WITH THE DEATH OF Noel Odell the Alpine Club has lost its most senior member. He joined the Club in 1916, was elected Vice-President in 1945 and honorary member in 1973. He was also a founder member of the Himalayan Club and honorary member of a number of other mountaineering clubs including the Himalayan Club, the American Alpine Club, the Canadian Alpine Club, the New Zealand Alpine Club and the Norsk Tinder Klub to which he was particularly attached. His wife Mona was also a member of long standing having joined LAC 1921 and remained a member till her death in 1977.

Odell qualified for the Club in the golden years of alpine climbing before the first world war and was a near contemporary of such great figures as Geoffrey Young, George Finch and Alfred Zurcher. His proposal form was seconded by Haskett-Smith. But we remember him most of all as our last survivor of the dramatic 1924 Everest expedition in which he played such a memorable part, spending many days above the North Col, going twice up to Camp 6 in support of Mallory and Irvine's attempt on the summit and being the last man to see them alive, His performance that year is all the more remarkable when it is remembered that this was his first Himalayan expedition and his first experience of high altitude, his selection for Everest having been based on his Alpine record combined with the strength and endurance he showed on sledging journeys in ISpitzbergen. He had to withdraw for personal reasons from the 1933 expedition but came to the Himalaya in 1936 with the Anglo American expedition to Nanda Devi and this was his second annus mirabilis when at the age of 46 he with Bill Tilman made the first ascent of this noble mountain, then and for some years the highest to have been climbed.

He was back on Everest in 1938 with Tilman's expedition but, as events turned out, did not go very high that year. After the war he continued to climb and explore actively in the Canadian Rockies with Frank Smythe, in Yukon and Alaska with an American expedition, and especially in New Zealand during his time at Otago University. On his return from New Zealand he was 66 but this was by no means the end for he remained vigorous right to the end. Even at the age of 93 he attended the 75th anniversary celebrations of the ABMSAC and made his way, with some mechanical assistance, up to the Britannia hut.

As an expedition member Noel was a genial and easy-going companion. On Nanda Devi he was, apart from Graham Brown, the oldest of our party and being a somewhat patriarchal figure earned the nickname, which he rather relished, of Noah.

On Everest in 1938 he was teased unmercifully about his rather ponderous glaciological researches and took it all in good part. He was an impressive man in his prime and Charles Warren reminds me that when the Dzongpen at Shekar entertained us that year the Chang girls characterised him as a god-like figure. I remember him most clearly of all on a little side journey we took together, crossing back into Sikkim over the Lohnak la, an excursion we both greatly enjoyed and one about which he often reminisced in later years. The only thing one found to criticise about him was his extreme slowness in dealing with his kit and in doing camp chores. Such things have a disproportionate importance at high altitude and I have long suspected that it was this quality which made Mallory reject him and prefer Irvine for the final assault in 1924.

Odell was a geologist, trained at the Royal School of Mines where, after the interruption caused by the First World War in which he served in the Royal Engineers and was three times wounded, he qualified as A.R.S.M. In the early twenties he joined the geological staff of the Anglo Persian Oil Company working first in London and then in Persia; he next moved to Canada working for a mining company and later as a consulting geologist. From 1928-30 he was at Harvard as lecturer in geology and from there he came to Cambridge first as Ph.D. student then lecturer in geomorphology and was supervisor of studies in geology and geography at Clare College. He remained at Cambridge till the war started and despite various interruptions Cambridge was to be his main base for the rest of his days.

The first of these interruptions was the Second World War which saw him, aged 50 re-commissioned in the Royal Engineers, serving initially in this country but later transferring to the Indian Army in the Bengal Sappers and Miners.

Odell never was and probably never aspired to be in the front rank of geological research, indeed his career was the result of perseverance and endurance for he was not awarded his Ph.D. till the age of 49 nor did he get his first professorship till he was sixty, this being at the University of Otago in New Zealand which must have been a very congenial post. A part of his rather splendid inaugural address at Otago in praise of mountains was rea$ out at his memorial service in Cambridge. It is now in the University library. After a spell back at Cambridge he did a further two years, starting in his 70th year at the University of Peshawar. Geology had provided him with an extraordinarily varied life giving opportunities for field work in many continents and for making a host of friends with whom he kept regularly in touch. He was a great letter writer. Clare finally made him an honorary fellow in 1983 and he was a most loyal and devoted member of both College and University.

Loyalty is also the word that comes to mind in thinking of Odell as a member of A.C. for he was intensely proud of the Club and, even in his eighties and nineties, an unusually regular attender at Club meetings and indeed at other mountaineering gatherings. Members for whom the events of 1924 and 1936 are ancient history will remember him as an upright and distinguished figure, still possessed of all his faculties and contributing, sometimes at great length, to discussions at Club meetings. Even in the week of his death he was at the memorial meeting organised for Don Whillans at the Royal Geographical Society. His sudden death that weekend was surely the perfect end to a long and active life.

The Noel Odell evening organised by the Club in his memory was a unique and fitting tribute to a distinguished and popular member

Peter Lloyd

(Reprinted by the kind permission of the Editor, The Alpine Journal).
ON 21 FEBRUARY, 1987, at the age of 96, Noel Ewart Odell, the oldest and one of the most distinguished British climbers, died. He had become a living legend during the 1924 British Mount Everest Expedition when, in support of Mallory and Irvine, he last sighted them on what he was sure was the Second Step. He then made two lone searches for them to over 8200 m. He spent eleven nights above 7000 m at a time when the effects of high altitude on the human body were little known, an amazing feat. In 1936, as a member of the British-American Nanda Devi Expedition, he was one of the pair who reached the summit of that 7816 m high peak.

I shall, however, leave it to another to give details of his long and distinguished life. I shall rather tell of his intimate connection with American mountaineering, which lasted for at least 61 years. He was the guest of honor at the American Alpine Club' Annual Meeting on 29 December, 1926, became a member of th American Alpine Club in 1928 and was made an honorary membe in 1936.

Noel, or Noah as many of us affectionately called him, was lecturer in Geology at Harvard University from 1928 to 1930. While there, he was a great inspiration to the members of the recently formed Harvard Mountaineering Club. On weekends he helped hone our mountaineering skills. A still well-remembered new ice-route pioneered in the bitter cold of Huntington Ravine on Mount Washington bears his name, Odell Gully. Before this time, the students restricted themselves mostly to rock; he introduced them to steep ice. He inspired us Harvard students to organize expeditions to the great mountains of the world. It was his legacy that for the next thirty years all American expeditions that were worth their salt had representatives of the Harvard Mountaineering Club.

In the summer of 1930 he was the senior member of the Harvard Mountaineering Club's summit camp in the {Selkirk Mountains of Canada. Later that season, with C. G. Crawford and Terris Moore, he made the first ascent of the south-southwest ridge of Mount Robson; this he declared was technically the most difficult climb he made in the Rockies or Selkirks and he rated it with the best of the classic climbs in the Alps. In 1931 he was with Americans in Labrador's Torngat Mountains to carry out geological explorations. In 1933 he was a member of an American scientific expedition to Northeast Greenland where with Walter A. Wood he made ten first ascents near Franz Josef Fjord. He also made the second ascent of Berenberg on Jan Mayen Island.

When four of us naive Harvard boys decided to tackle the Himalaya in 1936, of course we invited Noah to join us and to suggest what other three British climbers should make up the rest of the party. It is well known how he and Bill Tilman got to the summit of Nanda Devi, which held the record as the highest summit reached for the next 14 years until the French climbed Annapurna. I had heard of Odell for the first time when, as a 10-year-old in a mountain hut in our White Mountains, I was held spellbound by the tale of the 1924 expedition. Little did I think then that I would be lucky enough to pair up with Noah for much of the Nanda Devi expedition. This was an education and a privilege I shall never forget and the beginning of a life-long friendship.

After World War II, Noah returned a number of times to America. In 1947 he flew into the Lloyd George Range in northwestern British Columbia, Canada, with several climbers including Britisher Frank Smythe and Henry Hall, an American honorary member of both the Alpine Club and the American Alpine Club, who died at the age of 91 just a month after Odell. Previously, this extremely remote region had been accessible only after weeks of travelling by canoe. None of the peaks had been ascended. One of the peaks they climbed was Mount Lloyd George, the highest in the region. In 1949 Noah and three Americans made the first ascent of Mount Vancouver (4831 m) in the St. Elias Mountains on the border between Alaska and Canada, then the highest unclimbed peak in North America. The climb was part of a geological expedition called Project Snow Cornice and was led by Walter A. Wood, who at that time was the president of the American Alpine Club and a prominent leader of the Arctic Institute of North America.

Noah never forgot his American friends in his later years. We welcomed him on our shores and were warmly received by him in Cambridge and elsewhere. We never made a trip to England without making an effort to see him. He remained vibrant and clear to the very last days of his life. Bradford and Barbara Washburn saw him only a few days before he died when he travelled to London to attend a mountaineering meeting and entertained them until late in the evening after the meeting. He was completely himself, like a man of many fewer years. We are greatly in his debt, not only for what he did for American mountaineering, but more especially for the inspiration and friendship he so freely gave to many of us American climbers.

H. Adams Carter

NOEL ODELL, who died on 21 February 1987 at the age of 96, was the last survivor of the climbing party in the membership of the third expedition to attempt the ascent of Everest, in 1924. That expedition holds a prominent place in the annals of mountaineering because of the mystery attaching to the fate of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, following their bid for the summit on 8 June. Odell, who was well qualified on grounds of his fitness and climbing record to take part in that attempt, acted in support of the two climbers, going up twice from a lower camp to over 27,000 ft in search of them on successive days. He will always be remembered for having reported catching a glimpse of the pair in a brief clearing of the mists as he approached Camp 6; a sighting which has, ever since left a question-mark about the possibility that Mallory and Irvine, or one of them, may have reached the summit. Did Odell really see them? if so, where were they at that moment in; time? These are the questions, intriguing to mountaineers, which may never be answered.

From the age of 13 and throughout his life, Noel Odell found! joy and fulfilment in the mountains, which he visited and climbe< all over the world. At the age of 46, he climbed Nanda Devi wit1 H. W. Tilman in 1936; it was the highest mountain climbed at tha time. Two years later, with Tilman, he returned to Everest afte an interval of 14 years. In his earlier years, Odell found pleasu in less ultimate goals. He showed his prowess on British rock, recall my own impression of his performance on a route name 'Tennis Shoe' on the Idwal Slabs in Snowdonia, which was typical of his careful and precise technique on small holds when climbing steep rock.

But Odell’s interest in rock also derived from his high qualifications as a geologist, gained at Harvard and Cambridge, and crowned by his tenure of the Chair of Geology at Otago University, New Zealand between 1950 and 1956. He was an earnest, enquiring man, even a trifle humourless. I remember having been engaged in correspondence with him in a matter of nomenclature, in which he took me to task for having given the name of 'South Summit' to a minor eminence, of great significance to ourselves in 1953, on the final stretch of the southeast ridge of Everest.

But his nature lacked nothing in keenness and enthusiasm. He delighted younger generations of climbers by his lively interest in their aspirations and achievements.

Noel Odell served in the Royal Engineers in both World Wars. He was 50 when he joined up again in 1940. I will always remember my astonishment in Catterick Military Hospital, when I was recovering from a serious climbing accident in 1941, when a tall, keen-eyed and youthful-looking subaltern entered my ward, stood smartly to attention and saluted: 'Lieutenant Odell reporting, Sir!' He was, of course, one of my heroes and such deference to myself, a mere Captain at the time, quite took me aback.

Everyone who attended the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Association of British Members of the Swiss Alpine Club at Saas-Fee in 1984, will remember the seemingly ageless nonagenarian striding across the glacier towards the Britannia Hut, and standing outside the refuge, oblivious to the wind, cold and snowfall, as he signed autographs for his Swiss admirers while younger and less hardy fellow countrymen and women preferred the warmth and shelter within. He was a familiar and regular attender at other Meets and lectures of the Alpine Club, The Climbers, Club and the Royal Geographical Society.

Some of us will remember too, with affection, his wife Cwladys, who died a decade before her husband, and was his shy, unassuming but constant companion during their 60 years of marriage.

John Hunt

(Reprinted by the kind permission from The Geographical Journal).


'HAVING A POOR head for heights I was never tempted by anything that could be called serious mountaineering. .. . But the treks did provide opportunity for acquiring a working familiarity with the Himalayan environment - the forests, vegetation and fauna,, especially birds.'

-Salim Ali, The Fall of a Sparrow. (Chapter 12).

The world of all Indians who love nature, whether in mountains,, deserts, thick jungle, scrub land or along the seashore was never so enriched by one man as it has been by Salim Ali. In a lifetime spanning 92 years, (14 November 1896 to June 1987) he probably, covered more terrain on foot than many an ardent trekker, and recorded with unusually keen observation, scientific rigour, contagious enthusiasm and popular readability, a wealth of information about birdlife, for the benefit of others. His publications range from the lay birdwatcher's bible - The Book of Indian Birds, to the monumental 10 volumes of The Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan (co-authored with S. Dillon Ripley) which is indispensable for any serious researcher. For trekkers and mountaineers who have eyes for more than the distant summit, his Indian Hillbirds or his Birds of the Eastern Himalayas are well worth their weight in the rucksack.

For those of us who had the opportunity to know him - as perhaps for those who have read his autobiography, The Fall of a Sparrow the way Salim Ali lived his life has as much to offer as his books. Orphaned at the age of 3, he and his 8 brothers and sisters were brought up by a loving and childless maternal uncle and aunt - Amiruddin Tyabji and Hamida Begum. By the age of 9 or 10, his interest in birds was manifesting itself in stealing a couple of partridges or quails from the kitchen with the help of an obliging cook, for adding to his legitimate purchases of birds from Crawford market - and watching their behaviour and activities for hours together. At that early age he even made some very; perceptive notes on the behaviour of sparrows and other birds which he saw.

Like other young gentlemen of the day, he was by then already a good shot with an air rifle. He and some of his little cousins be came skilled at potting sparrows with their airguns and 'expert a transforming them with masala, a blob of ghee and a frying p into delicious morsels!' One day, observing that one of his victims had an unusual yellow patch on its throat, he carried it to his un Amiruddin, one of the earliest members of the Bombay Natur History Society. Uncle Amiruddin left the youngster at the doorstep of the Society, trembling with apprehension 'at the prospect of meeting a full grown Sahib face to face'. The kind Honorary Secretary, Mr Millard, quickly identified the bird as a yellow throated sparrow - and took the eager youngster through the reference collections, patiently opening drawer after drawer to show him the wealth of birds found in the Indian Empire. It was from that time onwards that Salim's interest in birds really crystallised- and in later years he himself was never too busy, or too famous, to respond to a child's letter or query, fully and without any trace of condescension.

At the age of 18, he joined his brothers' hardware business in Burma - to escape from logarithms and similar mathematical ordeals which were then inescapable for biology students. The hardware business wound up - and Salim returned to Bombay. To equip himself for a business career, he attended a course at Davar's College of Commerce from 8 to 10 a.m, then sped to the Xavier's College to complete his B.Sc. in Zoology and thence rushed to the BNHS to browse in the library or rummage among the bird collections. This capacity to work hard and to organise his time effectively was a characteristic that remained with him throughout his life, and contributed to his prodigious achievements. He was up at dawn to work on his books and papers almost until the end - when only ill health and medication prevented it. He was scrupulously punctual at all times and busy throughout the day in a calm, systematic and thoroughly absorbed fashion. He had no patience with 'will do' or 'just now coming' characters and aimed for perfection in whatever he did. Whether in the care of his equipment or in writing and rewriting his manuscripts till each phrase passed muster, he was carefully attentive to details - and his many students benefited by suffering from the sharpness of his comments if they dared slip from the high standards he demanded.

Notwithstanding the efforts of Davar's College of Commerce, he never did acquire any real skill or inclination for business - and his second stint in Burma, this time in the timber business from 1919 to 1924, was no more successful than the first. Keturning to India in 1924, he could at last begin working in the field he loved - but only as a Guide Lecturer in the Natural History Section of the Prince of Wales Museum. Two years of this were enough and he decided to go to Berlin University to study ornithology under Prof Erwin Stresemann - a most fortunate decision for his ornithological career. How he would ‘keep the wolf from the door’ on his return did not worry him then - nor, in fact, did this ever seem to worry him, in spite of the limited finances on which he had to survive for the greater part of his life. Salim had a wonderful capacity to enjoy the present with enthusiasm, and to face the future with confidence. He kept his needs simple at all times - and in later life when he thought he had more money than he needed he was quick to give it away to causes he cherished.

What Salim Ali valued above everything was the opportunity to work in the field which he loved - and on his return to India in. 1930, finding himself jobless again, he offered his services gratis to the Bombay Natural History Society for conducting regional ornithological surveys, if the Society could find the funds for out-of-pocket costs and staff infrastructure. Starting with the Hyderabad State Survey, Salim Ali travelled the length and breadth of India observing birds, collecting skins, and making extensive notes. Fortunately his wife Tehmina, whom he had married in 1918 at the age of 22, shared, encouraged and supported his interest in nature until her sudden demise in 1939. While some of his work continued along traditional lines and was most useful in establishing the distribution of species and subspecies of birds in India, and for taxonomic studies, his really pioneering contribution was in terms of shifting attention to the behaviour and ecology of the living bird.

Apart from receiving the Padma Shri and the Padma Vibhushan, Salim Ali received a plenitude of awards and medals in the last 30 years of his life. One of these, the J. Paul Getty International Award for Wildlife, carried a monetary award of $ 50,000, the bulk of which was given by him to the BNHS to establish the Salim Ali Nature Conservation Fund. Neither awards, nor gold medals, nor honorary doctorates changed him, and he loathed pomposity in others and guarded against falling into that trap himself. Although he liked to have his own way - and could get temporarily quite irritable if crossed - this was a characteristic which predated his rise to eminence, and was not a result of it!

He was ever eager to be out in the field - and I was fortunate in accompanying him on some of his trips and on 2 of his ornithological expeditions - to Arunachal Pradesh and to Kutch. The latter expedition involved ten hours of wading through 5 ft of water on camel back - without any prospect of getting off for food, or more pressing requirements but nobody could complain with an 87 year old man taking it in such good spirit! At one point, the camel of the Chief Wildlife Warden slipped, dropping him into the icy water - from which he arose dripping wet, hat on head, to our commiserations. Salim was too busy recording the comic sight on his camera for posterity. In fact his capacity to see the funny side of things and his dry wit were amongst his most delightful attributes. The diary of his trip to Kailas Mansarovar in Tibet in 1945 provides delightful reading for its mixture of natural history observations and humorous asides on human foibles.

Salim also appreciated beauty in all its forms and with complete; freshness - in a bird which he had seen a thousand times before,;' in natural landscapes which he had visited on many occasions, poems which he loved and re-read with enthusiasm.

Salim often commented on how fortunate he had been and how fulfiling and good his life had been. It was he who converted the bleak outlines of orphanhood, of business failure, of an unprofitable passion for nature into something so richly rewarding for himself and for so many others. When he died at 92, after several years of cancer, which he never really allowed to intimidate either himself or others, one was still not prepared for his going, because his unbounded enthusiasm for life made one conscious only of his undaunted spirit and not of his human frailty. At 92, he simply was too young to die!




ON 14 AUGUST 1987, Anders Bolinder died tragically at his home in Ronco (Switzerland). He was born on 18 May 1924, in Stockholm and studied there till 1943-47 at the Royal Technical Academy. He climbed in Scandinavian mountains and in the Alps, often alone. In 1950 he made a solo traverse of the Lyngen Peninsula (Arctic Norway), in 1953 was member of the Austro-Swedish Spitzbergen expedition (first ascent of Craggy Ridge, 1010 m, and other climbs). During 50s and 60s Anders Bolinder played an important part in the exploration of the Andes, among others the Puna de Atacama. He ascended 25 summits in the Andes over 5000 m and 5 over 6000 m, some of them for the first time (Cerro Aguas Calientes, 5517 m; Cerro Lagunas Negros 5750 m; Incahuasi Chico 5800 m, and others). He moved then from Sweden to Switzerland which became his new homeland.

Anders Bolinder was also noted as an international docu-mentalist. His publications appeared in Die Alpen, Berge der Welt, Alpinismus and other prestigious mountaineering journals. As mountain publicist he collaborated among others with Piero Ghiglione, Gunter Oskar Dyhrenfurth, Toni Hiebeler. With Dyhrenfurth he completed one of the first lists of the world's highest mountains. Since 1950s he was Honorary Local Secretary of the Himalayan Club for Switzerland and other Alpine countries. Outdoor activities were the second nature of Anders. Being over 60 he still took part at the summer and winter marathons, such as Vasa Lopped (89 km) or Gothardlauf (30 km) - both in 1986. In his villa in Ronco he collected one of the greatest private libraries on world's mountains and expeditions. It comprised more than 2500 volumes, among them many rarities. His private documentation center was of international reputation and gave information to many researchers and expeditions' practicians. *A kind of activity without any profit, which took much time and money', he said - 'But it also gave my life keener and deeper sense.' He had friends all around the world and will be sadly missed.

Jozef Nyka



BORN ON 13 April 1906, Erwin Schneider was one of the greatest names in mountaineering and mountain cartrography. He belonged to the famous generation of the 20s which explored virgin mountains in Central Asia. In 1928 he climbed several peaks higher than 6000 m in the Pamirs, among them the virgin Pik Lenin (7134 m - with Eugen Allwein and Karl Wien). Exploring the Kangchenjunga massif with Gunter O. Dyhrenfurth he made some first ascents of high summits, one of them was the Jongsong Peak (7483 m), the highest climbed until that time by man. In 1932 he was in Peru, making first ascent of the Huascaran main summit (6768 m) and six other peaks, among them Huandoy (6395 m), Chopicalqui (6356 m) and the Artesonraju (6025 m). In 1934 was the tragic Nanga Parbat expedition - Erwin Schneider was not far from the summit. But the well-deserved acclaim was brought to him by his cartographical work. In 1936 he surveyed the Cordillera Huayhuash making among others the first ascent of Siula (6356 m). In 1955 he surveyed the Everest area completing the triangulation and photogrammetry. During this work 10 six-thousanders and 15 five-thousanders were ascended, most of them first ascents. Next year Erwin Schneider elaborated his famous 'Chomolongma - Mount Everest’ map 1:25,000, used now by all expeditions. It was edited in 1957 jointly by German and Austrian institutes. He is also author of some 10 maps of Alpine ranges (Wettersteingebirge, Oetztaler Alpen and others), of the Mount Kenya map (1963) and the Huascaran map (1964). Much of his life Erwin Schneider devoted to the great West German project survey mountain regions of Eastern Nepal. From 1959 to 1974 h was director of the aerial and terrestrial survey of 11,000 square km of remote areas. This gave Nepal detailed maps for future work in research and economical development. He was Honorary Meter of the famous Alpine Club. He worked till the last days his life. He died on 18 August 1987 in Lech.

Erwin Schneider's maps are masterpieces of mountain cartography and the modern surveyors - and mountaineers - revere him as teacher and model.




SOME WEEKS AFTER the death of Erwin Schneider, Austria had lost its second distinguished and internationally known mountaineer, Prof Dr Herbert Tichy. Born on 1 June 1912, he died on 26 September 1987, at the age of 75 years, Tichy's interest in climbing started in the Alps but led soon to expeditionary mountaineering. His long trips through Central Asia were famous. In 1936 disguised as an Indian pilgrim he attempted to climb the Naimonani (Gurla Mandhata, 7694 m), reaching a high point of 7200 m. The second war he spent in China and Tibet and in 1953 made the traverse of Western Nepal including series of first ascents of 6- and 5-thousanders, among them the Dong Mar (6480 m). But his most notable achievement was the first ascent of the Cho Oyu (8201 m), completed on 19 October 1954 - with poor equipment and seriously frozen hands, after an attempt some weeks before. He was accompanied by Sepp Jochler and Pasang Dawa Lama, his true companion from the Nepal traverse. His book Cho Oyu, Gnade der Goiter, appeared in 1955.

Through his exciting books he played a significant part in popularization of Asian mountains and mountaineering. The first of them - To the World's Holiest Mountain - was published in 1937 with preface by Sven A. Hedin. One of the best was the picture work Himalaya which appeared in 1968, Only few of his books were translated into foreign languages.

Himalayan mountaineering was for Tichy a kind of religious experience. On the Cho Oyu he had an unforgettable impression, feeling something like a mystical power. ‘He became aware of the proximity of the godhead, as sustained never before.’ Herbert Tichy can be considered to be one of the pioneers of the modern ethics of light-weight expeditions. He always said, that great expeditions with a crowd of people and tonnes of luggage are disturbing the harmony of the mountain world and are insults to the gods living on the highest summits. The great Himalaya was his second homeland - only few people have loved and understood mountains as well as he did.

Jozef Nyka



ANG NIMA SHERPA died on the 16 October 1986 after a short illness in his home town Darjeeling. He was 55 years old.

Ang Nima began carrying loads for expeditions when he was 17 years old and at 20 he had already proved himself and climbed to be in the rank of a full fledged high altitude Sherpa. He was registered as H.C. No. 176 in the Roll of Sherpas of the Himalayan Club.

When the Swiss came to attempt Everest in 1952 Ang Nima was employed by them for both their pre-monsoon and post-monsoon expeditions. Ang Nima was one of the first ever to reach the South Col in November 1952.

The following year, in the British expedition of 1953, Ang Nima was one of the 5 elite Sherpas selected to carry loads to the highest camp on the southeast ridge of Everest. He accompanied the assault party for this purpose and was the only one of the 3 Sherpas then to complete his task. In doing so on 28 May 1953 he reached a height of 27,900 ft carrying a heavy load; thus achieving a height record for any Sherpa with the single exception of Tenzing (who reached the summit of Everest the following day) and a height record then for the youngest man.

Later the same year Ang Nima joined the Japanese Himalayan Expedition organised by the Academic Alpine Club of Kyoto led by Imanishi. He carried heavy loads and supported the expedition to the highest camps on Annapurna II and Annapurna IV.

In 1954 Ang Nima climbed with the British North West Nepal Expedition to Dhaulagiri under the leadership of J. O. M. Roberts who said about Ang Nima, '. . . a very strong climber, above the snow line he became a forceful personality and leader. A sounds judge of route. As a companion and high altitude Sherpa he is in the first rank’.

In this way Ang Nima climbed with a number of historic and; eventful expeditions. In 1957 he was with the famous British climbers Major C. G. Wylie and Major J. O. M. Roberts on Machha-puchhare. And in 1960 Ang Nima along with Lt C. Bonington and' Captain Grant made the first ascent of Annapurna II during the joint British Nepalese and Indian Army expedition.

The 1950s, an eventful era of Himalayan mountaineering, saw Ang Nima in his peak form of performance. As a result of which he attracted much attention from all around. But not all of th attention he attracted were admiration and sympathy. He h earned the envy of his surrounding, too. In addition, he was without a regular employment. The meager earnings he brought from the expeditions once or twice a year was not enough money for his family's upkeep in expensive Darjeeling. However, Ang Nima ha friends and benefactors in Major Wylie and Major Roberts who helped him and had him enrolled in the mess staff of the 2/10 Gorkha Rifles posted in Malaya then. There he did extremely well for himself. When he had in due course earned his pension and retired as a Sergeant he had become a reasonably wealthy Sherpa and had also seen a bit of the world.

Having bought property and built a house for himself Ang Nima lived a happy comfortable pensioner's life until tragedy struck him in 1986. His 22 year old son died of a mysterious illness on the 13 August 1986 and three months later on the 16 October Ang Nima passed away within a few hours after his 14 year old son died of illness in the same hospital.

In the passing away of Ang Nima the community has lost one more of the gallant Sherpas of renowned times and created a sad emptiness in the lives of his family - wife, a daughter and two sons.



As H.J. was being printed, we heard the news of demise of Mike Cheney, Hon. Local Secretary for Nepal. A full obituary on him will appear in the next issue.

Dr. Salim Ali

Dr. Salim Ali

Professor Noel E. Odell (Ann Carter)

Professor Noel E. Odell (Ann Carter)

Dr. Herbert Tichy (cntre) after first ascent of  Cho Oyu in 1954. Pasang Dawa Lama on left and Sepp Jochler. (J. Nyka collection)

Dr. Herbert Tichy (cntre) after first ascent of Cho Oyu in 1954. Pasang Dawa Lama on left and Sepp Jochler. (J. Nyka collection)