17. CB 13






THIS MAINLY BRITISH expedition set off walking up to Makalu from Hille on 17 August. A support trek of 16 trekkers walked in from the air strip at Tumlingtar with trek leader Andy Norris. The 13 day walk-in was made more difficult than usual because of an extraordinarily heavy monsoon which subsequently flooded three quarters of Bangladesh. Three days after leaving Tumlingtar the earthquake was felt which killed over 800 people in the south of Nepal. The trekkers and the team members and support climbers all arrived at base camp (BC) by 29 August.

The team members were Greg Child (Australian), Terry Mooney (Irish), ShaVu Prabhu and Praful Mistry (Indian), Rick Allen, Andy Parkin, Mark Miller, Sean Smith, Simon Yates, Alan Hinkes and myself, (all British).

Trekkers and acclimatization

Advance base camp (ABC) was established at 5500 m on 1 September and on 3 September the expedition members and eight trekkers reached the summit of Pt. 6170 m just above ABC. The trekking group returned to BC where one of the trekkers' cooks Bomb Bhadur, had suddenly died of pulmonary oedema in the night. The death of a very popular, hard working lad of nineteen was felt by the whole team especially by the trekkers who had got to know him so well. Pt. 6170 m became a rather pointless place for sometime afterwards. The trekking group arrived back safely in Kathmandu by the 12 September.

The majority of the members set off to acclimatize up to the Makalu la (7400 m). Others went further north, Sharu, Terry and myself going round to Pt. 6550 m, Alan and Liz to Pt. 6250 m, Andy and Laurence up the upper Barun glacier and Rick and Alison to Pt. 6140 m.

The west face of Makalu was the main objective of the expedition but it was totally out of condition. A German-Swiss group had permission for the same route at the same time. They also left it for another year.

The Roger Baxter-Jones couloir was our secondary objective but after heavy snowfalls in mid-September this too was out of condition being very prone to slab avalanche.

Mark, Sean and Rick reached the Makalu la on 16 September in dangerous conditions. Subsequently, Sharu, myself, Andy and Greg went out and slept at the la.

Attempt at the summit

Rick and Alan left the camp at 7000 m and climbed straight up to the west of the R.B-J. couloir and slept the night on the north side of the divide. Next day, the 30 September they went down and across to camp with the Spanish team at 7780 m on the original route. The following morning they were away early (4.30 a.m.) following the Spanish climbers. The Spanish retired due to conditions and some frostbite. Alan and Rick continued up to 8100 m. Al was dubious about continuing. Rick pushed on until he avalanched past Alan who had let go of the rope, he had a poor belay. Rick went down 500 m over snow and rock. His head was badly lacerated. Al managed to get him down to the Makalu la. The Spanish and Polish climbers then gave a lot of support and assistance during the night. Pepe, the doctor/leader of the Spanish, came up from 7000 m and with Sherpas and others brought Rick down to 7000 m.

Greg and myself reached Rick there, after coming up directly from ABC. We were then able to get Rick down to ABC the next day. On the 5 October Rick reached BC where Kerstein put about 30 stitches into his head. We thought it prudent to evacuate him by helicopter. He flew away to Kathmandu with wife Alison (they were on honeymoon) and a frost-bitten Spanish climber on the 7 October. Rick luckily made a complete recovery from his head injuries but spent a week in hospital with malaria !

After this event we all walked out.

It might be of interest for Himalayan climbers to note that the government of Nepal will now allow as many teams as apply properly to climb any route despite that it may already have been booked. There was at one time this autumn some fifty climbers from ten countries all climbing towards the Makalu la. Such is the obsession for 8000 m summits.



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KANGCHENJUNGA'S north face rises two vertical miles in one sweep of overlapping cliffs, rock faces and hanging glaciers. It is a masterpiece of nature's architecture, designed to discourage climbers from attempting to reach the summit from this side. Although technically possible routes exist, every conceivable line at some point is exposed to serious rockfall, falling ice or avalanches. Any route from the north demands a careful look at trade-offs : logistical feasibility versus acceptable risk. When a British expedition made the first ascent in 1979, their accomplishment was clearly recognized as one of the most difficult and respected mountaineering challenges on an 8000 m peak.

C 2 on the west col. Baruntse in background. (Will Steffen)

29. C 2 on the west col. Baruntse in background. Note 3 (Will Steffen) (Courtesy: The Canberra Times)

Cholatse from the west. NW ridge is left skyline, the west rib is right of centre, starting from right of rock cliffs. (Andy Selters)

30. Cholatse from the west. NW ridge is left skyline, the west rib is right of centre, starting from right of rock cliffs. Note 4 (Andy Selters)

In 1984 I applied to Nepal's Ministry of Tourism for a permit in 1988. I was looking for the extreme challenge that an ultralight team would confront on a large, technical Himalayan peak. This was emphasized the following year, 1985, when two American expeditions failed on the north ridge. In addition to the immense difficulties on the peak, both attempts were plagued by cerebral oedema. One climber died, a second suffered severe amputations from frostbite and a third was barely rescued through the tremendous efforts of his teammates.

In 1986, I began the lengthy process of fund raising and organization. My teammates were outstanding individuals. Austrian Peter Habeler and Spanish Basque Martin Zabaleta had made Himalayan climbing a focal point of their lives. Like me, each of them had climbed Everest and had returned to the Himalaya numerous times to seek out new challenges and improve his skills. Our collective Himalayan experience played a key role in our success and ultimate survival on Kangchenjunga. Dr Howard Donner, a physician well versed in high-altitude medicine, agreed Jo be our expedition doctor. I asked Lhakpa Dbrje Sherpa to be our Sirdar. Lhakpa was a man with whom I had shared many of my earlier Himalayan experiences. A tight bond of friendship and trust had grown between us during two expeditions together : Baruntse in 1980 and Makalu in 1984. We decided to include two high-altitude Sherpas in our team, in addition to a Sherpa cook and mailrunner. I felt comfortable knowing that Lhakpa would be choosing the Sherpa members of the team. This critical selection is often not made carefully.

Ours was not the only expedition to Kangchenjunga in the 1988 pre-monsoon season. A Spanish Basque team had permission to try a similar route to ours and a 21-member Indian expedition was on the opposite southwest face. We had been in contact with the Basques and looked forward to sharing the north face with them; several had climbed with Martin and me on other expeditions.

Our 15-day approach to base camp went smoothly. As the approach to this area had been closed to all but climbing expeditions, the encroachment of Western civilization had been minimal and the villages were unchanged by modern tourism.

We established base camp on 3 April at Pang Pema, a tranquil, pastoral field alongside the Kangchenjunga glacier. Over the next three weeks, the weather permitted only three constructive trips beyond this 5000 m camp. During short good-weather spells, we placed Cl and C2 at 5800 and 6400 m. Towards the end of April, a ferocious storm confined us to base camp for six days. Late on the 26th, the weather finally cleared. Peter, Martin and I, accompanied by Nima and Dawa, our two Sherpa companions, set out for Cl early the next morning. We wondered how long the good weather would last. On the 28th, we climbed through the dangerous ice-cliffs and continued to C2. With the help of the Basques, who came up a day behind us, we spent 29 and 30 April climbing and fixing 300 m of 7 mm rope on the steep ice-and-rock flanks leading to the north ridge.

On 1 May, we carried all our equipment for the next five days. We climbed and fixed the remaining 200 m face and continued, unroped, up the exposed north ridge to sleep at 7150 m. The next day, we fixed a final 100 m through the rock step at 7300 m and carried on to 7450 m on the huge plateau below the summit pyramid. Nima and Dawa then descended to C2 the same afternoon. That night there were signs that the good weather was ending. The winds that had been coming steadily from the east began to blow again from the southwest.

Nevertheless, at 4 a.m. on 3 May, we left for the summit in frigid darkness. We reached the rock walls of the vast summit cone as dawn was breaking. Though together at first, each of us now climbed alone in a private world of struggle. I went through a tremendous range of emotions. At times 1 found myself elated to be so near the summit of such a huge mountain. Then I became utterly discouraged at the situation in front of me. I was frightened by the steepness, by the intense cold drilling into me and, most of all, by the descent that would have to follow. There seemed to be so many places that I could make a fatal mistake. Waves of anxiety swept over me. I could only break away from them when I pushed on with the intense activity of climbing. I passed a tattered, frozen-in rope that the 1980 Japanese expedition must have placed over the short rock steps. I recalled their placing 250 m of line through the gully to safeguard their descent. I felt insecure and exposed. After the rock step I stopped and removed the 20 m coil of 6 mm line I had been carrying. It seemed absurd to lug it further as Martin and Peter were both above me. 1 did the same with my one spare mitten. I wanted to leave behind every ounce I could. Only water, a small piece of sausage and my short ice axe remained in my rucksack.

Peter called upon all his strength and set a fantastic pace. He reached the summit at 9.30 a.m. Martin and 1 were still four-and-a-half hours away. As we feared, at 10 a.m. snow began to fall and visibility dwindled. We crossed paths with Peter at 10.30 a.m. while the snow fell steadily. All three of us discussed options on the steep ramps of snow. Ahora o nunca! we decided. Now or never! It was unlikely that Martin and I would ever be this close again.

We climbed the final, delicate 100 m of the west ridge in the growing storm. There was no view at all. The terrain was steep and unforgiving. We followed endless traverses around granite buttresses, up 50° snow-slopes and into windy corners. The blowing snow nearly blinded us as it built up inside our goggles. At 2 p.m., I climbed over a broken, blocky step to the summit, too cojd to feel elation. 1 took ten quick photographs at different apertures as Martin came up the last several meters. After 30 seconds, we started down. A half-buried oxygen bottle a few meters from the top reminded me of what I needed most.

We were desperate to get out of the wind that tore across from the south. As soon as we dropped below the ridge and onto the north face, I asked Martin to stop and help warm my feet. Then we continued on. The descent from the summit to our tent at 7450 m took us seven hours in the heavily falling snow. At 9 p.m., we caught sight of the lit-up dome of the tent through the swirling winds. In a few minutes we were pulling off our frozen boots between bouts of hacking coughs. Peter radioed to base camp of our arrival and helped us prepare a hot drink. The relief we felt was indescribable, but it was not to last long. All night it kept on snowing.

Nearly a meter of snow had fallen by the next morning when we resumed the descent. Laden with gear from the camp, we plowed across the broad, exhausting plateau. Where were the fixed ropes off the edge of the plateau ? How could we get our bearings in the sea of white ?

We were stunned when we got to the site of C3. Not a trace of tents, supplies, fuel; food! All had been swept away by avalanches. Too exhausted to countinue, we waited out the night in the tent and sleeping bags we had carried down. Since setting off for the summit, we had hardly eaten a morsel. How much longer could we go on without fuel ? Violent coughing spells doubled us up as we counted the hours until dawn.

At 6 a.m., leaving everything but film and cameras, we began the treacherous and terrifying descent over the snow-caked slabs of the north ridge. Traversing and down-climbing, we wove our way through unstable windslabs. Doubt and uncertainty dogged every step. We were at the mercy of the gods. We were asking too much.

After an eternity, we reached the fixed ropes leading down the icy flanks towards C2. Below them, we had to fight our way across hundreds of meters of knee-deep snow before the next blow. The well-stocked tents of C2 had also been swept away! Without recourse, we struggled down the dangerous slopes towards Cl. On the glacier at 6000 m we managed only short distances before collapsing in the snow to regain strength. This was the most gruelling test of endurance any of us had ever experienced.

Lhakpa met us just above Cl with water and the news that Nima and Dawa had been seriously injured when their tent at C2 had been swept 300 m down the face by two consecutive snow slides on the night of 3 May. Though they had survived the fall, they spent twelve hours fighting their way down without equipment, both with broken ribs. Dawa had suffered so severe a concussion that he had no realization that he was on a mountain and believed he was in a lowland village. He had not eaten or drunk substantially in forty hours. They were still in Cl unable to gather the strength to return to base camp.

On 6 May, nine days after setting off, a weak and battered crew staggered into the cheering voices and comforting hugs of friends in base camp. The Basques had seen the storm coming on 3 May as they neared their final bivouac at 7450 m and had descended to safety the same day. Although they made two further attempts, neither they nor the Indian expedition on the southwest side managed to reach the summit. Tragically, the deputy leader of the Indians died, supporting a bid for the top in late May.

We came away from our success with humility coupled with deep satisfaction. In an endeavour where boldness and commitment are sometimes highly rewarded, we asked ourselves, to what extent could the hazards be ultimately controlled ? How fine can we draw the line between achievement and risk ? We must take a careful look at what motivates an individual when climbing a large mountain with a small, self-reliant team. Though willing to take risks, we must also be capable of turning back empty-handed. This commitment to self-discipline is, perhaps, the most difficult of all to sustain. It is towards this goal we continue to strive.

Area: Kangchenjunga Hirtial, Nepal.

Ascent: Kangchenjunga (8586 m) via the north face; summit reached on 3 May 1988 (Buhler, Habeler, Zabaleta).

Members: Carlos Buhler, Dr Howard Donner (Americans); Peter Habeler (Austrian) and Martin Zabaleta (Spanish Basque) with Lhakpa Dorje (Sirdar), Dawa Nuru, and Ang Nima (High Altitude Sherpas).



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'THE 1988 AUSTRALIAN Baruntse Expedition was a great adventure in the classic sense, with a long march to base camp, a dose of exploratory trekking in some very rugged and remote terrain, and some interesting climbing on Baruntse (7129 m) itself.

The ten-man team from Canberra, Australia, left Kathmandu on 27 March 1988, travelled by bus to the village of Chatra near the Indian border, and from there began the 25-day march across nearly the entire width of Nepal to base camp in the upper Hongu valley.

Five of the 10 members, including leader John Finnigan, were members of the 1978 Australian National University Mountaineering Club Expedition that climbed Dunagiri in the Garhwal Himalaya. The other four Dunagiri climbers were John Armstrong, Ken Baldwin, Ken Bell, and Theo Hooy.

Charles Barton, Tom Barcham, Peter Lane, Will Steffen, and American Peter Hodge comprised the rest of the team. Barcham has had a longstanding interest in Baruntse as, until last-minute New Zealand Alpine Club politics intervened, he was a member of Sir Edmund Hillary's 1954 New Zealand Expedition that first climbed Baruntse.

The early stages of the trek were hot, dusty marches along the Sun Kosi and Arun valleys, followed by a climb to Bhojpur and a week-long ramble across ridge-tops to the Salpa la. After a descent to the Bung/Gudel area, it was decided to push up the Hongu valley above Cheskham before crossing over to the Hinku.

This trackless route, up very steep bluffs towards a pass near the Panch Pokhari, is seldom, if ever, used by trekkers and required compass-and-map navigational skills to negotiate. A sudden, vicious afternoon snowstorm complicated the pass crossing and forced a camp just below the pass. Due to the very harsh conditions, many of the porters nearly left the expedition at this point.

However, the next morning was clear and calm, the porters decided to remain, and the long descent to the Hinku valley on the other side of the pass was completed without incident. At the head of the Hinku lay the Mera la, the last obstacle before base camp in the upper Hongu valley.

The expedition nearly came undone at Khare, just below the Mera la, as a variety of reasons convinced the majority of porters to quit. It took five days for the remaining porters to shuttle loads across the pass, often in windy, snowy conditions.

A shuttle system was then used to ferry loads up the Hongu valley, and base camp was finally established at 5200 m on 21 April. Base camp was too distant to mount a reasonable attempt on Baruntse, so the team immediately started moving most of the gear and supplies up to Cl, along the Hongu glacier at 5400 m and within striking distance of the west col.

On 24 April the quartet of Finnigan, Hodge, Baldwin, and Hooy set out from Cl to establish the route up the Hongu glacier and to fix 200 m of rope up the steep headwall to the col. Meanwhile the rest of the team continued to carry loads from base camp to Cl.

With the route to the col fixed on 25 April, C2 was established shortly thereafter at 6150 m on the west col. C2 was a most spectacular place, as to the west the icy spike of Ama Dablam dominated the ring of peaks that surrounded the upper Hongu basin while to the east the massive west face of Makalu hung over the broad Barun plateau.

The route from C2 lay across the Barun plateau and then up a broad snow slope to a col between a subsidiary snow peak (Peak 6730 m) and the southeast ridge of Baruntse. Baldwin and Lane, with support from Hooy and Bell and two staff members, Ongchu Lama and Bir Bahadur Tamang, forged this segment of the route and set up C3 (6400 m) beneath Peak 6730 m. Then Baldwin and Lane climbed to the col, fixed a rope over a bergschrund, and thus opened the way to the upper sections of the southeast ridge.

Bad weather intervened and the assault on Baruntse was interrupted for several days as southerly winds and heavy snowfalls put the mountain out of condition. Until then the weather had been predictable, with light-to-moderate westerly winds, clear mornings, and cloudy, snowy afternoons. The afternoon snows were, however, generally light and didn't hamper progress on the mountain.

On 5 May Finnigan, and Stiffen set out from Cl to push the route further up the mountain, establish C4 high on the southeast ridge, and then go for the summit. Hodge, suffering from a mild stomach complaint, joined the trio a day later at C2.

The well-travelled route between Cl and the base of the west col headwall was often done on skis. Although the upper Hongu glacier had few, and easily discernible, crevasses, the use of skis diminished further the chance of falling into a hidden slot. Also, the ski descents, after a hard carry to C2, were fast and exhilarating, and afforded a rapid passage through the one segment of the route threatened by ice-cliffs above. By mid May, however, much of the snow cover on the moraines near Cl had disappeared and the snow on the glacier surface began to stick to the skins, so skiing became a less attractive mode of transport.

On 7 May Finnigan, Hodge, Hooy and Steffen moved to C3, the relatively easy day marred by difficulties with hidden crevasses. The route between C2 and C3, although very easy technically, was made serious by the large number of hidden slots and dubious snow-bridges.

Above its col with Peak 6730 m. the southeast ridge steepened and the snow became very soft. The carry from C3 was exhausting, but the four climbers still reached their goal, a group of huge seracs that marked the beginning of the more gently inclined summit ridge. They dug a snow cave, C4 (6850 m), at the base of the serac.

Baruntse's summit ridge was far more broken and convoluted than the team had expected from previous climbing accounts and photographs. It consisted of segments of badly corniced, knife-edges interrupted by jumbles of seracs and crevasses. At one point a large serac had disappeared and left a gaping hole in the ridge.

The first obstacle was a series of three large shell-shaped seracs dubbed the 'Opera House', as in profile they resembled Sydney's famous landmark. The summit party spent a day enlarging their cave at the base of the Opera House, and on 10 May set out for Baruntse's summit (7129 m).

It was an unusually clear and calm day. Kangchenjunga was easily visible over 100 km to the east, and, even by mid-morning, there was a relatively light build-up of cloud from the south.

The four climbers turned the Opera House by traversing on its western flanks, often forced low by long crevasses emanating from between the individual shells. The snow was firm and the climbing relatively straightforward.

Beyond the Opera House the ridge narrowed and sharpened, and the climbers were barred from the crest by menacing cornices that overhung on the east. The traverse low on the ribbon of snow between the ridge crest and the top of Baruntse's rocky west face became very steep and more difficult as the snow conditions deteriorated.

About 200 m beyond the top serac of the Opera House and only about 100 vertical metres below the summit, the climbers met a steep kink in the ridge covered with unconsolidated snow. With Hodge in the lead, they tried for three hours to force a safe passage around the 20 m high headwall. But the snow was too soft to support the weight ot a climber, and when it appeared that further attempts might trigger an avalanche down the west face, the summit attempt was abandoned and the climbers returned to C4.

On the summit attempt several segments of fixed rope from previous expeditions were found amongst the seracs of the Opera House. These bits of rope were in totally illogical positions for climbing purposes, so it is apparent that the character of Baruntse's summit ridge can change significantly from year to year.

Three days later Baldwin, Lane, Ongchu and Bir Bahadur made a second summit attempt but were stopped at the same point. A final attempt later in May by Hodge and Hooy was stopped lower on the mountain by heavy pre-monsoon snowfalls and turned into an equipment-clearing excursion.

In keeping with the adventurous nature of the expedition, the team split into two parties for the return to Lukla. One group, consisting of Barton, Baldwin, Hodge, and Hooy, trekked from Cl across the Hongu glacier and Panch Pokhari to the Amphu Lapcha, while the remainder retreated down the Hongu valley and across the Mera la.

The Amphu Lapcha party, after crossing that spectacular pass, then went up to the Everest base camp to visit colleagues from the Australian Bicentennial Everest Expedition before descending to Lukla via the well-worn path through Lobuje, Pheriche, Dingboche, and Namche Bazaar. They thus completed a trek which began near the India-Nepal border and came within a stone's throw of Tibet.

Although the expedition failed in its major objective of climbing Baruntse, it was nevertheless a most successful trip. Six members climbed to within 100 vertical metres of the summit, and all 10 members set personal altitude records. Most of all, it was a marvellous 10 weeks trekking and climbing in remote areas of eastern Nepal.



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IN 1986 I LED a trekking group through Khumbu's Gokyo valley, where numerous trekkers marvel at the west face of Cholatse (6440 m), also called Jobo Labsthan. Although small by Himalayan standards, the 1100 m face looked like it would offer challenging climbing suitable for a small group to go aloine-style. Also, the modest elevation would allow a team to enjoy the beautiful weather typical of late October, without getting them up into the zone of shrieking winds.

On the final pitches of NW ridge of Cholatse. (Andy Selters)

31. On the final pitches of NW ridge of Cholatse. Note 4 (Andy Selters)

Climbing the north face of Cho Oyu. (Roman Robas)

32. Climbing the north face of Cho Oyu. Note 10 (Roman Robas)

Nyanang Ri (7071 m.) 1989 Yugoslav route. (A. Stremfelj)

33. Nyanang Ri (7071 m.) 1989 Yugoslav route. Note 11 (A. Stremfelj)

The 'Slovene Buttress route, 1989 on Shisha Pangma. (A. Stremfelj)

34. The 'Slovene Buttress route, 1989 on Shisha Pangma. Note 11 (A. Stremfelj)

In 1988 I returned with three partners, Tom Walter, Greg Collins and Robert Staveley — Parker (S. P.). With S. P.'s wife Sue and 3 Sherpa staff, on 3 October, we established a base camp at 4720 m below the west face of Cholatse. Immediately a snowstorm buried us, but that would be the last hint of bad weather. Four days later the four of us set out for a prominent rib just right of center on the face. We spent a few hours working across the heavily crevassed glacier below the mountain, with a passage on the glacier's west edge providing key access. Then we dug a safe if drippy bivouac below an ice wall at the right edge of the rib's lower rock walls.

The next morn we made good time on the steepening snow, rock and ice, and by early afternoon we reached a bivouac at nearly 5800 m. Unfortunately S. P was nauseous and vomiting, so the next day we just fixed a couple of pitches. By the morning after, 11 October, he was stable but not strong enough to climb. Tom, Greg and I started for the summit, confident that without bivvy gear we would be able to get there and back. About 10 pitches of steep ice and rotten snow brought us along the rib to a high basin. Here we left a rope and some hardware, and we trudged up through deep snow to what we thought would be the final steep pitch to the top.

Tom led that pitch, but when we joined him among the summit ridge gargoyles we saw that reaching the true high point would probably require a couple more technical pitches, with involved rappels to retreat. The western sun was warming on Everest; with only one rope we figured we'd use all the day-light remaining getting to the summit and back along the ridge, and thus we would have to bivouac high. We were tired and not fully acclimatized, and without gear we knew a bivvy would threaten our lives. Though we knew there'd be time to try again, we descended in frustration. Tom and I would later find out that the summit had actually been out of sight but much closer than we suspected; a 15-minute hike and a short steep pitch would have gotten us there.

As we rested back at base camp, Tom announced he wanted to try the northwest ridge. This ridge drapes off Cholatse's summit in a long, spiny stegosaur, rock and snow for the lower third, ice and snow above. I was reluctant, considering how we'd apparently underestimated the less difficult west rib. But after five days of eating and reclining I felt spry enough to give it a try. On 16 October the two of us hiked and scrambled to a bivvy at the col at the very end of the ridge (5500 m).

We awoke to frosty fog, and started up the narrow spine on rock that varied from very rotten to occasionally firm. Mixed in we struggled with loose, powdery snow. At about 5800 m we luckily came to a small perch that provided a panoramic bivouac. By the next afternoon we left the last of the rock and started enjoying ourselves on 55-70° snow and ice, and just before dark we reached a gradual slope at a bit over 6100 m. The next morning we zoomed up a few more enjoyable ice leads to a frightening surprise; the final section of the stegosaur curved upward in a knife-edged series of nightmarish powder-snow mushrooms. With no anchors possible, we tried to climb on the side of the ridge opposite the belayer as much as possible. Step by step, stroke by swimming stroke, we made our tenuous way. Eventually Tom led through a pitch of vertical to overhanging ice, and then I swam through two final roofs of fluff to then flop onto the summit plateau at dusk.

The next day, 20 October, we slept in before climbing our 37th pitch to the summit. Under continuing blue skies, we rappelled our west rib route to reach basecamp on the 21st. For Tom and I, our date with Cholatse was complete; we'd found adventure on unclimbed ground, and the exhilaration of the Himalaya was as wonderful as we'd ever known.

Greg and S. P., however, still had a summit to reach, and on the 22nd they started back up the west rib. The pair practically flew up to 6050 m, but S. P. again came to nausea and vomiting, and they descended.



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SOON AFTER OUR planned expedition to the north side of the mountain had to be cancelled because of the riots in Tibet, I succeeded in getting a permit in Kathmandu for climbing Everest from its south side.

At the briefing at the Ministry of Tourism we agreed upon our expedition taking place in the period between 1 May to 1 June 1989. The expedition was to be undertaken in Alpine-style, without help of high altitude Sherpas and without bottled oxygen, via the South Col route. On 22 April we finally started — with more than 2 weeks delay. We flew from Kathmandu (1300 m) to Lukla (2860 m). There I met the famous climber Hans Kammerlander. He was on his way to Lhotse south face with the European expedition of Reinhold Messner.

In Lukla our team is prepared for the route to Everest base camp—a distance of about 84 km. The original number of 10 Austrian climbers had been reduced to a minimum of 2 Sahibs. For my wife Gabriele, who was to arrive from Munich on l*May, a reliable porter was chosen. Heavily loaded, we left Lukla on 23 April and 5 days later we reached Everest base camp at 5350 m. Several other expeditions to Everest and Lhotse had set up their tents there some weeks before in order to get acclimatized to the altitude—an absolute necessity for climbing the highest mountain.

The highest point so far reached by other teams was C3 at 7300 m. On 30 April my partner, Kurt Stuwe, sets out for Cl. 5 years ago Kurt and I had been successful on a difficult route on Mount St. Elias, Alaska. We had not seen each other since then, obviously things had changed a1 lot in the meantime and our former partnership did not work any more. Since we were only two climbers in our expedition I saw our best chances to reach summit in good teamwork, more so in bad weather conditions. But Kurt could not be persuaded - he wanted to try a solo-ascent. I had not known about his plans before and so I am faced with a completely new situation: most of my equipment (belay-devices) and my tactics for ascent have become superfluous!

One day later, on 1 May (validity of permit), I began my ascent through Khumbu icefall at 5 o'clock in the morning. This icefall was well known to me from many expedition reports and personal accounts. Like a huge waterfall the ice was cascading down from the Western Cwm to the glacier near base camp, 700 m below. The ice was moving forward 1 m per day. The upper third of the icefall was especially dangerous. It was in this section that a nearly fatal accident happened to me : one ladder suddenly gave way. With my crampons on I lost balance and fell into a deep crevasse. Thank heavens for the fixed rope, on which I had secured myself before crossing the crevasse, I could stop my fall and climb out of the crevasse on the opposite wall. Slowly I reached Cl (6050 m), right above Khumbu icefall. Here I set up my tent and fall asleep completely exhausted . The next day I got my equipment, which I had deposited in Khumbu icefall, and after a short rest I made my way to C2 (6500 m). Behind Cl several giant crevasses are to be negotiated before one reached the actual Western Cwm. The view is fantastic : to "the right Nuptse face, nearly vertical, is gleaming in the sunlight, with Lhotse and Everest towering behind and the dark rock of Geneva Spur coming down from South Col. From here the route could be seen very clearly, C2 was situated on a moraine near the end of the valley. On 5 May I am informed on the radio that my wife has arrived at base camp. I am glad she could walk in from Lukla in such a short time, and I descend to base camp right away next morning.

I start my next ascent on 10 May—in one day I climbed up to C2 and after that up to C3 at 7300 m. On my further ascent I had to stop and turn back near C4 because weather conditions were worsening. I spent one more night at C3 and then descend to base camp due to enormous clouds approching Everest. Kurt Stuwe, whom I did not meet while ascending, gave information on the radio about his summit attempt. In C2 he had joined Jay Sieger, a climber from Alaska—his solo attempt seemed not so important any more. For the nights he spent at South Col (C4) as well as for his further ascent to the summit, "Kurt Stuwe had used oxygen and a mask of the Yugoslav team, thus causing some excitement at base camp. Since I was the leader of the expedition the Yugoslavs claimed compensation from me (a mask had been lost at C4), I deny any claims because Kurt and I had agreed on an ascent in Alpine-style, and I had not been informed about what was going on at C4. Kurt Stuwe later confirmed the statements of the Yugoslavs, having used oxygen and mask of a Yugoslav climber who had died near South Col. Kurt reached 8650 m on Everest and returned to base camp on 21 May together with Jay Sieger.

In the meantime I had made up my mind to have a quick attempt at the summit if the weather improves, since the necessary acclimatization seems to be accomplished. But earlier than in the years before, the monsoon set in with heavy snowfall. The enormous clouds I had seen from C3 had been a sign of the coming of monsoon.

Some Polish climbers who took a chance at summit at that time, did not come back ! ! On their way down they were buried by an avalanche and the survivors could not be evacuated because the weather was so bad.

On 22 May I had our base camp cleared. In 3 days we walked out 84 km to Lukla—our expedition came to an end.



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THE EXPEDITION, (The Australian Bi-Centennial Everest Expedition) via the South Col route was a notable success, not only placing three members on the summit but also making the first ascent on the Nepalese side without the use of any Sherpas above base camp. The expedition was led by Austen Brookes and consisted of 27 members, eighteen of which were climbers.

The team arrived at base camp on 12 March after leaving Jiri on 24 February 1988. Working in four teams led by Majors Peter Lambert, Zac Zaharias, Pat Cullinan and Michael Rheinberger, the expedition moved into the icefall on 16 March. For the next eleven days, the teams worked tirelessly placing 30 ladders and fixing 4 km of rope. Cl was finally located at the lip of the icefall at 6000 m on 26 March and C2 at the base of the SW Face at 63OO»m on 29 March. By this stage the large tri-nation expedition had arrived and was making its presence felt on the mountain, pushing up to C2 on our route in rapid time. An agreement had been reached at base camp that as we had fixed the route, the tri-nation expedition would maintain it. Over the next month, we laboured as 'White Sherpas' ferrying 1200 kg of stores to C2 from base camp. The Lhotse Face to C3 at 7400 m was fixed and the camp established on 16 April. From here the going got tough. The tri-nation expedition with its seemingly limitless resources passed our expedition, fixing rope to the Geneva Spur. We made a number of attempts to carry to the South Col with heavy loads but soon learned that we were not Sherpas. The Sherpas seemed to be able to carry from C2 to South Col and back in a day whereas we needed twice the time with lighter loads. Eventually we succeeded with the first of 11 loads to the Col on 5 May, the day the tri-nation team summited. On 14 May, after the strong winds had subsided, the first team consisting of Zaharias, Lambert, Captain Jim Van Gelder, and Bruce Farmer established C4 on the Col. On 16th the team left for the summit at 1.30 a. m. but was forced to turn back at 8550 m due to deep and unsafe snow conditions. The next team consisting of Cullinan, Paul Baype, Rheinberger, Major Jum Truscott, Captain Terry McCullagh and Dr Chris Curry moved up to the Col on 19th and 20th. Strong winds kept them tent-bound and by the 24th, only Bayne and Cullinan were still left on the Col. They left the Col for their summit bid at 10.30 p.m. on the 24th, with Bayne reaching the summit at 12.30 p.m. on the 25th and Cullinan 2 hours later, both running out of oxygen on the summit. Bayne returned to C4 on the South Col by 6 p.m. and Cullinan at 11 p.m. Cullinan was physically exhausted and could hardly move. With no news at base camp, a rescue bid was mounted by Jon Muir and Curry, however on the 27th they crossed paths near the Geneva Spur as Bayne and Cullinan were descending. They had spent what is believed to be a record of 9 days above 8000 m (with some oxygen). The next day Muir reached the summit, with oxygen, and Curry failed by 100 m due to a faulty regulator on the salvaged Japanese oxygen system he was using.

The ascent without Sherpas needs to be qualified in that the tri - nation contributed by fixing the route between C3 and the Geneva Spur as well as the icefall maintenance, however it is still notable for being the first non-Sherpa ascent with the bulk of the climbing, carrying as well as the route through the icefall being done by Westerners. 15 members reached the South Col and eight climbed above 8000 m, it was a significant achievement.



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ON 2 OCTOBER the 4-men expedition established the base camp (5300 m)—below a glacial lake west of Kala Pather. During the next twelve days we placed (and carried loads to) a high camp on the upper Changri Shar glacier and fixed some ropes on steep mixed ground on the west face.

The ascent without Sherpas needs to be qualified in that the tri - nation contributed by fixing the route between C3 and the Geneva Spur as well as During this period Jon Geirsson had been suffering from severe chest pains and, on the 14th, following the advice of the doctor at Pheriche HRA post, he left base camp to return home. Steve Aisthorpe had also begun to suffer from a gastric flu and on the 16th descended to Pheriche to consult the doctor there. As the doctor suggested that it would be a week before he might recover, he sent a message back to base camp suggesting that the remaining two members (Thorsteinn Gudjonsson and Kristinn Runarsson) should feel free to make a summit attempt without him.

The ascent without Sherpas needs to be qualified in that the tri - nation contributed by fixing the route between C3 and the Geneva Spur as well as On receiving this message on the morning of 17 October, Thorsteinn and Kristinn left base camp to make a summit attempt. On the 18th base camp staff watched the two climbers through a telephoto lens — making steady progress an steep ice above the fixed ropes — until, at 2 p.m., they disappeared from view behind a serac. They were never seen to reappear above the serac.

The ascent without Sherpas needs to be qualified in that the tri - nation contributed by fixing the route between C3 and the Geneva Spur as well as Steve arrived back in the base camp on the morning of the 19th and, expecting to see Thorsteinn and Kristinn appear on the SW ridge and climb to the summit, watched the upper west faqe and SW ridge all day. Worried that his two friends had not appeared, Steve left base camp on 20 October at 4.30 a.m., climbed to the high camp and searched the glacier/scanned the face. He neither saw nor found any trace of the two climbers. On the afternoon of the 20th a message was sent to our agents in Kathmandu, via the police post in Namche Bazar, requesting a helicopter. On 21st Steve, once again, searched the glacier and the high camp area. During the 22nd and 23rd he waited expectantly in Gorakshep for a helicopter.

The ascent without Sherpas needs to be qualified in that the tri - nation contributed by fixing the route between C3 and the Geneva Spur as well as Eventually, on 24th, a helicopter arrived and searched the mountain up to 6000 m. Nothing was seen. Another helicopter search was made on 31st, but again revealed nothing. Steve eventually left Nepal in early November assuming that Thorsteinn and Kristinn had died before reaching the summit and that their bodies lay in a crevasse below the west face.

The ascent without Sherpas needs to be qualified in that the tri - nation contributed by fixing the route between C3 and the Geneva Spur as well as In early December 1988, Jeff WilliaVns, leader of the Australian Pumori Expedition, contacted the parents of Kristinn Runarsson and stated that he had definitely seen the two climbers approaching the summit during the early afternoon of 19 October. The only explanation for this seems to be that the two missing climbers stopped for some time behind the serac before climbing on during the night of the 18th. It can only be assumed that Thorsteinn and Kristinn reached the summit of Pumori on 19 October — via a new route on the west face. They had originally planned to descend via the same route, but where their bodies now lay is a mystery. Any suggestions would be pure conjecture.

The ascent without Sherpas needs to be qualified in that the tri - nation contributed by fixing the route between C3 and the Geneva Spur as well as Neither man was a stranger to high mountains. Thorsteinn and Kristinn were Iceland's leading exponents of Himalayan climbing and made many friends during their travels. Their open, easy-going personalities were a breath of fresh air to all who met them. Many mountaineers around the world will have warm memories of these two warm characters.



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(Translated from French by Deepak M. Shah)


'BUT WHY THE HELL go there?' a friend asked me 'before the departure. 'The Himalaya is high, it is far, it is cold, and then, there's a lot of risk,' he added. He talked' of these high mountains which are not in the dimensions of man; where man — very small — can do nothing but fade out. Well, then why?

I asked myself this question many times. During the 12 hour flight between Paris and Kathmandu, I thought about it. Perhaps because this third expedition was also the last one.

The Alps

Yes, there are the Alps. The closest, the most beautiful and still secret when one goes away from Chamonix to rediscover certain routes taken by the English expeditions of the last century. We have crossed their routes, known moments of intense joy for succeeding in whatever we have dared to do. Also, we have shared other rare moments. However, the enthusiasm is still there. It will remain as long as there are things to discover. But the risk, the spirit of adventure and often an accident; makes one look for the joy of the Alps. . . elsewhere.

Well, we leave. Some people return disgusted at everything. But if one is lucky to taste the joys of a victory; one thinks only of returning to find the part of oneself that remains behind.

The people of this place are totally different and usually stronger. Many people say that without them the expedition loses a lot of its interest. Among these are the porters and the Sherpas with whom we are going to live for six weeks.

Tilitso (7134 m)

Near Annapurna, 'Tilitso is a superb mountain in the confines of the high plateau of Tibet' . The person who says this is a connoisseur. The expedition of Maurice Herzog, before the conquest of the first 8000 m peak, stumbled upon a peak which gave access to Annapurna. This peak was none other than Tilitso.

We realise that Tilitso is more difficult than expected. All Himalayan summits become very difficult after a relatively simple beginning. For our climb, we were told to take 600 m of rope. We took 1000 m. But even then, I had to secretely add 200 m more later on.

We reach 500 m of flat rocks on the other side of the Tilitso lake. This stretch of rocks is near the middle of the climb. Cl is pitched at 5850 m. From here, we see Manaslu and Mustang.

But ahead of us, lies 50 m of hard ice. A very difficult passage. We cross this path with great care. C2 is installed at 6250 m.

Above us, 900 m left to reach the summit. Simple but long. We stay at 6000 m for a day of rest and recouperation and then begin again.

On the evening of 22 April, we are two of us with a Sherpa at the last camp. Two members gave us friendly advice over the walkie-talkie. I asked them to keep in touch with us at every half hour after 10 a.m. the next morning. So, we will not feel lonely.

We wake up at four. It is not very cold; this is not a good sign ! For one hour, the climb is easy and we are progressing fast. But then our ropes are finished. There is just 300 m left. My companion, Roger started climbing without rope. I knew that I could climb this difficult terrain without rope but I would injure myself. I decide not to continue as my friend reaches the summit above my head for a victory for our team.

Despite his extraordinary physical and technical skills, Roger will find it very difficult to return from the summit. A storm has set in; it is snowing and one cannot see beyond 10 m. At C2, I wait for him. I hugged him on return, happier to know that he is alive than to ask him if he enjoyed himself on the top.

Yes, really Tilitso was a beautiful enterprise and a superb mountain.

Shivling (left) and Shivling West, looking back from summit ridge of 'Parvati Peak'.

35. Shivling (left) and Shivling West, looking back from summit ridge of 'Parvati Peak'. Note 12 (J. L. Sasot)

Shivling (left) and Shivling West, looking back from summit ridge of 'Parvati Peak'.

36. Route of first ascent on Pubi Danagiri. Note 16 (J. L. Sasot)



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Kusum Kanguru (6367 m)


AT 7.15 A.M. ON 23 OCTOBER 1988, three British climbers and four Sherpa's stood on the summit of Kusum Kanguru having just made the first ascent of the east face. The climbers were, Nick Mason (leader), John Diplock and Julian Holmes, the four Sherpas were, Ang Jangbo (Sirdar), Kami Tshering, Dawa Nuru and Lhakpa Dorjee. The climbing was up to VS/HVS on very loose rock and typical grade four Scottish ice-climbing. A mixed route similar in complexity to that of the north wall of the Eiger. The most serious problem was the rock-fall which started around 9 a.m. each day after the sun had been on the face for a couple of hours. One of the Sherpas was hit in the face by rock, but fortunately it only broke his goggles and caused a small cut by his right eye.

Our base camp was in the Hinku valley at 4270 m and in sight of the east face of Kusum Kanguru. We established Cl (4880 m) just below the Lungsamba glacier on 10 October. The route from Cl to C2 involved crossing a large boulder-field and an ice-ramp with some stone-fall. The Lungsamba glacier was complex and we crossed three large crevasses before establishing C2 at 5790 m on 14 October. Approximately 150 m of fixed rope was used between Cl and C2.

The support group was quite incredible. They kept up a continuous supply line and the climbing team was able to concentrate on the east face. There were two principal features on the wall. One was a prominent rock buttress, the other being a large rock/ice ramp near the top of the wall. Fixed rope was used and we put 760 m between C2 and C3. The point of no return was on the fifth day on the face when the three climbers decided to bivvi at 6095 m rather than go all the way back down the fixed ropes to C2. The temperature dropped to —37°C and we had some frostbite, but otherwise we suffered no further injuries. C3 was established on a small col at 6220 m on 22 October. We left C3 at 5 a.m. on the 23rd. The final 150 to 200 m were on steep, soft snow which presented little problems and the summit was reached at 7.15 a.m.

The expedition, had a new system of solar energy to provide all their power needs at base camp and at all the upper camps. All the solar equipment worked credibly well and proved to be a real alternative source of power.



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THE GOAL OF OUR expedition was to climb the north face of Cho Oyu (8201 m) from the Tibetan side. The north face had not been climbed before and access to it was not known.

We were the first to climb the most natural line on the north face of Cho Oyu. The line is mixed (ice, snow, rock) and 2000 m high. The foot of the wall is starting at 6200 m with an exit to the summit. Besides the straight line, some members of the expedition also climbed a side variant. Expedition was led by Roman Robas with 7 members.

5 October, 1988: Expedition left Yugoslavia to reach Tibet in China via Nepal.

17 October: Established the base camp on the Palung glacier moraine (5350 m).

21 October: Cl (5850 m) made on the Palung glacier.

23 October: C2 (6200 m) placed at the foot of the wall. Between 23rd and 30th we climbed the face upto 7200 m (C3). The ropes were fixed during this period.

30 October: C3 (7200 m) established.

3 November: C4 (7550 m) established.

The Summit

2 November: Dr Iztok Tomazin climbed our straight main line (solo) from C3, to the summit. Descended by the normal route and reached the base camp the following day.

5 November: Viki Groselj and Joze Rozman climbed the variant to the summit. Descended by the same direction.

8 November: Rado Nadvesnik and Marko Prezelj climbed directly to the summit by the main line. Descended by the variant.

9 November: Blaz Jereb and Roman Robas climbed the variant to the summit. Descended by the same route.

From C3 to the summit there were no fixed ropes. The directions and the difficulties are described in the sketch. The climbing was done without aid of oxygen. Main climbing problems faced were wind, extremely low temperatures and a hanging serac at 7200 m.



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ON THE RECONNAISSANCE in 1983 Tone Skarja (leader) and myself made the first ascent of the Ice Tooth. Since then I've considered Nyanang Ri to be the most convenient peak for acclimatization before the ascent of the SW face of Shisha Pangma (8046 m). The peak is close to the base camp, its altitude is appropriate (7071 m) and it hasn't been climbed yet. That is how it remained until our arrival to the base, on 7 October, 1989.

On 10 October our group left the base camp : Stane Belak, Filip Bence, Pavle Kozjek and myself. Our first bivouac was at the bottom of the face, on the top of a rocky island (6200 m). The next day we climbed the SW face to the last big notch in the NW ridge of Nyanang Ri where we pitched our second bivouac (6850 m). There was some snow in the afternoon and at night. On 12 October we reached the summit by the western ridge in fine weather. Only the first 150 m above the notch gave us some difficulties. We descended to the base camp on the same day by the same route.

After three days rest, on 16 October, Pavle Kozjek and myself moved to ABC (5600 m). We left the camp at midnight. After three hours walk across a broken glacier we entered the face at the height of 5900 m. A steep gully led us to the large icefield of the lower part of the face. Soon a strong wind began to blow which had mercy for us only on the second day. There was a snow-stream mixed with stones in the gully where the icefields passed into the upper distinctive buttress. The climb was therefore too dangerous and so we climbed round the gully on the left side and found our first difficulties in the rock.

At the bottom of the buttress, at 7200 m was our first bivouac site. A thin layer of ice and snow made digging very difficult and we could only dig a narrow platform which sufficed for half a tent only. So we spent the night roped in a half-sitting position.

Just behind the tent the face rose steeply. We mostly climbed iced-gullies, often interrupted by rocky sections and traverses which took us a lot of time. We left the area of the buttress' edge at the bottom of a typical black tower. We crossed far to the left where we pitched our second bivouac on a gentle sloped snowfield (7700 m).

On the next day, 19 October, we climbed into the gullies leading out of the face. But the face didn't give up all the way to the summit. We climbed the last rocky parts 50 m below it. The route ends on the summit ridge close to the summit. We reached it at 1 p.m., Chinese time.

The 'Slovene Buttress' route of Shisha Pangma on left. The route of descent on the right.

The 'Slovene Buttress' route of Shisha Pangma on left. The route of descent on the right.

We descended to the col (6750 m) between Pungpa Ri and Shisha Pangma until night and there we pitched our bivouac tent for the last time. We met party of Bence and Groselj who were headed for the summit.

On 20 October we descended to the area of British descent route of 1982 to ABC.

It took us 30 hours to the complete climb, in a pure alpine-style. The new route, 'Slovene buttress', is 2150 m high, grade IV-V, 50° - 65°.


1st Ascent of Nyanang Ri (7071 m).
1st Ascent of Shisha Pangma via SW Pillar (2150 m, IV-V, 55° - 65°, alpine-style, New Route).
Partly New Route and 1st repeat via British descent route of 1982.
Tone Skarja and Andrej Stremfelj made first ascent on Kang Ri (Ice tooth 6200 m), SW face, 400 m, when they made reconnaissance on 28 October 1989.



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'Parvati Peak' (5989 m)

TAPOVAN IS A beautiful base camp with grass and water! Some friends, who had been there on previous occasions, had told us about it, but this year unusually heavy and continuous snowfall had turned our base camp into a torture from the start. In the approach we were already stuck for two days at only 3800 m at Bhujbasa due to the snow-drifts which greatly hindered the progress of our porters. Although our spirits fell when we reached Tapovan and saw so much snow, we soon convinced ourselves that the situation would change.

The days went by, and every morning we had to remove the snow which had fallen during the night and threatened to cover our tents. The nights were cold, but during the day the temperatures were high — this made progress very difficult, and we often sunk into the snow up to our knees. Even with this drawback we were achieving our first objective, which was to acclimatize. However, the snow continued to be very unstable, and we saw that our main objective, Shivling, was slipping through our fingers. It was obvious that we would not have enough time to attack the mountain. It was then that our LO Harish, pointed to a mountain which rose above Tapovan opposite Shivling, and he told us that it was 5989 m high. This was shown on the maps, but had no name since it was a peak which had never been climbed. After the initial surprise we reacted and thought — why not have a go ? The altitude was good and the route was logical and the slope would allow us to <iscend very quickly.

We decided to make the ascent at night to avoid the soft snow and possible avalanches. There was a full moon and another member of the expedition and I left the 4400 m base camp at about 7 p.m.

Crossing the glacier which separated us from the southwest face which we had chosen to climb was arduous, because the sun had gone down but the snow had still not hardened. Fortunately, on arriving at the initial ramps of the entrance wall, night had fallen and the snow had hardened. When we put on crampons the sky was totally clear and when the full moon came out it was not necessary to use our head torches.

Note: For a sketch-map see Article 8 in this issue. Also see Panorama A in this issue. — Ed.

'Parvati Peak' (5989 m) northeast of Shivling (Gangotri glacier). Route of first ascent. (J.L. Sasot)

'Parvati Peak' (5989 m) northeast of Shivling (Gangotri glacier). Route of first ascent. (J.L. Sasot)

For this ascent the only extra weight in our back-packs were a few chocolates and a gas stove to melt snow every three hours in order to avoid exhaustion. Progress was very rapid, thanks to the hard snow, and the 45°, and later 50° slope was very comfortable. The first stop to melt snow made us realize how cold it was, and made us move about frantically while we kept our eyes on the propane flame.

The hours went by and we reached a rock face which was slightly above the half-way point of the face. We took refuge from the wind for a while in a small bergschrund. With our boots inside the back-packs, to fight the cold we started to melt snow again. On leaving these rocks towards the right, the slope became steeper, which worried us because we had to descend by the same route and we were not carrying ropes. The moon had now disappeared and we went forward using the torches. We noticed that we were quite high by comparing our situation with the summits of Bhagirathi group. Several hours went by and the slope did not ease below 60°. Suddenly we saw the edge 50 m away, but the slope steepened to 65°, and we took all precautions due to the state of the wind-blown snow which covered the approach to the edge.

After melting a little snow we killed time until dawn began to break. Time passed very slowly due to the intense cold, which meant that the propane did not work as well as we would have wished. With the first light, we attacked the edge which led to the summit and began to enjoy an incredible view after the hours of darkness.

At about 7.30 a.m. we hugged each other at the summit. Shivling, which had been impossible, stood opposite us. We thought of the friend waiting for us below and wished he could have been here with us. But we were happy with this short but beautiful experience on this mountain, which was later named 'Parvati Peak'. A virgin mountain in Gangotri !

Members: Jose Condrado Lopez Xavi Metal Gonzalez, Josep Lluis Sasot.

Summary: 24 April 1989: Journey from Barcelona to Delhi.
27 April 1989 : Journey from Delhi to Gangotri, approach walk.
2 May 1989 : Arrival at base camp.
21 May 1989: Ascent of 'Parvati Peak', 5989 m.



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THE EAST RIDGE of Meru (6672 m) is a truly striking line forming, to me at least, the most obvious route to Meru's main summit. It is therefore surprising that only two previous attempts had been made on the ridge. The first was in 1985 by a British team led by John Jones. The second was in 1988 by a Japanese team.1 Both reached the base of the rock band at 6300 m before retreating drained by the ground below and unable to get to grips with the technicalities of the steep rock.

In late 1988 inspired by talks with John Jones I booked the ridge for September-October 1989. The team consisted of nine with five climbers and four in support. The climbers were myself, Paul Bale, Richard Spillett, Stephen Thompson and Gavin Thomas (leader) with David Cosford, Richard Luff, Ian Brown, Felicity Brown in support.


  1. See H.J. Vol. 39. p. 185, and Vol. 43, p. 51.
    For a sketch-map of the area see Article 8 in this issue. — Ed.


In due course the team eventually assembled at Tapovan base camp (4463 m) on 3 September, accompanied by our liaison officer, the excellent Ashwani Sood. The approach had been eventful with a series of delayed freight, a general strike and numerous land slides which just failed to stop us. Dave and Ian had also undergone an odyssey when, finding ourselves short of money in Uttarkashi. they had to head back down the road trying to find a bank that would change their Amex travellers cheques. This wild trip took them three days ending in Dehru Dun. The return was fraught with difficulty, mainly land slides. At one point they had to walk 40 km to circumvent an area of collapsed road.

But nevertheless base camp was established on 3 September in fine weather. Good conditions continued for a further seven days allowing firstly a 'dump' camp (christened the 'Green Man) to be established on the Meru glacier at 5000 m on the 5th. On the 8th Paul and Stephen reached the Meru col (5700 m) via some very serious serac slopes and dug a snow hole which was enlarged by myself, Gavin and Richard S. the next day. A tent was also added.

The weather turned on the 10th and a retreat to base was made. The main attempt was begun on the 13th upon the return of fine weather. Myself, Stephen and Dave spent a night at the Green Man only to awake to heavy snow. A further two nights were spent there until a clearance on the 16th allowed the col to be gained. Things were not good and snow every night prevented any attempt for the next two days. During this time the rest of the team, barring Paul Bale, gained the col. Dave, Ian, Felicity and Richard Luff descended on the 19th as the weather failed to improve, leaving the lead team to sit it out. Things deteriorated with some heavy falls and high winds until finally the skies cleared on the night of the 24th.

At 3 a.m. on the 25th we were off. Stephen turned back about 200 m above camp, obviously drained from his prolonged confinement.

The remainder, climbing solo, reached the 'Behshnad at 5950 m at 7.30. The going was very heavy and worsened above as the face steepened. A diagonal line across the face was taken aiming to gain the sharp ridge just below the rock band at 6300 m. In this vicinity we hoped to find the rock biwi used by the 1985 expedition. We never found it. Instead we were forced to climb one of the hardest pitches I have ever done to gain the incredibly unstable and narrow ridge at 6300 m. The climb had taken 13&frac; hours from the col.

The snow below was very poor indeed and very unusual. We had been forced to rope up two pitches below the ridge and were glad of it, since the structure of the snow (60° steep by this stage) honeycomb overlyi ng powder did not inspire confidence. Once on the ridge a sitting biwi was taken on a double cornice. Very nerve racking.

The night was cold and the morning brought more snow. Descent was the only option. This was a worrying affair and plagued by spindrift. It took eight hours to reach the col and a waiting and worried Steve.

Menthosa seen entroute to C1. east face and east pillar on left.

37. Menthosa seen entroute to C1. east face and east pillar on left. Note 19 (V. Shankar)

Route to C2 on Menthosa.

38. Route to C2 on Menthosa.

Route to C3 on Menthosa.

39. Route to C3 on Menthosa.

Moving towards the summit of Menthosa.

40. Moving towards the summit of Menthosa. Note 19 (Ajay Taskar)

We were pinned down for a furtherfwo nights and when it cleared on the 27th, we were forced to take a chance on the avalanche - prone slopes below rather than risk prolonged imprisonment. A lot of snow had fallen and in order to make progress we had to push our heavy sacks in front of us. Otherwise, we would just plough deeper and deeper into the seemingly bottomless powder. At one poi nt Gavin' s sack went out of control and rolled down - hill into a waiting crevasse. He tried to follow and triggered a massive slab avalanche and was very lucky not to follow his sack which was lost. Below, the slopes were so unstable that the remaining sacks were used to trigger the slopes which allowed safe passage for us.

It was a very tired team that eventually reached base that afternoon. A bit of rest soon improved matters but it was evident that another attempt on Meru was out of the question in the time remaining (the porters had been ordered for the 1st). Luckily, Sood was sympathetic to this problem and allowed us to attempt Bhagirathi II (6512 m). This Gavin and I climbed ropeless via the east face on the 1st, reaching the summit at 6 a.m. after a three and a half hour climb from a high camp at 5800 m . Dave reached a point just 60 m. below the top where he wisely decided the ground above was too unstable for soloing. The others turned back earlier. We descended quickly. Richard S. and I reached Tapovan by 5 p.m. and the others making Bhujbasa in time for dinner.

Richard Spillett and I had hoped to stay longer but heavy snow on the 2nd and 3rd eventually sent us down and we reached Gangotri on the 4th.

Ours was an excellent and very happy trip and despite the poor weather we knew we had given our best and so left fully satisfied.



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THERE IS A VERY peculiar and quite interesting phenomenon, which occurs roughly every other year, in our establishment. A colleague drops in your cabin and complains of the inhuman condition of Bombay and particularly of the Office establishment. In good time a few of our colleagues are afflicted by the same stifling atmosphere of the office. There is a consensus on the need to breathe in fresh, cool air, to get out of the office rut and on to a new high. And we are on with the planning of our expedition to the Himalaya. This year there was a major shift in the preference. So far we were content with high altitude treks such as the trek to Everest base camp, Dzongri along Singalila ridge, circuit around Annapurna massif via Thorang pass etc. But this time the atmosphere was charged with some young colleagues and they demanded an expedition to scale a peak. A compromise was reached and Kalindi peak (.6181 m) in the Kalindi glacier area was chosen, which provided a long interesting trek and a non-technical climb.

Usually once the planning of the expedition is in full swing the office machinery gets a jolt and then they bring out those dreaded schedules and target plans. This time it took a heavy toll. Myself, Subhash Gawarikar, Sudhir Babu, Mukesh Maiseri and Ravi Wadaskar were the only lucky five to leave Bombay on 2 September 1989 for Uttarkashi on the first leg of the expedition.

Late in the evening we barged in on R. K. Anand of Mountain Equipments, Dehra Dun. He is a nice person and a keen businessman. He confessed he has never been in the mountains but he recognises quite a profit in hiring equipment. He filled in our equipment list. Mercifully the mountain road to Uttarkashi was opened that very day and we reached Uttarkashi on 5 September.

Buddhi Rana of Mount Support was assuring us of all the services. Only later we realised that he was trying to run the circus with a skeleton crew of porters. There was a lot of confusion about the inner line permit and photography permit. From our side everything was in order except for the photographs and signatures of our HAPs. Our HAPs were returning from some other expedition and were supposed to join us at Bhujbas. Even Buddhi Rana's pleading and later calling names did not produced the results. Ultimately with the photography permit tucked in the sack and a very vociferous assurance from Rana to bring up the inner line permit to base camp we reached Gangotri on 8 September.

We trekked the traditional route to Nandanban. On the Gangotri glacier we almost lost Subhash. He confidently leaped on to a huge boulder and the next instant with a loud rumble the boulder and Subhash vanished from sight. We were about to say our last prayers for Subhash when he scrambled up and peeked declaring that he was very much alive and kicking and jumped on to the next boulder, fortunately it held.

The Nandanban camp was quite comfortable and we spent two days. There was even a timid suggestion to stay for few more days avoiding all the load ferrying and rigours of higher camps. But the wiser counsel prevailed and we marched on to Vasuki tal. We were quite impressed by the Vasuki glacier and the steep ridges of scree on either side. We had a steaming-tea-reception at Vasuki tal from Polish and Austrian expeditions to Satopanth.

The next day was a day for acclimatization and stumbling around in our brand new climbing shoes (courtesy NIM). Our neighbours had a hard time in keeping a straight face.

Sudhir who had not acclimatized well decided to go down to Gangotri and the rest of us were on ojur first load ferry. Our destination for the day was Khada Pathar camping ground across the Suryalaya glacier. The trail upto Suryalaya was well trodden through knee-deep snow by the team members of Polish and Austrian expeditions and so the going was fine. Then we had to cross the glacier where as the trail of the other expeditions proceeded along the glacier left bank towards Satopanth. We took our own time to thread a trail across the Suryalaya glacier. We were shocked to discover a mini grave yard complete with little crosses right in the centre of the glacier. Apparently Satopanth had not tolerated some poor chaps. We discreetly skirted the site and scrambled on to the scree up the right bank of the glacier. From there the camping ground was a few puffing stops away. The camp site was in very bad state, truly a Himalayan garbage dump. Cursing the previous campers to eternal bad weather we performed as scavengers and occupied the camp the next day. The camp was nicely located in the shadow of Chandra Parbat and a moraine ridge providing protection against chilling wind. Already we felt that we had seen Bombay in some kind of a back-to-future scenario.

Our next destination was our advanced base camp at the foot of Kalindi Khal. Somehow we left the camp late and then wasted time in a great argument on where to cross the Seta glacier as there was no trace of any trail or any tell-tale markers. One of our HAPs joined us from the camp and after a while started to cross the glacier jumping across crevasses and kept advancing to the other side in a zigzag impromptu trail. We debated his recklessness and after a while followed his steps. The going was hard and we were trying to make up for the lost time. Throwing caution to winds we traversed the snow-slopes at the base of the savage Avalanche Peak. But we paid dearly for the lost time by not being able to make it to the base of Kalindi Khal and not being able to locate any decent camping ground. We had to hack out a little platform in torch light, eat a lousy dinner and spend the night, four of us groaning in a two-men tent.

The next day we made it to the base of Kalindi Khal, but to our horror there was no trace of any pass. There was almost a panic and we thought we had taken a wrong turn to land ourself in an unknown valley. But we reasoned and kept up the spirit by telling ourself that after all we are going to end up in Shangrila. We took out our maps and the photographs of Kalindi Khal and surrounding area handed over by some well wishing friends just for such an emergency. Well, we were at the base of Kalindi Khal alright, but the heavy and unseasonal snowfall of previous week had formed a 10—12 m high snow-wall at the pass. We were sinking upto knees on the lower snow-slopes and there were sinister lines of crevasses on upper slopes. We made a few false starts for the Khal before deciding to call it a day.

a merry-go-round. With whatever medical knowledge 1 had, (which is not much though) I diagnosed myself as a case of pulmonary oedema. My friends pitched a tent on a ridge right on the Seta glacier. There was hushed discussion of how to organise a rescue mission. But I have a very dim view of the Himalayan rescue missions, it seems they invariably reach when it is too late. So the next day I took a stubborn decision to go down on my own legs. After four hours of slow march we reached Khada Pathar camping grounds. The next day we reached Vasuki tal. There the Austrian expedition doctor Paul Alf examined me and declared in his best Austrian English — 'I cannot prove that you did not had pulmonary oedema.' (whatever that means). He said it would be prudent to go down to lower altitudes.

We had succeeded in our primary aim of driving away the blues. We had already started of thinking of Bombay. In good time we made it to Bombay and to tell you the truth, we enjoyed the home coming.



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An attempt on Panwali Dwar


FINALLY THE MOUNTAINS are not just names on paper exclaimed Tony while trekking up the Gangotri glacier. Tony and myself had come to India one month before the other team members to spend time 'looking around'. A week was spent in the Himachal and we had hoped to trek from Manali to Dharamsala, via Bara Bangahal. We had to change our plans on the fourth day due to Tony's illness and return to Manali. Western Garhwal was our next objective and we reached Gangotri by road without too many delays. We were lucky since most of the road blocks between Tehri and Gangotri had been cleared the day before.

The one porter that we hired at Uttarkashi got us to Nandanban. The next day we travelled upto Suralaya Bamak to get a good view of Satopanth. Excellent weather gave us our fill of photography and on the return to Nandanban we were rewarded with the sight of a herd of bharal. Next we crossed the Gangotri glacier diagonally to set up camp at the base of Kedarnath. Our plan was to go as far up on the Gangotri glacier to get a good view of the Chaukhamba peaks. Excellent views of Kharchakund, Sumeru Parbat, east face of Kedar Dome and Chaukhamba IV were marred by the onset of bad, weather. We had to stop on the far side of Ghanohim Bamak and find our way back in poor visibility. Tony spent a good amount of time photographing the east face of Kedar Dome with the hope of doing a route in the future. While we were there, a British team was attempting the peak, and said that it was 'the last big problem in the Garhwal Himalaya'.

We returned to Delhi on the 18th September to meet the rest of our team members. Now we were on our way to attempt Panwali Dwar (6663 m) We were a 5 person team — Tony, Tom, Rob, John and myself, all of us instructors at the National Outdoor Leadership School, Wyoming, U.S.A. We were joined by Jasbir Sokhi, our LO from Bombay.

Except for some freeze-dried food, everything else was bought in Delhi. This was done in two days and 20 September saw the six of us leave for Almora on a luxury bus. A day's halt in Almora was utilised in buying kerosene and a few other essentials. The next day a pleasant bus ride got us to Bharadi, where our porter Sirdar Maghram convinced us that he was best suited for the job. The last leg of the bus journey generated some anxious moments, where the road, just wide enough for the wheels to pass, finally brought us to Song. The next day was used to repack our gear into porter loads and breathe in the fresh mountain air. John tried to get to the top of a nearby hill, but was 'shooed' away by the villagers. On his return, he said that the route involved some serious and technical grass climbing.

Maghram and our 18 porters showed up on the 23rd and we were finally on our way into the mountains. We followed the traditional Pindari glacier trekking route that took us via Loharkhet, Dhakuri, Khati and Dwali. Though it rained every afternoon, our approach march was really relaxing. A six foot wide path goes all the way from Loharkhet to Dwali and is blessed with excellent views of the mountains, breathtaking waterfalls and the P.W.D. / Nigam rest houses for the night halt, which are located at most appropriate places. Along the path, in front of a rather spectacular waterfall was written, 'When prayers go up, blessings come down'. The numerous chaishops along the way were well utilised by us, with Jaz and myself having got the name ' the chai boys'. The path from Dwali to '0' point (the snout of the Pindari glacier) is spectacular with views of Nanda Devi the first few kilometres. About 1 km before 'O' point we turned left, crossed the stream and set up camp. This is the traditional base camp area and we found the Australian BC (they were also attempting Panwali Dwar). The route above involved some steep grass and boulder climbing, which looked most uninteresting. We negotiated with the porters about another day's wages to move our loads higher up on the mountain to a relatively flat spot, about 100m below the icefall of the Buria glacier.

So finally on the afternoon of 27 September we were at our camp at 4270 m. Between us we discussed how smoothly the whole approach had gone and we started to sort out our food and gear, only to realise that most of our sugar and potato-pearls (dehydrated potato in powder form) was missing. So much for the good work done by our porters!

After two days of rest and acclimatization, on the 30th we did a load ferry to Cl (4570 m). Tom fell sick on our return to BC and the others used the next three days to relax and soak in the sunshine, whatever little was available. BC and above saw a distinct weather pattern, with the clouds rolling in by 11 a.m. and rain/snow by 1 p.m.

Tom having sufficiently recovered, we occupied Cl on 4 October, and did a load ferry to C2 on the 5th. Our C2 (5500 m) was on the upper slopes of the Bauljuri col and was occupied on 6 October in the midst of a raging blizzard. The next morning all of us got up feeling the altitude. Once again a day of rest proved helpful. On the 8th John and Tom recceed a route via a narrow gully and fixed 250 m of rope. Rob, Jaz, and myself went down to a spot between our Cl and C2 to bring up some food and gear that had been cached there. 9 October was spent preparing ourselves physically and mentally for a summit attempt the next day. 10 October, having woken up at 3 a.m., we were ready to leave by 5 a.m. Tony felt unwell and decided to stay back. Tom, John, Rob, Jaz, and myself left camp in the faint pre-dawn light. Shortly, John and Rob decided to return to camp as well. Tom, Jaz and myself continued up the fixed line. This led to a slope of 40°pf hard snow at the end of which was rock band.

Tom reached the rock band at 11 a.m. with Jaz and myself following shortly behind. It seemed at that point, with the weather coming in, the summit could not be reached that day. Not being prepared for bivouac that night we decided to turn back. We had reached a high point of 6260 m. We were able to get back to camp before the weather got worse. Tony, John and Rob had already returned to BC. Tom, Jaz and myself returned to BC the next day. With some of us feeling sick and with constant bad weather we decided not to make a second summit attempt.

Our return to Delhi was uneventful and thus ended the American Garhwal Expedition, leaving all of us with a sense of fulfilment having had a good time. For John and Rob this was their first Himalayan adventure. Tony and Tom had climbed in Pakistan in 1987 and Tom had been in Nepal again in 1988.

Members : Krishnan Kutty, Tony Jewell, Tom Walter, Rob Batchelder, John Kanengieter, Jasbir Sokhi (liaison officer).



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A TWELVE MEMBER team led by Swapan Kumar Ghosh scaled the virgin peak Purbi Dunagiri (6489 m), which lies on the outer wall of the Nandadevi Sanctuary and in the heart of the Bagini glacier.1 Other members were Ashok Basu (deputy leader), Nidhir Kumar Pal, Dababrata Mukherjee, Tarun Dutta, SherSingh Rawat, Arvind Patel, Subhashish Bhatta'cherjee, Nupur Kumar Roy, Dipak Kumar Saha, Subhas Das and Dr Pradip Roy. It was organised by 'Durgapur Mountaineers' Association', Bengal.


  1. For the eariier attempt see H.J. Vol. 45, p. 69, — Ed.


The team reached Jumma (2460 m), a beautiful place by the side of Dhauli ganga, on 6 August, from where the trek started on the following day, the expedition luggage being carried by mules.

After a march of four days and camping at Chacha (2890 m), Dunagiri village (3440 m) and Dhacha (3630 m) the base camp was established on 10 August at 4400 m, on the right bank of the Bagini glacier.

The glacier was crossed diagonally and near the icefall of an unnamed glacier. Cl was established on 12 August at 4550 m.

On the 16th C2, (4950 m) was established at the moraine from where the Bagini valley turns southwest. We moved west through the steep upper moraine of Bagini glacier. Then we turned north. C3 (5100 m) was established on the southeast ridge of Purbi Dunagiri. This is at the bottom of the SE face of Purbi Dunagiri.

We descended to the icefield at the foot of the Purbi Dunagiri and proceeded west through rocky debris. We then climbed the steep ridge coming from the west shoulder to establish C4 (5400 m) on 19 August.

Little ahead north from C4, rope was fixed on the rock face of above 60° gradient, to climb on the rocky hump. We then fixed rope along the southwest rocky ridge keeping the icefall to the right and continued over some snow/ice patches negotiating a steep gradient. C5 (6150 m) was established on 23 August on the southwest ridge. It was just beneath a hump, lying between Peak 6523 m and Purbi Dunagiri and on the same ridge. The total length of rope fixed was 820 m and it continued upto the site of C5.

From C5, on 24 August at 6.30 a.m., Nidhir Kumar Pal, Sher Singh Rawat, Debabrata Mukherjee and Nandan Singh (HAP) moved for the summit towards the snowfield in the east. Reaching the stance, from where the route diverted, they roped up and climbed to the snowfield. On the snowfield they negotiated some crevasses and moved towards northeast. Their movements were comparatively slow in the knee-deep snow. Keeping the ridge (connecting the Peak 6523 m, hump and Purbi Dunagiri) to their left they proceeded towards the shoulder of the peak. As snowfall started, it slowed down their movement and hampered their vision. At 2 p.m. they decided not to move further as the weather was deteriorating. So they climbed to their left to a rock shelter for the night halt.

After the benightment at 6400 m, the summit team started on the following morning at 8 am. on 25 August. They started climbing the ridge. Reaching the top of the ridge they found an ice-wall preventing their movement towards the summit. They had to descend a little towards west and then move northward keeping the ice-wall to their right. They then moved towards east and continued climbing for sometime till they reached the summit. It was 11.30 a.m. when the summit team consisting of Nidhir Kumar Pal, Sher Singh Rawat, Debabrata Mukherjee and Nandan Singh stood on the top of Purbi Dunagiri and unfurled the flags. From the top they could identify various peaks.

But it is very unfourtunate that while descending from the summit two members Nidhir Kumar Pal and Debabrata Mukherjee met with an accident between C5 and C4 and died.

Later only the body of Debabrata Mukherjee could be recovered. In spite of an extensive search by our team members and the army search team, the body of Nidhir Kumar Pal lying buried under the avalanche could not be found.

Photo 36



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17. CB 13


THE KAC CHANDRA BHAGA Himalaya Expedition 1989 was organised by the Katuyama Alpine Club with an intention to try the ascent of CB 13 (6264 m), and to develop friendship with the people in the Central Lahul area, as also with Indian mountaineers. The team was led by Isao Minami with 10 climbers.

Unnamed peak 6230 m, Kishtwar, (right), north face

41. Unnamed peak 6230 m, Kishtwar, (right), north face. Note 20 (Roger Everett)

West face of unnamed peak 6230 m and glacier snout.

42. West face of unnamed peak 6230 m and glacier snout. Note 20 (C. J. Schaschke)

Unnamed peak 6230 m, from Chomochoir.

43. Unnamed peak 6230 m, from Chomochoir. Note ramp on left. Note 20 (Simon Richardson)

South face of unnamed peak 6230 m, view from Kalidahar.

44. South face of unnamed peak 6230 m, view from Kalidahar. Note 20 (C. J. Schaschke)



CB 13 peak is one of the six thousanders' in CB group in Chandra Bhaga ranges in Central Lahul. First ascent of this peak was made by Hamberger's Austrian party in 1960. Second ascent was made by Tampopo's Japanese party in 1981. Our climbing route was the same as the Tampopo route on the north ridge from South Dakka glacier. We scaled the summit of CB 13 peak, with Yosuke Minami (16 years), son of the leader, and other Katuyama Alpine Club members.

On 19 July 1989, we arrived at New Delhi. After a one day journey by bus, we reached Manali, and purchased food and gear. On 23 July we went up the Kulu valley to the Rohthang pass (3978 m) and down to the Chandra river. After severe driving on a rough road, we arrived at Batal (4000 m). We spent one day waiting for ponies.

On 25 July, we started for the base camp, with 11 ponies and 15 members carrying luggage weighing less than 750 kg. After a one day caravan trip we reached the base camp (4300 m). (Batal — Dakka — BC). We set up the base camp on the end of South Dakka glacier. The snowy summit of CB 14 could be seen, and appeared very close.

The monsoon season was not over and there was a little rain on the Lahul dry areas, often with squalls in the evening and night.

On the 27th, in the snowy weather we trekked up to the South Dakka glacier, and set up Cl, climbing over dangerous crevasses of a branch of South Dakka glacier to SW at 5000 m. We looked up to the ice-peak of CB 13, north face.



In two days we carried loads up to Cl. On 29 July four persons reached Cl. Others reached Cl after a further two days, and the route was marked from Cl to C2. C2 was set on the col of CB 13, north ridge, at (5500 m). Four persons stayed at C2, on 1 August.

Some went ahead and made the route and fixed ropes. We waited one day because of Iieavy snowfall. On 3rd August, 4 climbers started to make a route and an attack on the summit. This route was very difficult, but we overcame the difficulties. However, we did not reach the summit. We reached a 6000 m bivouac point.

On 4 August we tried a difficult traverse and some rock climbing on the route to the summit. After 7-hour struggle with rock and ice, 3 men stood on the summit of CB 13 (6264 m) at 2.34 p.m. Yamada, Nakagawa, Nakamori were the first summiters. Yamashita suffered altitude sickness, and stayed at 6240 m. Four members returned to C2 at night.

The same day other members started from C2, and stayed at 600Q m bivouac point. On 5 August Isao Minami, Yosuke Minami.Kawase, Kobayashi and liaison officer Negi, scaled the summit of CB 13 as the second summit team. They used fixed rope and with speedy climbing reached the summit within 3 hours.

We descended to C2, and withdrew the fixed ropes. Next day we dismantled C2 and went to the base camp, where we joined all members. On 7 August we dismantled Cl and returned via Batal to Manali.



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SHIGRI PARBAT (6526 m) stands over the upper Bara Shigri glacier, Himachal Pradesh. It is located 50 km southeast of Manali, across the Rohthang pass, in Lahul. Approach to the mountain is through the upper Chandra valley which remains snow-bound during major portion of the year. The influx of expeditions in that area is most during August-September when the existing road in the Chandra valley is motorable. The conventional and centuries old trade route from the Kulu valley to the Lahul valley passes over Rohthang pass (3978 m) which opens for traffic about the end of May but the actual date from which it can be crossed is dictated by the prevailing weather conditions.

Lahul valley is a remote mountainous area bounded in the north by Zanskar and in the east by Spiti. By a climatic quirk Lahul is unaffected by the monsoon, and the browns are relieved only by the dazzling whiteness of the snow capped summits and the grey highways of great glaciers.

The Corps of Engineers, popularly known as Sappers, had never before climbed in Himachal Pradesh and hence I was looking forward to doing something unusual in this area. While going through some mountaineering literature, I was attracted by the numerou peaks on the Bara Shigri glacier but the one that I pinned my eyes on was Shigri Parbat. I realised that there was practically no information available on this peak. The first ascent of the peak was made in 1961 by a British team during the month of August-September which is the best season for climbing in this region.

To reach the base of Shigri Parbat, a 38 km expanse of glacier has to be covered. I decided to select the month of May-June for our climb, as these months also coincided well with the term break at the College of Military Engineering (CME) where the nucleus of the officer climbers of our Corps undergo their three-year degree course. The team finally selected comprised of 18 members including a medical team of one medical officer and one nursing assistant.

We reached Manali in the afternoon on 26 April and till 30 April we prepared our loads and also acclimatized and the next day advance party left Manali to commence the approach march from Marhi.

But the weather Gods were not favouring us and from then on started our struggle against the elements. The weather this year was uncharacteristically bad and cyclonic disturbances were playing havoc throughout North India. Thus the conditions on Rohthang pass were really dreadful. Heavy snowfall and strong blizzards prevented our advance party from crossing over twice. Porters were mortally scared and on both occasions they just dropped their loads short of the pass and ran back. We were however not deterred because we had expected to face such problems as this was not the best season for climbing. We decided to wait. On 18 May, Sudhir, G.K. and Sattar, accompanied by 16 porters crossed the Rohthang pass had reached Gramphoo. Snow conditions retarded their progress as the entire approach march involved wading through knee to waist deep snow. Preventing the porters from running away was another task in itself. Finally, they reached Chhota Dara on 21 May and by now I had sent doctor and Kanagaraj also to join them.

The route on Shigri Parbat: from NW face to west ridge

The route on Shigri Parbat: from NW face to west ridge

I had planned to establish base camp near the snout of the Bara Shigri glacier and another three camps on the glacier before the summit camp. Our C2 at Concordia was to have been a sort of alpine hut for attempting a number of other peaks close-by once Shigri Parbat had been successfully climbed. But the wicked weather and snow conditions buried my plans under two feet of fresh snow. All our porters and HAP's abandoned the advance party at Chhota Dara. Only three loyal porters stayed behind and we had not even reached the snout of the glacier. The rations of the advance party were fast depleting and to ease out their situation, Resham was sent along with sufficient ration loads.

I was in a dilemma now. Progress had been halted at Chhota Dara and sufficient porters were not available. Hence I decided that an alpine-style attempt was the only alternative. But it would be a difficult task as 38 km of glacier had to be negotiated before reaching the base of Shigri Parbat. I chose Sudhir and GK for alpine-style attempt and on 24 May they set out from Chhota Dara. The plan now was to establish ABC halfway between Concordia and the snout. Resham, Sattar, Kanagaraj and 3 porters would support the climbers upto the ABC.

On 24 May GK, Sudhir and Sattar opened the route upto the snout. To cross the Chandra river they used a snow-bridge which was later replaced by a ladder bridge. The next day, doctor, GK, Sudhir and HAP ferried loads to the snout of Bara Shigri glacier and on 26 May Sudhir and GK occupied this intermediate camp. By 28 May, ABC was occupied by the climbers and the next day they stayed at ABC, preparing themselves for the climb ahead. On 30 May they bivouacked at Concordia. Most of the crevasses were covered because of the fresh snow but the going was very tiring. They moved onto the upper Bara Shigri glacier on 3-1 May and put up their second bivouac. On 11 June they bivouacked at the base of Shigri Parabat which loomed before them in all its regal splendour with numerous hanging glaciers adorning its northeast face. They decided that the best route to the top would be to negotiate the northeast face, hit the western ridge above the lateral crevasse and follow this ridge to the summit.1


  1. See note at the end. — Ed.


2 June dawned, clear morning but with very strong wind. They left at 0500 hrs. Negotiating the face was a difficult task. The gradient was almost 70° through and near vertical at many places. A safe route had to be selected through the hanging glaciers which were unavoidable. There were two pitches of almost 100 m. Kicking their crampons into the blue ice they hit the western ridge by about 0900 hrs.

This ridge is rather sharp and the blue ice suddenly gives way to rock at many places. It was not possible to remove their crampons at the rocky pitches and put up them on again. Hence they negotiated these rocky pitches with their crampons and reached the summit at 1100 hrs. The weather had once again deteriorated by now and a blizzard was building up. Therefore, they started descending without any unnecessary delay. Visibility had been reduced to few feet making the descent very treacherous. Each belayed the other by turn and they reached their bivouac site by 1600 hrs.

Meanwhile, unknown to the two summiters, misfortune had struck that same morning. We lost two of our members, Captains Papola and Bhutani in the raging torrent of the Chandra river due to an unfortunate accident. The Jate Papola's body could be recovered because of the valiant efforts oFMewa Singh but late Bhutani's body was washed away.

On 3 June the summiters were to return to Concordia but the weather played foul again. Howling winds and heavy snowfall prevented them from moving down. Their small tent was flapping like a pennant and if it had torn, would have spelt doom for them. By 2200 hrs that night, the sky cleared and at 0200 hrs on 4 June, they set out for Concordia using the adjoining hill features as landmarks to guide them. They were back at the ABC on 5 June and it was then that they learnt of the tragedy.

After the accident I had three major tasks going on, firstly search of Capt Bhutani's missing body by members and porters at the base camp, secondly, my summit team had gone to attempt the mountain self-sufficient for 7 days with effect from 30 May, thirdly, C3 was opened for a conventional attempt and the ferries of loads were in progress. I decided to carry on with the expedition and achieve the aim for which two members had given'their lives. On safe return of the summiters on 5 June, painful decision to clear off the mountain was taken. It took us just two days to close all the higher camps. Thereon, the whole team was deployed for a marathon search of Capt Bhutani 's body. An extensive and thorough search all along Chandra river was done for 60 km but it proved to be futile. Keeping in view the depleting logistics position and signs of monsoon approaching the valley I called off the search on 17 June and the whole team concentrated at its roadhead by 12 June evening.


Note: The route of the first ascent in 1961 was the same as in 1987. Both the teams moved east and then south from Concordia to reach the base of the peak. This was on the eastern branch of the glacier. Joss Lynam (H.J. Vol. XXII, p. 57) describes the final ascent over the northwest face to west ridge to the summit. The present team describes it as over the northeast face to west ridge. From their photographs it is seen that both routes are the same. In 1989 another Indian army team approached the western branch of the glacier to reach the foot of the glacier. They give the route of final ascent as following the northwest face to west ridge. Only a detailed survey map can clarify the exact situation. — Ed.

Summary: Sapper Adventure Foundation expedition (Army Corps of Engineers). Team of 18 members, led by Major M.P. Yadav.

Route followed: Chhota Dara, base camp Bara Dara (river Zing), snout of Bara Shigri glacier, advance base camp at lower Bara Shigri glacier, Concordia, bivouac 1, upper Bara Shigri glacier, bivouac 2, base of Shigri Parbat, bivouac 3 northeast face to summit via west ridge, on 2 June 1987.

Summiters: Capt Sudhir Mittal and G. K. Sharma



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An Ascent of Menthosa


OUR OBJECTIVE was Menthosa (6443 m) nestling in the Miyar valley, 180 km northwest of Manali in Himachal Pradesh.
Our expedition comprised 3 members: Ajay Taskar (leader), Vinay Hegde and myself. We had committed ourselves to attempt the climb without porters or a cook. All load ferrying would be done by members themselves, right upto the base of the summit. The rationale behind this attempt was to test the effectiveness of a lighter, faster and an inexpensive expedition. Setting off from Bombay on the 29 July 1989, we reached Udaipur in the Lahul district of Himachal Pradesh on 7 August after negotiating road blocks on the Manali - Udaipur road.

The Trek

Putting modern civilization away behind us on the 8 August, we started off towards Chimrat with a total load of 180 kg. It was a heady feeling after so many days of delay. We followed the right bank of Miyar nala along the entire route from Udaipur to Shakoli for 8 km, crossing over it 2 km before Chimrat. We trekked through Karpat, Changut, Thingrat and Gompha before reaching Urgus on 9 August, a distance of 13 km. Urgus is situated at the junction of Urgus and Miyar nala. The entire trek was pleasant, with flowers blooming and the clean scented air permeating our nostrils and filling our lungs. We set off from Urgus on 10 August, and followed the left bank of Urgus nala. After an hour's climb, we crossed the nala and followed the right bank upto the base camp. The route throughout was strenuous involving climbs with steep gradients. We established.base camp on a beautiful meadow with a stream flowing near our campsite. From here, immediately to our northwest, we had our first view of the pristine beauty of Menthosa.

Base Camp to Cl

It was decided that I would stay back to keep an eye on things lest some wanderer be tempted to take off with some goodies from our camp. Ajay and Vinay therefore proceeded in the western direction climbing over the snout of the Urgus nala to the moraine which led to a cirque covered with snow and a crevasse-field formed by rocky peaks to the right, Menthosa main and east peak to the centre and an unnamed peak to the left. They reached the base of the icefall leading to the Urgus pass above after climbing to the northwest. Climbing steadily and steeply along the right of the icefall and crevasses for 4 hours, they reached an ice-tower 150 m below the Urgus pass. Finally, climbing the snow-slope, they reached a rocky moraine adjacent to the left of Urgus pass about 120 km long which was decided to be the site for Cl (5200 m). After 2 days of ferrying and a rest day, Cl was established on 14 August. On the other side of Urgus pass we could see numerous peaks of Pangi valley and Zanskar. Phabrang could be clearly seen to our south alongwith other peaks of Lahul.

The Struggle

The weather was bad on 15 August. Having no other choice we stayed put at Cl. On the 16th although total whiteout conditions prevailed outside our tents with the temperature approaching freezing point, we sensed a slight break in the weather and seized the opportunity to open the route. Struggling up towards and north on easy slope for 150 m, we fixed ropes for about 150 m on a steep snow-slope to the left of a huge mushrooming ice wall. Further 30 m rope was fixed the next day in total whiteout conditions with weather having packed up and visibility very poor.

18th dawned with a clear sky and we decided to shift the camp. Jumaring up with extra loads, we reached the point where ropes were fixed earlier. We started fixing ropes further on the ice-slope of 75° for a distance of 150 m. By the time we crested the first mushroom it was 3.30 p.m. We started hauling the load. By the time the operation was completed, it was 7.30 p.m. Since it was already dark, we decided to pitch the tents on the snow-slope itself with a gradient of about 45°. We had to excavate about 1 m of snow to secure a firm berth for our tent.

The Setback

The next morning while preparations were on to open the route further, our only can of kerosene accidentally rolled down the slope before our horrified eyes and was irretrievably lost. With heavy hearts, we decided to attempt the peak on our partially filled stove. More ropes were fixed for about 100 m on an ice-slope at a gradient of 80°. Further, climbing the final snow-slope for another 30 m, we encountered a huge gaping crevasse which separated us from the vast plateau, with the north face of Menthosa above flanked by the east and west ridge. We negotiated the crevasse by crossing it over a snow-bridge and moving towards southwest and again climbing a snow-slope reached the plateau, where we decided to pitch our tents — C3 (5750 m).

We decided to rest on the 20th as we were completely exhausted and needed all our remaining strength and will power to attempt the summit tomorrow. With the lack of kerosene hanging over our heads like Damocles' sword, we knew, if we failed, there could be no seconc attempt as we were absymally low on food and water. With these dark thoughts, we hit our beds. We were, however, too keyed up to sleep for fear of dropping off to a deep slumber, brought about by exhaustion and depression.

Brammah II (6485 m) as viewed from C 2 on SE ridge of Brammah I.

45. Brammah II (6485 m) as viewed from C 2 on SE ridge of Brammah I. Note 21 (Aloke Surin)

Looking north from 'Col Camp' on Brammah I.

46. Looking north from 'Col Camp' on Brammah I.

Flat Top (6100 m) from ABC.

47. Flat Top (6100 m) from ABC. (Aloke Surin)

The Final Push

Peeking out of our tents on the 21st at 2.00a.m. . poor weather stared at us. Nevertheless, at 4.30 a.m., we started preparing ourselves for the assault. We set out at 5.30 a.m. after fortifying ourselves with tea and Complan, for tbe final push. We reached the base of the north face after a few intervening humps. We proceeded along the west ridge, but a huge open crevasse below the snow-wall to the left of the west ridge confronted us. We climbed to the left and after crossing two crevasses over snow-bridges, we trav.ersed to the right of the snow-wall below huge ominous looking hanging seracs. After climbing about 100 m we reached a large crevasse like a giant lip. Here the west ridge was completely broken and we spotted a rope left by some previous expedition concealed in the ice while continuing up. We traversed to the left towards the centre of the face and crested the lip. From here we again traversed to the right to reach the ridge again and continued up it till we reached the summit ridge, just to the left of a huge corniced cap formation.

The slopes were steep, quite dangerous and filled up with crevasses. Deteriorating weather added to our woes. Finally, after attaining the summit ridge, which sloped downwards initially and then climbed again, we at last attained the summit at 3.15 p.m.

On top of the summit, the weather was bad with total whiteout and only the Menthosa East summit was visible, slightly lower than the main summit. Notwithstanding all this, it was really exhilarating. After taking the relevant photographs and leaving a tin as a marker, we prepared to climb down reaching C3 at 9.30 p.m.


After retrieving all the fixed ropes between Cl and C3 we started off towards the base camp on the 25th. From base camp 2 porters ferried our loads to Urgus and later to Udaipur. We stayed at Birsingh's house at Gompha and the hospitality this simple soul extended to us left us speechless.

On 2 September we finally landed in Bombay, having successfully scaled the peak after battling against heavy odds.


Ascents of Menthosa Peak (6443 m)

Year Ascent Himalayan Club News Letter No. Page
1970 First ascent British team (Capt. S. Bemrose) 28 1
1973 Second ascent British team (J. B. Flaming) (Climbed by three parties) (H.J. Vol. 33, p. 130.) 30 13
1978 Third ascent British team (David Challis) (H.J. Vol. 36, p. 113). 32 47
1979 Fourth ascent Austrian team (Gunther Gouber) (H.J. Vol. 37, p. 194). 33 21
1980 Fifth ascent Austrian team (Gunther Gouber) 34 20
1985 Sixth ascent Japanese ladies team (T. Morishta) (H.J. Vol. 42, P. 182). 29 21
1986 Seventh ascent Indian team (J.D. Goswami) (Assam). 40 19
1988 Eighth ascent Indian team (S. Ganguly). (Bengal). 42 32
1989 Ninth ascent Indian team (Ajay M. Taskar) (Bombay). 43 27

Photos: 37-40



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1. Anglo-American Kalidahar (c. 6000 m) Expedition, 1988

WITH EXCITEMENT about the summers activities in the V* Indian Himalaya, Geoff Hornby and I compared notes in a Glasgow restaurant with Bob Reid. We had each been successful in climbing peaks in the Kumaon and Kishtwar and for Bob and I it was our first trip to India. It wasn't until Bob passed a couple of stunning photographs of an unclimbed peak called Kalidahar in the eastern Kishtwar region (Frontispece H. J. Vol. 45) that the ideas for another trip were set into motion.1


  1. Also see photo 28 and sketch map. p. 96. in H.J. Vol. 45 — Fd


That was in 1986 and the photographs remained with me for another year. An expedition was planned for 1988.

While Geoff had his eyes on the imposing granite walls of a 5800 m Spire, my focus was drawn towards the higher snow capped main peak. Lightweight autonomous two-man units were the order of the day. I combined with London climber, Jeff Knight, while Geoff paired with American climber Tom Nonis. Utah Big Wall climber, Kevin Gheen from the 1986 Kumaon trip was invited and he, in turn, brought Californian climber Conrad Anker. Together with a base camp manager and support team we totalled nine.

As we entered into 1988, my responsibility towards the expedition increased. My presence in India two months ahead of the expedition was to be a key position in the handling of last minute preparations.

It almost seemed as if the expedition was not to be from the moment I arrived in Dehli and straight into the middle of a cholera epidemic. The return flight had crashed on take-off and as I travelled to meet friends in West Bengal, Calcutta was suffering badly from a contaminated cooking oil crisis. Apart from an earthquake in Bihar, stuck in the Garhwal for days on end due to monstrous landslides, the unavailability of a liaison officer and the untimely death of Pakistan's General Zia creating unrest in parts of Kashmir (our destined State), the situation couldn't get worse.

By now the expedition had assembled in Delhi and our journey to the village of Kishtwar was swift if only a little uncomfortable. Illness by several members slowed the walk-in to base camp some five days beyond the end of the road at Galhar. Our hastily arranged liaison officer. Rajiv Sharma, was therefore able to catch us up from Delhi and he proved to be of great assistance and companionship over the following four weeks.

Beyond the last village of Machail, our ten mules which had gallantly carried our gear from Galhar were to be finally exchanged for porters for the difficult section up the Dharlang nala to the base camp. With the prospect of not being hired for another day. the muleman vowed emphatically that the route ahead was indeed possible with his mules. Progress turned out to be desperately slow. The mules were having a rough time through the steep forests and over moraine. Base camp was reached by head torch late on the 31 August and in the bubbling excitement of seeing Kalidahar for the first time the following morning the muleman exclaimed his delight on his first time in the valley !

Three days after arriving, Jeff and I ascended the loose rocky hillside to the snout of a glacier below the main peak while Kevin and Conrad made their way up a deep couloir to the bottom of a desperate yet obvious crack in the Spire. Tom and Geoff attempted another line on the Spire a few days later.

Our plan was simple: from the glacier, ascend the west ridge to the summit. Once onto the glacier, however, having dodged a barrage of monolithic missiles from above, a seemingly impenetratable back wall to the cirque presented itself. Two classic looking lines led high onto the ridge but the perpetual cascade of debris down onto the glacier barred any form of attempt. The resistance came in the form of an icefall from the lowest section of the ridge. A camp was therefore positioned closer to the icefall to permit an early strike'.

After surmounting an awkward set of crevasses by head torch, the top lip of a bergschrund was traversed to below the icefall. The sun rose over the massif around 6 a.m. and a nose of ice was climbed to gain a narrow gully between the icefall and a rock wall leading to vertical fins of ice. Snow-slopes above led to safe snow-mushrooms upon which the tent was erected 18 pitches above the glacier.

What was to have been a rest day, turned into a summit bid. After seven hours of weaving around bulges of ice and negotiating crevasses on the ridge we reached the summit at 2.50 p.m. (7 September). The views were unsurpassable. Clouds were rolling in from the west over the distant hills of Himachal Pradesh. With only four hours of sunlight remaining, descent was immediate; the last 400 m chasing boulders down ice-runnels having been loosened from the ice by the heat of the day. That evening, from our high position we were treated to a spectacular display of lightning and electrical storms over the Pir Panjal hills to the south.

The overnight deep freeze left the ropes like steel hawser. Abseiling down the serac onto the glacier 600 m below therefore proved difficult. With the prospect of a rice and dal menu back at base camp, Jeff and I remained in the relative comfort of our first camp consuming the remains of our hill food. We needn't have worried about diet for by the time we were all back in base camp, we bought a sheep from the local shepherd and Kevin with his Alaskan Halibut fishing experience, performed the necessary duty with a razor sharp axe.

The departure from the valley was a time to reflect. Kevin and Conrad had returned successfully from climbing the Spire : 15 pitches of 5.10 and A2 and good bivvy ledges to boot. Geoff and Tom had retired safely from their line of increasingly detached rock. The herdsmen eventually left the valley and warned of the onset of winter. During the following days the weather broke and it snowed persistently. Winter had arrived and we left too.

2. British Unnamed Peak 6230 m Expedition, 1989

Unnamed peak 6230 m is to all intent and purposes the prefect shaped mountain in that its three faces form a distinct pyramid and is shrouded in snow and ice. Geographically, the mountain lies in the eastern Kishtwar region of the Indian Himalaya at the head of the Bholong nala due south of the Umasi la; a popular and frequently used high glaciated trade route connecting Kishtwar with the more northern neighbour Zanskar.

Brammah I, SE ridge from C2.

48. Brammah I, SE ridge from C2. Third rock gendarme in centre. Note 21 (Aloke Surin)

Nearing the third rock gendarme on Brammah I, SE ridge.

49. Nearing the third rock gendarme on Brammah I, SE ridge. Note 21 (Aloke Surin)

Route to 'Col Camp' on SE ridge of Brammah I.

50. Route to 'Col Camp' on SE ridge of Brammah I.

SE ridge of Brammah I.

51. SE ridge of Brammah I. Note 21 (Aloke Surin)

North face of Unnamed Peak 6230 m in Kishtwar

North face of Unnamed Peak 6230 m in Kishtwar (C. J. Schaschke)

The credit for the first ascent of this Unnamed peak 6230 m goes to two British climbers Bob Reid and Ed Farmer who, in 1986, successfully ascended the south face from the Dharlang nala. This was a modest route up a sustained gradient of between 45° and 55°. The 1986 expedition had recorded that 'there was no feasible route from the north'. Two more British climbers, Simon Richardson and Roger Everett active in the region in 1988 had, however, noted a potential line up the north side in the form of a high level ramp across the face. In addition, Carl Schaschke, leader of the 1989 expedition and also active in the region made a reconnaissance of the mountain the previous year and placed a cache of fuel and hardware at the foot of the mountain. The final route planned was therefore via the north face ramp and descent via the south thereby compleing a traverse of the mountain.

Besides Carl, the British expedition comprised of climbers Ian Mills and Neil Brown together with a base camp support team of four including manager and medical officer. It was through job commitments back home that the attempt was planned for July although not being noted as the most favourable time in terms of monsoon snows. The team therefore flew into Delhi at the beginning of July and were eager to reach the mountains was soon as possible. Progress was, however, not quite to expeditious. A liaison officer who didn't come to the bus station when the bus left Delhi and a delayed overnight bus to Jammu resulted in missing the last connecting bus to Kishtwar; the last major village before the mountains. Taxis in Jammu were hastily arranged for the remainder of the journey.

Kishtwar positioned high above the river Chenab is a relatively well stocked town for the needs and requirements of an expedition. Together with its relatively cool climate, residence at the Dak bungalow was both pleasant and civilised. At the end of a tiring day purchasing over 100 kg of groceries, kitchen utensils, 60 litres of petrol and kerosene and arranging 10 mules for the following day, cups of tea on the lawn of the bungalow was most satisfying.

A final early morning bus journey to Galhar (32 km) signified the start of the five day trek to base camp. While the old and now abandoned path takes an exposed line high above the Chenab gorge as far as Atholi a new lower road is currently under construction and use. As the construction teams have blasted their way along the gorge it has left precarious bastions of gravity-defying high explosive shattered metamorphic rock. Only two days into the walk-in a substantial section of unsupported roof spontaneously disintegrated narrowly missing three members of the expedition. The blocked road was reopened several hours later after an impressive display of dynamite antics.

From Atholi the journey headed north for two days up the spectacular Bhut nala to the Buddhist village of Machail. This otherwise inconspicuous village has the unique distinction of receiving a mention in the Encyclopaedia Britannica in connection with sapphires. With a modicum of despair that our liaison officer had not accompanied the expedition, the resident police officer in Machail, who had been expecting us, was obliging in arranging local supplies from a village that otherwise has no shops.

Base camp was reached the following day some 6 km beyond the last village of Bhujwas. While there are many suitable sites in the valley for a camp, a small oasis under the imposing north face of Kishtwar Shivling (c6000 m) was chosen for its shelter from the midday sun under birch and availability of a healthy supply of water brought down from the Hagshu nala and filtered through fine sands.

After sufficient period of acclimatization exploring the nearby valleys and passes, Carl, Ian and Neil left base camp for an Alpine-ascent of the mountain. The first camp was located four hours away from base camp at the head of the valley on the lateral moraine of the Bholong glacier. After a high calorie evening meal including seven tins of meat, lan expressed his satisfaction by turning very pale and vomiting the entitre meal.

Early the following morning, a crumbling glacier snout was ascended In order to gain access to the higher glacier from which to approach thfe ramp. A tent was pitched near the top of the serac fall a safe distance from any potential rock fall and avalanches. The immediate onset of unfavourable weather brought heavy snows and poor visibility hampering progress over the following days. The tent was initially moved to a safer location as the frequency of large rocks cascading down a nearby gully increased as the weather worsened. Choosing to then move light, the lent was buried and bivvy bags in dug out coffins were used in preference at the foot of the ramp.

Prior to expectations, gaining the ramp line was relatively straight forward although there was an element of avalanche risk from the fresh unow cover. Carl broke trail for most of the day across the ramp, whereupon just as the weather appeared to be clearing it broke once again. Carl was compelled to sit out a stinker of a headache while Ian and Neil dug a snow-hole to shelter from the driving snow and sub-zero temperatures.

In contrast to the previous evening, the following morning brought a clear starlit sky. Bitterly cold before the sunrise, the enormous cornice capped ice-wall was ascended before the sun could reduce the wall to a serious avalanche risk. By chance, the imposing cornice which overhangs the entire summit ridge had a single break in its continuity In the form of a double cornice and which had not been visible from below. This fortunate point of least resistance was therefore overcome by skirting between the two to gain the summit ridge above. The way ahead to the summit now was up steep, hard-crusted soft snow with ri steep, 1500 m concave face to the south (left) and heavily corniced edge to the north (right). The snow was so deep underneath the crust that snow stakes were of no use and unable to reach any firm snow.

On reaching the rocky summit, there was just enough room to perch the three of us onto its triangular platform with the three precipices falling away on either side of us. The statutory summit photographs were taken with a cloudless backdrop of hundreds of snowy peaks.

The original intention of the expedition had been to complete a traverse of the mountain by descending the south face. In view of the soft snow it was decided in the interests of safety to reverse the ascent route instead. Returning below the cornice, abseils off ice screws in exposed solid ice were used for speed to reach the snow-hole. The intensity of the sun's rays in the mid afternoon inhibited .any form of vigorous activity so the time was passed in the snow-hole playing cards until the sun had cooled behind the mountain. The bottom of the ramp was reached by early evening and base camp the following day.

Our return base camp celebrations were curtailed by the discovery that the locally hired base camp cook had been rather partial to a nip of whisky. In our absence he had unceremoniously drunk the entire bottle.

The expedition left the valley a few days later after a large bonfire to destroy all the combustible material which had been meticulously brought down from the mountain as well as rubbish collected from the valley after a large Swiss trekking party passed through the valley heading towards the Umasi la. The weather broke once again where this time the torrential rains left the rivers in full spate. The departure from the valley necessitated the construction of two temporary bridges watched by a bemused party of idle French trekkers coming in the opposite direction.

As a foot note; the cache of unused gear left under boulders the previous year was finally collected and used in September by friends in the area with the aid of a 'treasure map'.

Photos 41 to 44

Summary: The second ascent of unnamed peak 6230 m at the nead of Bholong nala, east Kishtwar.



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IN RETROSPECT, it was the gang of four, Ravi Kamath, S. M. Faruk, Harshwardhan Subba Rao and Aloke Surin, from Bombay who had the most fun on 'The Climbers' (Bangalore) expedition to Brammah I (6416 m) in the Kishtwar Himalaya during August-September 1989.

In five days from the roadhead at Patimahal, which is about 29 km from Kishtwar, we established base camp (25 August) at Mirchin, on the right bank of the Brammah glacier, at the head of the Nanth nala. With the help of three local porters, an ABC was sited over the next three days at the head of the southern cwm of the Brammah glacier, just below the main Brammah icefall. This camp was occupied by Faruk, Harsha and Aloke on 29 August. Three ferries were made by the members up Clarke's original 1965 route to a dump point above the ice-shield.

The round trip took seven hours and included a steep gully, though everyone soloed the route at his own pace over this strictly crampon terrilory.

Some days were lost because of snowfall, Faruk having to go down because of a medical problem (the doctor was at the base), and Aloke being laid low with fever. In the meantime, Ravi, who started 10 days late r from Bombay, joined the team at ABC. The Bombay quartet was now complete. Chiddy, Niranjan and doc Krishna Mohan manned BC; the leader Kamlesh manned the fort at ABC with Shashi, our 18-year old Nepali trapeze artist-turned-cookboy. The adventures of Shashi deserve a book by themselves. In brief, he ran away from his home in Siligiri nine years ago and started working in circuses all over India and led a very picturesque life. His circus tales kept us regaled at ABC.



The climbing machinery wound into action again on 5 September when Faruk and Harsha climbed 900 m in nine hours and established and occupied a camp on the col between Flat Top and trie southeast ridge of Brammah.

The next day, while Kamlesh, Ravi and Aloke ferried more loads to the dump point, Faruk and Harsha came down from the col camp, picked up some loads and went back up.

On 7 September, Ravi and Aloke moved with bag and baggage to col camp. What started out as a bright, sunny day turned into a mild snow-storm by afternoon, but the pair managed to reach the co! in one piece, though exhausted and very cold. The first pair rested.

8 September saw Ravi thawing out, whilst Faruk and Aloke descended to the dump point and brought up the rest of the food and equipment. Harsha and Ravi later took some rope and gas cylinders further up the ridge.

The next day, all four helped establish C2, about three hours up the ridge, on the last piece of level ground big enough to accommodate two tents. Faruk and Aloke slept the night here while Harsha and Ravi descended to the col camp.

On 10 September, Aloke and Faruk completed a recce-cum-ferry four hours further up the ridge, to the start of the rocky section where the ridge becomes a knife-edge. They left a load of hardware, ropes, bivvy sacks, food, stove and cylinders which would be required to tackle the three rock gendarmes (considered the main technical difficulty on this route) and the 300 m of steep snow on the summit pyramid. That same evening, Harsha and Ravi came up and pitched their tent also.

The next day, Aloke, bothered by the lack of bulk food, went down to the col camp to pick up the last of our stock of khichri mix (enough for a meal and a half), a pressure cooker and a stove as the one at C2 was behaving in a fickle manner. The rest of the team spent the time sunbathing.

The 12 September weather was voted unsuitable for vertical progress; the next day proved to be unlucky. Running seriously out of food now, we ignored the thin black layer of clouds on the horizon to the south, over the Kibar nala and away over the plains of Jammu, and packed up in very cold and windy weather. By 7 a.m. we were climbing; after a few hours of sunshine, however, we were in a cloud by the time we reached our previous high point. Ravi and Faruk traversed the sharp and steep ridge a little further, but it was clear that we were in no position to climb to or past the first two gendarmes that day to reach a bivvy site. Short of sitting out the impending storm on that exposed ridge, there seemed to be no solution. Deeming discretion to be the better part of valour, we unplugged our gear off the rocks and retreated to our tents in a snow-storm. Having run out of both momentum and food, we cleared the mountain the next day, dragging and lowering a kit bag with all the stuff which would not tit intp our sacks. When the kit bag hurtled down a snow-slope towards the Kibar nala, retrieving it cost us another three hours. However, by 6 p.m. we had all reached the safety of ABC, to be met by Shashi, the two brothers Tim and James Strohfeldt, the lwo Australians who had retreated off the northeast ridge after 2-night bivvy in a snow-hole, and Ewald Ruff, a 53-year old ferociously fit German who was on his way to the Kibar nala over the col with one porter. It was almost a full moon now and that night the mountains shone cold, beautiful, and hard.

Photos 45 to 51



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WE DISCOVERED the Himalayan range from the plane that was taking us to Leh, the big glaciers of the main range and after Ihe large and dry zone of Rupshu. When the green patches of the Ladakhi villages appeared, we knew we were arriving. But, where were the summits, the glaciers and ridges of peak Kang Yissay ? We were to see them ten days later.

After walking over 100 km and crossing Ganda la (4900 m) we reached the base camp. It was very well situated at the base of the normal route to the peak and on the last earthly spot of moraine (5000 m) Westwards, we could see the whole Stok range with kaleidoscope colours and the Markha valley with dry and golden mountains.

The first day, we brought the equipment to the base of the glacier. We could find good passages through the rocks and the moraine which was less difficult to climb than I had thought.

On 20 July, we built the altitude camp (5600 m) on the narrow crest. The northern route to climb this peak is made up of three different parts. The first one is a rocky slope, easy to climb between 5000 m and 5400 m. Then, there is the crest, it's at times very narrow and falling 800 m on to the two glaciers. There is only one camp site for one or two tents at about 5600 m. It ends at 5900 m on a big plateau which is the summit of an enormous serac. This plateau is wide, flat and looks as if it was another world. From here you begin to see the Karakoram range.

The third part of the ascent is a large icy slope. It's 55°/60°. It's a very regular climb but avalanche-prone, when we arrived on the top, clouds were gathering and the wind was beginning to blow. But we had arrived. Nothing else was important. The hardest part was the last one because of the avalanches. I was quite frightened. Fortunately an avalanche had just come down before we arrived and we could climb3/4th of the slope on its icy passage.



On the top, I waved my arms so that our friends at the base camp could see us on the top. But it was 7a.m. and they were still sleeping. They saw us one hour later 200 m further down. We slept 2 hours at the altitude camp and arrived at the base camp at 1 p.m.

What a day ! What a climb !

Members: A. Bruzy (leader), J. Bordes, Anne Bruzy, M. Thevoz and E. Freylet.



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1. Matho Kangri I (6230 m), 1989, by Major H. S. Bawa

WE SELECTED MATHO KANGRI I (6230 m) being the most dominating peak in the area. It is located in the Zanskar range. It was earlier scaled only once by a Japanese expedition during 1985. No Indian team had attempted this peak so far.

* Matho Kangri is a group of four peaks SE of Leh. Highest of the group. Matho Kangri I (6230 m) was also called 'Van Kangri' by the Japanese
team which made the first ascent in 1985. See note at the end. — Ed.

From 8 to 13 August the team did acclimatization at Leh. From 14 to 23 August 1989 the team was given training in and around Leh. There were two routes for approaching the peak.

(a) Route One: Leh-Choglamsar-Tikse-Sle-Marskelong-Sung Shange Phu-Peak.

(b) Route Two: Leh-Choglamsar-Tikse-Matho-Sumdo-Yan-Zurle Marke-Kuang-Peak.

After recce, the team decided to follow the second route.

On 24 August 1989 we were at the roadhead, Matho village. 25th was a clear sunny day. The team started in the morning for the base camp which was about 17 km and one day-journey from the roadhead. Base camp (4570 m) was established during the training period 18 to 23 August.

26th was once again a clear day and the team started for Cl which wads one day's journey from the base camp and was established by evening. It started snowing on 27th and weather remained bad till 30th. The team was at Cl for 5 days.

31st was a clear day. The team had decided to assault the peak on this very day, without establishing C2. The Japanese team who scaled Yan Kangri' (see note) in 1985 had established C2. Seeing the physical litness of the team the leader decided that they would climb the peak directly. Sure enough, on this historic day 'Shakti Mountaineering Expedition' started climbing at 4 a.m. and reached the peak at 10.15 a.m. By 10.45a.m. all the four ropes reached the peak. Three members were sent back from just short of the peak tb Cl because of lireathlessness. Out of 24 members 21 members scaled the peak. The 21 member team was on the peak for 15 minutes and then started back. From Cl to peak, they faced technical difficulties. 500 m short of the summit, ropes upto 100 m were fixed as there was no other way of reaching up.

On 2 September the team reached the roadhead.

This 26 member Indian army team was led by Major H. S. Bawa and was from AOC Centre, Secunderabad, India.

2. Matho Kangri I and III expedition, 1989, by B. P. Singh

This year 'AAROHI' Bihar, India, organised an expedition to Matho Kangri in Ladakh. They climbed two peaks withip five days, Matho Kangri I (Yan Kangri) (6230 m) and Matho Kangri III (6121 m). The team was led by Babban Prasad Singh.

Matho Kangri range consists of four distinctive mountain peaks. They are (i) Matho Kangri I (Yan - name given by the 1985 Japanese team) (6230 m), (ii) Matho Kangri II, (iii) Matho Kangri III (6121 m) and (iv) Matho Kangri IV.

Ten members with three HAPs established base camp (4270 m). We established Cl (5490 m) for Matho Kangri. Three members, B. P. Singh, Sudhir Kumar, M. M. Singh along with HAP Cherring Lotto and our guide Chawang Norbu occupied this camp on 11 September. The next next morning at 5.00 a.m. they started climbing up. The climb was difficult due to steep gradient and slippery rocks. The loose soil made the going very slow. Several rock bands were negotiated and the five man team came to a sharp ice covered ridge on the left of the peak. Nearly 80 m of ropes were fixed and the climb continued. While M. M. Singh was jumaring a vertical wall, he slipped and fell down about 15 m but was saved due to the ropes. He caught hold of an earlier fixed snow-bar (fixed by the Japanese team) and the snow-bar came out of its mooring. Norbu immediately rushed to him and helped him to the ridge. By 11.45 a.m. everybody reached the summit of Matho Kangri I. After spending an hour there and taking back three Japanese flags the team started down and reached the advanced camp without any incident.

In the meantime, a party occupied another advance camp for Matho Kangri HI on the 12th. In the morning of 13th heavy snowfall started from 3 a.m. and weather deteriorated. After giving a try upto 5790 m the climb was aborted and this team of five came down to base camp.

It would have been a shame not climb Matho Kangri HI when the time was there and a second team of four, consisting of B. P. Singh. Srikant Srivastava, Dilip Kumar and B. K. Srivastava (handicapped member) tried for the peak without any porter. They reached the advance camp on the 15th. Next morning they started for the peak early by 5 a.m. Loose stones, rock bands and snow-face posed some difficulties, but were negotiated with great care. After eight hours of continuous struggle the team reached the peak by 1 p.m.


Names given to these peaks originate from the villages at its foot. Yan is a small village based on which the 1985 Japanese team had named the highest peak as 'Yan Kangri'. Masho or Matho is another village situated at the bottom of the valley with both names mentioned in the Gazetteer. However the Survey of India map names the river draining the valley as 'Masho river' Some Japanese maps mention the ridge as 'Masho mountains' and the main peak as 'Yan All this is likely to cause confusion in the identification of the peaks. It is suggested that the range should be called 'Matho mountains' with peaks named and numbered as Matho Kangri" I to IV until better and recent survey maps are available. — Ed.



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FOSCO MARIANI wrote, 'Mamostong Kangri (7516 m) com¬prises of rows of complicated rock peaks which hold walls and ridges of uncompromising steepness and promise to be prime targets for bigwall-style climbing in the near future.'

A team of 20 climbers and 10 support members were selected for our expedition and left Delhi on 27 June 1989. Team had its roadhead Sasoma. The route from Sasoma went up the famous 36 'U' bends up the Tulum Puti la and there on followed along Tulum Puti nala, till we crossed over the nala at Skyangpoche to get on to Mamostong glacier. It took us two days to reach our base camp which was set up next to the snout cf the glacier on 15 July.

Maj Yadav alongwith six members opened the route for Cl (5100 m). The route went over the lateral moraine and a tributary glacier then again followed the lateral moraine and finally culminated at a medial moraine. Cl was located at a place where many feeder glaciers met the main glacier on 18 July. Vajra with three members occupied Cl and left to open C2 in cloudy weather. Mamostong glacier from here becomes little steep and turns sharply to the right. They opened the route for 3 km among crevasses and it took them seven hours.

Yadav and GK joined Vajra at Cl on the next day. Though the weather continued to be bad, Yadav with others opened the route to C2 at the head of Mamostong glacier below the 'Mamostong Col' (5885 m) which is the gateway to Thangman glacier. After stocking C2 for three days, it was occupied by Mittal with three others on 25 July. The very next day they opened the route across the Mamostong Col fixing five ropes on either side and going over a vast expense of snowfield of Thangman glacier to C3 (6000 m). The col gave a gentle look but deep soft snow on its steep slopes took lot of energy out of the climbers. Thangman side of the col was corniced and the fixed rope went over a snow-bridge on a huge bergschrund. C3 was sited little away from the icefall which was our next hurdle.1


  1. For detailed sketch map, see Article 13 in this issue.


Y. C. Chhibber. deputy leader with six members reached C2 on 26 July to stock C3. On 29 July a clear sunny day MP, GK, Nanak, Negi and Uorjee occupied C3 to open C4. 30 July faced extremely bad weather with westerly winds penetrating cold into bones. The ferocity of strong blizzard and complete white-out forced the members at C3 to confine themselves to the tents. There was no improvement in the weather on the next day and C2 was vacated. There was no movement for the next three days due to continued hostile weather. The weather finally cleared on 3 August and Yadav, GK, Nanak, Mewa, Sultan and Dorjee occupied C3 once again.

View from Mamostong glacier: Mamostong Kangri 11 (left), 1 (right) 'Mamostong Col' (extreme right)

View from Mamostong glacier: Mamostong Kangri 11 (left), 1 (right) 'Mamostong Col' (extreme right) (Maj M. P. Yadav)

Route above C3 was through an icefall of 500 m. Five ropes were fixed to secure route through icefall which was criss-crossed with numerous crevasses. Beyond this there was a snowfield which led to east ridge. C4 was on the east ridge and was very windy. Two tents were pitched after digging into snow. Tents were anchored with help of snow-stakes and ropes. C4 (6600 m) was established and occupied on 6 August and stocking continued on 7, 8 and 9 August while route above C4 was beinq opened.

Route above C4 was along the wind swept east ridge and hanging glacier. Circumventing the hanging glacier, route was opened on 7 August. Soft snow on very steep slope posed problems in fixing the rope. Ice pitons were of no use. Only snow-stakes of about 1 m size could be used. These too had to be packed up with snow. 8 August was also spent opening the route and fixing rope. It was a tiring day. Rope was fixed upto 7300 m. Steep gradient upto 70°, with soft-snow, was encountered all through which made the climb difficult and tiring.

On 10 August first summit team, comprising of two ropes of three members each left C4 at 4.30 a.m.' in adverse weather conditions. The first rope consisted of the leader, Capt Gurdyal Singh and Nanak Chand and the second rope had N. K. Mewa Singh, G. K. Sharma and Thondup Dorjee. The party moved with torches till they reached starting point of the fixed rope in half an hour. Fresh snow had almost buried the rope. The party started ascending with the help of the fixed ropes. The first crevasse was encountered at about 6a.m. The rope had already been fixed while securing the route on previous days. The route went ever a snow-bridge. The crevasse was crossed with utmost care. Altimeter carried by Yadav became quite handy. It showed a reading of ('K95 m. The gradient of the slope increased from 60 to 70° on the ridge which made the progress slower. Soft snow was not giving enough loothold. At times, soft snow in the form of small avalanche was rolling down making the ascent more difficult.

It seemed that the weather would clear up but then within few minutes westerlies would start whitening out the complete ridge with .iccompanying snowfall. It was around 6.45 a.m. tney noticed a crevasse on Chong Kumdan side which was vanishing in the soft snow almost in the centre of the ridge. Their route traversed from left. This crevasse seemed to be a permanent feature. The gradient was becoming steeper with breathlessness. They had rest and continued their ascent in that rough weather. At 8.15 a.m. they came across a rope of Ladakh Scout 1988 expedition which had thinned down due to tension. The rope was passing over their head and showed that the snow must have been very high during the time of their ascent in May 1988. Nanak Chand duly roped up tried to cross the crevasse where it had narrowed down but fell into it and fall was arrested. They moved little to the left and found a crossing place. Belaying each other they crossed the obstacle safely. At about 9.30 a.m. they were on top of the first hump. Yadav, looked at the altimeter which showed 7410 m. The narrow ridge joining the hump and summit seemed to have eased down. As per the altimeter they were still short of summit by 106 m or so.

They had roped up while crossing the crevasse and remained roped even on the ridge. Strong winds were lashing their faces with soft snow. There was alwaus a danger of being blown off towards Thangman glacier. They wanted to remain on the Chong Kumdan side but as there was a sheer drop of almost 2000 m from the ridge they had to keep themselves moving on the Thangman side. They were on the summit at 11 a.m. Weather still being bad, they could hardly click any snaps. It had been a tiring day but the joy of reaching summit made all of them look fresh for a moment. The summit team returned back to C4 to be welcomed by the support party.

Second summit team consisting of Chhibber, Mittal, Vajra, Sunil, Hardev and Scout Dorjee left C4 at 4 a.m. next day under overcast sky with light snowfall. By 5 a.m. it was totally cloudy and visibility was restricted to 5 m. They came across a lateral crevasse which was 1 m wide at a slope of 70°. Team moved along crevasse under complete white-out conditions to find another crossing place but no snow-bridge existing except the one which had collapsed. At 1 p.m. having spent 3 hours team was still unable to cross or find a alternative route under white-out conditions and by then strong blizzard had added to the misery. Team decided to return having reached 7310 m.

To provide young climbers greater exposure and to build confidence in them it was decided to attempt the two unnamed virgin peaks near our C3, on Thangman glacier. These tested the skill of the young climbers. For the peak of 6235 m, five ropes had to be fixed.

On 11 August, five members climbed peak 6190 m and on 13 August, 14 members climbed these peaks (10 members climbed peak 6235 m and four climbed peak 6190 m). Thus almost all members had the opportunity to reach the summit of a peak.

Mamostong Kangri, through climbed once again, was never conquered. It remains as majestic as ever.

Note: Mamostong Kangri (7516 m) was first climbed in 1984 by the Indo-Japanese Expedition (H.J. Vol. 41, p. 97). Second ascent was made in 1988 by a different approach route from the east (See Article 12 in this issue). The present expedition achieved the third ascent by the 1984 route, — Ed.



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HAWK IS THE MOST reticent of men. To write about him for the public eye is like performing an indecent act of exposure. He never talks about himself and can rarely be drawn into discussing other people. This refusal to discuss personalities, to deal in the small change of conventional social chatter—is the reflection of a sympathetic and tolerant nature; but superficially it can give the impression that Hawk is remote, withdrawn, self-sufficent—even scornful.

He is, perhaps, more self-sufficient than most; certainly he is completely self-reliant : but not withdrawn, remote, or scornful. No one like that could have his large circle pf widely-differing friends, or keep Ihi'iu longer. Not that he looks for them; it is they who are attracted to him by his originality and by his natural kindness and sympathy.

* Reproduced from The Record: The Oxford University Press Paper (December 1970 issue) with the permission of the Oxford University Press. — Ed.

lt is paradoxical that someone so totally incapable of self advertisement and unconcerned to be the centre of attraction as he is should be a man round whom legends grow. There is a story told In America of an Englishman rescued from the ice-cold tundra in Alaska where he 'happened' to be going for a walk. 'A crazy publisher : I can't remember his name,' said the storyteller. 'Hawkins, perhaps?' luggested my informant. 'I believe you're right. He came from the tropics and I guess he wanted to cool off for a bit. But how did you know his name ? ' Clearly it must have been Hawk. Who else could it have been ? His passion for walking, for the open air, for natural history—specially ornithology—is well known. Four of his former colleagues in India, whom 1 asked for anecdotes about Hawk, all told of weekend walks in his company. (Three of them, incidentally, could not resist adding—since this made their idol human—that he lost the way.).

Hawk doesn't completely deny the Alaska story. He did once stop off an aeroplane in Anchorage and spent the day walking and found the going quite difficult. But the suggestion that anything dramatic occurred, that he was rescued, frozen to the armpits, by a passing USAF lorry whose crew threw him a life-line and then slowly hauled him to safety, he completely rejects. One automatically accepts his account, because he is incapable of departing from the literal truth. But it is an indication of the strength and originality of his character that such stories collect round him.

He sees events and people as they are. And with that one eye of his—truly hawk-like—there is not much he does not see. Sometimes a little pleased with the appearance of a book one had produced, one sent him a copy. Promptly it would be acknowledged, and criticized with kindness; but on a separate page (for convenience in filing) there would be a list of suggestions and corrections for the next printing which one's own two eyes had missed.

Hawk's influence, which he makes no efffort to assert, is enormous and abiding. We hardly ever worked in the same office or even lived in the same city for more than a fortnight at a time, but when I left the Indian Branch old friends of his over here told me I not only had some of his mannerisms but had even acquired the same tone of voice. Admiration had made me try to copy his systematic and conscientious way of working, but I was unaware that his example had made a physical impression on me. I now believe it may have done so because I note Hawk-like gestures and turns of phrase in other colleagues who have returned from India. Evidently we were all unconsciously moulded by a master who never tried to teach or influence us in any way. We saw him at work, we read his memoranda, we discussed our problems with him, but he did not instruct us; we were free to make our own mistakes. A young colleague wrote to me: 'Advise would never be proffered; to give it would be. foolish, I imagine him to say, unless the recipient asks for it. Let him watch instead, Hawk with his friend Salim Ali, the ornithologist, their heads down over their proofs, birdlike in their pose caring that accents and spacings were entirely accurate and constant. I was infected during these months with the sense of Hawk's concern for detail, with his faith in method rather than inspiration, and with his totally professional manner in talking with the authors who came to visit him.'

Hawk's authors, whose books covered the walls of his office in Oxford House, Bombay, provide his monument. While his three predecessors held office for seven, eight, or nine years, he has worked forty years with the Press, all of them in India, and thirty-three of them as General Manager of the Branch. In that time he has published some remarkable books. It was he who found, encouraged, and first published Jim Corbett and who persuaded his friend Minoo Masani to write Our India—a runaway bestseller in India—and a succession of other books well in advance of their time in both appearance and content. He was counsellor and friend, as well as publisher, of Verrier El win, whose work's would be an ornament to any publisher's list. Another author, K. P. S. Menon, India's ambassador in both Peking and Moscow for many years, has recently told publicly of his debt to Hawk's scrupulous editing. Hawk has always attracted the writer intellectuals, and artists in the land. The walls of his flat are covered with the paintings he has collected. His own interest in ornithology is shown in the list of bird books published by the Indian Branch. His attitude to publishing is that of the scholar. Anything slipshod, or any failure by author or editor to check his references, is anathema.

In some ways the year 1930, when Hawk arrived in India, was a watershed in the relations between the countries. It was impossible from then onwards for Englishmen in India not to take a positive stand for or against the nationalist movement. There was never any doubt where Hawk stood, and this, added to his entirely individual outlook on life, gave him the appearance of being a rebel. Remembering this, and admiring his natural inability to conform (the very opposite of a conscious desire or attempt to go against received opinion), I was amazed to hear him described by a recent visitor to Bombay as 'a survival of the days of the raj'. I protested; 'Hawk is a rebel and always has been.' 'You may be right.' I was told; 'all I mean is that Mr. Hawkins has the manners, the courtesy, and the love for India that I associate with the best of the British raj.'

Roy E. Hawkins

52. Roy E. Hawkins (Foy Nissen)

Soli S Mehta

53. Soli S Mehta (Harish Kapadia)


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