Himalayan Journal vol.48
The Himalayan Journal
Vol.48

Publication year:
1992

Editor:
Harish Kapadia
Index
  1. HJ VOLUME ONE, NUMBER ONE
    (AAMIR ALI)
  2. GORDON OSMASTON AND TENZING
    (HENRY OSMASTON)
  3. INDO-JAPANESE KANGCHENJUNGA EXPEDITION, 1991
    (YOSHIO OGATA)
  4. SLOVENE KANGCHENJUNGA EXPEDITION, 1991
    (TONE SKARJA)
  5. 1990 INTERNATIONAL DHAULAGIRI EXPEDITION
    (CARLOS BUHLER)
  6. NEW ROUTES ON CHO OYU AND SHISHAPANGMA
    (WOJTEK KURTYKA)
  7. ASCENTS OF PANCH CHULI II
    (Capt. N. B. GURUNG and Lt. Col. SURAJ DALAL)
  8. BURHA PINAT KUMAON'S LESSER MAJESTY
    (WILLIAM MCKAY AITKEN)
  9. CLIMBING BHRIGU'S STONE
    (MARTIN MORAN)
  10. ACROSS THE LAMKHAGA
    (JEAN AUDREY THOMAS)
  11. REO PURGYIL - BENEATH THE SHROUD
    (E. THEOPHILUS)
  12. A WINTER JOURNEY
    (CAROL ANKERS)
  13. HARISH KAPADIA
    (HARISH KAPADIA)
  14. THE BRITISH TRINITY PEAK EXPEDITION
    (VICTOR RADVILS)
  15. THE AMERICAN K2 EXPEDITION TO ABRUZZI RIDGE
    (PHILIP C. POWERS)
  16. THE EV-K2-CNR EXPEDITIONS
    (ARDITO DESIO)
  17. KARAKORAM- THE EXPLORATION PERIOD
    (GIUSEPPE GARIMOLDI)
  18. LOTS IN A NAME
    (HARISH KAPADIA)
  19. HIMALAYA - THE NEXT TWENTY-FIVE YEARS
    (TREVOR BRAHAM)
  20. WHY CLIMB? BECAUSE IT'S WITHIN
    (A. D. MODDIE)
  21. EXPEDITIONS AND NOTES
  22. BOOK REVIEWS
  23. IN MEMORIAM
  24. CORRESPONDENCE
  25. CLUB PROCEEDINGS, 1991

EXPEDITIONS AND NOTES

1.
GURUDONGMAR
G. T. BHUTIA

GURUDONGMAR LOOKS exquisite from far. But the dangerously steep walls of the mountain and the gigantic rocks have struck terror into the hearts of many a mountaineer. The Sikkimese, fed on various legends and myths associated with Gurudongmar and overawed by its prodigious presence, considered the peak sacred and inviolate. Gurudongmar, derives its name from the monastic tradition and literally means the 'incarnation of Guru Rimpoche'.

On their return from the Everest expedition in 1936 E. E. Shipton and E. G. H. Kempson made the first ascent of Gurudongmar by the west ridge. With Warren and E. H. L. Wigram, they left the main party on 1 July after crossing the Kongra la from Tibet into Sikkim and followed the valley running at the foot of the lovely north face of Kangchengyao (H.J. Vol. IX) before climbing Gurudongmar. The second attempt was made by the Assam Rifles in May 1980 and was reported to have been successful.1

While preparing for the expedition, a recce of this area was conducted prior to the monsoon in 1991, by the chief instructor, P. T. Bhutia along with two instructors Nima and Pasang. We benefitted immensely from the recce which added to our knowledge of the topography, the terrain, the snow condition, possible routes and camp sites. It was also revealed from the reconnaisance that there was no practical way to the summit from Donkya la. Any ascent from Donkya la must pass over about 300 m of rock pillar which was covered with treacherous masses of snow and ice and dangerously prone to avalanches. We had studied the weather condition of nearly five years in an effort to time the expedition correctly.

The expedition assembled at Gangtok on 3 September 1991. However in view of extensive landslides in north Sikkim the departure of the expedition from Gangtok was delayed by 10 days. Eventually the team left Gangtok only on 20 September. The route till Chungthang was obstructed at several places because of landslides due to heavy rainfall. We stayed at Thangu for two days to prepare for the final stages, and also to acclimatize.

1- See H.J. Vol. 38, p. 156. - Ed.

The base camp was established after 3 hours of motoring beyond Dongkong along the Tista river at 5250 m and was occupied on 23 September. This base camp was conveniently located near the roadhead and we were able to dispense with porters and mules. Compounder Bimal Rai was Ihe first member who suffered pulmonary oedema and had to be evacuated to Thangu for medical treatment.

On 24 September, two parties were organised for a reconnaisance to .issess the possible routes to the peak. After five hours they returned to the base and reported that the chances of approaching Gurudongmar from the southeast and west faces appeared impossible. Finally it was decided to approach the peak from the northeast. This reconnaisance was vital for the expedition as on its result depended the final choice of the route of the expedition and consequently our success and safety. The climbing of the mountain from the northeast ridge was advantageous because though negotiating the massive rock face which would be laborious and challenging but it seemed to be a shorter approach in terms of lime. The expedition was not really bound by any schedule or by other constraints, including provisions.

On 25 September, the ABC (5530 m) was finally set-up and occupied by 18 members led by the deputy leader. The stores were transported to the ABC by yaks.

In the olden days it was not an uncommon sight to see large herds of mountain sheep and snow pigeons but now they are rare. We saw plenty of rabbits hopping around in the valley. The remaining members lined the party at the ABC on the following day.

On 26 September, Kalden, Nima, Pasang, Kesang and Dawa set out to recce the site for Cl. They passed through lateral moraines of Sanglaphu. They moved further up and followed the moraine ridge which was an extension of the glacier stretching from Gurudongmar to Sanglaphu. Cl (5900 m) was established at the junction of this glacier. The other members meanwhile sorted out and repacked the luggage at the ABC.

On 27 September, Lakpa, Nima, Kesang, P. Lakpa, Phurba, Ajay Makin and Sepley went to recce the site for C2. The route was full of large crevasses, some open and others hidden under the snow. It took considerable time to tackle or to circumvent them. They established C2 (6020 m) at the foot of Gurudongmar. Rest of the members ferried the loads from the ABC to Cl.

On 28 September C2 was occupied by the first summit party consisting of Lakpa, Nima, P. Lakpa, Kesang, Phurba, Makin, and Sepley. Rest of the members relayed loads to Cl. Kalden and some others followed them the next day to support and strengthen the higher camps. The summit party took up the task of opening the route. Above C2 they had to negotiate a couloir and a steep slope about 450 m high. The party fixed rope over pitches which posed danger and forged ahead. The weather greeted them with smiles but the wind velocity was high. Climbing a steep fluted neve wall which put their skill to severe test, they descended to the ridge which was not only steep but also overhung with cornices. It rose steeply with a 70 degree gradient. A slight miscalculation could result in a straight fall of thousand metres. They found a small piece of fixed rope in a rock crack, presumably left by an earlier expedition. The estimation of distances had unfortunately been wrong. Towards midday on 1 October they had scarcely reached 6600 m when they realised that they would not be able to reach the summit the same day. Therefore all of them descended to C2 convinced that they would be able to repeat their trail in a few days time. A support team from the Cl was sent to C2 with their torch lights to give directions to the summit party which had to return from about 700 m below the summit.

A double ascent had been planned with the team scaling the sattelite virgin peak Sanglaphu (6078 m) the same day. The weather was excellent. The party consisting of Kalden, Beniwal, Tamang, Dawa, Passang, Nima Sangay, Choudhary, Rawat, Mahendra Pal, Ganesh and Pushpa left Cl at 4.30 a.m. in windy conditions. The wind was freezing cold and every few minutes the team had to halt to warm itself, Digging their crampons hard into the snow to get a firmer hold on the ice below, they made very slow progress. The team took 3 hours to reach the col. They bypassed it from the right and commenced ascending the southwestern slopes. The climb from the col to the summit was easy and did not offer any technical difficulties. At 8.30 a.m. on 1 October, Sanglaphu was scaled by the young mountaineers of the S.G.M.I. It was a glorious triumph for the team. Wild cheering and hugging marked the scene, as the jubilant members congratulated each other. They spent about 20 minutes at the top, trying to take in as much of the gorgeous view as possible. Pauhunri was visible - higher and mightier - and so were Tista Khangse, Yulehkhang, Kangchengyao, Chomoywmmo and the Tibetan plateau. At 8.50 a.m. the team started its descent. They still had a long way to go before their safe return to Cl. They carefully retraced their steps one by one and reached Cl.

On 3 October, we decided to send a small summit party consisting of Lakpa, Nima, P. Lakpa, Makin, Sepley and Thendo to Gurudongmar. They left for C2 early in the morning. I also accompanied the team. We all awoke to a cloudy morning with wind and light snowfall. Luckily, the clouds were low and cleared by 6 a.m. We estimated 7 hours of climbing from C2. The estimates were all based on the Survey of India map. At the very early stage they had to negotiate a precipice. They all moved briskly to the rocky slopes where ropes had been fixed. Every time they hoped for a view of the summit, they were thwarted by a plateau obstructing their view. They were fortunate that due to a curve on the plateau the cornice was easily discernible and they could take precautionary measures. The weather that day was comparatively favourable for the climb than on the previous days. Makin and Thendo could not go beyond 70 m below the summit due to extreme exhaustion. They were left behind there. Meanwhile, Lakpa, Nima, P. Lakpa and Sepley proceeded further to the summit. The deep and soft snow slowed their progress. However, they crossed the snowfield and halted 3 m below the summit. The time was quarter to one. They remembered our promise to the Sikkimese people that we would not trample over the Gurudongmar deity.

After the rituals of photographs, hoisting of flags and prayers were over they descended at 2 p.m. They reach C2 at 4.30 p.m. and were warmly received.

With all the camps dismantled and having crossed the treacherous terrain and carried down the heavy loads to the ABC we could consider our expedition a success. The strength and time for the expedition were exhausted and the only thing for us to do was to return. 25 ice-pitons, 35 rock pitons, 45 carabiners, 10 snow-stakes and 1000 m of nylon ropes anchored lo the massive rock face and steep slopes were left behind.

Summary: The second ascent of Gurudongmar (6715 m) via the northeast ridge (a new route). Peak was climbed on 3 October 1991. Earlier Sanglaphu (6078) was climbed on 1 October 1991, a first ascent.

The Indian team to the rare north Sikkim area consisted of the climbing Instructors from the Sonam Gyatso Mountaineering Institute, Gangtok.

Photos 34-35

Gurudongmar lake (foreground) and peak 6715m (right). Sanglaphu (6078 m) on left. Note 1

Gurudongmar lake (foreground) and peak 6715m (right). Sanglaphu (6078 m) on left. Note 1



 Gurudongmar (6715 m) from C2.

Gurudongmar (6715 m) from C2.




2
LOBUJE EAST PEAK, 1990
DR. MIROSLAV COUBAL

THE LANDSCAPE OUTSIDE the windows of the Frankfurt airport hall woke into grey daybreak. It was 5 September, 6 hours, 22°C. We got rid of our physical rigidity, put on our jerseys, feathers jackets, plastic shoes on and pushed slowly our quintal (100 kilos) of baggage to the check-out office. When we paid for our tickets at the beginning of this year, we could hardly have an accurate idea about the weight of the baggage. The real weight of it was considerably greater, than the original estimate. The employee of the PAN-AM was unyielding: we had to pay 700 USD extra or not fly. It was necessary to prepare for the departure in 5 minutes at the latest. I felt the sweat run down my back under the jacket. The plane took off without us. The nearest possibility of flying was in 2 days. On Friday we all reached the departure office in more layers of dresses, with 52 instant soups in the pockets and the rucksacks 35 kg lighter.

Our expectation, that in Kathmandu all will go without a hitch seemed to be wrong. Our friend J. Novak, whose advice concerning organisation we depended on, left meanwhile with the Italians for the mountains. The series of troubles was not to stop. At the airport we learned that despite the air tickets we had bought we had no chance to fly to Lukla. Instead of an one hour flight and 4 days of walk we faced the twelve-day march leading under our wall. And the return flight position looked similar. On the same day our camera broke taking snaps. But the greatest shock came the next day. The obligatory exchange of 10 USD for a person per day was new to us as we had not known about that before. For two months it represents a large amount which we couldn't cover from our financial reserve. We got into an insoluble situation. The terms of departure was impossible to change, for the summit and the visa, and until the end of the stay we hadn't enough money, and without the visa we were not allowed to stay and without reaching the summit it made no sense to pay anything. This problem was finally solved by Thukten, the coproprietor of Asian Trekking Office. The sympathetical Sherpa was the only Nepalese whom we unconditionally believed. The next day the situation changed rapidly - all items were covered, our camera was repaired. Late at night we enclosed to our pessimistic letters a merry 'P.S.'.

The full bus to Jiri with atleast 20 people on the roof began to move. Two hours of sleep last night told on me and so I overslept the moment of our dreams - leaving Kathmandu. The monotonous march acted after the previous experiences as a balsam. Perhaps only the night fight with the fleas at Sette and the release of our leading Sherpa Ang, lover of drink, rippled the peaceful atmosphere. On the twelfth day we finally saw in the heavy snowing the tarn under the east wall of Lobuje East (6119 m). After the last payment to both the carriers, they hurried down racing. We stayed at the base camp alone.

The obsession to transfer the free climbing from the rocks to the great mountain walls brought us upto here. The east wall of Lobuje peak is about 1000 m high, armoured with compact plates, somewhere smoothed by water. The first attack we pursued at the time of ceasing monsoon. After two days of bad weather we had to return. Of course we pulled down both the ropes we had with us.

On the morning of 4 October the sun scorched the foot of the wall very fiercely. Two hours later, however, mist and wind will come, it is the daily cycle. We put our slippers on. It is a little unusual idea to undertake some climbs in the Himalaya in checkered slippers with buckles, but their soft sole holds very well on the weathered rocks surface. For the snow covered parts we took with us plastic shoes and crampons.

We usually curse our suspended tent, when transporting the rucksacks, but we cannot imagine climbing some walls without it. Only two hooks are sufficient and comfortable night shelter is warranted. And in addition outside the circular aperture the climbing, the stay in the wall, wind and mist disappear for 12 hours.

Steep, water smoothed plates. Here began the real difficult climbing. From the beginning we tried free climbing, the style had been possible before. Through the perpendicular rock-face ran a narrow fissure below across a solid overhang. It will not do at the first attempt. After ensuring the way with hooks it is necessary to return and climb the place freely. Michael started his second attempt. I wished with all my heart he would be successful. Frozen feet in slippers and chattered teeth were a good reason for wishing it. The mist of the third day grew dark as the evening approached. The most difficult place of our route was over.

On the third night I woke with my face on the icy roof of the tent, the cover of the sleeping bag was frozen to the roof. The badly tightened, suspended slings sagged and the roof fell on the sleeping bags. These would absorb after the sunrise in one minute all the water from the ice on the inside layer of the roof. For safety's sake Michael pulled the roof down. We found ourselves in the frosty air at 5 a.m. In the motionless morning stillness greyish blue peaks one after another appeared. Nuptse and Everest kept a bizarre cloud similar to an atomic mushroom. But for us otherwise an unimportant saddle on the horizon was of the greatest importance. Three, two, one, now! The sun appeared suddenly and a wave of warmth with it. We started to make breakfast.

On the fifth day we finally stood at the border edge of the wall. In every day mist it was only to be seen that in its steep snows we could hardly build our bivouac. We went down about 100 m to a small saddle. The suspended tent cannot be built on the snow and for the digging of a cave we hadn't enough strength any more. On the narrow crest we flattened a small platform with the pick axes and lay down there in the open. We lay on our backs and watched the sea of stars. The last day of our climb remained. In the sky appeared a short white line, a meteroite. 'Well, I wish we'd succeed', said Michael. I objected saying that if it should really be accomplished, we shouldn't speak about it aloud. The second, third, fourth meteorite. We were silent as a grave.

The climb through the edge was quick. In two hours we stood on the summit. In the afternoon we finally ^ame staggering to the base camp. The sense of tension changed into joy, the kettle of rice, warm tea and plenty of other nice things, which we cannot appreciate at home.

The airport restaurant in Kathmandu wasn't quite cozy but we were in high spirits. To our experiences from Lobuje East we added the others from Island Peak, the return march, arranging the next expedition in two years. At this time all these things were summed up and resulted in great tiredness. Fortunately only drinking a cup of coffee remained. And then to all our close people, friends, the Czech language, to our stand on the Charles bridge, potato salad and tomatoes, to Prague cafes and to our tom-cat-finally-HOME!

Summary: A Czechoslovakian ascent of Lobuje East (6119 m) by the cast face on 9 October 1990.

Photo 36

Lobuje East (6119 m), east face. Note2

Lobuje East (6119 m), east face. Note2



LOBUJE  PEAK  EAST

LOBUJE PEAK EAST



3
GERMAN CHAMLANG EXPEDITION
BERND EBERLE

AS A SMALL GROUP of six German mountaineers, we wanted to do an expedition into the Hongu valley (Barun Himal) to climb the virgin 2000 m high northwest face of Chamlang main (7319 ni). All of us were members of the German Alpine Club, which sponsored lliis expedition.

On 16 September 1990, the complete expedition team with Bernd Eberle (leader), Kathrin Hoerrmann-Eberle, Stefan Koehler, Dagmar Stein, Frank Weisner and Barbara Ottl arrived in Kathmandu from Frankfurt.

The next four days were used to contact the agency and liaison officer and to organise some special equipment. On the 21st, we took the bus from Kathmandu (1300 m) to Jiri (1860 m), where the road ends. We arrived after 7 hours bus ride. On the following 7 days, we walked with 38 porters from Jiri to Lukla. Each expedition member had his own rucksack weighing about 15 kg. Mostly the weather was bad. The monsoon brought a lot of clouds with rain. After a rest day in Lukla (2830 m), we crossed the Zatrwa la (4600 m) into Hinku valley, and two days later we crossed the 5400 m high Mera la into Hongu valley. The Mera la is the easiest way to get into Hongu valley. This is very dangerous, in case of high altitude sickness, because you can't descend down the valley. You must always cross Mera la to reach the next village.

On 6 October, after 15 days walking, we reached our base camp at 5000 m between the end of the south range from Hongu South peak and the northwest face of Chamlang. Since we were a small expedition, 21 porters were enough to reach BC. We had food for only 16 days to climb Chamlang. The weather got better, and we were looking for a path to the northwest face of Chamlang. We were all surprised as we saw a very big lake in front of the face. The first 300 m of the northwest face was a vertical and sometimes overhanging rock wall which ends straight in the lake.

This lower part of the face wasn't visible on the pictures we had seen before. What can we do? Our plan to climb a direct route to the summit failed, but we found a possibility to climb on the right side. The next day we carried some climbing equipment to a depot at 5350 m at the beginning of the northwest face. At last we had a rest day in BC.

Frank and Barbara decided to start climbing the face the next day. Stefan, Dagmar, Kathrin and I went back to Mera la to climb Mera peak for acclimatization. We started on 10 October in the morning from BC and reached the Mera la in the afternoon. From our little tents on the pass, we climbed Mera peak in very bad conditions. Due to deep snow and temperatures up to -25°C, we needed 10 hours to reach the summit at 6476 m. It was 11.30 a.m. on 11 October. Mera is one of the most beautiful trekking peaks to have a look at many of the 8000 m mountains in the Himalaya.

The descent was also very strenuous and so we had no chance to reach BC same day. After an additional night near the Mera la, we arrived at BC in the afternoon of 12 October.

Our liaison officer told us, that Frank and Barbara were sick since the day we left BC. The sickness looked like high altitude sickness. There was no possibility of a helicopter rescue, and so they left the BC with our Sirdar and a kitchen-boy on the 14th.


At the same time there was bad weather with snowfall. So, climbing Chamlang was not possible and we had to stay for some days at BC.

Our time was running out. Now we had only a week for climbing Chamlang. Finally the weather improved but there was 30 cm of new snow.

We observed the northwest face looking for avalanches. Time was running out more and more. Now there was very little time for all of us to climb Chamlang, and so we decided that Stefan and I should try to reach the summit. Dagmar and Kathrin worked as porters to carry our equipment to Cl at 5350 m.

On 19 October, Stefan and I started climbing on the right part of the face. We reach a small platform at 6200 m to build up C2.

Next day, after a stormy night, we arrived at the west ridge at 6600 m. This ridge was climbed by a Japanese expedition in 1986.

It was very stormy on the west ridge, and we were happy to find a crevasse to build C3.

After a short night, we started climbing at 3.30 a.m. The last 700 m on the west face, that we climbed was nearly the same route as the Japanese.

At about 10 a.m. we reached Chamlang main summit (7319 m). It was 21 October, the temperature was about -30°C. There was a very qood view around, but because of the strong wind it was not possible to stay for a longer time on the top. The same day we descended to C2 at 6200 m.

This was the fourth ascent of the Chamlang main summit and the first ascent in alpine style without high altitude porters, prepared camps and fixed ropes. Each of us climbed without protection (soloing). It was an ice-wall with difficulties about 40 to 60 degree with short steps upto 70 degree. This was also the first ascent of the northwest face upto the west ridge. On 22nd we were back in BC. That afternoon, our Sirdar arrived with the porters for the return to Lukla. On the 23rd we left BC. The porters went back to Lukla by crossing Mera la. The expedition team, together with our cook and a porter, left BC to ascend the very difficult pass Amphu Laptsa. From the pass at 5770 m, we had to descend a 300 m ice-wall, to reach the Solo Khumbu valley below Lhotse .ind Everest.

Three days later, on 27 October, we reached Lukla. The next day we were flying back to Kathmandu.

Summary: An ascent of Chamlang main (7319 m) via the unclimbed NW face upto 6600 m, following thereafter the west ridge, by a German team in October 1990. Mera peak (6476 m) was also climbed.

Chamlang (739 m), route of acent via the northeast face -west ridge. Note 3

Chamlang (739 m), route of acent via the northeast face -west ridge. Note 3



CHAMLANG

CHAMLANG



4
MANASLU SOUTH FACE IN WINTER
ERIC MONIER

I LEFT KATHMANDU on 10 December 1990 and arrived at base camp on the 18th accompanied by a trekking team. The base camp was situated on the Thulegi glacier at 4300 m on the southwest of Manaslu. Soon on 20 December, the trekking team returned back to Kathmandu, and I remained at the base camp with one Sirdar, one cook, and Miss Loscos Monique, medical doctor. My project was to climb the southwest face of Manaslu, following the Messner route of 1972, alone above the base camp, without high altitude porters, without oxygen and without walkie talkie. I started alone on 20 December to recce the route on the big rock wall (800 m high) situated between BC and Cl. I put 140 m of fixed ropes.

After two days of preparation, I went upto Cl on 24 December on the 'Butterfly valley' at 5800 m. So far, the weather was very nice, sunny and dry. But the weather conditions changed on 25 December, going upto C2, and it was not possible to reach the 'Butterfly pass', and I left 10 kg material at 6200 m before returning to Cl the same day, and to BC on 26 December. From this date for 8 days, two successive atmospheric disturbances occurred, like real winter weather, with cold wind and snowfall. So it was necessary to remain at BC, and during this period, I couldn't acclimatize well, the base camp being too low.

On 3 January 1991, when the good weather returned, I decided to try to go to the summit, going slowly for acclimatization.

On 3 January 1991 I reached Cl at 5500 m. On the 4th I reached C2 at 6500 m, near the 'Butterfly pass'.

On the 5th, I went up on the west crest until 7300 m putting my tent (C3) on the last crevasse before the summit plateau at 7400 m getting good protection against the wind.

On 6 January, I started from this last camp at 1.30 a.m. arriving at daylight at 7700 m and in the morning at 7950 m. The temperature was estimated below - 50°C and the wind at 80 kmph before the sunlight. I was not correctly acclimatized and I suffered from hallucination and confusion. So I, abandoned the climb at 7950 m near the summit.

I think that my legs were able to carry me to the top, but I would have probably 'forgotten' the return track. Frostbites did not permit me to make another attempt.

Inspite of this failure, I believe I have lived a very fine personal experience. The experience of loneliness was very intense.

Summary: A solo winter attempt on the southwest face of Manaslu (8163 m) by the French climber in December/January 1990-91. He reached 7950 m without oxygen or support.

5
INDIAN TIRSULI EXPEDITION, 1990
MAJOR A. B. GOTH

TIRSULI (7074 m) LIES AT THE HEAD of the Milam glacier in the Zanskar range of Kumaon Himalaya. The peak falls in the inner line and attracts very few mountaineers owing to the long approach from the roadhead and the restriction of entry to this .irea. The first attempt to climb this peak in 1939 by a Polish expedition had ended in the tragic loss of three lives. The second attempt made liy the 1964 Indian pre-Everest expedition had to be abandoned due to an avalanche. The peak was finally climbed by the Himalayan Association of West Bengal in 1966 in its second attempt with three members from the team reaching the top of this majestic peak.1 Since then, there is no record of any attempt on this peak although some expeditions have attempted and climbed the neighbouring peak Hardeol.

Our Army expedition which attempted this peak in October 1990 was very different from the many expeditions which are characterised by long planning periods, massive administrative backups and large number of participants. The team comprised of all together 12 members and one Sherpa. Most of the members had been instructors in H.A.W.S. (High Altitude Warfare School) A large proportion of them had some major expeditions behind them and on the whole it was a well balanced team.

The team had assembled in New Delhi by 9 September and was able to leave for the mountains in ten days. The roadhead camp at Munsiari was set up on 24 September and negotiations soon got under way with the local porter-cum-mule contractor. Talks which seemed to fail on numerous occasions, tension and hard bargaining coupled with a loss of one day eventually led to an agreement and the team was on its way to the base camp the next day.

A five day march along the Dhauli ganga with night halts at Lilam, Bugdiar, Burfu and Milam finally took us to our base camp at Nitwal Thaur (4270 m). The beauty of the mountains was spectacular and the minor problems like fears of sudden strikes by porters and muleteers, and to call it a day at any spot which took their fancy, only seemed to add to the challenge that we had accepted.

1. See H.J. Vol. XXVII, p. 67 and 182. For the attempts see H.J. Vols. XII, p. 78, XXV, p. 206 and XXVI, p. 174. - Ed.

Our four tents which comprised the base camp at Nitwal Thaur on the east bank of Milam glacier were a solitary sight in the vast meadow and offered a grand view of Hardeol, Tirsuli and many peaks which we identified from the map.

As the team had occupied BC on 29 September it was already quite cold and we knew that we would have to work our way up at a rapid pace since any climbing after 20 October would be in the winter conditions.

From Nitwal Thaur, the glacier rose at a gradual gradient till the foot of the southern approach to Hardeol and Tirsuli ridge and then took a sharp turn to the east. The plateau between Hardeol and Tirsuli ridge lay about 1370 m from the level of the glacier but the steep and dangerous hanging glaciers which sent down massive ice and snow avalanches at regular intervals dispelled any idea of taking this approach and it was decided to follow the Milam glacier to the east where it met the Chalab ridge. Along this route, we would try to climb the southern slopes which would lead us above.

The glacier, as it turned to the east, was a maze of wide crevasses and huge ice-towers. To avoid these and to save rope we climbed a rock on the east bank of the glacier at its turning point. Three rope lengths took us to the narrow grassy slopes just a few hundred feet below the ridge which ran along the entire length of the right bank of the glacier. It also opened the view of the east we could see Chalab and Kholi peaks in the distance. A walk of about a kilometre on this narrow elevated grassy slope sandwiched between the scree slopes to the left and the rocky ridge to our right made our route to Cl which we set up on the right medial moraine on the glacier. To avoid the crevasses and ice-towers we had resorted to gaining and losing a height of 120 m but we were happy at having found a safe route.

Cl was located at 4730 m. Although the gain in altitude was only 460 m the route was indeed long since we had not resorted to placing camps like the 1966 Himalayan Association expedition. Cl was occupied on 4 October by Capt. Gurmeet Singh, Nb Sub Bir Subba Gurung, Havildar Binod Kumar, Havildar Joginder Singh along with Sherpa Tsangey. From Cl the glacier rose gradually for some distance and then leaped abruptly and steeply in the form of a staircase some 300 m high. We selected a middle line to ascend this and set up C2 which was occupied on 8 October by Gurmeet's party minus Joginder who asked to stay back at Cl to acclimatize better. Meanwhile, three other members had fallen sick and had been sent down to Munsiari for medical attention and recovery. C2 was set up above the staircase at 5120 m, a little below the snow and rock rib which divides the Milam glacier here in two parts. In the middle section it ascends to the east till it meets the Chalab ridge. Route to C3 had been opened by now so I along with three members occupied C2 on 10 October and spent the night together with Gurmeet's party. On 11 October all eight members went to C3 (5490 m.) on the plateau at a safe distance from the rocky rib to our left. The route to C3 passed through a number of crevasses, narrow ice-bridges and steep ice-slopes that were negotiated by circumventing or getting inside them and jumaring up the fixed ropes that were put up in these sections. The work done on the route by Gurmeet's party was commendable and I was now confident that within a week we would be in striking distance of the summit. We dumped our loads at C3 and wished good luck to Gurmeet and his party and returned to C2. In the evening it was learnt that Nb Sub Prem Chand had fallen sick, so he was asked to return to Munsiari if he did not show any signs of improvement at BC. Next day when we made a ferry to C3, we learnt that four ropes had been fixed on the rocky rib and probably seven more ropes would be required to be fixed to reach the site of C4. However, it snowed very heavily on the 12th evening and for most of the day on the 13th and the fear of getting buried in the tents and of being cut off seemed to be working in the minds of C3 occupants. A two hourly contact was maintained through the night on the walkie talkie to keep alert and abreast of the conditions at C3 and the weather conditions compelled me to take a decision to ask the occupants to move down to C2 on the morning of the 14th, whereas I along with my party set out to ferry some loads and to help them in coming down. It had snowed very heavily and the accumulated snow and buried ropes were slowing us considerably and it took us six hours to reach C3. The day had dawned clear and held a promise of good weather and clear skies for the next few days. It brought further cheer when we reached C3 to find that Bir Subba, Binod Kumar and Tsangey were working on the route and had given up the idea of moving down to C2. I occupied C3 on 15 October while my rope mates, Narender and Joginder made ferries and returned to C2. From lower camps the features around had obscured our view of Tirsuli and we had mistakenly started identifying point 6701 m as our objective. It was only due to the availability of good maps and confidence in our map reading that Gurmeet and I could manage to orient the other members and remove their fixation of Pt. 6701 m. Our plans were now to set C4 on the 16th and I was to help them in setting up the camp and identifying the peak. Narender and Joginder were to join me at C3 on 16 October. The peak was to be attempted on 17 October by Gurmeet's party whereas I along with Narender and Joginder were to occupy C4 the same day.

As planned C4 was occupied on 16 October. There were altogether 16 ropes which had been fixed to make the route secure. It involved some steep rock, ice and snow-climbing over slopes of 50 to 60 degrees. Almost where our ropes ended we found a coil of worn out manila rope which belonged to some previous expedition. Presumably, these belonged to the 1939 Polish expedition which had attempted the peak and had lost their members in an avalanche which had swept their summit camp. Other than this rope we did not see any evidence of any human visit to this area. We all carried heavy sacks and it took nearly five hours of climbing to reach the site of C4. Tirsuli stood some 790 m above us but looked, deceptively close in the clean and rarified air. Pt. 6701 m stood distinctly as a peak in itself to the left and these two dominating peaks connected by a ridge dwarfed all other features in contrast. By now, the weather had started packing up and I was urged by Gurmeet and others to stay back at C4 in view of the deteriorating weather conditions but I decided to descend and join Joginder and Narender who would be waiting for me at C3.

The planned move for the summit at 4 a.m. on 17 October was delayed because of the pitch dark night and the summit party had to wait till 5.15 a.m. for light before it could move. Joginder had not been able to sleep due to a headache and asked for permission to descend so I sent down Narender to escort him down to C2.

I myself settled down to monitor the progress of the summit party through half hourly radio contacts. At 9.30 a.m. a message was received that the summit party was making steady progress and it expected to reach the ridge in the next one and half hour. After this communication the walkie-talkie at C3 developed some defect and all communication ceased. The weather was absolutely clear till 12 o'clock and one could not have expected better climbing conditions. But it took a sudden turn and developed into white-out within half an hour. We were out of communication with the summit party but were hopeful that it would have returned to the summit camp latest by 2 p.m. It snowed the whole night and white-out conditions prevalied on the 18 October as well. On the 18th morning, the two of us moved out for C4 to establish contact. However, the tracks which were one and a half feet deep yesterday were all covered up with snow and it became evident that in the existing conditions we stood more chances of losing ourselves rather than making it to C4. We could see the futility of our plan and returned to the tent hoping for a break in the weather.

The morning of 19 October dawned clear and we set out at 7 a.m. for C4, expecting to meet Gurmeet's party on its way down. The soft and deep snow made moving very laborious and at 7.30 a.m. we saw a single climber descending down the ropes, bringing down snow-avalanches along with him. He took only 30 minutes to reach the bottom of the rocky rib and turned out to be Tsangey. He seemed to have undergone a tough time and was dehydrated. Slowly and briefly he narrated the experiences which he had gone through.

The complete party, as we learnt soon after, had made good progress towards the summit ridge, but deep and soft snow, two falls into hidden crevasses, a detour which wasted one hour, and the steepness of the slopes of the summit ridge made them decide to first climb Pt. 6701 m and then continue along the ridge for the summit. At 12 p.m., the weather started deteriorating and Gurmeet and Bir Subba rightly took a decision to return from Pt. 6701 m as it would have taken about two Jiours to reach Tirsuli from there. Binod and Tsangey who had done all the lead climbing and rope fixing on the expedition were still feeling strong and felt that the summit was within grasp and argued strongly against turning back. They went a few rope lengths on the ridge towards the summit but seeing that Gurmeefc and Bir Subba had no intention of following them, they retraced their steps and planted the snow-bar on Pt. 6701 m. It was our intention to leave it at the top of Tirsuli or the highest point attained by the expedition as a proof of our having reached that point.

What followed is a tale of survival. The team had considerable difficulty in descending the hard ice-slopes which were 60 to 70 degrees in places. As no ropes were fixed above C4 and the white-out conditions by 12.45 p.m. were absolute, the party was never sure of the way down. It took lbout three hours to descend on to the snow-plateau and soon after realisation came that they were lost. Fortunately, the party had feather jackets and were carrying two water bottles between them. They continued moving till midnight in the faint hope of finding the single tent and then *at down huddled together. The morning of 18 October failed to bring clear weather and it was only at 1.30 p.m. that a slight opening in the mist occurred and the tent at C4 was spotted. The benightment had taken its price and all four members were severely frostbitten. By next morning, their toes and feet had become swollen and it was difficult to put on climbing boots. The conditions was so bad that it seemed easy and tempting to give up and just stay at C4 and not to make any effort. It is to the credit of each member of C4 that they drew courage from each other and with will power descended to Cl from which they were picked up by a helicopter the next day.

Summary: An attempt on Tirsuli (7074 m) in Kumaon by an Indian Army team in October 1991. Pt. 6701 m on the shoulder of Tirsuli was climbed on 17 October 1991.

Photos 38-39

Route through the Tirsuli icefall. Note 5  (A.B. Goth)

Route through the Tirsuli icefall. Note 5 (A.B. Goth)



Tirsuli (7074 m). Pt.6701 m was reached.

Tirsuli (7074 m). Pt.6701 m was reached.



6
NANDA DEVI EAST, 1991
MAGAN BISSA

AN EXPEDITION TO THE formidable Nanda Devi East (7434 m) was jointly organised by the Climbers and Explorers Club India and the Odessa Mountaineering Club of the USSR, from 31 August to 3 October, 1991. Fourteen climbers from the Soviet Union ind eighteen from India, participated in this expedition. The joint expedition was led by S. Bhattacharjee.

Nanda Devi East:
Nanda Devi is a formidable mountain, bewitchingly beautiful, and with halo of divinity around it. Its twin peaks, the Main and the East, are joined by a ridge. The Main peak stands at an imposing 7816 m, making it the fifth highest peak of India. It is approached via the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. Nanda Devi East stands at 7434 m and can be approached from the east or Kumaon without entering the Sanctuary. This is the only route available to the present day mountaineer, since the Nanda Devi Sanctuary has been closed to mountaineering expeditions for reasons of ecological preservation.

The approach to the base camp of Nanda Devi East is a five-day march from Munsiari, at first northward to Martoli, and then westward. The temple at this village provides a befitting tribute to the divine stature that this mountain enjoys. Munsiari to Martoli forms part of the Johar valley which extends further north upto the Indo-Tibetan border. The Indo-Tibetan trade via this route contributed once upon a time to the prosperity of this region.

Climbing Nanda Devi East from here was a Herculean task. The mountain put to test all the technical skill, physical stamina and mental strength of a mountaineer. No less than 2800 m of rope had to be fixed on the mountain to make the climb possible. Some rope was required to be fixed even beyond the summit camp. Cold winds, snow and a highly treacherous route all added to the difficulties of the climb. It was through determined joint action that success was eventually achieved.

Four successful attempts:
The joint Indo-Soviet team attempted the summit in four groups and succeeded in all its attempts. On 21 September two Soviet climbers managed to reach the summit. On the 22nd four Soviet climbers and one Indian climber reached the summit. On 23 September another four Soviet Climbers made it to the top. On the 25th the final summit attempt was made pulling three Indian climbers on the summit. A total of fourteen climbers thus reached the summit. I was the only Indian member climber to reach the summit, the rest all being Sherpa climbers.

The expedition followed the route of the 1939 Polish expedition which made the first ascent of the peak. This route goes over the Longstaff Col and follows the steep and technically difficult south ridge. (See Exploring the Hidden Himalaya, by Mehta and Kapadia photo 23, p. 54, for a full view of this ridge). An Indo-Polish expedition to celebrate 50 years of the first ascent had tried to repeat this route in 1989 and failed. Experience gained by me on that trip proved extremely useful with strong Russian climbers.

My first attempt on the peak failed. Finally with 2 Sherpas our party reached the summit on 25 September 1991 at 11.50 a.m. We enjoyed 45 minutes on the summit enjoying the view and worshipping the Goddess. The descent was risky as it was very difficult to relocate the route due to a snow blizzard and poor visibility. We reached C3 at 6.15 p.m.

Nanda Devt East is a very difficult peak with loose rocks, strong winds and a long corniced ridge. Many climbers have died on this mountain. Tensing Norgay mentions this peak in his autobiography as the most difficult peak he has ever climbed, even after Everest.

We were privileged to climb the route on to the throne of the Goddess.

Summary: The ascent from the eastern approaches of Nanda Devi East (7434 m) from the Longstaff Col. The Indo-Russian team was first to repeat the 1939 Polish first ascent route. Fourteen climbers reached the summit in late September 1991.

Camp on Longstaff Col, Nanda Devi East in background.   Note 6  (Magan Bissa)

Camp on Longstaff Col, Nanda Devi East in background. Note 6 (Magan Bissa)



Nanda Devi East (7434 m) from base camp. Longstaff Col on left. Note 6											(Ashok Dlilwali)

Nanda Devi East (7434 m) from base camp. Longstaff Col on left. Note 6 (Ashok Dlilwali)



 Nanda Devi peaks. Route followed the ridge on right. Note 6 											(Magan Bissa)

Nanda Devi peaks. Route followed the ridge on right. Note 6 (Magan Bissa)



Climbing on Nanda Devi East . Main Nanda Devi peak on left.		(Magan Bissa)

Climbing on Nanda Devi East . Main Nanda Devi peak on left. (Magan Bissa)



On Nanda Devi East, main peak in background 					(Magan Bissa)

On Nanda Devi East, main peak in background (Magan Bissa)



7
SHALANG GAD, KUMAON
VINAY HEGDE

THREE OF US WERE ALL SET to go for a small scale Himalayan expedition in May-June 1991, the only hitch was where?

Someone suggested Dangthal (6050 m) in Shalang gad region of Kumaon Himalaya. An infrequented place near the Nanda Devi sanctuary. Another possibility was the Danu Dhura an ancient high altitude pass leading from Shalang glacier to Pindari glacier.

After getting initiated in the art of map reading and the uses of the compass and altimeter, we set off on 25 May 1991 from Bombay reaching Munsiari on the 28th.

The next day was spent in procuring our inner line permits and arranging for porters.

On the 30th we set off for Lilam (1610 m) our first stage to B.C. From Munsiari (2073 m) we dropped down 1210 m just above the right bank of Gori Ganga which emanated from Milam glacier much further ahead. We could make out the Panch Chuli group of peaks to our east.

The Munsiari-Milam route was in use for generations by Indian and Tibetan traders bartering goods across the border, before it was sealed by the border police. The entire route is broad and paved.

From Bugdiyar we reached Rilkot another transit camp of I.T.B.P. manned by two jawans.

Of all the base camp approach routes I have been to, this was the most scenic and beautiful with dense forest at places and massive waterfalls lumbling down to join the mighty Gori Ganga. At places there are sheer rock walls extending vertically for 3000 m and a worthy expedition proposal In itself.

From Rilkot we reached Martoli (3320 m) a large village now in ruins, the sad remains of the Indo-Tibetan trade period.

Martoli is at the junction of Milam glacier to our north, Lwa gad to our west, Birajganj (a pass leading to Ralam glacier) to our SE with Gori Ganga flowing south. Looking into Lwa gad (the route followed by expeditions to Kuchela peak and Nanda Kot, ending below the Longstaff Col on the Nanda Devi East ridge we could see Nanda Khat and the mighty Nanda Devi East.

Here there is a temple known as Nanda Mandir which enshrines the Nanda Devi peak itself.

We moved into the Lwa gad for 4 km then turned south west into Shalang gad. Straight ahead we could see Shalang Dhura (5683 m).

We set up our base camp (4220 m) at Malla Shalang a grazing ground just below the western slopes of Shalang Dhura, on 4 June. From here we could see a beautiful panorama of peaks.

From Malla Shalang, crossing a stream coming from Shalang Dhura we climbed a ridge forming part of the right bank of the Shalang gad. We followed the ridge to the south getting down on the medial moraine of Shalang glacier and continued the same upto just one hour short "I the base of north face of Dangthal. Here we located our Cl, in Ihe cirque formed by Shalang Dhura, Dangthal, Laspa Dhura, Nandakhani, and Nandakot running east to west.

Our primary objective was Dangthal, the second aim was to try crossing Ihe Danu Dhura pass located exactly on the col between Laspa Dhura and Nandakhani leading from Shalang gad to Kafni glacier, then over the ridge of Nandabhanar into Pindari glacier. This was considered as a possible alternative to the Traill's pass. In fact there still exists a shrine of Danu in Shalang gad on the left lateral moraine below Nandakhani peak at Bhadeli Gwar, another grazing ground. On our climb up Dangthal we could see two huge cairns on the ridge of Nandakharni, indicators of probable route to Danu Dhura.1
1.Danu Dhura is an interesting proposition for crossing. It has no recorded crossing since H. Ruttledge's porters in 1926. It was tried by an Indian li'am from Bombay in 1988 which felt certain about the possibility of Ihe crossing. For full details and discussions see H.J. Vol. 45, p. 61 - Ed.

On the 8th we left for our attempt up the north face of Dangthal. After crossing the glacier bed, we went up the initial slopes of moderate gradient for 180 m to the crest of the first hump and the first of numerous crevasses. Climbing another snow slope (45° - 50°) for 150 m, we entered a small but steep gully which we hoped would lead us into the central gully of Dangthal. Going along the crest of this small gully we found our route to be blocked by huge seracs and crevasses in our front. To the right were chaotically stacked seracs and crevasses extending right upto the summit slopes. After a small detour from the left over dangerous looking crevasse, we attained the central gully.

A long and tiring plod up this (200 m) brought us to a broad ramp system about 150 m wide and running from east to west across the entire face of the peak and full of crevasses. The eastern end of this culminated into a col between Shalang Dhura and Dangthal and the western end ended on the ridge connecting the main peak and another peak in the foreground.

From here we had an excellent view of Nandakot east face, Nandakhani, Laspa Dura, Danu Dhura and Nandabhanar's summit slopes and its NW ridge. The view to the south was blocked by clouds. From here (c. 5750 m) we continued up the north face, which although steep had few crevasses, the biggest one being 200 m above us extending across entire summit slope. This we hoped was our last major obstacle. We climbed up 65° powder snow to find the narrowest point on thte crevasse which was 6 m wide with the upper lip overhanging prominently. The height here was 5900 m (approx.) (with reference to Laspa Dhura-5895 m). We called off the attempt at 1615 hrs. returning to Cl at 2000 hrs.

We considered that a second attempt would be fruitless as our team was not adequately equipped to cross those crevasses. Also we gave up our plans on Danu Dhura pass as there was too much snow for our porters to cross without proper equipment. Instead we decided to try Shalang Dhura. We returned back to BC.

On the 11th Jignesh and I started on the west face of Shalang Dhura through a snow gully. After some, time Jignesh experiencing severe chest pain went down. I continued alone reaching the SW ridge which was steep at several places and continuing up it reached the summit massif. Climbing up the northern edge of the massif on 60°-65c slopes of compact snow besides a rocky rib, I reached the summit at 1345 hrs. No view, as the weather was bad. Wasting no time on the summit I started down reaching BC by 1515 hrs.

Clearing our rubbish off the mountains, we reached Bombay on 24 June*.

Summary: An Indian team from Bombay climbed in the Shalang gad valley, eastern Kumaon in June 1991.

Attempt on Dangthal (6050 m) by Jignesh Raral, Jasmine and Vinay legde reaching 5900 m. Climb of Shalang Dhura, (5863 m) by Vinay Hedge.

Shalang Dhura (5863 m), Kumaon. Note 7						 					(Vinay Hegde)

Shalang Dhura (5863 m), Kumaon. Note 7 (Vinay Hegde)



Dangthal (6050 m) (centre behind) in Shalang valley. Note 7						 					(Vinay Hegde)

Dangthal (6050 m) (centre behind) in Shalang valley. Note 7 (Vinay Hegde)



 Nanda Kot (861 m) (right) and Nandakhani  (6029 m) (centre). Danu Dhura (pass)  possibly lies on the ridge on the left of the later peak.

Nanda Kot (861 m) (right) and Nandakhani (6029 m) (centre). Danu Dhura (pass) possibly lies on the ridge on the left of the later peak.



8
MATRI AND PANWALI DWAR
PKAJAPATI BODANE

(A) MATRI EXPEDITION, 1990

MATRI (6721 m) is situated at the head of Matri glacier. It has so far been attempted by many expeditions. The technical difficulties culties are experienced due to rough moraine, huge crevasses, bergschrunds, unpredictable dangers of rock falls, exposed ridges and severe rock climbing bove 5800 m.

The main programme of the expedition started from Gangotri which W reached on 19 August. The load was transferred to pre-base camp by members, porters and no mules. Pre-base camp known as Bhujgaddi was 11 km from Gangotri, on the right of Bhagirathi river, besides the old route to Gaumukh. The camp was situated exactly at the intersection of Matri nala and Bhagirathi river. The route ahead was through Matri nala. On the way we had to cross the nala three times. After walking for 2 hours on the ridge, we reached a region of bad moraine which was leading us to the base camp.

The BC (4725 m) was on the lateral moraine fed by Sudarshan, Chaturbhuj, Twins and south ridge of Matri. Cl (5180 m) was located near the snout of Matri bamak with sufficient fresh water resources nearby. On the 26th, Rajesh, Anil, Moreshwar, Atul, Suhas and Shersingh shifted to Cl and other members from BC and HAPs did a load ferry. Rajesh and I climbed the moraine ridge nearly 150 m after Cl and saw the first view of Matri peak. From this point, the full south ridge as well as the summit of Matri was visible. Prasad, Sharad and Govind reconnoitered the route to C2. They located the place at the bottom of south ridge of Matri. They returned to Cl at 4 p.m. On the 27th all Cl members, did load ferry to C2- At the starting of the route to C2 it was a 150 m climbing through moraine, then a gentle slope led to the glacier. After climbing two small ice-walls, the route passed through small rock fall area. There was a huge crevasse field enroute.

On the 30th, Rajesh, Anil and Shersingh occupied C2 (5790 m) on hard glacier near the south ridge of Matri. This site was a little distance from the rock or snow avalanche zone. Cl party did major load ferry to C2. Rajesh and I came at the rock bottom to observe the route on the rock gully and south ridge. We found it difficult to open the route through the rock gully due to heavy rock fall, so we decided to climb the rock face beside the rock gully. On 31 August and 1 September Frasad, Rajesh and Anil opened the route and fixed up nearly 550 m of rope on the south ridge of Matri. All members now had been properly acclimatized and were all fit. By now half the route to the summit was opened. So we decided to attempt the peak.

On 2 September, Prasad, Rajesh and Anil started climbing at 5.35 a.m. They took 3 hours to clear the 1st rock gully of 210 m and they reached hard snow-slope with the help of fixed rope. There Anil started feeling uneasy, so he returned to C2. Rajesh and Prasad took the decision to continue climbing. They climbed the ice-cum-snow wall and reached the south ridge of Matri. After the top of col, the gradient was steep. After an interval of 20 minutes, they started climbing further. The route was easy upto the bottom of the first rock band. Snow was more loose, the next 75 m it was very difficult due to a steep gradient of hard snow and a direct fall. They fixed up a rope on this obstacle and climbed carefully. At 1.15 p.m. both the climbers were at the top of the rock band. They did a reconnaissance of the further route which would have needed more equipment and time. Both the members were short of equipment, so they returned from the top of the rock band.

As expected the weather turned worse during the next 4 days. We could do nothing but sit in the tents. We could not see the sun for 4 days. On 8th evening the sky turned clear.

That morning the sun's rays came on the tents after six days. After breakfast we started marching towards C2 to re-open the route. Half way to C2, we returned to Cl due to bad weather. On 10th morning weather was clear again. The team shifted to C2 with all personal and extra loads. Our camp site was heavily affected by the snowfall. All the tents had collapsed and water had collected in the tents.

It was still very cold when on the 11th at 3.00 a.m., the first team of Prasad and Shersingh started climbing: They took 2 1/2 hours to clear the rock path. Then they gave the signal to the 2nd team. Prasad and Shersingh reached the top of the 1st rock band at 9 a.m. The route ' was along a corniced ridge increasing in angle from 65 to 75 degrees This was a long patch of about 150 m to the rock band. Prasad took the lead on the 2nd band. Both climbed the 2nd rock band safely and kept climbing further. The summit ridge was a typical corniced ridge. On the left was the corniced part whereas on the right, there were scattered rocks. The angle of the right face was very steep so they decided to stick to the rock and went ahead.

About the last portion of the summit Prasad says: 'The weather was going from bad to worse, but we pressed on. I noticed a particular thing before every cornice. There was a slight depression in the ridge angle and then a steep climb till the corince top. After completing the corniced part, we had to climb down to the right and then again climb up a steep snow-slope to the summit. After every five steps, we had to stop to regain our breath. After what seemed like ages, I noticed that beyond a particular rock, nothing could be seen or nothing was rising above. 1 thought it is due to white-out but when I actually climbed that portion, I realised that I was on the summit and it had a sharp corniced edge'. So finally Prasad and Sher Singh reached the top of Matri at 1.30 p.m. They took photographs and offered prayers. After pooja both summiters started descending at 1.45 p.m.

Rajesh, Moreshwar and I were in the second team. We were on the top of the rock band at 11.50 a.m. From there I saw Prasad and Sher Singh on the top of 2nd rock band. We three gave them wishes, now our energy was doubled; we started climbing speedily. But the dark clouds were coming up from the valley, covering most of the peaks. The temperature started going down but we were firm on our attempt. We climbed the risky patch towards the 2nd rock band very carefully. We reached above 6600 m and had almost covered the 2nd rock band. Rajesh went ahead. He suddenly saw Prasad showing the victory sign from almost 30 to 50 m further. We guessed that Prasad and Shersingh had conquered the peak. We received them half way and congratulated both. Prasad was very tired. Shersingh also had lost his stamina. We asked him about the further route to the summit and according to him it was nearly 2 hours of climbing. Both the summiters were also expecting our help In climbing down. Considering the success, members' safety and satisfaction, I called off our 2nd attempt at 6630 m and abandoned the expedition.

(B) ASCENT OF PANWALI DWAR, 1991
Panwali Dwar (6663 m) is a beautiful peak on the outer wall of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. It is situated at the head of Pindari valley, separating it from the Sunderdhunga valley. Tom Longstaff surveyed this area in 1905, after which W. Noyce gave his opinion about this peak as a ‘Gateway of Winds’ rising above the Pindari glacier.