P. M. DAS
1. Chummakhang East, 1990.
A first ascent by the Sonam Gvatso Mountaineering Institute, Gangtok.
NORTH SIKKIM IS relatively uncrowded by expeditions and trekkers and so fields a number of peaks ranging from 5000 m to 7000 m which have not been climbed or have received few ascents. In 1938 Tilman returned from Tibet over the Naku la, west of Chomoyummo peak into Lhonak, into the Tasha Chhu and made the first ascent of Laschi (6212 m). This peak is also called Chummakhang main peak.1 In October 1946 an expedition led by T. H. Braham made an attempt on Chummakhang but they were beaten back by difficult icefalls and heavy snow.2 Our target was a separate peak at the head of the same Chummakhangse glacier from which Chummakhang (6212 m) originates. This mountain was unclimbed because of its formidable hanging glaciers and icefalls in its approaches. Lying southwest of Chomoyummo and being on the same connecting ridge Chummakhang and on the same glacier, we have referred to it as 'Chummakhang East' (6050 m) and it is clearly marked in Survey of India Sheet No. 78 A/9 on the scale 1 : 50,000. Our ascent route was along the southeast face which was steep but relatively safe from falling rock and ice.
A recce of this area was conducted by me alongwith two instructors in late winter in 1990 from which much knowledge of the topography, the terrain, the snow conditions, possible routes and camp sites was added. A study of the weather report for the last five years in the Sikkim Himalaya was also made. Eventually, the team left Gangtok on 31 May and acclimatization was done at Thangu during which nearby ridges were climbed for views of our objective. Base camp was established after two hours motoring beyond Yongdi by the Tista river at 4200 m and was occupied on 3 June. This base camp was conveniently located near the roadhead and we were able to dispense with porters and mules.
During the next few days, the team trained on rock and ice. The rock around base camp was found to be excellent for free climbing being endowed with natural holds on firm granite. A number of routes were also set up by our instructors on difficult cracks during our training sessions. A recce team consisting of three members was sent up the Tasha Chhu. After two days, they returned to the base and reported that the chances of approaching the Chummakhangse glacier from the west were bleak. Thereafter, another recce was conducted by me and two members from the southeast while two members conducted a recce directly up the icefall of the Chummakhangse. On return it was concluded that the peak offered reasonable camp sites along the southeast face and a decision was made to commit ourselves to this route.
On 8 June with the rest of the team helping in the ferrying of loads, Nima Wangchu, Pasang Lakhpa, P.W. Sherpa and myself opened the route and occupied advance base camp (4820 m) on a moraine on the left of the Chummakhanqse icefall. My Bhutanese terrier. Ajeeba, also shared this camp with us. On 9 June the route to Cl (5200 m) was opened and occupied by the four of us. This camp at the base of the southeast face was reached after crossing the southwest ridge which comes down from the summit and we were able to appreciate the 850 m of climbing left. On the same day Nima Wangchu and Pasang Lakhpa broke trail through the soft snow for two hours above Cl to facilitate quick movement on the next day. Thereafter, the weather deteriorated and it snowed heavily for the next two days. I decided that all members should return to base camp to wait out the period of bad weather. On 12 June the weather cleared and nine of us moved upto ABC and on to Cl on the same day. On 13 June we left Cl at 0515 hours climbing on three ropes. Nima Wangchu. Pasang Lakhpa and P.W. Sherpa were on the first rope followed by Kesang Tshering, Pasang Sherpa and Vum Suan on the second rope. Nawang Kalden, S. K. Beniwal and myself moved up on the third rope. Within the ropes, the leads were changed but as we ascended the vertical ice-cliffs, Nima did a good lead and the first rope was able to fix 300 m of rope on ice. The day was warm and the sky was clear initially and we were accorded superb views of Siniolchu and the Kangchenjunga group on our left while Chomoyummo, Kangchengyao and Gurudongmar loomed behind us and to the right. After five hours of climbing on steep ice, we reached a long snow-plateau on the summit ridge. While walking up this gentle ground, a couple of surprises were thrown at us by the concealed crevasses. Finally the summit was reached at 1100 hours. The snow along the summit was corniced towards the west and northwest and a long connecting ridge with Chummakhang main peak could be made out. Towards the eastern side were steep drops along rockwalls towards the base of Chomoyummo.
The ritual of photographs, hoisting of flags and prayers over, I drove an aluminium stake on the summit and we descended at 1200 hours. We reached Cl for hot brews and descended to ABC. Both camps were wound up with the help of the rest of the team and we were all back in base camp by 1900 hours. During the next few days, we explored the valleys of the Lasha Chu and Yulekhangcha and the lakes of Gyapji Chho and Sugu Chho. The pass of Langdi la and a col alonq the ridge running south from Chummakhang main peak were reached. The area abounds in different varieties of dwarf rhododendron which were abloom-at this time and I spent three days with Nima stalking bharal, Tibetan snowcock and snow partridges, some of which we managed to photograph. The team eventually returned to Gangtok on 19 June in pouring rain but satisfied with a good climbing season.
Summiters: Nima Wangchu. Nawang Kalden, Pasang Lakhpa. P.W. Sherpa, Kesang Tshering, Pasang Sherpa, Vum Suan, S. K. Beniwal & P. M. Das (leader).
Summary: Chummakhang East (6050 m). The first ascent on 13 June 1990.
2. Pauhunri, 1989
Sonam Gyatso Mountaineering Institute Pauhunri Expedition, 1989
The expedition led by Sonam Wangyal, made the 5th ascent of the Pauhunri (7125 m) on the Sikkim - Tibet watershed. The team followed the approach by the Tista river and made the ascent from the north. Base camp was established at Chholamo (5099 m). Advance base camp was established at Kangchungcho (5343 m) and Cl was established at 6209 m on a col. From there the summit was reached in seven and half hours of climbing by three members of the expedition, Nawang Kalden, Nima Wangchu and Pasang Lakhpa, all instructors of the institute, on 1 November 1989. High velocity winds touching upto 130 km per hour were experienced by the summit team.
The route from Cl to the summit was made difficult by a steep ice-slope of 150 m which was negotiated after fixing 500 m fixed rope most of which was fixed by instructor Nima Wangchu. The route from the last camp was long since there was no suitable place to pitch another camp.
|Dates of the expedition
|Departure from Gangtok
|Establishing of base camp (5099 m) at Chholamo
|Establishing of advance base camp (5343 m) at Kangchungcho
|Establishment of Cl (6209 m)
|Date of ascent
|Date of winding up of ABC
|Date of winding up of base camp
|Return to Gangtok
The peak is best climbed in the post monsoon season. Even though the peak has been climbed from the northeast and the northern sides, the difficult northwest face offers sufficient challenge to future mountaineers. The roadhead of the expedition was at Chholamo and transportation of loads was done by yaks from Chholamo to advance base camp at 5343 m as porters are not easily available.
Ascents of Pauhunri (7125 m) :
|16 June 1910
|Dr. A.M. Kellas. Sonam and one HAP (British team)
|A.J. 196, p. 113
|24 September 1945
|C.W.F. Noyce, Ang Tharkay and Nangar (British team)
|H.J. Vol. XIII p. 70
|24 September 1949
|R. Walter and party (French team)
|Berge der Welt issue no. 7
|20 September 1983
|Bala Ram, Gurung, Shyam Bahadur Thapa, Prem Singh, Dandi Sherpa and Nima Joshi (Indian Army team led by Col V. Y. Bhave)
|H.J. Vol. 40, p. 154.
|1 November 1989
|Nawang Kalden, Nima Wangchu, Pasang Lakhpa (S.G.M. Institute, Indian team led by Sonam Wangyal)
|H.J. Vol. 47
The first three ascents were via the NE-N face, from the Tibetan side. The last two from the NW approaches to N ridge, from the Sikkim side.
Summary: The first ascent of Chummakhang East (6050 m) on 13 June 1990 and fifth ascent of Pauhunri (7125 m) on 1 November 1989 by teams from- Sonam Gyatso Mountaineering Institute, Sikkim.
COMMANDANT N. SHERPA
THE IDEA of the Gorichen expedition was mooted by Assam Rifles in 1985. But due to one reason or the other, it did not materialise till October 1989.
A team comp/ising 3 officers (including one medical officer), 1 junior commissioned officer and 16 other ranks under the leadership of Commandant N. Sherpa, VSM, undertook the challenging task of scaling the formidable Gorichen.
The team concentrated at Lokra in the second week of August and was given extensive training under Nb Sub R. B. Ghale, an experienced mountaineer.
Under the supervision of the leader, the team was moved to Jang on 6 September 1989 for the first stage of acclimatization. The team left Jang on the 20th and reached Mago on the 24th.
On the 30th the team moved from Mago at 0900 hours and reached Jithang and halted for the night. Next day on 1 October the team started from Jithang and reached Merathang for the night halt. The team reached Chokarsham base camp on the 2nd. Same day the leader sent a recce party towards Pt. 5806 to find out place of advance base camp.
28. Nuptse SW face with NW summit. Route of ascent marked. Note 6 (Ralf Dujmovits)
29. On the NW summit of Nuptse. Rto I: Nuptse central summit, Nuptse main summit, Lhotse and Everest. Note 6 (Ralf Dujmovits)
On the 3rd the team established advance base camp and sent another recce party for Cl. On the 4th they established Cl and the leader with remaining party reached advance base camp on the same day. The recce party led by Nk Sonam Lepcha scaled Pt. 6247 at 1200 hours on 4 October.
On the 5th morning Nk Sonam Lepcha and party were sent at 0300 hours for finding a route to the peak and if possible to climb it. Nk Sonam Lepcha assisted by Nk Ganju Sherpa, Lnk Shiv Kumar Chhetri. Rfn Phurba Monpa and high altitude expert Sherpa Phurba from Darjeeling started from Cl.
The climb to the peak from Pt. 6247 was really very difficult. The party, as directed by the leader followed the southeastern route along the ridge line. A part of the climb was full of ice over the rocks which made the going further difficult. Nb Sub R.B. Ghale and other four members were sent as back-up party along the same route. Unfortunately Ghale's party while negotiating a steep climb to Pt. 6247, rolled down about 100 m. The whole rope was in trouble, Nb Sub R.B. Ghale and both the ropes were in contact with the leader who was watching the progress through a binocular.
Rolling down of Ghale's party did not panic others.. Nk Sonam's party proceeded with great care towards the peak. Nk Sub Ghale s rope suffered two casualties for whom evacuation had to be arranged. Fvacuation of the injured persons was a more hazardous task than (limbing the peak. However, everything went off well, the two injured persons were evacuated to the base camp which took 7 hours and from there, on the 6th morning, a helicopter took them to Tezpur military hospital. Unfortunately, the food stuff and the camera and other requirements were being carried by this party. The leader then asked Ghale to send two volunteers from his rope with the stores. Rfn Tsering Monpa and his mate Rfn Tsering went up with the camera. By that time, they were already late to catch up with the first party. However, they made a bold attempt and ultimately reached the top after two hours at 1330 hours. The first party had reached the top at 1130 hours and had to wait there till 1330 hours. When they all met, they took photographs and placed Assam Rifles flag and national tricolour, one ice axe and a cap on the top of Gorichen II (6488 m).
Thus the expedition to Gorichen was completed and the team successfully added a feather to Assam Rifles', mountaineering history.
Summiters: Lnk Shiv Kumar, Rfn Phurpa Dondup, Rfn Tsering Monpa, Nk Ganju Sherpa, Nk Sonam Lepcha. Leader of the team was Commandant N. Sherpa.
Note: From the available details and maps it appears that the team has climbed Gorichen II (6488 m). Gorichen I (6858 m) is further to the north. — Ed.
Summary : An ascent of Gorichen II (6488 m) in Arunachal Pradesh on 5 October, 1989 by a team from Assam Rifles, India.
Distances to Gorichen (Arunachal Pradesh Himalaya) :
The motorable road runs from Bomdilla to Tawang via Dirang, Sela pass and Jang. For Gorichen area Jang is the roadhead.
|Lokra to Dirang
|Dirang to Sela pass
|Sela to Jang
|Jang to Thimbu
|Thimbu to Mago
|Mago to Jithang
|Jithang to Merathang
|Merathang to Chokarsham
|Chokarsham to Pt. 5806 m
|Pt. 5806 m to Pt. 6247 m
|Pt. 6247 m to Gorichen II (6488 m)
(Reprinted from The Custodian 1990 with the kind permission of the editor)
DR RAVI RUPWATE AND DR MILIND CHITALEY
THE EXPEDITION WAS organised by 'Girivihar', a Bombay based club, in the months of March to June 1988 to Kangchenjunga (8586 ml.1 A team of 24 members was formed about 2 years before the final attempt which included civilians from all walks of life'; accountants, businessmen, engineer, police inspector, lawyer and scientists.
All the team members were thoroughly examined at Seth G.S. Medical College and K.E.M. Hospital, Bombay, and careful medical history was taken with particular reference to illnesses on previous expeditions.
The usual inoculations for cholera, typhoid, tetanus were carried out one month prior to final departure. We did not consider it necessary to give BCG, polio vaccinations, gamma-globulin prophylaxis nor any antimalarial tablets since it is evident from other reports that malaria is relatively uncommon in Nepal.
Each member's cardio pulmonary exercise testing with PK Morgans Magna 88 computer system and complete spirometic lung functions were done at KEM hospital. Only one member was found to have higher blood pressure at rest, but he didn't get any problem from it during the entire expedition.
The total weight of medical supplies was 195 kg and delicate packing was done in 17 polythene boxes which were carried by 8 porters upto the base camp. In addition every member carried his own first-aid kit above C2 and both of us carried a comprehensive medical kit wherever we went. At the base camp and at the advance base camp (C4) there was allowance for a purely medical tent for day to day treatment and for replenishment of stocks at other camps. This system worked well but at higher camps priority was given to oxygen, food and other equipments than to medical packs.
All the team members had previous altitude and Himalayan experience but none had gone above 8000 m. Regular fitness exercises in form of running, jogging, cycling, yoga and rock climbing were carried out and most members had done mountaineering courses at approved institutions in India successfully.
1. Illnesses on the approach march
Usual discomforts of blisters, infected wounds, loose motions were observed by us. Members were eating any local preparations and used to drink chang, rakshi and tomba (local alcoholic home made beverages) on the trip. Only precaution taken was to use boiled water while on march.
2. Illnesses on the mountain
The stay at Ramsej (4750 m) for 3-4 days and the trek to base camp (5550 m) in next 2-3 days contributed much to the acclimatization.
(b) Pulmonary oedema
We had one porter developing pulmonary oedema at Ramsej (4750 m) while doing load ferry and Dr Chitaley had to take him down to Torangtan (3050 m) where he made a rapid recovery. Another porter developed acute pulmonary oedema at C2 (6400 m) and was brought down to base camp immediately by two members. He required nasal oxygen, intravenous diuretics for relief of symptoms and luckily he could go up to C2 again after 5 days of complete recovery.
(c) Hypothermia and frostbite
Previous experiences of team members of high altitude and cold, and excellent equipment made this possibility a rare event. Two members were given pentoxyphylline tablets for continuous pains in both lower limbs with tingling and numbness with evident cyanosis. Both made good subjective and objective improvement in a period of four weeks.
Two of our members who could reach above 8000 m developed frostbites on fingers of hands and feet. They were given intravenous trental (pentoxyphylline) immediately and were flown to Bombay for hyperbaric oxygen treatment where they made a rapid recovery without surgical intervention.
Minor chilblains of lower limb fingers was seen in 70% of the members which were relieved in 4-6 weeks at sea level without any active treatment.
(d) Sunburns and snow-blindness
We carried a variety of anti-sunburn creams and lotions. Severe sunburn was not a problem but painful noses were seen in almost 80% of the members. Regular wearing of snow-goggles by all members prevented snowblindness but, many porters regularly complained of this due to dislike of wearing goggles especially in the morning hours.
(e) Other illnesses
Two high altitude porters continuously complained of non-specific chest pain and one was found to have Mitral Valve Prolapse on clinical examination. One porter was advised to undergo cardiac evaluation at the nearest cardiac centre. The other porter responded well to analgesics and sedatives at night where no objective evidence could be located.
High altitude dry cough was a universal problem which was most difficult to alleviate at night. A variety of cough syrups and lozenges were tried but most of them responded well to syruo linctus codine.
The only female member developed typical symptoms of breathlessness at base camp with wheezing and dry cough at night 'imes, with bilateral extensive rhonchi on auscultation which responded well to bronchodilator tablets and she didn't require any medication at lower camps, though she didn't have similar complaints at sea level nor on any previous Himalayan experience.
A cooking gas cylinder explosion at C'2. caused minor facial burns to one team member who made rapid recovery without any sequelae.
Regular nasal bleeding and passage of blood in the stools was a problem at higher camps where no local pathology could be found as a cause and subsided on its own after coming to lower camps.
The average weight loss at end of expedition (after 90 days) was about 5-8 kg in the members.
Though the morale of the team members was high throughout the entire course which certainly contributed to lack of serious illness, two members developed severe home sickness due to prolonged duration of expedition (almost 90 days) but were cheerful during the return march.
One porter had head injury due to stone-fall causing fractured nasal and maxillary bone with black eye and four broken teeth. He was stabilized with preliminary treatment at Ramsej and subsequently shifted to hospital at Biratnagar where he underwent surgical correction.
We were deeply affected by the sad death of our deputy leader Sanjay Borole due to severe exhaustion and exposure to cold while he was being carried down from C3 to C2 by two members and two high altitude porters at the end of the expedition. He was a good friend of all the team members and had a great psychological impact on the whole team. He could not be examined at that time, but he had apparently over exerted himself, suffered prolonged exposure due to extreme cold and developed pulmonary oedema. He was not autopsied.
3. Illness on the return march
Return journey was shortened to 7 days and no major problems were seen during that period except pain in the joints of lower limbs due to long tiring ups and down in the mountains. This eastern Nepal Himalayan range is full of leeches in May-June months which caused great concern to all in return march and it was a terrible sight to see painless continuous bleeding wounds on any part of the body invaded by leeches.
Note: For further details, see 'Cardiopulmonary Functional Changes in Acute Acclimatisation to High Altitude in Mountaineers' by R.U. Rupwate, M. Chitaley and S.R. Kamat in European Journal of Epidemology, Vol. 6, September 1990, Pp. 266-272. — Ed.
Summary: Details of medical observations on the Indian expedition to Kangchenjunga (8586 m) in pre-monsoon period 1988.
ISABEL B. McCONNELL
THE IDEA FOR ON TOP EVEREST '89, a climbing-research expedition, began in 1980 with Walter L. McDonnell, M.D. and Robert Reynolds, Ph.D., nutritionist with the United States Department of Agriculture. Not until 22 July 1988 was a permit granted to a team of fourteen climbers for the South Col, standard Hillary route, for the pre-monsoon season of 1989. The group's official title was the American/Nepalese/Mexican expedition. Headquarters was located in the state of New Jersey.
Choronology of Expedition
7 January 1989:
Over 2 tons of food, supplies and equipment leave Beltsville, Maryland by truck for Los Angeles, followed closely by R. Reynolds and wife Becky to Kathmandu. US Embassy helpful in admitting to Nepal scientific instruments.
19 February :
Team's departure from Los Angeles to Bangkok.
Travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and to Kota Kinabalu on the island of Borneo, Sabah State. Main event was team training and publicity climb of Kinabalu a 1830 m vertical ascent of 4096 m peak in a rainstorm.
Arrival in Kathmandu.
Fly to Lukla and begin trek to base camp.
ON TOP EVEREST is first of 6 expeditions to arrive at base camp. Sherpas had already constructed dining, cook-storage and research shelters.
Cl (5790 m) was reached. Icefall route took 18 days to set through difficult conditions, called 'dangerous' by Sherpas. Sherpas, climbers and two New Zealand climbers did the route setting. Consequently, other groups eventually using the route had to be charged a fee for time and equipment. The teams cooperated, but there were individuals that did not pay for the use of the route as promised.
C2 or advanced base camp was established on a moraine of the Western Cwm at 6400 m.
C3 (7160 m) was established on the Lhotse face. Due to falling rocks, the New Zealand team requested and received permission to change to the South Col route. The Yugoslavians changed from the Geneva Spur route, also to the South Col route.
Scott Fischer, climbing leader, Wally Berg and Peter Jamieson made first summit attempt from C4 at the South Col. Due to a late departure at 5 a.m. and encountering very deep snow, the climb was aborted at 8380 m.
Second team consisting of Ricardo Torres and Walter McConnell moves from Cl to C2. Yugoslavians put 3 members and two Sherpas on summit and one team member fails to return. All camps had a premature celebration.
Fischer, Berg and Jamieson make a second attempt leaving at midnight in very cold weather hoping it will clear. Again they take no Sherpas. Jamieson and Berg turned back. Fischer proceeds to base of South Summit at 8710 m and returns because there is a 'whiteout' and he is alone. Second group moves to C3 where there are winds.
14 May :
Second group remains in tent all day. Other expeditions return to base camp.
Second team moves to South Col with Sherpas Ang Danu, Phudorje, Ang Pasang and Pemba Dorje.
16 May :
Torres and*.McConell leave the South Col with Phu Dorje, Ang Danu and Ang Pasang at 3 a.m. Ang Pasang returns to C4 with a broken crampon. McConell continues until he realizes he is alone and others are not visible in dark. He waits about one hour until dawn, sees the others far ahead. Base camp thought he was lost since he forgot to turn on his radio. He proceeds to 8230 m, then returns to South Col, tired and with three frostbitten fingers. He fell 50 m over rough ice in his descent.
Before base of South Summit, Sherpas helped Torres change his oxygen tank. The snow was very deep at this point, and Torres and Sherpas took turns leading and making a path. To quote Ricardo Torres' own story :
'We advanced for a while and Phu Dorje reached the summit. I stopped to wait for Ang Danu to cede him my place in remembrance and honour of Hillary and Tensing. I reached the summit and cried. We embraced and congratulated each other in brief, deep and warm friendship. An avalanche of emotions enveloped me: joy, fear, gratitude, exhaustion and yet more mixed and undefined feelings. We communicated with base camp and thanked the whole team for our success. We then took pictures with flags of each country.'
Weather conditions got bad, and after 20 minutes on the summit, Danu and Torres descended cautiously while Phudorje went ahead. At the edge of the South Summit, Torres slipped and fell 30 m and stopped himself with an arrest after many tries. Conditions were very slick. They passed Phu Dorje's ice axe on the descent. Upon returning to camp at the South Col, they realized that Phu Dorje was missing and presumed dead. After much discussion among climbers of all camps, at this point it was impossible to perform a rescue.
All camps were removed from the mountain and base camp cleaned and deserted on 23 May. The weather was very warm and monsoons were setting in. Two expeditions remained. They both had summiters after ON TOP EVEREST team departed, both encountering problems with heavy snow. Unfortunately 5 of the Polish team were killed in an avalanche.
ON TOP EVEREST '89 congratulates the 14 climbers who reached the summit that pre-monsoon season of 1989. The team also pays reverent respect to those 7 climbers who died in the attempt.
A research project conducted during the expedition was directed by Robert Reynolds, Ph.D. of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Human Nutrition and supported by the U.S.D.A., the U.S. Navy, the National Institute of Aging and the Uniform Services, University of Health Sciences.
30. View from Nuptse NW ridge. L to r: Pumori, Gyachung Rang and Lingtren. Note 6 (Ralf Dujmovits)
31. Following the fixed rope on NW ridge of Nuptse.
32. NW ridge of Nuptse from C3. Note 6 (Ralf Dujmovits)
33. C3 (7050 m) before starting for NW summit of Nuptse.
The purpose of the study was to find out what changes occurred in human body, how much energy was used, and what nutrients were consumed when team members were exposed to various altitudes, low oxygen supply, high physical demands, danger and long separations from family and friends.
Special diets were necessary for the research and were followed up by detailed, individual questionnaires. Body measurements, blood and urine tests, and examination of retinas of the eyes took place periodically. Climbers from other expeditions were tested upon request. The results of this intensive nutrition study will not be completed or published for two or three years.
Summary: The ascent of Everest (8848 m) on 16 May 1989 with scientific research being conducted by an American team.
'If you say A.....'
SO, THE SAME was decided by Jerzy Kukuczka. Two expeditions from Katowice have already tried to conquer this tremendous wall of the south face of Lhotse. But every time it lacked a bit of luck — one or two days without wind, when the attacking team was very high on the mountain. The third time a wonderful windless weather was in the mountains...
After overcoming serious persona! problems, we finally managed to organise a team strong enough to give an opportunity of climbing this face. The assumptions were made as follows : the fixed ropes will be arranged up to the second camp, the climbers gain acclimatization climbing the neighbouring six ithpusanders and the normal route on Lhotse. In the later case, the goal was also to pitch the camp at a height of 7400 m in order to protect a descent of the climbing team from the summit.
But nature completely changed these ambitious plans and attacked us with monsoon lasting until the first days of October. In effect the climbers were interested only in climbing the Polish route on the Lhotse south face. Luckily, the equipment store of the expedition was provided with ('just in case') several kilometres of ropes that were carefully stretched along the face and six camps were pitched at the following altitudes :
Cl (5800 m) on 13 September 1989
C2 (6200 rn) on 18 September
C3 (6800 m) on 28 September
C4 (7100 m) on 5 October
C5 (7450 m) on 8 October
C6 (7800 m) on 21 October
During the whole period of placing the fixed ropes, the weather was very bad with a great risk of avalanches on the face. It unfortunately affected our speed of climbing. The members of the expedition faced high moisture and sharp cold at the base camp permanently, hence, most of them were always feeling cold or suffered a painful cough. Just on 5 October 1989 the weather improved considerably allowing to pitch higher camps. Traditionally, in the middle of October strong winds begin to blow from Tibet. Also this time characteristic plumes of snow appears on the ridges indicating the beginning of autumn winds.
On 18 October Kukuczka and Pawlowski set out from the base camp with intention to reach the summit. The next day the wind stopped to blow. Taking advantage of good weather they reached the C6 on 21 October. On the following day, they continued their assault camping first at 8000 m and then at 8300 m. The weather was still excellent. Just after sunrise with a first glance of the sun on the face Kukuczka began to climb up towards the visible ridge. When he was just reaching it and trying to overcome the last obstacle, he suddenly fell off. The rope did not resist the 100 m long fall and broke. Kukuczka died falling down to the bottom of the face. Pawlowski couldn't inform the base about the accident, because Jerzv had the radio set in his rucksack. He began to abseil down using a spare rope he had in a rucksack. He spent a night on the rocky ledge at about 8100 m. Next day he met Kopys and Pawlikowski who supported the attacking team. They returned together to the base camp on 26 October 1989.
Unfortunately, the third attempt to climb the summit did not succeeded. And once again this bit of bad luck.....?
Members: Jerzy Kukuczka (leader), Ryszard Warecki (deputy leader), Ryszard Pawlowski, Maciej Pawlikowski, Presemyslaw Piasacki, Tomas Kopys, Michal Kulej, Elsbieta Pietak and Witold Oklek from Polish Television, Lesnek Crech-radio operator, Yves Ballu from France, Fulvio Mariani from Switzerland and Floriano Castelnuovo from Italy.
Summary: An attempt on the south face of Lhotse (8516 m) by a mixed.team. Jerzy Kukuczka fell to his death on 24 October 1989 while attempting the summit.
FOUR YEARS AGO, while guiding a group of trekkers to Kala Pathar, I saw this huge arena of rock and ice around the world's highest peak for the first time. Especially the beautiful ridge of Nuptse impressed me. A non-ending dream started. Later I learned that Nuptse was tried by 19 expeditions. Two of them did it successfully, three teams reached NW summit, the end of the impressive ridge to be seen from Kala Pathar. The ridge between NW summit and main summit is still unclimbed.
On 1 October 1989 we reached our BC in the middle of the Khumbu glacier, directly east of Kala Pathar.
On 8 October 1989 we established Cl (5950 m). This camp was pitched at the end of the rocky part, which is situated in front of the characteristic ice-pillar, traversing the left part of SW face of Nuptse. On this rocky part, we found some mixed rock climbing, where we could use some old fixed ropes from former expeditions. Rock climbing is not more difficult than 4th Degree (U1AA scale).
After the rocky part, follows a descent of about 100 m in mixed area. At the lowest spot of the descent, starts the very characteristic ice-pillar.
The ice-pillar offers nice ice-climbing, steadily changing the steepness (between 40° and 80°). The end of the p5illar is reached by a mixed couloir, 5th degree, mixed ice and rock climbing, 80° steep.
We fixed ropes all along the ice-pillar for safe return. Our second camp (6580 m) was established on the NW ridge itself shortly after the end of the ice-pillar on 14 October. There's a little plateau, which offers quite good places. Strong winds all the time on the ridge made life on the ridge's camping ground a little difficult.
After C2 a 100 m high gendarme had to be climbed and descended. A lot of cornices (Wachen) made the steep climbing rather difficult and dangerous. Especially the bad snow conditions last autumn made the climbing problematic.
Having crossed the gendarme, the NW ridge gives a clear route. It's a long and winding route with not much gaining of altitude, but beautiful view of Everest and Lhotse to the left and the lower peaks of Solo Khumbu to the right.
Several times I left C2 with Andreas and Hajo for fixing ropes at the difficult parts of the ridge. Finally they did not want to continue because they had enough of the extreme conditions on the ridge.
On 1 November I left C2 alone for climbing until the end for our fixed ropes'to 7050 m. I dug a hole for a single-person bivouac tent directly on the ridge. I spent a terrible night due to the storm on ridge. Next morning I left my tent at 8;45 a.m. and climbed in 472 hours to the NW summit of Nuptse (7742 m) / (1.15p.m.). Upto 7150 m the final climbing is very steep and because of the overhanging cornices quite dangerous. Afterwards the ridge is less steep, but because of the cornices I had to climb most of the time some metres below the ridge line, so it's more or less a long traverse in steep ice and snow.
150 m below the NW summit there's a short very steep gendarme, where I abseiled 10 m. The last 50 m before reaching the summit I had to remain on my knees, because the stormy wind didn't allow me to stand upright.
From the summit 1 could see the whole, very impressive ridge from the NW to the main summit. Due to my mental conditions and weather conditions I decided to return.
At 3 p.m. I reached my little tent. As I felt my concentration wavering I decided to spend one more night on the ridge in my bivouac tent. The next day in the afternoon I reached our BC with all the equipment of C3 and C2.
At the end of our fantastic party that night I don't remember how I reached my sleeping bag.
Members: Andreas Dick, Thomas Simon, Thomas Stoger, Hajo Netzer and Ralf Dujmovits.
Summary: The ascent of NW summit of Nuptse (7742 m) on 1 November 1989 by the German team. The summit was reached solo by the writer.
5 August 1989 : Departed from Korea and arrived in Kathmandu
11 August: Started the caravan
20 August: Arrival at BC (3800 m)
23 August: Installed ABC (5300 m)
34. Looking back from the summit ridge of Dharamsura. Note 14 (S. K. Ghosh)
35. Angdu Ri (5953 m) from C2.
36. Shigri Parbat (6526 m) – the route of 1990 ascent by SW ridge. Note 15 (Dhiren Pania)
1 September : Permitted date for climbing in autumn season and started to make route
3 September: Installed Cl (6300 m)
11 September: Installed C2 (7300 m)
17 September : The first team started from ABC for climbing Annapurna II (7937 m)
18 September: The second team started from ABC for climbing Annapurna II and IV (7525 m).
20 September: Installed C3 (7400 m) Climbed Peak IV, summiters : Jeong Joon-Mo, Cho Won-Bae and Dawa Sherpa.
21 September : Climbed peak II, summiters : Kim Yong-Kye and Jeong Kab-Yong.1
At 6 a.m. on this date, five members Kim, Jeong, Lee, Lhakpa and Pasang had started from C3 which was located around 1 km from I he summit for climbing peak II.
However, they returned to C3 soon due to continued heavy snow on the knife-ridge. After the discussion about the route condition among the members, they decided on rush tactics by Kim and Jeong with bivouac gears. Accordingly those two members started again from C3 for the summit at 7 a.m.
Since there have been no call from the summit team, Chang, the (limbing leader, switched on the radio at 3 p.m. and he communicated with Kim as follows and recorded:
Hello Kim, this is Chang. Can you hear me? O.K. ? Over.
'Where are you now?'
We are now just under the rock face of the summit. We are going to climb that rock face right now. We will be on the summit soon and have a bivouac in the course of descending. Over.'
'O.K. !. Good Luck. Do your best! Over.'
All the other members waited for a call from the summit team for the good news, but the above dialogue was the last one which was made between ABC and the summit team.
22 September : A search team moved to C3 and started to trace the I limbing route of the summit team.
25 September : After searching half of the route from C3 to the summit, team reached the conclusion that we had lost two members and that they had fallen down over the south face while descending from peak II.
26 September: Withdrew ABC. BC and to Kathmandu
4 October: Additional search of the north and south faces of peak II by airplane was done without any result.
Yeungram University Alpine Club undertook the 1989 Annapurna II and IV expedition as the second expedition in the Himalaya in order to renew the challenge with Annapurna II where our 1983 expedition had failed in climbing to the summit.
1989 expedition team suffered continuous bad weather, and it was the reason why we made a decision on rush tactics to Annapurna II and lost two members.
We had several hard training programmes on a long term basis for this expedition. Accordingly, we had few problems in achieving high altitude adaptation and the physical condition of all the members was not so bad. The actual itinerary also was performed well without any major deviation from the original schedule. The only one problem we had in the equipment preparation was the shortage of fixed rope because the route condition between C3 and the summit was quite different than our anticipation.
With respectful condolence and sympathy of all the YUAC members to the bereaved families, we promise that we will succeed to the spirit of two members. For this, we are now proceeding to 1993-94 Everest expedition in winter season.
Summary: The ascent of Annapurna II (7937 m) on 21 September 1989 and of .Annapurna IV (7525 m) on 20 September 1989. Two climbers died on Annapurna II. The team was from South Korea.
A SHORT BUT FORTUITOUS break in the monsoon weather resulted in a successful conclusion to my first Himalayan adventure, when with two doctors from Barts Hospital and Sheffield Medical School, we made an ascent of Jaonli, a 6632 m peak in Garhwal.
Returning to England in the auturnp of 1989, I soon became impatient to plan another expedition, and it was with considerable excitement that 1 discovered Churen Himal whilst browsing in the library of the Alpine Club in London. Churen is a large and complex mountain 120 km northwest of Pokhara on the western extremities of the Dhaulagiri massif. The mountain has three peaks of equal height (7371 m) and is relatively unvisited. Its first ascent was made by the Japanese in 1970, who climbed the central and western peaks and have subsequently made two further ascents of the west peak by the west ridge. The only other ascent of the mountain was one of the east peak reported by the Koreans in 1988.
The team consisted of Henry Chaplin, Christopher Burt, Roger Pyves and myself. We arrived in Kathmandu on 13 September 1989 and spent a week retrieving our air freight from Dacca, purchasing provisions and making plans with our Sherpas. Col Jimmy Roberts had lined up a qroup who put the rest of us to shame. Ang Jangbo (Sirdar) and Lakhpa Gyalu are both Everest veterans with ascents of Kangchenjunga and Dhaulagiri between them. Cooking was to be left to Passang (an expert at Banana Pie) and Kesar, who terrorised all the pigs from Pokhara to base camp.
Our 12 day walk from Pokhara to base camp afforded us with lantalising glimpses of the Annapurnas through monsoon clouds as we crossed the hills leading to the sticky heat of the Kali Gandaki river. From Kusma we followed the river north to Beni where we branched off to follow the Myangdi khola through Darbang where we began our climb. Two hours from Darbang the Dhaulagiri massif from Gushtung ,md Gurja Himal in the west to Dhaulagiri I in the east reveals itself .it first through the trees and then in the open.
We proceeded through Sibang and Lulang over a 3300 m pass to Gurja Khani which was a jungle of marijuana. Our first view of the mountain from the Budzunga Bara (4500 m) was obscured by heavy r.iin, but on our final amble into the Kaphe khola base camp on 1 October we had a magnificent view of Putha Hiunchuli and Churen's west face.
From base camp our route followed the original Japanese route to the central peak, which is long and circuitous. We established ABC (4750 m) on the Kaphe glacier and after some load carrying moved on to Cl (5090 m) several miles east of the mountain and under a tock wall leading to a large bowl under Dhaulagiri VI.
It took us several days to fix ropes up the wall, but by 10 October we. had pitched C2 (5850 m) on a spur of Gushtung North. From here we could look across to the three peaks of Churen in the west, to the south face of Dhaulagiri VI and the southwest face of Gurja Himal. We took it in turns to ferry gear up the wall and to break the route ahead. C3 was established in an airy position on the crest of a small ridge in front of the south face of Dhaulagiri VI. At 6190 m this was the first time^that we began to notice the wind. The weather was now clear in the mornings with clouds coming up the valley below after noon each day.
The route from C3 crossed a heavily crevassed bowl under the long ridge joining the east peak of Churen to Dhaulagiri VI and led to two ramps, the upper of which led to the east peak and the lower to a broad ridge leading to the central peak. C4 was established by Jangbo and Lakhpa at 6590 m on 19 October. Whilst we struggled on to C4 and Roger fixed ropes down the serac band leading to the lower ramp our Sherpas returned to base camp for a well earned rest.
They were soon back with us and made C5 (6830 m) on 25 October. The next day we all reached C5 late in the afternoon in very strong winds and the six of us huddled in a small Salewa tent rubbing each others hands and feet until we could muster the energy to pitch our other two tents. Our petrol stoves were giving trouble and we were getting dehydrated. Despite the very best intentions we did not leave for the summit until 9.30 a.m. the next morning. We started off as three pairs, but I soon sent Chris ahead to join the Sherpas and for an hour and a half lived in a dream world of my own with little interest in reaching the top. Henry and Roger had other ideas and we continued as a threesome.
Chris and the Sherpas reached the summit at 12.25 p.m. and we passed them on their descent. After an eternity of breaking through the crust of the snow we arrived at the summit ridge and a delicate traverse of fifty yards took us to the peak. We stood three-in-a-row peering down the abyss on the north side of the mountain and looking out to the Barbung khola and Tibet, and turned our attentions to the descent.
Back at C5 a gigantic raven had ransacked all our food, and we had little to live on until we got back to C3. Henry and Roger had frostbite in two fingers and Roger's feetiwere in a bad way, but we were all back at base camp by 1 November.
Our return journey to Pokhara took nine days and although Roger spent four of those on the back of a horse and four on the back of a porter, by the time we reached Beni I felt confident enough to send the following cable to my father in North Wales :
'All up. All safe. All digits'
Summary: An ascent of the central peak of Churen Himal (7371 m) on 26 October 1989 by a British team.
OUR WELHAM GIRL'S SCHOOL and the Doon School have had socials since ages, but imagine here were eighteen young girls to dance with one Dosco ! Credit for the brilliant performance up the Ruinsara valley to the destined peak, Kalanag in fact goes to the effervescent and rather determined Welhamites and the devoted staff members.
'Mr' Dutt (as the girls called me, some behind my back preferred Sandy) was bent upon pulling up the lot of ABC's (Amateurs, Base Campers and Climbers), even with a rope, up and up! Being an ex-Doon product and identified more now at Welhams, there was this need I felt to complete the equation; if Doscos can do it, why not us Welhamites.
The most important thing is the purpose of the expedition and this must be suited to the interests, abilities and the experience (including training) of the members concerned. Beware of the temptation to choose an area you would like to see and then inventing an aim as an excuse for going there. We have always aimed to encourage a spirit of adventure, and discovery. All adventure calls for a positive, determined approach from all the members, and should encourage initiative, a spirit of adventure, and the satisfaction of overcoming difficulties. Thus, doing the summit was only a bonus. The height and difficulty encountered surely brings about the accolades and recognition, it is however, the inherent need to ignite a feeling for the environment and to overcome survival conditions in wilderness which are more rewarding and important.
The Ruinsara valley was the most splendid training area. It offered all we needed for our Amateurs, Base Campers and Climbers as well. There were magnificent rock faces for the training in rope, rock craft at Seema and Ruinsara tal. Our naturalists were able to get nature's glory, the green jungles and the alpine meadows provided the picturesque setting for the flora and fauna project. There were of course the glittering peaks and the behemoth glaciers which will challenge the best of climbers. Ruinsara river, itself provided the backdrop of splendour and offered us enormous opportunity to boulder, jump and even crawl across.
There were four project groups, viz. Human, Flora, and an administrative/organisational team. Their diligence has produced enormous results; we have a study of behaviour, population, human relationship and finally details of occupations were identified, but no luck for animal lovers, while the bird watchers were in a veritable paradise.
The kids doing the Human project found out that the people of the Har-ki-Don valley worship Duryodhana of the Mahabharata fame and not the victors, the Pandavas.
The trek started from Sankri, overlooking the Supin valley. A few eating shops and necessary provisions are available here, Sankri to Taluka involves a few ascents and descents and is through a very dense forest of chestnuts, walnuts, willows and chinars. This part is now a big mule track and with the bridging of a few streams will become motorable by 1991 summer.
Seema in Hindi means limit or boundary. The Seema in our trek had no seema, it is placed at such a point that the trek to and fro to this camp is a very tough one, with many ascents and descents. The approach to Seema from Taluka brought us to terms with our physical abilities, and took long torturous hours either way. After about 9 km from Taluka, the trail crosses a stream over a bridge near a water mill, and then the trail goes through bushes and green foliage. Seema is really the last village and it is from here that an alternate trek to Har-ki-Doon via Osla originates.
The trail from Seema followed the Supin river along the left bank for 1 &frac; km to a small bridge, which we did not cross but turned right instead and climbed to the ridge. Finally to take a plunge down steeply to cross Ruinsara stream over a log, our amateurs and a few climbers were infact not willing to go ahead at all.
The camp besides the stream was our playground for a spirited game of rugby and was also the spot for the young cooks to show their culinary skills. Mrs Kaur bulldozed through the rugby game while Swaratmika and her troupe laid a big meal. It was here that we had to organise river crossing, using our ropes. The cold stream and its velocity shook our bones. At this camp, we said good bye to the villagers of Sankri who helped transport our excess baggage on their hard shoulders and with their mules. The team was now reduced to the projected size of eighteen girls, one escort, two highaltitude porters (HAPs) and a tough set of porters, total ten in all, who were all from Uttarkashi.
Climbing gradually, passing through dense forest we headed for Ruinsara tal, our proposed base camp. Now came the trouble, we had to cross debris of avalanches, and there was all 'chocolate' to walk on. The snow, ice and mud-slide formed a rather hot chocolate combination which was very tedious to cross. All unskilled kids, no experience of walking on snow and in fact carrying about 12-15 kg load for the first time. It was the spirited effort and co-ordination of the support staff, porters with their 40 kg loads and the girls eagerness to learn that helped us complete the journey to the tal in almost eight hours. We negotiated cliffs, traversed the glaciers, moraines and slipped and struggled on rocks plus debris to finally reach Ruinsara tal, a body of clear shimmering water, at 5 p.m. There were curses galore and tempers shot up, people wanted to retreat, the tal (lake) defused the crisis. This is an ideal spot for camping. The alpine meadows, the birch rhododendrons, polygonums, primulas beckon us all to return to the serene tal.
The pungent humour of the HAPs, 'Mr. Dutt's imitation of many of the kids, the Dumb Charade games, not to forget the Band - Aids and Sun - Tan lotion, even Musclax all helped us tackle their limits of physical self. It is not muscle that matters, you need presence of mind and humour to push up .ujing (in stamina terms only) trekkers.
Kiarkoti was to be the ABC (thecamp) and so at Ruinsara tal the amateurs (As) settled down. There was a capsule adventure course planned for them for one week; glissading, snow-craft, rope work, rock climbing, cooking and completion of assigned projects. The Base Campers (B's) I rckked to Kiarkoti. Climbing over a green slope, turning along a rocky cliff .it the end of the Swargarohini spur, they descended down to meet a stream. Rising higher and higher, walking and jumping over the rock-strewn moraine of Kalanag. Across the lateral moraine we gained the other side to be greeted by the vast grassy meadows of Kiarkoti, from there the Uandarpunch glacier is seen sweeping down from Bandarpunch and Kalanag peaks. This was the first time we saw some girls wearing out and losing confidence. The choice of the final climbers (C' s) was indeed simple i iow, with three girls, viz. Meghna Thapa, Dipti Garg and Anubha Shekhar there were the two HAP's and 'Mr.' Dutt.
The day dawned when the kids realised that the ropes were not brought to tow all eighteen of them up the heights of the peak, but to be used technically and to ensure safety in the dangerous and killing moraine, glaciers and crevasse crossings. At Cl was our last meal of cooked food, there was no way to light fire/stove and even prepare lea after the altitude of 5000 m. We had no gas stoves, kerosene stoves were not easy to take up and surely no firewood was possible. The stock of boiled eggs, dry fruits, sweets, biscuits and some tins of condensed milk was to push up to the summit and help us survive.
The strong winds of C2 (5180 m) and the icy nights spent at C3 (5640 m) make us cry even today. The ice axes used to pierce the tents saved us from ballooning into the glacier and the balaclavas, mittens, socks all worn in doubles and even triples brought us back without frost bites. Fine weather was our good fortune. The summit .iftempt on 30 May 1990 was not possible as we had lost a day acclimatizing (no extra day was planned at Seema). It was the white out on 31st that reduced our thrill of achieving the peak's heights. A day that will be down in Welham history as 'their' summit. The Welham mascot did finally fly atop the peak. Imagine two young girls, without any techrfcal know how, but for the expertise of our God gifted HAP's were able to achieve the peak. Now, it was the excitement to go back home and share the power of the glory. The retreat was very rapid and from the high point to Doon was a mere three days, a rush to return and enjoy our summer holidays, back home.
We had set about on a programme with a purpose and with our ABC project completed, there is all the hope that the movement of C's (climbers') will be even higher, in the days ahead!
Summary: A climb of Kalanag (6387 m) by the Indian ladies team in summer 1990.
THE KALLA BANK is a relatively unexplored valley in the Garhwal Himalaya. It lies more or less north of the borders of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. The army - occupied village of Malari lies to its north and village Dunagiri to its south. Although the valley has been surveyed, ours is perhaps the first mountaineering expedition into this valley.
Our group of eight was made up of four climbing members — Ajit Shelat (leader), Raju Wadalkar,'Prashant Bagdikar and Ajay Tambe, and four trekking members — Radha, Sugyani, Vineeta and Vaishali. Raju and Sugyani, who left Bombay on the 16 May, two days earlier than the rest of us, did an efficient job of clearing our inner line permits at Joshimath and arranging local porters for our approach march into Kalla Bank. We all regrouped at Joshimath on 21 May, and after a brief visit to the hill-resort at Auli we settled down to do a bit of last minute repacking. We soon discovered, to our dismay, that one of the 'extra' sleeping bags we had left behind at Bombay belonged to Prashant.
On the 23rd morning, Prashant left early to look for a sleeping bag for himself. The rest of us followed by bus to Juma. We were to meet Prashant plus sleeping bag at Juma and then move on. However, as it happened, he didn't show up at all that day. In the bus, a talkative local happened to tell us a piece of critical and frightening information. The army stationed at Malari reguterly use the north facing slopes of Kunti Bhannar for artillery target practice and quite often their explosive projectiles overshoot to land on the approach path to Kalla Bank. We later learnt that some stray shells have even been known to land as far as Garpag village.
This news necessitated a change of plan. Ajit went ahead in the same bus to Malari to persuade the army to stop the shelling while the six of us alighted at Juma. Here our permits were checked and our eight porters met us and by afternoon, we commenced our march.
From Juma, we followed the road to village Ruing which is about 3 hours away. Just ahead of Juma, the track for Ruing leaves the road to Malari to cross over to the left bank of the Dhauli ganga. From here it climbs steeply to reach Ruing which is situated high above the confluence of the Dhauli and the Dunagiri gad. Ruing is a small and truly peaceful village surrounded by greenery and magnificent views. Most of the people of Ruing only spend the winter months there, being essentially from Dunagiri, so when we were there, many of its houses were empty. From Ruing, one track follows the Dunagiri gad for Dunagiri village and Bagini Bank while the track for Garpag descends into the valley and crosses the Dunagiri gad at its confluence with the Garpag nala, a small stream fed by the melt-waters of the Kalla Bank. We spent the night and half the next day at this point waiting for Ajit and Prashant. They finally arrived in the afternoon and each of them narrated their little adventures. Most importantly, the army had been warned and we were safe from missiles landing on us.
Our reunited party of sixteen including porters left that same afternoon for Garpag, arriving there just before sunset. The path, after crossing the Dunagiri gad climbs very steeply on either side of the Garpag nala and then finally after crossing over to the left bank, doubles back and climbs about 200 m to Garpag. There are about two dozen houses here at the most. We stayed the night at a school shed under construction just above the "village. From here we got our first views of the mouth of the Kalla Bank glacier with Kunti Bhannar looming behind and Lampak to its right (east). Using a compass and an inclinometer, we were able to calculate Garpag s altitude to be about 3300 m.
Our next halt was Kalla Kharak, a huge grazing ground just outside the Kalla Bank glacial valley. Another path from Dunagiri comes here over Kanari Khal and continues on to Malari via Kalla Khal. About 600 m above Garpag, one sees the last of the grass and juniper here. The path from Garpag to Kalla Kharak is mainly a traverse with just one short but steep climb. It keeps to the sides of the valley above the left bank of the Garpag nala.
We set up our base camp the next day, 26 May. From the Kharak, our path crossed to the right side before taking a right turn to enter the Kalla Bank valley. Just beyond the turning point, was our BC at about 4500 m (as we had no altimeter, all our heights were calculated using the compass and an inclinometer together with our maps). Our 4 tents were pitched on very stony ground just below the unmelted snow and not far from the waters of the Garpag nala (more appropriately, Kalla nala).
The Kalla Bank is quite enclosed in the valley, totally about 4 to 5 km end to end and about 200 to 500 m wide at any part. The valley is about 4500 m at its entrance in the west, and climbs to about 5500 meters at its eastmost end. Pt 6504 marks the end of the valley, a magnificent mountain which stands imposingly across the Kalla Bank as one looks towards it. The valley's south side is demarcated by a high ridge with peaks (most of these are not very high above the ridge) ranging from about 5400 m on the west end to about 5700 m on the east. Further south, the ridge forms the north wall of the Bagini Bank. The north slopes of the valley are formed by the ridges and slopes belonging to Kunti Bhannar (5885 m), Lampak II (6181 m) and Lampak I (6325 m).
Next day was spent in a recce to locate an ABC and dump food and gear. The site chosen was about 3 hours further up the glacier on a ridge of medial moraine at a height of about 5000 m. That evening we all had our last meal together; the trekkers and the porters left the next morning. Four of us made another load ferry and on 30 May, we set up our ABC.
Peak 6504 m at the head of Kalla Bank (A.C. Shelat)
Prashant's leave was fast expiring. Looking at the weather the next day, he decided to leave early as it didn't appear that he would get much climbing done. Ajit, Raju and Ajay were the only three left in the valley.
We spent a day recceeing and planning our next moves. Pt 6504 m was definitely tempting though rather beyond the capabilities of the three of us alone. We figured that the best approach would be by its north ridge approached from the col between Pt 6504 m and Lampak I. The ridge, fairly narrow and very steep, appears to have an average gradient of about 45 degrees with one difficult section of 60 to 70 degrees. It's guaranteed to offer a technically challenging climb in the future. The col itself is located above an icefall to the north at the end of the Kalla Bank. Lampak I could possibly also be approached from the same col along its southeast ridge, the main danger being that of hanging glaciers near its top. Another approach to Lampak I may be by approaching its NW ridge close to where it joins with Lampak II's SE ridge. This route is considerably longer and the approach to the ridge entails negotiating a series of icefalls and constant danger of avalanches from the slopes of the mountain above.
Lampak II (6181 m) was finally chosen after another recce to the base of its southeast ridge. We dumped about one week's food here and on 2 June we set up Cl at about 5400 m approximately south of the summit. The route from ABC was along a 30 to 45 degree sloping ramp which led to a snowfield above. We set up camp at the north end of this snowfield a safe distance away from the first icefall.
Lampak II, southeast ridge. (A.C. Shelat)
On 3 June, we bypassed the icefall by climbing the slope on its left (50-60 degree snow and ice). Above, after negotiating some crevasses, we chose what we thought was relatively the safer place, from the danger of avalanches, as the site for our final C2. The camp was located just below the debris of the last avalanche, and to our best judgement, there-had not been sufficient snowfall to cause another one. This site was more or less surrounded by Lampak II's SE ridge which curves around southwards. Being situated at about 5600 m, towards the south, we could look over the ridge separating Kalla Bank from Bagini Bank and had our first grand views of the peaks of Dunagiri, Changabang and Kalanka, and further away, Nanda Devi.
The weather had been worsening over the days with the approach of the monsoons. On our way up, every evening thick clouds would be funnelled up the valley as though squeezed tightly between its sides. The clouds would remain through the night, to lift only late the next morning. At C2, we had clear evenings and nights but by late morning it would cloud up.
On 5 June we-made our attempt on Lampak II. Leaving C2, we made straight for the top of the ridge, alternating leads, climbing for about two hours and 300 m up a 60-70 degree slope of hardened snow mixed with patches of ice. The sharp and narrow ridge was lightly corniced on the north facing side and keeping about 10 m below Its edge, we notched our way up moving slowly, one at a time. The sun was now warm and the snow was beginning to ball our crampons. No more than an hour on the ridge and the weather caught up with us bringing visibility down to less than 2 m. We had reached about 6000 m. We waited it out and after a brief clearing, we decided to retreat based on what we could see of the clouds on Lampak and the surrounding area.
By this time, descending the same slope was impossible, the condition of the snow being very poor. We continued on down the ridge towards a rocky section which continued on towards a gentler section of the ridge above our C2.
After a day's rest, on 7 June we made another attempt. This time we went up the way we had come down last time, although longer, it was much safer. On the top of the ridge, the snow condition was appallingly soggy and would hardly take our weight on the slope. A single slip would have been impossible to control. The weather was once again changing for the worse so we aborted our attempt for the second time.
Panorama F. Approaching Tridhara in Mana gad valley. Article 6 (Harish Kapadia)
Panorama G. View from southeast ridge of Lampak I at 6000 m. Note 10 (A.C. Shelat)
Panorama H. A view from summit of Shigri Parbat (6526 m). Note 10 (Dolphy D'mello)
Panorama I. Mountains of North Sikkim. Note 1 (P.M. Das)
Our time having run out and with^the weather showing signs of worsening, on 8 June, we left the mountain clearing out C2 and Cl and continuing on to base camp. Next day we reverse ferried from ABC and also recceed to the base of Pt 6504 m.Our porters met us on the 10th and we pushed on to Joshimath after a pleasant day at Ruing.
Summary: An Indian expedition to the Kalla Bank, Garhwal. Lampak II (6181 m) was attempted on 2-5 June 1990.
SHANKAR PRASAD BISWAS
SITUATED BEYOND BADRINATH, Mandir Parbat (6529 m)1 is a middle-order peak by the Himalayan standard. The peak was climbed in 1981 by the Ordnance Factory Trekkers of Ishapore, West Bengal.
Our first Mandir Parbat expedition was organised far back in 1978. It followed the right track beyond C2 and then flopped. The weather gods became angry, key members fell sick and the expedition came back defeated and devastated. Our second Mandir Parbat expedition in 1989 was, therefore, a fore - ordained endeavour.
This time the team consisted of 13 members, and left Calcutta on 6 September 1989. Reached Hardwar on 8th and Mana beyond Badrinath on 11th. Trek towards the base camp site near the snout of the Dakhini Nagthuni glacier2 began from Mana on 12th. About 40 porters were required for carrying loads to the BC and after frantic searches back in Badrinath and the surrounding pasture grounds (Kharaks) we could collect only 7 porters and 6 mules. It was decided that the trek for BC should begin immediately and the bulk of the expedition luggage should be left at Mana to be ferried later. Essentials were sorted out and repacked. The march began.
Near Mana is Keshav Prayag — the confluence of the Alakananda flowing in from the west and the Saraswati from the north. Our route lay northward tracing the course of the Saraswati uphill.
From Mana to the proposed base camp site near the snout of the Dakhini Nagthuni glacier is a 3-day trek. There were flooded nalas and all the other obstacles to be expected at this altitude and in this mountainous country. After a few kilometres from Mana the splash green vista had turned into a dry and arid scenario. Our track went eastward from Nagthuni nala, which emanates from one of the innumerable glaciers eofning down from the western end of the Zaskar range.
On the third day the base camp (4570 m) was established at the appointed place. On the very next day, the 17th, Ajoy, Shyamal, myself and three Sherpas left to choose a site for Cl. The route lay over an undulating moraine with huge boulders. Dakhini Nagthuni glacier is a huge amphitheatre of ice and snow with crevasses criss-crossing almost the entire surface. The huge basin is surrounded by a horseshoe. Near the southeast corner of this stands Mandir Parbat, a number of rock spikes like gnarled fingers reaching for the sky. In the pre-monsoon season with the winter snow still safely covering the crevasses it would have been easy and short to reach for them just across the glacier. Not daring that we followed the moraine around the northern side of the glacier — northeastward. Around 11 a.m. we reached the site of our Cl (5150 m).
On 17th, Sanjay, Subrata and myself carried loads to Cl. Meanwhile the 3 Sherpas with Saumya had gone out to trace the route to C2. They followed the northern arc of glacier, but up here the moraine gradually petered out into the glacier. The glacier was harmless, except for two or three stretches, where they roped up. Some of the crevasses were avoided by zig-zagging between the glacier and near the north side rock wall. Around noon they reached a place across the bend of the horse-shoe and started moving southward. From near here the glacier went upward to the east to a depression across which was Bankund glacier. Frank Smythe had crossed this glacier to beyond its source in the early thirties for climbing Mana (7272 m). From where they stood they could see Nilgiri Parbat (6474 m) to the southeast and the monarch of the Zaskar range, Kamet to the northeast. Locating a safe site at 5490 m they left the ropes, pitons and other stores they had carried.
On 19th Debasish, Bhaskar and myself all fully loaded arrived at Cl at 11 a.m. After a little rest, Subrata left for C2 with two porters. Bhaskar went back to BC. On the same morning at 8 a.m. Shyamal along with Tharchen, Tendi and Natare had left C2 to find a route further ahead towards the north ridge of Mandir Parbat — the rocky, spired ridge which had to be crossed to reach the goal. The route was neither very long nor very difficult. Climbing to the ridge required caution. The rocks covered with snow looked treacherous, Tendi led and around 11 a.m., they followed him to the C3 (6220 m) site near the tip of the ridge. From here the summit appeared to be surprisingly near, almost within reach. The intervening rock pinnacles will demand some ingenious rope fixing and abseiling — there was time for them too and the summit could be reached a day before schedule. But the weather decided otherwise. It was already snowing when they reached C3 and it intensified quickly. They rushed back to C2 happy with the happenings of the day.
On 20th at 8 a.m. I moved up to C2 to await events higher up on the mountain. On the same morning at 7 a.m. Shyamal, Subrata and Saumya with Tharchen, Tendi and Natare had left C2 for higher up. They reached C3 at 9.30 a.m. and the weather was still quite qood. Tendi and Natare armed with ropes and pitons went ahead to try the final defences of the mountain. They were formidable. But Tendi was in his element now. Cautiously, stubbornly and also quickly he was climbing up and down the rock spires, fixing ropes where necessary and moving much faster than could be believed. Tendi had to fix 130 m of rope and after climbing several pitches, the team of four at last reached the summit at 2 p.m. The peak was entirely different — there was no ice, no mound, nothing. Several sharp rock spires have come together to form the summit of Mandir — to stand on one of then requires to lean on another. Flag hoisting and taking photograph of the holy ritual proved quite difficult and tortuous. In one of the rock spires a rope was found hanging and a few pitons rusting. The worn out rope and two rusted pitons were traded for a pair of shining new pitons.
Down at C3 around 2.30 p.m. the weather became rough and it started snowing. The summit team arrived back at 4 p.m. carefully picking up all the ropes and pitons used enroute. They reached C2 in a howling snow-storm.
The team reached Calcutta on 30 September. The Mandir Parbat Fxpedition 1989 was a modest venture. There was no accident, no blizzard, no race against time and it will not be mentioned in any book of records. But those who participated in it were presented with all Ihe difficulties and problems that all Himalayan ventures entail. We responded to them with our ignorance and inexperience and also with total commitment and plenty of enthusiasm.
Members: Shankar Prasad Biswas (leader), Tharchen Sherpa, Bhaskar Mukherjee. Shyamal Sarkar, Ang Tendi Sherpa, Saumojit Roy. Ajoy Mondol, Natare Sherpa, Subrata Banerjee, Debasish Biswas, Nishi Kanta Sen. Sanjoy Das, Dr Sujit Goho.
Summary : The ascent of Mandir Parbat (6529 m) on 20 September 1^89 by a team from Parvat Abhiyatri Sangha. Calcutta.
PETER B. KELEMAN
WE WERE SIX CLIMBERS: Chris Blatter (leader), Charles Bates, Rachel Cox, Joshua Lieberman, and me from the U.S. and Martin Mazurek (Swiss). There were also two trekking members from the U.S. Marianne Jones and Whit Symmes. We were joined in Delhi by liaison officer Surrinder K. Sharma.
We arrived in Manali on 13 July, went to Udaipur by jeep on 17 July, and spent five days travelling with twelve horses to Zardong camping ground in the upper Miyar nala. We were not aware that horses cannot cross the Miyar between Urgus and Chaling in high water (June-September). Cox and I trekked up Miyar nala to Zanskar in November 1988, when we and our one horse easily forded the nala. In the summer, there is a jhula (cable bridge) for people and baggage. Thus it is best to arrange for two groups of horses, one below the crossing (Udaipur to Urgus) and one above (Chaling to Zardong). We had not done this in advance but were lucky to find our horseman from 1988, Tek Chand from Urgus, on the upstream (Chiling) side of the nala with ten horses at just the right moment.
Zardong camping ground is about one hour beyond the shepherd's hut at Khai Got (marked on some trekking maps) and two to three hours walk below the terminus of the Miyar glacier. Our horsemen were unwilling to proceed beyond Zardong because the route to the glacier involves several river crossings which they thought would be difficult for the horses. Base camp at Zardong, at almost exactly 4000 m, was established on 22 July. On 24 July, all members except Bates and Blatter left base camp to trek to Kang la, at the head of the Miyar glacier, for reconnaissance and acclimatization. In the afternoon, I was ascending the moraine covered terminus of the glacier when a large rock rolled on my left leg, breaking my ankle. Luckily, the injury was not severe and 1 was able to return to base camp on foot, assisted by Bates, Blatter, Cox and Sharma. I rested in base camp until 30 July.
Jones, Lieberman, Mazurek and Symmes continued to Kang la. arriving there on 27 July, and remaining in the vicinity until 29 July (Jones, Symmes) and 30 July (Lieberman, Mazurek). On 29 July, Lieberman and Mazurek made an ascent of a prominent peak, nearly 6000 m (altimeter reading 5990 m), northwest to Kang la. The ascent was via steep, unconsolidated snow and involved one fifth class pitch. Rappel anchors found near the summit indicated that the peak had seen a prior ascent. Jones and Symmes returned to base on 31 July, left there on 3 August, and returned to the U.S. Lieberman and Mazurek returned to base on 1 August.
37. Shigri Parbat — NW face. Note 15 (Dhiren Pania)
38. Unnamed Peak 6340 m on NE branch of Bara Shigri glacier.
39. The NW branch of Bara Shigri glacier from Concordia. Pass to west Gyundi glacier in right centre valley. Note 15 (Dhiren Pania)
40. Looking towards SW branch of Bara Shigri glacier from C3 on Shigri Parbat. The col in centre leads to Dibibokri nala.
From 26-28 July, Bates, Blatter and Cox made an attempt on Peak 5760 m (18,880 ft.), a rock peak just northeast to the terminus of the Miyar glacier, strikingly visible from base camp. They ascended to 5330 m (mostly fourth class) in the prominent snow and ice-couloir just right of the southwest ridge, and retreated in heavy rain and snow.
From 30 July to 1 August, Blatter, Bates, Cox and I made a reconnaissance trip up the first nala above Zardong, on the north side of Miyar nala. We called this 'mystery nala'. Our intention was to search for a pass to Zanskar, but we were not successful on this attempt due. to my previous injury and to crevasse danger on the upper 'mystery glacier'.
On 3 August, Bates and Blatter left base for an attempt to climb Phabrang (6172 m), hiking that day all the way down to the village of Karpat. They climbed in Alpine style, deciding upon the south ridge - southeast face route. In consistently poor weather, overcast in the morning and snowing in the afternoon, they reached the site of Phabrang base camp on 4 August, made Cl on 6 August at about 5300 m, and C2 at about 5800 m on 7 August. They reached the summit on 8 August and descended to C2. On 10 August Bates and Blatter discovered that their equipment cached at Phabrang base has been stolen. They returned to our Zardong base camp on 11 August.
Also departing camp on 3 August, Mazurek made a trek over Kang la to Padum, and then to Darcha via Shingo la, arriving in Darcha on 19 August and returning from there to Switzerland. Cox, Lieberman and 1 left base camp on 3 August for Gumba Nala, the first major drainage on the north side of the Miyar nala downstream from Zardong base camp. Again, our intent was to locate and cross a pass across the Himalayan drainage divide. We found no pass in the central part of Gumba nala on 5 and 6 August. On 7 August we found a col at the head of the first tributary joining the north branch of Gumba nala from the east. Two cairns at the drainage divide announced a previous discovery of this potential crossing. The col is easily accessible from the Miyar nala side, and could be descended via several rappels over loose rock on pe Zanskar side. Perhaps the crossing would be safer and easier in ,the pre-monsoon season if the couloir on the north side Is snow covered. We returned to the Miyar and Zardong base camp on 9 August except for Lieberman who continued downstream, arriving in Udaipur on 10 August and departing for Europe.
On 11 August, Cox and I left base for another attempt on Peak 5760 m. We reached the top of the couloir (6 fifth class mixed pitches) on the evening of 12 August and bivouacked on the southwest ridge at about 5600 m. In deteriorating weather we began a traverse on the west side of the ridge on 13 August but retreated after several fifth class pitches, 'returning to base on 14 August.
From 16-18 August, Bates, Blatter, Cox and I made the first ascent of a prominent peak about halfway up 'mystery nala'. The peak. (5290 m) lies on the north side of the 'mystery glacier' where the glacier makes an abrupt turn from eastward to southward flow. It has a steep, triangular south face, composed of granitic gneiss cut by two prominent snow couloirs which intersect about 300 m below the west ridge, forming a symmetrical 'X'. For this reason, and because of its position in 'mystery nala', invisible from the Miyar nala, wi called the mountain 'Peak X'. Both couloirs terminate on the ridge west of the summit. The summit itself is a top 150 m pinnacle, very steep on all sides. On 17 August we ascended the lower right hand couloir (third class) to the intersection, where we made a high camp. On 18 August we followed the upper right hand (fourth class) to the west ridge, and then the west ridge to the summit (3 fifth class mixed pitches). We descended the same day to our high camp, and the next morning back ro the 'mystery glacier' completing the first ascent of 'Peak X' (5290 m) by a safe and elegant route.
Bates and Blatter continued to base camp on 19 and 20 August. Cox and I followed the 'mystery glacier' up valley on 20 August. We found the many hidden crevasses a significant hazard on the middle part of the glacier at this time of year. At the head of the cirque, we found two obvious routes across the Himalayan drainage divide into Zanskar. We chose the left hand (western) option, a broad snow and ice-slope leading obliquely northward to the divide. Despite some rock fall danger, this was easily ascended with crampons. On the Zanskar side lies a gently sloping glacier with few visible crevasses. The glacier terminates in a tributary drainage which joins the Tsarap river near the village of Reru. This pass provides an alternative to Kang la for those equipped with crevasse rescue equipment.
Cox and I returned to base on 21 August. Bates, Cox and I departed base with horses on 23 August, arrived in Udaipur on 24 August, and reached Manali by bus on 25 August. Despite generally poor weather and injury, we will look back on a successful exploration of Miyar nala in 1990, and hope to return before too many years go by. We wish to recommend our cooks Sohan Singh (of Urgus and Manali) and Moti Singh (of Khanjar) for excellent Indian cooking and courteous, helpful service. We also wish to recommend some of our horsemen; Moti Singh and his brother Norbu Ram, and Tek Chand (Of Urgus). Our liaison officer, Surrinder Kumar Sharma. was of great assistance at all times.
Summary: Climbs in the Miyar nala valley (Lahul) by an American expedition from the Fourth Avenue Alpine Club. Many peaks upto 6000 m were climbed and the ascent of Phabrang (6172 m) was made on 8 August 1990.
AIM OF OUR EXPEDITION was to scale Tent peak (6113 m) and Barakanda peak (5857 m) near Chobia pass (5011 m) on Pir-Panjal range of Himachal Pradesh. The Pir-Panjal range lies on the southern side of Chenab river and marks the border line of Lahul and Chamba valley. We approached the peaks on this range Irom Lahul valley.
Team left Calcutta on 6 August. After completing all arrangements .it Manali, bus for Udaipur dropped us at Arvat on 11 August evening. Two days' trek through jungle, moraine, snow-bridge etc. towards Chobia pass took us to 4420 m, our base camp, on 13 August. From the base camp we could see Phabrang, Menthosa, an unnamed 6004 in peak to the SE and a beautiful snow peak of 5700 m. This peak 11,is been named afterwards as 'Murala peak.'
Pent peak could not be seen from base camp, hence on 14th and 15th team was divided in three groups and intensive recce was done In locate the peak and to find our possible route to climb.
Finally it was found that Tent peak lies on further SE of Murala peak nnd the only possible approach from this side was to traverse down nil the other side of this peak. 16th was the rest day. On 17th, Cl (.r>.?40 m) was established on an icy spur on the northwest face of Murdla peak.
On 18th route to the shoulder of Murala peak was recceed and rope Wns fixed for 100 m on an ice wall between the two icefalls on the NW face. On 19th the shoulder was reached and it was found that the Tent peak was sitting isolatedly on a large snow-basin which was J50 m below the shoulder.
On 20 August, the team at Cl divided in two groups. Sujit and two Fateh Chands in one and Ananda and Tej Ram in the other left Cl at 5.30 a.m. in biting cold winds. Both the teams moved together upto flit' shoulder, while first team traversed down to the snow-basin and moved forward for Tent peak and second team went to recce for Murala peak. After a prolonged seven hours continuous effort through ice and rock ultimately at 12.20 p.m. the first team Sujit, Fateh Chand (senior) and Fateh Chand (junior), were on the top of the Tent peak. After half an hour stay the team started to climb down — first the 600 m down to thg basin then a tiring traverse in knee-deep snow, again steep ice wall ancWinally gradual plodding upto the ice-spur for Cl, reaching there by 8.30 p.m.
The second team recceed a feasible route for Murala peak and returned back to Cl.
On 21st the summit camp team had to take a rest. On 22nd all five went up and scaled the beautiful Murala peak, then came down straight to the base camp.
On the other side of the base camp another team had been trying for Barakanda peak. On 18th Vivek, Manik and Govind Thakur went upto Chobia pass and found a possible route from the southern ridge of Chobia pass from Lahul side but the idea was dropped due to continuously falling rocks. It was decided to gain the same ridge from a much lower height i.e. directly from base camp. Accordingly on 19th Ranjit, Sandip, Pankaj, Vivek, Manik, Kalyan and Govind Thakur climbed up to 5490 m and found that this ridge had a sharp cut. The idea of climbing Barakanda peak from Lahul side had to be dropped. On 21st Manik and Kalyan went back to Kishori village for sending porters up to the base camp. 23rd was declared a rest day but not for Ranjit, Sandip, Pankaj and Sujit, who went up crossed Chobia pass and recceed a feasible route for Barakanda via a glacier that was gradually falling down to the valley on the Chamba valley. It appeared from little distance that there was a fair possibility of finding a route from that side. It was too late to climb it.
1. Tent peak (6113 m) first ascent on 20 August 1989 by Sujit Rit and two HAPs Fateh Chand (senior) and Fateh Chand (junior).
2. 'Murala peak' (5730 m) (NW of Tent peak) — first ascent on 22 August 1989 by two members, Ananda Chanda and Sujit Rit alongwith three HAPs, Fateh Chand (senior), Fateh Chand (junior) and Tej Ram. The peak has been named after Goddess Murala Mata of Chobia pass.
'Barakanda peak' (5857 m) — On 19 August 1989 by Rajani, Ranjit. Sandeep, Pankaj, Vivek, Manik, Kalyan and Govind Thakur directly from base camp reaching upto 5490 m.
During the expedition Chobia pass was crossed three times.
Period: 6 August to 2 September, 1989.
Members: Rajani Rakshit (leader), Ranjit Rit, Sandip Raychaudhuri, Ananda Chandra, Sujit Rit, Vivekananda Paul, Pankaj Sanyal, Manik Dey, K. N. Parui. Kalyan Mukherjee, Subrata Ash and Dr. Patra.
Organised by: The Climbers Group.
SWAPAN KUMAR GHOSH
THE PEAK DHARAMSURA (6445 m), also familiar as White Sail, is situated in Himachal Pradesh and lies 96 km from Manikaran towards the northeast.
We were a 15 member team, with myself as the leader from Durgapur Mountaineers Association, West Bengal. We left Durgapur on 13 May 1990 and on the following day we reached Delhi and from there by bus to Kulu on 15 May. After purchases, we moved to Manikaran on I lie 17th by a truck along with five high altitude porters, Sangram Singh, Nandan Singh, Tikam Ram Thakur, Thailu Ram Thakur and Gokul Chand Thakur.
Leaving Manikaran on 19 and camping at Barsaini (2090 m), Budhaban (2640 m) and Saram (3240 m), we established our base (.imp at Samshi (3580 m) by the side of Tos nala on 24 May. The whole area seemed to be a snow-desert. We pitched the tents after c loaning the snow. The expedition materials were carried by mules up to Budhaban and from there porters were engaged. But as sufficient mules and porters were not available, it delayed in establishing our base camp.
Keeping the Tos nala to our right we moved north upto the snout of Tos glacier, wherefrom our target Dharamsura was visible. The whole route was boulder strewn, but due to the. snow our walk was easy. IVyond the snout we moved further over the Tos glacier and then towards northeast for some time, where we established our advance I use camp (3980 m) though the normal camp site lies further north inwards the Sara Umga la. After two days ferry ABC was occupied on 28 May by Tarun. Patel. Sher. Tikam and myself. To the east i 'I ABC were the unnamed peaks 6247 m and 5953 m and the East Tos glacier, to the west was the Pass of Animals and the ridge which divides the Malana glacier, to the south was our base camp and to the north was the Sara Umga la. Devachen. Papsura and Dharamsura.
We established our Cl (4120 m) just beneath the Papsura icefall. Patel, Sher and Tikam occupied Cl on 31 May while the members of BC shifted to ABC.
On 1 June we tried to open the route for C2. From Cl we had to move eastward over the East Tos glacier for some time and then straight northward. "Crossing the boulder zone and then a snow patch we followed the ridge. After climbing the ridge for sometime, we got down to the left snowfield and moved north. The gradient was steep and the melting of the snow made the route slippery. Our climb continued upto the top of the Papsura icefall where our C2 (4640 m) was established. We ferried loads on 2 and 3 June, but due to bad weather on 4 and 5 June we did not move further.
C2 was situated on a large snowfield, north of which were Dharamsura and Papsura. On 7 June Patel, Tarun, Sher, Tikanr, Sangram and Nandan went to open the route for C3 (5150 m) and ferry some loads which was occupied on the following day. Eastward from C3 after climbing two more humps one can reach the col, the right ridge of which connects the peak Angdu Ri (5953 m) while the left ridge, the SE ridge of Dharamsura, was the proposed route of our expedition.
It was very windy at C3 and the movements of the members were restricted in the camp area 'as it was mostly encircled by big crevasses. Angdu Ri seemed to be at a stone-throw distance. Tarun, Sangram, Nandan and myself occupied C3 on 9th. Same day attempt was made to recce the route for C4 by Sher and Tikam. But due to heavy snow and poor visibility they could not proceed much. From the following day, fixing of the ropes continued for C4. After climbing two humps and reaching little beneath the col, Patel and Sher with Jlkam fixed a double length rope upto the top. Then the materials were carried there by Nandan and Sangram. Next day, Tarun and Sher with Tikam could fix only one double length rope and a single one. The wind with heavy snowfall forced them to retreat. On the third day, Sher and Patel with Tikam and Sangram went for the remaining part and to carry the materials dumped at the col. Beyond the fixed rope there was a small field and then a rock band and climbing that rock band was our desired place for C4.
On 13 June, Patel, Sher, Tarun, Tikam and Nandan moved tor C4. When Ashok Basu and Subhasish arrived on the following day, Sher, Patel, Tikam and Nandan made an attempt to climb the 100 m ice wall, which was a barrier towards the summit. They found it impossible to negotiate the ice wall. It was multi-layered and when they tried to use their ice axe, chunks of ice broke out. They could fix only one piton ana nothing more could be done. Moreover, the fierce wind and the snowfall which damaged their tent, forced them to stop their further attempt. Thus they had to take the decision to come down on the following day. As a consolation we decided to attempt Angdu Ri (5953 m) on the following day. On 16th at 8 a.m. all the members at C2 Icfi for the peak. We moved to the col from which we would follow the north face of the peak and after that we would follow the NW ridge. Climbing in a rope, members followed the NW ridge and reached the rocky portion of the ridge. Near the summit they faced a big crack and one by one they stepped to the other side. Sher was on the lead mid Patel, Nandan, Sangram and Thailu were following him. After the (rack, their movement was towards north east. At 10.27 a.m. they were on the summit. After photographs they descended at 12.30 p.m. At 2 p.m. they were back to C3.
In the meantime I had observed that there might be a possible route lor Dharamsura if the crevasses in between the two humps can be negotiated which may exempt us from climbing the serac wall. So on ilie following day with only two days' ration, Sher, Patel, Sangram .ind Thailu left C3 to re-establish the C4. As there was no fixed rope (except in two places) they climbed the ridge belaying each other. They reached the previous camp site at 4.30 p. m. but moved further towards ilie snowfield towards Barashigri and established C4.
On 18 June the summit team left C4 at 8 a.m. They moved NW making route between the two humps. There they faced two big crevasses, one of which was crossed at its narrowest place. Then they (limbed further following the lower part of the northern hump and testing I lie route by their ice axes to avoid the crevasses At last they reached the place between the two humps which was the meeting point of the SE and SW (Paul Bean's route) ridge. They climbed an ice wall of about 60° gradient and reached the top of the hump and continued I heir move towards north. Just below the summit the gradient was steep .ind climbing that area they reached the rocky area. They were on the lop of Dharamsura at 2 p.m. At 2.30" p.m. the summiters started descending by belaying each other and little afterwards they saw the SK face of Papsura as the weather improved. At about 6.30 p.m. they reached C4. All the camps were dismantled and we were back at Manikaran on 22 June.
Summary: The ascents of Angdu Ri (5953 m) on 16 June 1990 and Dharamsura (6445 m) on 18 June 1990 by the Indian team from Bengal.
DHIREN M. PANIA
AT THE HEAD OF Bara Shigri glacier lies Shigri Parbat (6526 m). This peak lies in the northeast branch of upper Bara Shigri glacier from Concordia (base camp) with two different approaches. One route goes from the northeast branch of the glacier and then moves to the south, while the second route is from the head of the Bara Shigri glacier, then takes a left turn (eastern) into a nala, from where the face of Shigri Parbat is visible.
On 5 August 1990 we left Bombay to reach Manali on the 7th. For the next two days we purchased and packed rations and other required materials and also arranged for LAPs and HAPs. On 10 August, all members alongwith Tikamram Thakur as HAP, Singhiram Thakur, Khemraj as porters and Daulatram Thakur as cook, reached Batal in the evening in a mini-bus.
On 11 August, we moved ahead, crossed Karcha nala and reached a beautiful campsite near the snout of Bara Shigri glacier. On 12 August, we entered the glacier, walked on lateral moraine and pitched our tents in the evening at 4240 m. Next day the weather turned bad, hence we rested at the camp. On 14 August we moved ahead, crossed Central nala coming from the left and camped on the glacier at 4645 m. On 15 August we moved ahead on the moraine towards the south. We crossed the moraine to go on the left bank of the glacier and camped at Concordia (4900 m). Next day we paid off 20 porters and rested and enjoyed the day at Concordia.
Exploring the Northeast Branch of the Glacier
Concordia is a beautiful campsite surrounded by magnificent mountains with prominent Kulu Pumori (6450 m) and two other unnamed peaks in the south. On 18 August we ferried loads to the northeast branch of the glacier. From Concordia we moved northwards. The glacier was full of deep crevasses which were open and easy to negotiate. At times, we had to jump across the crevasses and at times make a long traverse. We reached Cl on the rocky moraine.
On 19 August Tikarnram and myself left Cl at 5 a.m. Trekking for about an hour we reached the 3rd nala coming from the right. At this juncture, the glacier rises for about 60 m with gradual slope. After crossing it we came to a big snowfield which was on the glacial lake with soft powder snow as top layer. There were open crevasses too with water flowing underneath. We carefully zigzagged ahead towards the eastern end. It took us a long time to cross a few metres and later on it became extremely difficult to negotiate the route. Both the sides of the lake were covered with deep crevasses, hence we could not recce both the corners of the glacier. We came near the 4th nala from the right (south) and for the first time we saw Shigri Parbat (6526 m). It was looking magnificent with cornices and crevasses. Some cornices were about 10 m high. There were other peaks of 6000 m at the northern head of the glacier and a pass leading to the east between two peaks of 6300 m.
41. Kulu Pumori (6553 m) rising above Concordia on Bara Shigri glacier. Note 15 (Dhiren Pania)
42. Lal Quila (Kulu Makalu) (6350 m) left and Cathedral (6100 m) (rocky point) from Concordia on Bara Shigri glacier. Note 15 (Dhiren Pania)
Previous two expeditions J.P.O'F. Lynam in 1961,1 and Army Sappers in 19872 did not face any problem as they came in May/June. At that time all the crevasses must have been covered with fresh snow, but now snow had started melting. The cornices on the peak appeared to be precarious and would crack if disturbed. At about noon, we were near the eastern end. The blazing hot sun had already softened the snow, ice had started melting, many streams could be heard flowing underneath. Taking into account the condition of the peak and the glacier we decided to retreat from this area and try to attempt the peak from its southern side. We photographed the surrounding peaks which were more than 6000 m — challenging and virgin. We returned back to the camp carefully and with great difficulty reached the campsite at 2 p.m. We wound up the camp and returned to Concordia. Next day we rested at Concordia and sorted food and equipment as now we had decided to attempt the peak in one stretch.
On 21 August, leaving behind Kumud and Daulatram, rest of us moved ahead in the southern direction. We came across the debris left by Border Security Force (BSF - India) team. Now Kulu Pumori's magnificent southwest face was clearly visible. We moved ahead on the glacier and crossed a number of open crevasses which were restricting our progress as most of them were of varying widths and had to be either jumped across or traversed. We reached the campsite near the base of Kulu Pumori and established Cl. In the front we could see the end of Bara Shigri glacier with snow peaks.
On 22 August, we moved east and entered the 2nd nala coming from left i.e. Shigri nala. We saw Shigri Parbat for the first time clearly. This face was rocky with few ice-slopes in between. We camped on the glacier of the Shigri nala. On 23 August, we moved ahead on the glacier and climbed a rock patch of about 60 m with loose boulders and hanging crevasses, which were looking very dangerous.
Summit Day: 24 August, 1990
We rose at 3 a.m. and after getting ready left camp at 4.45 a.m. Shruti stayed back at C3. We started moving eastwards and in about half and hour reached the base of Shigri Parbat. Southwest face was clearly visible. It was 300 m of rock wall with snow patches in between. We decided to follow the middle rpcky buttress. We climbed about 45 m in soft snow initially, before traversing to the rocky portion. There was lot of scree and it was very cold. We were anxiously moving ahead and awaiting the sunshine. At 10 a.m. we reached base of col. We found thelOO m of BSF rope on ice-humps. We all crossed over it and reached the col at 10.30 a.m. The col was basically on the southwest face on a connecting plateau.
As we were running short of time and the route also looked rather difficult, it would not have been feasible for the whole team to reach the summit arid return before nightfall. So Dolphy, Dalvi, Tikamram and Singhiram left for the summit attempt; while Khemraj, Shridhar, Shanly and myself decided to return from the col. The summit team had a difficult time ahead. First they had to negotiate 250 m ice-slopes and then 50 m of mixed ice-rock climbing, which was very tiring. Finally they reached the summit at around 2 p.m. They saw a coconut and a flag of the previous team and left mementos on the summit. They photographed the surrounding view. On the south Parvati valley peaks were seen, while in -the west Kulu Pumori and Kulu Makalu were seen. Papsura, Dharamsura and Devachan peaks were also seen, while in the northwest was Central peak and in the north Gyundi peaks were seen. In the east, Spiti peaks were visible. They took photographs and stayed for about 45 minutes at the peak and started their return at around 2.45 by the same route and reached the camp at 8 p.m.
Next day, 25 August, we returned to Concordia and rested for two days, as we had called porters on 28 August. On 29 August, we left Concordia and reached Batal with intermediate camps. It was a memorable experience for all of us.
Summary: The 4th ascent of Shigri Parbat (6526 m) on 24 August 1990 by an Indian team from Bombay.
Members: Dhiren M. Pania (leader), Dolphy D'Mello, Shridhar Vaishampayan, Vasant Dalvi, Shanly Kuriakose, Jangoo Moos. Ms Shruti Shah, Ms Kumud Shah with Tikamram Thakur.
Period: 5 August 1990 to 7 September 1990.
Sponsored by: Paramount Trekkers, Bombay.
Climbs of Shigri Parbat (6526 m)
|First ascent British team led by Joss P. OF. Lynam (NE face to W ridge)
|H.J. Vol. XXIII, p. 57
|Second ascent (2 June) Indian Army Sappers team led by Major M.P. Yadav (NE face to W ridge)
|H.J. Vol.46, p. 175
HCNL 41, p. 39
|Third ascent (20 August) Indian Border Security Force team led by Chhering Ram and S.C. Negi (SW face to W ridge)
|HCNL 43, p. 28
|Fourth ascent (24 August) Indian team led by Dhiren M. Pania (SW face to W ridge)
|H.J. Vol. 47
HCNL 44, p. 24
The peak was first noticed by Peter F. Holmes from Ratang in 1956 who estimated the height to be c. 22,500 ft (6857 m). (See H.J. Vol. XX. p. 78). Joss Lynam estimated the height to be c. 21,800 li (()644 m). See editor's note in H.J. Vol. 46, p. 178 for the (iinfusion about description of routes.
Photos 36 to 42 Panorama H
AIM OF OUR EXPEDITION was to explore and scale peak 6200 m. (20.341 ft) and unnamed peak of c. 5790 m (c. 19,000 ft) in Kala Khal and Seti Khal area in the Spiti Himalaya. This tr.in in is in between the Kunzum pass (4550 m) and the Losar valley.
Team left Calcutta on 19 August 1990. After completing all nn.inqements at Manali. started for base camp on the 23rd. Team dropped at Seti Khal just after crossing the Kunzum pass.
We shifted to Kala Khal. 300 m up the junction of Kala Khal and T.ikrhrt nala. and the base camp (4270 m) was established on the 24th.
At Seti Khal we had already recruited local porters from Losar village. Just after establishing base camp team rushed to recce for ABC. After climbing up 5 km from base camp we dumped our provisions and some equipments. However, our desired peak 6200 m (20,341 ft) could not be seen from ABC. On the 25th, ABC (5060 m) was established by Sujit, Manik and high altitude porters, while rest of the team members alongwith focal porters were busy carrying loads to ABC.
On the 26th, team established Cl (5340 m). It took 4 hours to reach Cl from ABC. From Cl we could see our main peak 6200 m called 'Sudh Parbat' by some local porters and peak 5790 m (unnamed) just NE of the Sudh Parbat. From Cl we could see the col which could be crossed easily to get over to Kunzum pass after crossing the Seti glacier.
On the 28th, advance team moved with loads to C2. It was necessary to establish C2 as near the southern ridge as possible. Accordingly a team of 4 members climbed up towards the ridge after following a glacier which was full of crevasses. To avoid the crevasses team was detouring and climbing ahead to get the view of our main peak. We climbed up a rocky peak 5640 m, SW of Sudh Parbat at about 12.15 p.m. The peak has been named 'Marshu Rang' after its reddish colour (in Spiti language Marshu means red and Rang means mountain or peak). During the climbing of 'Marshu Rang' the weather was gradually turning bad and snowfall started. However, members hurried to C1.
During the recce we could dump our equipments and provisions at C2 (5550 m). On 29th, team climbed up towards north and NW of Cl with a hope to get a better and clear view of Sudh Parbat. They started climbing at 8.30 a.m. and climbed up a black rocky peak at 11.50 a.m. The peak has been named after its colour 'Kala Rang', 5912 m (Kala - black). The weather was deteriorating. It was decided to move for C2 next morning.
On 30th, members were climbing down to ABC because of heavy snowfall. After awaiting for two days at ABC finally we decided to rush for the base camp considering the weather hazards and the coming winter spell in the area. Accordingly, every arrangement was made to climb down to base camp and then to Kunzum pass and Manali as fast as possible.
1. 'Marshu Rang', c. 5640 m (c. 18,500 ft) — First ascent on 28 August 1990 by Sujit Rit, Manik Dey, Pasang Bodh and Angchuk.
2. 'Kala Rang', 5910 m (19,400 ft.) — First ascent on 29 August 1990 by Sujit Rit, Manik Dey, Pasang Bodh and Angchuk.
Peak Attempted: Peak 6200 m (20,341 ft) called Sudh Parbat' on 30 August 1990 by Sujit Rit, Manik Dey, Pasang Bodh and Angchuk. They could reach upto 5640 m and abandoned the attempt dut to heavy snowfall.
Period: From 19 August to 12 September 1990.
Members: Sujit Rit (leader), Manik Dey (deputy leader), Rajani Rakshit. Pankaj Sanyal, Sanatan Bhattacharya, Ananda Chandra. V. Caul, R. Rit, K. N. Parui, K. Mukherjee, Subrata Ash and Dr Patra.
Organised by: The Climbers Group, Srirampur, Bengal.
THE WORLD'S LOFTIEST and most impressive mountain chain the Himalaya, is a global heritage of all mankind. Since the i lawn of civilisation Indian holy men crossed high and hazardous ranges «nd established places of pilgrimage. As Jawaharlal Nehru said, the I limalaya are not only near us, but very dear also for they have always been a part of our history and tradition, our thinking and our poetry, our worship and our devotion. We are therefore, naturally very happy that we are gathered here to examine the problems of Environmental Protection of this geologically speaking young and wonderful mountain range which has taken millions of years to evolve.
It is a vital factor for our climate, the beneficient monsoon rains and Hiving us protection in the winter from the Siberian cold, storing the snows for feeding the perennial northern rivers, influencing the climate and the geologic variety also contributed towards the creation of li'mperate climate in large areas of India, the tropical rain forests of the North East, and enormous wealth of natural living and non-living resources including sharp zones of vegetation and animal life, perhaps the richest assemblage of living forms within its confines on this earth. But these immense varieties and the protection this range gives are very vulnerable assets today through careless and thoughtless interferences.
The first world conference on need and requirement of the concern li t preservation of environment in the world was held./in Stockholm in 1972 which was attended by our Prime Minister, the late Smt. Indira Gandhi. The impact on her mind was such that she took the initiative to amend our Constitution placing under Directive Principles of State Policy; 'The State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forest and wild life of the country'. and also; under 'FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES' laid down that every citizen of India shall have the duty 'to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for living creatures'. I am quoting this to emphasise that ours is the Constitution which lays down such injunctions.
Many steps were initiated. Seminars, and national and international conferences were held and interchange of ideas took place It has to be admitted that this is not an easy problem and all safeguards that may be preached or imposed, affect all spheres of life of whole communities many of whom are not known for unselfish obedience. It requires religious fervour to gain results but it is common experience that a new religion does not spread without conviction and much effort.
The Central Government in India set up a separate Department of Environment about 10 years ago to give this problem concentrated and specialised attention and in 1985 combined it with the Forest Department to give it coordinated form and focus. Forest policies are being changed and pursued but in this pursuit conflicts with vested interests are intense and hard, but progress is being made. Three Biosphere Reserves including Nanda Devi have been set up in mountain areas and three including the famous Valley of Flowers are in the making. Similarly as many as 61 wild life sanctuaries in the north in the mountain and hilly areas have been built, many starting from as long ago as 1974. 16 National Parks including Kangchehjunga area, Nanda Devi, Gangotri and the Valley of Flowers are being developed. These have been selected and approved, and are being progressed by safeguarding under governmental sanctions and restrictions on entry etc., and genuine supporters of the creed have welcomed these steps not only in India but the world over. Most of these areas are not more than about 4000 m in height; some are even in the foothills but do cover areas which if not properly looked after, will leave little hope of restoration. There are many other points for this area; in particular about destruction of trees and forests, construction of roads, about water sheds, large development projects, about improvement in terrace cultivation and shifting cultivation: development of orchards, local production of food and fodder, rehabilitation of degraded areas, specifying the forest land and improving their environment, making some of their parts useful to the local population, convincing them of the advantages and profitability of the scientific utilisation of their areas, about the usp of biogas and solar energy, preservation of the water resources, changing their life styles like at present men folk going to the plains for petty jobs, and women and children left behind for long periods, labouring with all kinds of work at the cost of leisure for women and education lor children. All these can be taken up with initiatives by the government .igencies and the local administrators. I should add that recently the International Development Association and the World Bank have agreed !o sanction credits for a total, of $ 88 million to protect a watershed rind the environment and increase of food production in Jammu and Ivishmir, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. In this J & K and I limachal are mountainous states which will directly help our aims.
Most of you would, however, be probably acutely interested to know ribout the higher altitudes specially as recovery and growth of plants in the alpine zone is extremely slow. At high altitudes birch attains a diameter of two cm. in six years and a juniper bush takes 20 years lor the same growth. Take Nanda Devi Sanctuary which was closed to mountaineers and trekkers seven years ago, and many do not believe that it will take very much longer before the area can generate its original endowments.
When I started my voluntary work in India in the beginning of 50's there was only the Himalayan Club, there was not even one Indian expedition per year. Regarding numbers now, the foreign expeditions ,ire an average of 80 or 90 every year and Indian expeditions more than 100. In'198'9 which was my last summer as President, IMF there were 123 Indian expeditions to the Himalaya. The clubs now are about .100. Instead of being happy about the progress, quite frankly I have been anxious and worried about the trails of garbage and dirty areas in base camps and other places which mountaineers and trekkers visit: this has been despite our best efforts.
For foreign expeditions the liaison officer has been directed to ensure preservation of the environment and to report on the breaches. Leaders both Indian and foreign have to give a personal undertaking for environment and report on the expedition. But the LO is kept pleased with small presents and as Doug Scott has written, 'Climbers are quite selective when it comes to giving away information — even economical with truth' For Indian expeditions we even announced a monetary award if proof of cleaning up the area is accompanied by photographs of the area before and after this work. No real claimant has come lorward !
We have accordingly started sending special expeditions for the last 3 or 4 years to clean up selected base camps on favourite routes. They have buried and burnt the garbage and brought back several bags full oi tins, glass pieces and plastic items but in these camps garbage has started collecting again !
I will now briefly mention the philosophy and advice which we have issued from time to time to all the 300 odd clubs as well as the training Institutes and we will be grateful for advice apart from beginning to blacklist the 'sinners’ who can be generally recognised by the makes of their -empty tins and glass and bags left behind.
Our advice has been :
I am glad to say that UIAA, the world body have complimented us for these instructions and advice and have circulated the important ones. In 1988 we were happy to welcome a special UIAA expedition consisting of young mountaineering enthusiasts from 9 countries in Nun-Kun area, and what is important, it included also special cleaning operations.
Some army units are located in mountain areas. I approached the army chief and am glad to say that specific instructions were issued, and the concerned areas are being looked after. Similarly I approached the Chief Minister of U.P. State for Harsil — Gangotri — Gaumukh and the answer I got after a few months was that a special 'Area Development Agency had been set up for this area with a special grant of Rs. 10 million, and with regulatory powers so that ecological values are maintained.
Punishment for breaches as I have already mentioned needs to be thought of. For the first offence it could be a fine against the expedition which could be $ 100 per expedition, and for the second offence debarring the common defaulting members for two years.
For the protection of the peaks and their routes a rotation basis could be tried by not having more than three climbs on a peak for a particular route per two years, and a year's rest thereafter. In between an expedition may be allowed only if it undertakes to also thoroughly clean the route, the base camp and other camp areas.
But clearly we have still a long way to go.
Summary: Environment problems and the steps taken in the Indian
Himalaya. The author is the President Emeritus of the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, New Delhi.