ft which was along the medial moraine of the glacier. On 17 September, breaking trail up soft and steep snow and stepping gingerly over concealed crevasses I guided Bob Parry, Jim Price and Stuart Devis on two ropes, for 7 gruelling hours in the sun. We carried our Wild Country three-man tent up and set it below a col leading southward from Jogin III (20,065 ft) to an unclimbed snow peak of 19,600 ft. The latter peak was tempting but the snow conditions were too soft.

On 18 September Stuart complaining of bad health stayed back while Jim Price, Bob Parry and myself ascended the col and walked along the ridge to the summit of Jogin III (20,065 ft) from the south. The ridge was airy and views south, west and east were superb. One could look across comfortably to the north and spot our route on Jogin I where I had been a few days earlier. The climbing was mixed on rock and snow and the ridge was corniced to the right with steep drops to the left. Fortunately there was no wind and we were able to enjoy the climbing. The descent by the same route was enlivened by a white-out and we got to the tent and Stuart's brews by 4.15 p.m. after 11 hours of climbing. On 19 September, Stuart had recovered and I took him up to the col to show him Jaonli, the Kedarnaths, Meru, Jogins I and II and other giants and then descended to base camp.

Scientific Experiments
Peter Savundra, the expedition doctor and Lew Hardy were responsible for conducting the high altitude experiments on physiology and we allowed ourselves to be tested on drugs Praxilene and Cyclo-Spasmol. The idea being to see if there was an improvement in our performance, efficiency and mental state while on these drugs. Approximately, half the test set were using dummy capsules and the others, the actual drug without being aware of it. Observations were recorded in intricate proformas and a computer was actually carried up to base camp for some of the tests.

Michael Shadrack, Chief Superintendent, was incharge of the experiments on marine life at the Kedar Tal. I greatly enjoyed associating myself with him. Floating across the lake on a rubber boat, holding a fishing rod in my hand is my kind of base camp therapy, especially immediately after the ascent of a peak! Un fortunately despite Trevor Barnes and my painstaking efforts at trawling the lake with a fishing net, we were not able to collect any fish. Only the flock of migratory duck who spent three days on the lake during the period of bad weather and a couple of waders may have been in a position to tell definitely whether they exist.

Climbing Members: Lew Hardy (climbing leader), Chris Parker. John Peck (organising leader), Gordon Briggs, John Richmond, 'Eric' Robertson, Steve Sands, Tony Dawson, George Royale, Stuart Devis, Steve Molloy, Fraser, Bob Parry, Nick Southern, Jim Price, Trevor Barnes, P. M. Das and Peter Savundra (doctor).

Ascents:

(i) Jogin I: Steve Molloy, Trevor Barnes, 'Eric*, Lew Hardy,

Fraser, John Peck, John Richmond, P. M. Das.

(ii) Jogin III: Jim Price, Bob Parry, P. M. Das

(iii) Peak c. 17,000 ft Jim Price, Stuart Davis, P. M. Das.