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

IN MEMORIAM

TENZING NORGAY

(1914-1986)

LIVING ON the southern slopes of Everest is a very small ethnic group of people called the Sherpas. Related to the feature, by making the first ascent of the peak, belonging to this ethnic group of people was the man named Tenzing Norgay. Posterity has it that these three facts are undetachably associated and much has been written and extolled about them.

Tenzing Norgay died in his home in Darjeeling on 9 May 1986 in the early hours of the morning following a lung ailment from which he had been suffering for over a year. Born in the Year of the Hare, he was 72 years old.

Although Tenzing had come to Darjeeling from the land of his birth in 1932 his climbing exploits began in 1935 when he joined Eric Shipton's reconnaissance party to Everest. He was 21 years old then. It was indeed the seeds sown by fate in this expedition that bore fruit 18 years later. Ever since then, he had been in the climbing scene of Everest. The following year, 1936, he again joined Hugh Ruttledge and carried heavy loads up to the North Col.

Tenzing was married to his first wife in 1937 who gave him two daughters, Pern Pern and Nima.

Tenzing was again with the 1938 Everest expedition under the leadership of Tilman. He was among those who reached 27,200 ft, the highest altitude tie expedition could attain then.

During the years of the war, between 1939 and 1945 he was in the employment of CDlonel White of the Chitral Militia and had travelled and climbed extensively in the Hindu Kush and the Karakoram. It was in 1945 that his first wife died and he married his second soon after.

In 1946 he was with an exploration team in the Kangchenjunga region. In the spring of 1947 Tenzing along with Ang Dawa helped the quixotic Earl Denman cross the Tibetan border illegally from India, in an atempt to climb Everest. In spite of insufficient equipment and manpower the three nearly reached the North Col before they abandoned the attempt.

The year 1947 marls the beginning of a splendid mountaineering career for Tenzing. After the Earl Denman adventure he joined the Swiss Garhwal Hirralayan Expedition led by Andre Roche. Chance had it that when the actual Sirdar of the expedition. Wangdi Norbu, was iijured and evacuated, Tenzing was elevated to the rank of Sherps Sirdar. He made a brilliant success of the responsibility given to him. And this was his first Sirdarship. During this expedition he climbed his first peaks: Kedarnath (22,770 ft), Kedarnath Dome (22,410 ft) and Balbala (21,057 ft) - all first ascents.

My own association with Tenzing began in the spring of 1949 when he came to stay in the 'caravan sarai' run by my mother in Yatung, Tibet. He was accompanying Professor G. Tucci of the Italian Institute of Oriental Arts and Literature on his way to Lhasa. This association was to culminate in my marrying his eldest sister's daughter, 13 years later.

During the years 1949, 1950 and 1951 he is recorded to have participated in a number of exploration and climbing expeditions and having made the first ascent of Bandarpunch in the summer of 1950 with an expedition led by Jack Gibson. It was in the following year, 1951, that he climbed the east peak of Nanda Devi in an attempt to rescue the two ill-fated French climbers, Duplat and Vignes, who had disappeared in their attempt to traverse the three kilometer ridge between the west and the east peaks.

The years 1952 and 1953 witnessed Tenzing's brilliant performance on Everest. His experience of Everest manifested itself, and he climbed to 28,210 ft in 1952 with Raymond Lambert, the highest point ever reached by man then.

In the year 1953 when the British organised a massive expedition to climb Everest, Tenzing was invited to climb with them as a full fledged member of the team and at the same time retaining his role as the leader of the Sherpas. Tenzing's elevation from Sirdarship to a full fledged membership was yet another upward step towards his ultimate goal. Like most of his fellow Sherpas, Tenzing went to. the mountains with expeditions for earning his livelihood. But more than the money it was the inherent spirit of the Sherpas to do well in their undertakings and now the spirit of mountaineering which drove him onwards. It was the recognition of this fact which earned him this membership and ultimately the summit of Everest. Tenzing became an international hero on 29 May, 1953. He was awarded for his achievements the George Medal, Nepal Tara, Nepal Pratap Vardhak, the Padma Bhushan and many other decorations.

To commemorate Tenzing's achievements, in the year 1954, India's great men, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr Bidhanchandra Roy and others conceived the idea of a national training centre for mountaineering with the aim of initiating and teaching the youth of India the sport of mountaineering. The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was created and Tenzing was installed as the Director of Field Training. He held this post until he retired in 1976. During the years, 1954 to 1976 while serving as the Director of Field Training, Tenzing travelled extensively to many countries.

In the year 1962 Tenzing married his third wife, Daku, who bore him four children (three sons and a daughter). His second wife Ang Lhamu died in 1964.

During my close association with Tenzing since my marriage to his niece, Doma, in 1962, serving under him as an instructor and a close family member I learnt from him about matters of life, besides mountain climbing.

Tenzing had ostensibly a dual life, that of a celebrity and a simple man. Between the two he was happier in the latter role. He was most comfortable and happy when he was accompanying his students on the mountains and teaching them the simple techniques of mountaincraft. He was a great lover of animals and kept a kennel of Lhasa Apsos and Tibetan Mastifs. He was greatly responsible for introducing the Lhasa Apsos in the international Kennel Club.

A great leader and an ambassador of the Sherpas, he brought recognition and fame to his people. He was the President of the Sherpa Buddhist Association for a long time and was the President of the $herpa Climbers' Association until his death.

There were Bhotias, Sherpas, Gorkhas and people of many different communities gathered to pay homage to Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. On the day of the funeral the procession was over a kilometre long behind the bier. As I stood with the bier along with his sons, I realised that I was witnessing the end of an era.

Dorjee Lhatoo

ALAN ROUSE

(1952-1986)

ALAN ROUSE died at Camp 4 on the Abruzzi Ridge of K2 a few days after he had made the first British ascent of the mountain on 4 August. He was a .-nember of an international group of seven climbers who were descending when a vicious storm hit the mountain, stranding all the climbers at Camp 4. After six days, on 10 August the storm eased and with incredible difficulty Bauer and Diemberger (Austrian) descended; Rouse and Tullis (GB) died at Camp 4 and Wolf (Polish), Imitzer and Wieser (Austrian) died on the descent.

Earlier in the seasoi eight other climbers had died in various accidents on K2, makirg 1986 the worst year ever for accidents on the mountain.

Alan Rouse was 34 aid in the previous 20 years had become one of the worlds leading climbers. He was a brilliant Alpine and Himalayan climber, making numerous first ascents, generally in a very pure alpine-style and always in fast times. However he was also an accomplished rock climber, making ascents of the hardest rock routes of the day, an unusual attribute in the age of increasing specialization.

He leaves a legacy of many desperate first ascents throughout Britain, particularly on the rock of the Peak District and North Wales, and the ice of Scotland in winter.

With his great technical ability on rock and ice, he climbed many routes in the Alps, including: the direct route north face Gletscher-horn (1st ascent), Lesueur route N face Dru (2nd ascent), N face Aiguille des Pelerins (1st winter) and the NE Spur Les Droites (solo). He made Chamonix and the Mont Blanc range his second home, climbing most of the classic hard routes.

In 1977 he visited South America, and with his partner, Rab Carrington, made a series of audacious ascents throughout that continent, heralding the start of the modern style of alpine climbing in the Andes. In Patagonia he made the first ascent of the west face of Aig Poincenot, Cuatro Dedos, Bifida, and Gran Gendarme de Pollone. Further north in the Cordillera Huayhuash he made the first ascent of three difficult and long mixed faces: S face Yerupaja, W face Nevado Rondoy and S face Nevado Rasac. Later, in 1979 he visited the Huayhuash again and made many more ascents, including the first ascent of the W ridge of Ninashanka.

Ten years ago, making ascents of the big Himalayan peaks was the privilege of large scale, fixed rope expeditions using oxygen (apart for a few notable exceptions). Then a few talented climbers led a revolution in mountaineering by climbing difficult routes on high Himalayan peaks using lightweight alpine-style methods, without oxygen or high altitude porters. Alan Rouse was one of these exceptional climbers, and between 1978 and his death this year, he went on eight expeditions to the Himalaya and reached the summit on five of these trips.

Jannu in Eastern Nepal was Alan's first Himalayan objective in 1978 and together with Carrington, Baxter-Jones and Hall he made the first alpine-style ascent of the long and difficult French route, an ascent which has become a landmark in Himalayan history. The year after, with Scott, Hall and Bettembourg he made the first ascent of the steep north ridge of Nuptse from the Western Cwm, again in alpine-style.

The Nepalese Government opened the doors to climbing in winter in 1980. Alan, as always at the forefront, led an expedition to climb the West Ridge of Everest via the Lho La. Bad weather which led to appalling climbing conditions halted the climb at 7500 m, nevertheless valuable experience was gained for the future.

Also at this time China made the long awaited announcement that climbers could apply to climb a limited number of peaks within their boundaries. Alan was on the first of these expeditions, to attempt the remote and unclimbed Mount Kongur with Boning-ton, Tasker and Boardman. Although the weather in the region was very cold (Kongur is further north than most of the other Himalayan mountains) the mountain looked easy angled and relatively straight-forward to climb. This was far from the truth and in 1981 the four climbers made a very difficult and long ascent in very cold and windy conditions. The climb was also remarkable because they did this unexplored mountain in alpine-style.

During the last few years he turned his attention to the Kara-koram, at first failing on Ogre II and Karun Koh before making a rapid ascent of Broad Peak with Parkin in 1983. On that same expedition he made an attempt on K2's south face almost reaching the shoulder at 8000 m before bad weather forced them down. After this failure it became Alan's major ambition to climb K2. He achieved his ambition but did not live to tell the tale.

In recent years Alan had become involved in the politics of climbing and last year became the Vice President of the British Mountaineering Council; his logical mind and wide experience of climbing matters helping the smooth running of this organization. He had visited most of the world's major climbing areas and with this experience he helped numerous climbers and expeditions, giving them advice and encouragement.

Alan's life was climbing; his home was in the mountains and it was here that he was truly content. The civilized world was like a holiday from his 'real world'. Back in the cities he would be restless, spending his day researching his next climb and evenings in the pub, josing, telling outrageous tales of past exploits or expounding his theories on making money (by the way, none of them worked). Although he lived life to the full in the city, whenever possible he would escape to the mountains.

Few people have lived such a varied and exciting life in such a short space of time. He died in his 'home' after achieving his life's ambition: few people are so lucky and it is with selfish grief that we mourn his memory.

Brian Hall

LT COL CLEMENT ALFRED MEAD (R.E., retd).

IN COL MEAD'S DEATH, the Himalayan Club has lost yet another of its loyal 'old-timers'. Born in December 1899, he had done most of his walking and climbing during the years of 1928 and 1931 (the* year he left India).

Nun Kun - Padam - Leh - Tso Morari - Tibet were the areas in which he travelled extensively.

After 1931 he continued to serve as an officer of the British Army - The Royal Engineers - and was sent to Malaya in 1939, taken prisoner of war in 1942, released in 1945.

He retired in 1948 and devoted his time between the Church, gardening and the Observer Corps.

In 1969 he was made an Honorary Member of the Club and continued his interest in all matters concerning the Himalayan scene. He was very ill when the last issue of the H.J. reached him, but he still managed to read through it from cover to cover and discuss it with me.

Hilary Gerard-Pearse