8. D 41, 1992
  9. MULKDLA, 1993
  13. K2, 1994
  19. AKHER CHIOH, 1993
  20. YUSHU






AFTER MY LAST VISIT to West Arunachal in 1993,1 I found myself with Ajit Dutt and his Himalayan Mountaineering Institute 40th Anniversary Expedition in October 1994, headed for Jang which was the same roadhead I had used while returning from the heights last year. Only this time, we were 'on expedition' and travelling by the maddening, non-stop, 'Ghatsila Express Bus' which got us all from Tezpur at a crawl of 17 hours.

The expedition was especially satisfying since Ajit's plans were akin to my own made in 1990 for two expeditions: the first for ascents on the Gorichen group and exploration of the Kangto basin and the second subsequent expedition for a full scale ascent of Kangto in 1991. However, these plans did not materialise and when Col Ajit Dutt, the Principal of H.M.I. asked me to join his group, I accepted.

The approach from Mago to Chokarsam, which was the base camp at 4880 m, was in 5 stages. All expeditions to this region, including ours, face a delaying factor since yaks have to be arranged through the G.B.s2 while porters are not readily available. The region is well wooded with mixed conifers and deciduous trees. Spruce, fir, hemlock, oak and maple were in abundance but it was painful to see the indiscriminate felling of logs above Mago as we followed the Dungma chu to Chokarsam. Large flocks of snow-pigeon were seen above Thimbuimonal, which the Monpas snare or shoot with bows and arrows. Red panda, leopard and marmot were seen by various members. White-capped and plumbeous redstarts, the whistling-thrush, and the rufous-bellied niltava were observed around Mago.


  1. See Travels in the Arunachal Himalaya', by P.M. Das, H.J. Vol. 50, p. 84.
  2. G.B.: Gaon Burras (village headmen).


The nights were very cold and even at base camp our water bottles froze by the morning.

With base camp having been set up on 20 October, one group of climbers had already made an exploratory trip towards Kangto moving eastward, when on 24 October, Ajit and I along with the tail group of his climbers occupied this camp.

Kangto Exploration

The first group consisting of 3 instructors, Nima Norbu, Kushang, C. Norbu, and Majors A.B. Goth, and S. Upadhyay, with supporting Sherpas, crossed the basin east of Chokarsam on 21 October and set up camp below a col. They tried to descend into the valley past Pt 5134 m to get a good look at the approach to Kangto for two days but crevasses and low clouds thwarted visibility and movement and they returned.

A second team consisting of instructors Jagat Thakur, B. Mukhoty, Amit Chowdhury and Sub Laxman Singh moved northward with the idea of pushing past Pt 5496 m on 25 October. They set up camp on the glacier and were stopped by a vertical rock wall of 50 m.

Another foray was made by the second team augmented by Lakhpa Sherpa, Sangay Sherpa and Maj Upadhaya which crossed the wall and its bergschrund by the eastern end. After fixing ropes, they moved further north and established Camp 3 at the base of a peak, made an ascent of Pt 6020 m to get a better view of the intervening terrain towards Kangto (7042 m).

A third team under Instructor Pasang Namgyal, supported by Sherpas was pressed in on 28 October towards the base of Pt 6280 m, which is more northeast of Pt 6020 m and closer to Kangto. Two high peaks of 6690 m and 6953 m were on the ridge before Kangto. The west ridge of Kangto and its south ridge were declared not feasible. The only possible approach to Kangto's summit seemed to be further north, implying the crossing of the McMahon Line, and moving up its north ridge. Since this move would surely invite controversies we decided to withdraw. Thus ended 57 km (across the map) of exploration. Future expeditions should also try the eastern approach.

Kangto and Gorichen Explorations, 1994

Kangto and Gorichen Explorations, 1994

The exploration of Gorichen

Meanwhile aj team, of which the core was essentially the group which made the first foray towards Kangto, past Chokar Tso, was moved north of the base camp to set up an advanced base camp on the moraine of the glacier flowing down from the head wall of the Gorichen group. This was the team I joined a day later after visiting the site of the crash of an IAF plane near the Chokar Tso (lakes). There were skeletons of the victims, possibly the crew, and debris was strewn quite far away.

ABC was placed at 5580 m on moraine and after a bit of rock climbing, on which three rope-lengths were fixed, there was a heavily crevassed snow-slope made memorable by the pretty seracs. Then there was a basin at the foot of the ridges connecting Gorichen II (6488 m), Gorichen East (6222m) and Gorichen South (6247 m). This camp was at 5890 m.

On 28 October, N. Norbu, C. Norbu and Lalit Negi, climbed up the north face of Pt 6222 m in good weather conditions. It was a snow and ice climb, driving in a snow-stake and a length of fixed rope for the others. On 29 October, the ascent was repeated by L/NK Baiju, Kushang, Ms. Anita Devi and Ms. Kunga Bhutia, both girls who are working as instructors at the H.M.I., and Major A.B. Goth with 2 Sherpas.

On 30 October, with an HAP for company, I made the ascent in bitterly cold conditions with chilling winds lashing at me. Though the climbing time was barely 3 hours from Camp 1, I took my time taking photographs and taking in a grand-stand view of the climbing being done on the northeast ridge of Gorichen II by the others who had set out from Camp 1. On the hair-line summit of our virgin peak, I unfurled the Punjab Police and the National flag and shot off a roll of colour film. The views were surprisingly clear and to the northeast, Kangto and Pt 6020 m could be seen. Immediately, to the west was Pt. 6247 m (Gorichen South), likely to be the most frequently climbed mountain in the group. Looking at the connecting ridges from Pt. 6383 m (Gorichen West) to Pt 6488 m (Gorichen II) it was obvious that the southern approaches to the two latter peaks would call for very high grade climbing, though they were not impossible to climb.

Pt. 6488 m (Gorichen II or main) was climbed on the same day by Lalit Negi, Kushang, N. Norbu, C. Norbu, Anita Devi, Kunga Bhutia, Baiju and Goth. I stayed at Camp 1 after my own climb. Their unclimbed route had been fixed and secured by four instructors on the previous day and now they climbed all together. It was again an ice-and-snow climb, beginning %vith an interesting two pitches of front-pointing on an ice-slope to gain access to the ridge. The summit slopes needed careful movement and the approach from the left and south looked highly formidable. The climb was over in five hours and as they descended, we celebrated with a mug of steaming tea. While this group got down safely from the summit, I left them to wind up Camp 1 and pushed down to base camp with a porter the same day, past ABC. arriving in the darkness, I succumbed to the comforts laid out by Ajit while the others stayed on at ABC.

The next day, not a day too soon, with the weather packing up and the mercury dropping further, the pull-out began. Through double marches and reviving hot food at the end of each long day, we covered at times 36 km, and reached Jang on 3 November.

Summary: The 14-member expedition organised by the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling for its 40th anniversary. The expedition explored approaches to Kangto (7047 m), made first ascents of Pt 6222 m (Gorichen East); Pt 6020 m and climbed a new route on Gorichen II (6488m), in October 1994.



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TO MARK, PERHAPS, the beginning of my second life (which according to ancient zodiac theory follows after the first cycle of sixty years) I took up what one might call the serious kind of mountain climbing. I began with Mont Blanc (4807 m) and two years later, when I was sixty-two years old, I scaled theJVIatterhorn (4487 m) and I was then duly accepted as a member of the Japanese Alpine Club. At about the same time, I began to work as a volunteer with the Boy Scout movement. My overseas trips with that group gave me plenty of opportunities to tackle peaks in other regions and I climbed Jade (4000 m) in Taiwan, Kinabalu (4102 m) in Borneo, and Kilimanjaro (5800 m) and Mount Kenya (5000m) in Africa. My trips to Nepal gave me a number of opportunities to enjoy the wonderful spectacle of Everest and Kangchenjunga in the Himalaya during flights from Kathmandu but I had no opportunity to venture to these mountains on foot. The once-in-a-lifetime chance came when I was invited to join a Himalayan expedition in 1993 as an advisor.

My elation at this stroke of luck was all the more justified as I had been hospitalized for a month for a light case of cardiac arrest in May of the preceding year (1992). Therefore, I am pleased to report that in September 1993, just fifteen months after being discharged from hospital, I climbed to Green Lake at around 5000 m, a dream place for climbers in the Himalaya.

I knew through the physical fitness regime that I had begun at the age of fifty-eight and have since continued for the past twenty years, that walk and exercise is most important in keeping one fit. So, as soon as I came home from the hospital, I adopted the habit of an early morning walk, first doing one kilometre and gradually working up to three, which is today my twice daily routine. Happily, after six months or so I was fit enough to take up golf again. That was in January 1993, and having sufficiently regained my health, my energies were directed to taking part in the Himalayan expedition on which I was so fortunate to have been invited. Perhaps my having had a hand in helping the party to gain permission to climb the Twins (7350 and 7005 m), an unconquered mountain, was instrumental.

My objective was to reach Green Lake which lies at 5000 m where the oxygen thins to approximately two thirds of that at sea level. I had no idea what the lack of oxygen would do to my heart so it would not be truthful to say I had no fear. Before I made my final commitment to joining the Himalayan party, I resolved to give myself a test. With three months to go before the planned departure, I decided to attempt Mt. Kintoki-yama (1200 m) in the Hakone mountains. With the help of my physician, I equipped myself with a Holter electric cardiograph recorder. The next day, I drove to the Nagao pass from where I walked for three hours, two hours going up a;id one coming down. When I returned the ECG equipment to the hospital, the physician advised me to reduce my daily dose of medicine to once after breakfast instead of three times daily after each meal. The preparatory climb up Kintoki-yama gave me confidence that my heart was on the mend. I decided then to go for the Himalaya.

The expedition was to be based at Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. The town is located at 1800 m and has a population of 20,000 of whom seventy per cent are Nepalese and the rest mostly Lepchas and Bhutias, It has some pleasant English-style hotels like those in Darjeeling where one can enjoy the crisp mountain air except in the monsoon months of June, July and August.

The expedition party decided to start climbing immediately after the monsoon season. Sikkim shares a border with Tibet which is today ruled by China. Because of the somewhat closed nature of the kingdom to the outside world, and for security reasons as well as the rigid Indian bureaucracy, the expedition's patience was frequently tested since everything tended to take too much time. Due to a general lack of information, we were not properly equipped for the route to Green Lake. Only after reaching Gangtok did we learn that we would be forced to tramp for many hours across a marshy area at 3500 m. As a member of the advance party, I therefore requested the main party in Tokyo to obtain high rubber boots for everyone.

From Gangtok to Lachen (2728 m), we travelled on a bad road in a four-wheel drive vehicle for about seven hours, stopping to clear a succession of check points where we had to show our passports. At Lachen, we used sleeping bags for the first time while stopping at a guest house. From there, we trekked thirty-five kilometres or so over the next five days. An Indian army officer Lt Yadav and Martolia of the Indo-Tibetan border police joined our group as liaison officers. The expedition cargoes were carried by fifty porters, seventy-five yaks and thirty-five horses. The yak and horse caravan left Thanggu, thirty-five kilometres north of Lachen to join us via the northern route three* days later, crossing mountains at over 4000 m. Beyond Lachen we trekked through uninhabited land. The path was not cleared so we had to cut through substantial growth disguising an often undulating trail. At one point, we navigated a log bridge across a torrential river, steadying ourselves by holding on to a rope for safety. The marshy grounds at 3500 m forced us to wear those rubber boots for a day and a half. Thanks to the expedition's leader, I was assigned a Sherpa from Darjeeling to help me carry my gear.

Apart from our forty-two year-old leader, our group of fifteen climbers was composed of active young men in their twenties and some relatively old ones in their thirties. Where it took the group five hours to walk, it took me seven hours or more since I was permitted to proceed at my own pace. After having camped one night each at Thelam, Yakutang and Yabuk, we stayed at Rest Camp at 4570 m. Here we had a day of rest and otherwise generally acclimatised ourselves to the altitude. The five-hour trek from here to Green Lake along the Zemu river was enjoyable as it led through grassy uplands with many alpine flowers, including edelweiss often growing in patches. After navigating the rocks here and there, and crossing the Zemu, we finally made it to Green Lake where the younger members of the group welcomed me warmly with a round of applause. To my secret satisfaction, my heart behaved admirably.

I had heard of the beauty of the Green Lake, but no words could compare with what I saw. The world's third highest peak, Kangchenjunga (8598m), seemed within reach of my finger tips and close by were Sugarloaf, Simvo and little Siniolchu whose main peak is considered to be the most beautiful of the Himalayan peaks, all at the formidable height of more than 6500 m.

The nights at Green Lake were freezing. I survived by asking for another sleeping bag to make" mine double so I could maintain my body temperature. I spent six nights at the base camp. On the seventh morning, we were blessed with a beautiful blue sky, and on that day an Indian army helicopter most considerately requested by Lt Yadav, arrived to take me back down the path that had taken me six days to climb. It took us just seventy five minutes to reach Gangtok where my first, and most probably last, Himalayan expedition ended. Apparently, I was the first eighty-year old climber ever to reach Green Lake.

Climbing Makalu. Baruntse in the background.

34. Climbing Makalu. Baruntse in the background. Note 3 (Jiri Novak)

Tripura Hiunchuli group.

35. Tripura Hiunchuli group. Note 5 (A. Bigey)

Danu Dhura pass. View from Lamchir West.

36. Danu Dhura pass. View from Lamchir West. Left edge (extreme left) leads to the Pindari valley. Right edge leads to the Shalang gad, Goriganga valley. Nandabhanar (left) and Nandakhani in the centre. Note 6 (Vineeta Muni)

Upon my return to Tokyo, I reported to my doctor who, after examining me and subjecting me to various tests including a treadmill, ordered my heart tablets discontinued. Recently, I had occasion to talk about my experience with Mrs Michiko Imai, the renowned mountaineer and medical doctor, who reassuringly told me that while unaccounted for by modern medicine, nature was a great healer and I was living proof of it.

With the weather turning warmer, I am looking forward enormously to resuming my golf game which I have had to do without for the past two years.

Summary: A personal note on a visit to the Green Lake, Zemu glacier by the author, who is 80 years of age.



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West Face, Kukuczka Route


OUR SIX PERSON expedition was international, or more precisely Czech — Italian.

The members: Rolando Nicco and Simone Moro from Italy, and the Czechs Josef Rakoncaj, Vladimir Mysik, Libor Hroza and Jiri Novak (leader). During the ascent Ganesh Gurung cooperated with us.

The expedition departed from Kathmandu on 30 August 1993 and set off with 30 porters from Hile.

I overtook them 4 days later after the flight to Tumlingtar. Near the BC we were caught in a snow storm, which drove away our porters to the last huts of the Yak herdsmen. The 3-day delay helped acclimatization under the south face of Makalu. In 1976 we had climbed along the right pillar. That was the first ascent by any Czechoslovaks in the Himalaya.

After the 1993 spring season the number of successful climbers was 92. One of us could be the 100th mountaineer on Makalu peak. In the Autumn season 1993, 5 expeditions requested permission for an ascent. We were one of them.

On 18 September we reached the base camp (5300 m) below the west face. We set up the tents a little lower than the Germans and French. We got, therefore, the worst view of the face, but on the other hand we were better supplied with water than they were. We did not lose a minute and we started the next day in a group of five with full backpacks to build Camp 1 (5800m). In this way we got close to the French who were trying to build their Camp 2 on the normal route at the, same time. We agreed on co-operation in the higher areas of the mountain above Makalu la (7400 m). The French bulletin about the snow conditions was pessimistic, they were sinking up to the waist above 6000 m. At a lower altitude the layer of firm snow rose after some time but the impact of sunshine upon the snow made it weak. Therefore, we ended up with agreement on common 'stepping'.

Our routes separated from Camp 1. The French followed the one round about the glacier, whilst we took the one facing the elegant pillar of Kukuczka. The setting up of Camp 2 takes upto two days under normal autumn conditions. However, the progress was slower this time — 100 to 150 m a day only. In spite of this, Mysik and Hroza made an attempt on the snowed up west face. The others thought the risk too much, but they finished their job and Camp 2 (6500m), the next key to progress, was built after about a week.

Rakoncaj, Mysik and Hroza tried to fix the part to Makalu la. As they were not acclimatised enough, they had to descend. The first peak attempt was left to the Italians. They were delayed in Camp 1 needlessly and wasted two days. When they reached Camp 2 on 7 October there was no wind at all. Such a windless day was essential and unfortunately this was the last 'peak day'. In the meantime the French finished the expedition. They reached 7700 m, but were forced to give up owing to deep snow.

Moro and Nicco built a small summit tent at Camp 4 (7900 m) on 9 October. The next day during a storm Nicco went up to 8250 m on a rocky ridge (Kukuczka route). He could not go further due to the wind. Nicco descended to Camp 1 but Moro remained in Camp 3. At 2 a.m. he started for another attack. At about 6 a.m. he tried to call Rakoncaj and Mysik from the ridge to Camp 4 but they did not hear him in the tent about 200 m away from him. He climbed then, up to almost 8300 m. After 8 p.m. he turned back, as the storm was again too strong and he was starting to freeze all over. In the meantime the Czech group tried to cross to the normal route but after digging in deep snow they finished below 8000 m.

On 14 October we were all back in the base camp. We were not decided yet. If there had been a chance of better weather we would have stayed for one more week. The next day the wind became even stronger and on 15 October we decided to close the expedition.

Neither Makalu I nor Makalu II were climbed.

Summary: An attempt on Makalu I (8463m) by a Czech-Italian team in autumn 1993.



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THE 1994 AMERICAN Everest Expedition was the only successful team (if success is considered making a round-trip to the top) out of nine expeditions attempting Everest from Tibet in spring 1994. Five of our team members reached the summit. It was a difficult season on the north side this year, with a total of six ascents and three deaths among the nine teams.

The expedition was composed of 20 American climbers, which included 10 mountain guides and 10 clients. In addition, we were joined by Dr John Finley and Denise Deming from Nabisco, two scientific researchers who worked on a nutritional study. Others included Mike Perry and Mark Whetu who were a two-person video team from New Zealand, and Steve Swenson (American) and Michael Rheinberger (Australian) — two climbers who were doing their own thing. Also with us were 12 Nepalese Sherpas and two Nepalese cooks.

The team travelled to Tibet in two groups, one from Kathmandu and the other from Lhasa, arriving in Xegar on 13 March. Base camp (5180 m) at Rongbuk was established over the next few days. We subsequently established Camp 1 (5580 m), Camp 2 (6100m) and Camp 3 / advanced base camp (6520 m) with yak support. Camp 4 at North Col (7010 m) was established on 2 April. As expected, the weather in April was cold and windy and we were glad for the fixed rope we installed on the North Ridge en route to Camp 5 (7800 m). Due to the high winds, it was not until 28 April that we were able to set up Camp 5. A few days later the camp was destroyed by high winds associated with a typhoon in Bangladesh and had to be re-established. Finally by early May we were ready to set up Camp 6 (8320 m) and make our first summit bid, as the weather started to improve.

We had a big surprise when one of our Sherpas collapsed in the cook's tent at ABC on the night of 4 May with a stroke. Over the next 36 hours we evacuated him to Kathmandu, during which time he had 7 grand mal seizures. We gave him over 10,000 litres of oxygen, 10 litres IV, and many anti-convulsive drugs. While at the time he was paralyzed on one side and we thought he might die, he miraculously made a full recovery a month later. The evacuation down the 12 miles of moraine from ABC to BC took over twenty people from our group as well as from several of the other expeditions. This put all of these groups several days behind schedule and forced us to watch as the teams from the Nepal side summited on 8 and 9 May. As we talked to Ed Viesturs by radio from the summit and listened to the shouts and celebrations of his group, we watched a dying Taiwanese climber through the telescope a few hundred feet below them. The Taiwanese climber had summited from the North Ridge the day before, but had fixed no ropes and got lost on the descent, necessitating a bivouac. We watched him crawl around on the snow terrace at 8690 m before he finally sat down and moved no more.

Our next summit team was in position at Camp 5 a week later, but our Sherpas mistakenly carried down from Camp 6, gear belonging to the Italian team. We took responsibility for the screw-up, and I sent Dave Hahn up to Camp 6 in the middle of the night with our team's oxygen regulators for the Italians to use with our oxygen bottles at Camp 6. In the early morning hours of 19 May, Dave met one of the Italian climbers and left for the summit with him, despite deep snow. At the Second Step the Italian turned back, but Dave continued, breaking thigh-deep snow in places. He reached the top at 4.55 p.m. after climbing virtually nonstop from the North Col. His descent was an epic, as it got dark part way down. I sent Bob Sloezen up to meet him, and Bob climbed from Camp 5 at night to meet Dave at dawn below the First Step with food, water, and more oxygen.

A few days later our next summit team was in position. Steve Swenson, an old friend from Seattle had joined our expedition after his group had found conditions on the East Face impossible. Steve was committed to climbing without oxygen, and was accompanying our summit team. When the summit team decided to spend an extra day at high camp due to marginal weather, Steve felt he had to go for it. His climb to the summit on 25 May was accomplished in fine style. The weather turned out to be perfect for an oxygenless climb, with no wind and lots of clouds which made it quite warm. Significant wind during the previous few days had scoured much of the snow that Dave Hahn had encountered on the way. Climbing with Steve were two Canadians, also attempting to go without oxygen. Unfortunately, they were unable to make the ascent, perhaps because of the weight of oxygen bottles they were carrying with them for emergency. As it turned out, it was good they had them, because one of them got pulmonary oedema and had to be evacuated down from Camp 6 the next day after using several bottles of our oxygen.

On 26 May Michael Rheinberger, Mark Whetu, and Dave Staeheli left for the summit. Despite excellent weather, they climbed slowly. Dave felt that the pace was too slow and turned back about noon from the Second Step. Whetu and Rheinberger pushed on into the afternoon and we watched in disbelief through the telescope as they kept going, despite the slow pace and lateness of the day. Whetu had summited in 1991 via the same route and was very strong, while Rheinberger, who had tried Everest seven times before was slow but determined. They reached the summit at 7.18 p.m. just as it was getting dark, and made an open bivouac 20 m below the top. The next morning was cold and windy. We knew they were in trouble and I sent our next summit team, which was in position at Camp 6, up to assist. Strong winds prevented the rescue team from getting higher than the First Step. Meanwhile, we watched Whetu and Rheinberger slowly descend from the top. In eleven hours they were only able to go down 300 m and at dark on the 27th, they were just below the Second Step. At this point Rheinberger was blind and delirious, and unable to walk. Whetu had been virtually carrying him the last several hours. It was decision time and Mark had to leave Mike1. Jason Edwards climbed up to the First Step in the dark to assist Mark down to Camp 6 that night. Despite the bivouac and the rigours of the descent, Mark was able to make it down to ABC the next day, though he had bad frostbite on his feet.


  1. Michael Rheinberger perished on the mountain. — Ed.


A few days later Bob Sloezen made a classic ascent of the route, reaching the summit before 9.00 a.m. on 31 May. That was the latest day of ascent ever during the spring season. Bob, also a successful summiter in 1991 via the same route, let us end on a positive note, showing that a good climber in good conditions can make it look easy. As a footnote, Bob threw a bunch of junk off the top. All of our summiters, upon descent, mentioned how bad the summit looked,' and Bob spent nearly an hour up there by himself, pitching mementos left by previous parties, which are really garbage, down the Kangshung Face.

At the end of the expedition we hauled all our garbage down from ABC and out from base camp and took out our used batteries and medical waste. All camps were completely removed except for Camp 6 where we left one tent. Old fixed ropes were removed in several places and we re-fixed the First Step which was really murky. We also carried down about half of our empty oxygen bottles from the upper mountain. At base camp we built and used a dehydrating solar toilet. In short, the team tried to do a good job with the environment and challenges other teams do the same.

In spring 1994 the Tibet side of Everest again proved itself to be the more challenging one for climbers. While a total of 15 of our team members slept at Camp 6 (8320 m) with a bonafide summit opportunity, the combination of rescues, bad weather, and bad luck let only a third of them reach the summit. It is good to know that it is not getting too easy! The team members were all home by 10 June, knowing they had participated in a true adventure.

Summary: An ascent of Everest (8848m) from north by an American expedition on 26 May 1994.



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THE EXPEDITION started on 4 September 1993 and finished on 3 October 1993.

We flew to Jumla in western Nepal and reached by foot to base camp. The team was going with 35 porters in the direction of Huriot. Then, from this place we had to follow the Jagdula khola.

In the beginning, the local guide who was with the team made a mistake and we put up our first base camp at the bottom of Dudu Kundare peak.

As it was the wrong place we started again the day after along the Jagdula khola to find the real base camp. But from this place, there was no route and walking was quite difficult. Many porters deserted us and we had to carry heavy bags. Juany Perez and Francis Parrot had to stop there because they did not have enough holidays.

We had to cross the river twice and to put some fixed ropes along for about 200 m. It was also necessary to make a kind of a bridge because there was too much water and it was not possible for porters to cross without this.

On 30 September we reached the second base camp at. 3600 m.

We made the first attempt in October by the east face, but it was not possible to climb more than 5500 m due to the bad quality of the rock on this side so we went down to try another side.

On 5 October we put up an advanced base camp at the bottom of the southwest ridge at 4600 m (Lentz, Demesy, Pohl, Devlamynck, Bigey).

On the 6th, Didier, Demesy and I climbed to Cl (5230m). The snow was very deep and unstable. Going up was very tiring. On the 7th we reached C2 (5420 m). The snow was still in very bad condition and it took 6 hours to climb 200 m. The three others reached Cl on the same day.

On 8 October, we reached the top (Demesy and Bigey) at 1730 hrs and it took 2 hours to go back to C2. The others came up till 5520 m, before going down to Cl. We managed the first ascent of Tripura Hiunchuli II by the southwest ridge.

The day after, we went down the valley and in 8 days to Jumla.

Members: All belonging to the Group Alpin De Haute Montagne D'Audincourt in the department of Doubs in France.

Mariano Diaz, Vincent Devlamynck, Francis Parrot, Olivier Pohl, Michel Lentz, Juany Perez, Didier Demesy and Alain Bigey (leader).

Summary: The first ascent of Tripura Hiunchuli II (6400m) in West Nepal. 2 Frenchmen reached the summit on 8 October 1993. The peak climbed is a central peak on the ridge connecting to the main peak (6553m). In the records an alternate height is given as 6480m.

Unclimbed southwest face of nanda kot (6861m).

37. Unclimbed southwest face of nanda kot (6861m). Nandabhanar (6236m) on the right.
Note 6 (Vineeta Muni)

M5 (left) and M4 from C2.

38. M5 (left) and M4 from C2.
Note 9 (R. Gemignoni)

M6 from C2.

39. M6 from C2.



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THIS EXPEDITION WAS ORGANISED by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), USA and was our first pre-monsoon expedition. It was wonderful to be in the Pindari valley with the flowers in full bloom, a low snow line, and well before the arrival of the trekking community. In fact, we were the first group to reach 'Zero Point' this year.

Our departure from Delhi was exciting or exasperating, depending on how you looked at it. With our journey scheduled for 7 May 1994 we were told on 6 May that our liaison officer 'had not arrived'. The Delhi heat in May is not conducive to keeping calm at times like this. But we persevered, and to cut a long story short, an LO was found, and 'deputed' to go with us.

Delhi to Song (the roadhead) via Almora and Bageshwar was pretty uneventful. As was most of the walk-in to Zero point. The PWD workers had refused to clear the path ahead of Phurkia due to 'heavy snow conditions'. Or at least that was the message being sent down valley. This was compounded by the fact that a group of trekkers were caught in a landslide/avalanche between Phurkia and Zero Point and one of them died.

Being 'regulars' in the area has its advantages. We were able to convince the muleteers, that we could shovel out a path in the snow for the mules, and as it turned out, the few snow patches were in the drainages that cross the path. Our muleteers showed more brains than brawn, and in many places, went off trail to minimise shovelling. All along, one could see signs of spring-time flowers. Rhododendrons seemed to dominate the landscape.

Meeting the 'baba' at Zero Point, hearing his survival stories and drinking chai with him made us realise the extent of his faith in Goddess Nanda Devi and his determination to be her devotee.

We spent two days here acclimatising, and re-orienting ourselves to the reason for being there. In the meanwhile a couple of us went ahead and checked out the route to base camp. Over the next ten days, base camp was set up, training sessions completed and one high camp set up on Shel Changuch gal at approx. 5000 m. Our objective was the western peak of Lamchir at 5662 m.

In October 1993, we had summitted this peak using the easier route which hugs the southern ridge coming off the summit. This was necessary due to an icefall with huge seracs and a bergschrund that lay on the more direct route. However, with all the pre-monsoon snow this year, the seracs and the bergschrund were totally covered. We chose a route which we named 'Lamchir Direct'. On 25 May 1994, 12 members summitted and on 26 May, the other four got to the top. This was a new route. The objective dangers included ascending slopes of 50 to 60 degrees in deep snow conditions, avalanche danger, and the final climb on the ridge, which had substantial exposure on one side.

The thought of returning to our base camp was overshadowed by the magnificent views from the summit camp. Storm clouds over Maiktoli and Panwali Dwar seen from the safety of our tents were stunning. Continuing further north, the ridge from Panwali Dwar to Nanda Khat, on to Longstaff col, and finally to the summit of Nanda Devi East took our breath away. We realised once again that it is sights like this that greatly reinforce the need and urge to return to the Himalaya year after year.

Base camp was wet and ugly. The whole place was slushy, with the grass under being exposed in a lot of places. It seemed that summer had arrived in our absence! With four more days to spare before we began our return march, we decided to make a quick and lightweight attempt on a peak that we had looked at during our attempt of Lamchir. We used to refer to it as the 'Snow Dome'.

The Snow Dome is a distinct bump on the ridge that connects Nandabhanar and Lamchir. For those who know the area intimately, it is just south of the pass Danu Dhura that divides the Changuch/Pindari and Kafni glaciers. We left base camp with four days of food and fuel, and set up summit camp at approx. 5000 m. This camp was also on the Shel Changuch gal, but towards the base of Snow Dome.

The next day, (a rest day) nine of us chose to climb up to Danu Dhura that looks over the Kafni glacier. It was quite a view! The Kafni at this time is one immense snowfield. Very different from the post-monsoon when it is a broken up and crevassed glacier. Across the glacier stands Lapsa Dura that has seen only two ascents till date. We decided to attempt it some day. In 1988 a group from Bombay had made an unsuccessful attempt to cross over from the Shalang Dhura side while another group from Bombay had reached it in 1990.

On the 29th, we left camp just before sunrise for our attempt of Snow Dome. Negotiating open crevasses, climbing up one steep snow slope, and skirting a few more gaping holes, saw us on the slopes of the northwest face leading to the summit. Another long snow slog took us to the top (5600 m) by 11.00 a.m. This was a first ascent and all of us were quite excited about it. Many photographs and hugs later, our descent brought back memories of the past 3 weeks, and of the days to come, before the formal end of the expedition.

Our retreat to base camp was uneventful, and we continued on down to Zero Point. Here we camped for a night, before the arrival of our porters and mules. On the morning of 5 June as we left the PWD at Dhakuri for our hike to the roadhead, we were blessed with the most intense thunder shower accompanied by lightning. A befitting finale for a very successful expedition.

Summary: An expedition to the Pindari valley, Kumaon, organised by NOLS, U.S.A. in May 1994. A new route was climbed on Lamchir (5662 m) on 25-26 May 1994. On 29 May 1994 the first ascent of Snow Dome (5600m) was made arid Danu Dhura was reached on 28 May 1994.

DANU DHURA (A note by the editor)

Traill's pass was first reached in 1830 by G. W. Traill, the first Deputy Commissioner of Kumaon. This pass links the Pindari glacier with the Goriganga valley in the east. In August 1926, H. Ruttledge and R. C. Wilson crossed this difficult pass with four Martoli villagers including the famous guide Dewan Singh Lata. The villagers were paid off in the Pindari valley at the foot of Traill's pass after the crossing. However to the surprise of Ruttledge they returned to the Goriganga valley by a different pass, to Shalang gad, and reached Martoli in one day. J. C. Donaldson reported this in June 1945, in 'Possible alternative to Traill's Pass' (H. J. Volume Xm, page 134). Nobody had crossed this alternate pass or located it in recent memory.

In 1988 an Indian expedition from Bombay (Harish Kapadia) made the first serious attempt to locate this pass, from the east. They almost reached the pass and named it 'Danu Dhura' after a local God. Their exploration was furthered in 1990 by another Indian team led by Divyesh Muni which reached the eastern ridge of the pass and climbed several peaks surrounding it.1


  1. See H.J. Vol. 45, p. 53 for 1988 expedition, H.J. Vol. 49, p. 96 for 1990 expedition.


The Indo-American expedition, 1994 (Krishnan Kutty) reached the western rim of the pass thus completing the link between the two edges of Danu Dhura pass. Vineeta Muni, reached the pass from both directions, being a member of both the expeditions, 1990 and 1994. The possible alternative to Traill's pass, Danu Dhura (5560m), is now fully explored, almost 50 years after Donaldson wrote about possibilities of its existence, and 70 years after Dewan Singh of the Ruttledge expedition crossed it.

Photos 36-37



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IN SEPTEMBER 1993, ten members of Calcutta Trekkers Youth were in Shimla on our return from a climbing expedition to the Losar valley. Here we discovered that the inner line permit was no longer required for Indians entering Kinnaur. Immediately we decided to climb some peaks in Kinnaur. We chose Sesar Rang (6095 m) on the Tirung — Gyamthang divide.

On 16 August 1994 a 13-member team led by Ashim Ghosh Chaudhury started for Kinnaur. Surmounting many difficulties and road-blocks we entered the Nesang valley a little after Rekong Peo. We reached an I.T.B.P. checkpost on the banks of the Gyamthang gad, where we camped.

The next morning we left the camp at 8.00 a.m. and a gradual climb of 4 km brought us to a bridge on the Gyamthang gad. We crossed the bridge onto the right bank and after a steep climb of 3 km reached a rocky top. Finally at 2.30 p.m. we reached the verdant Nesang village (3048 m). We planned to make our way to Khadi Thach, first going through the banks of the Gyamthang gad and then turning east to establish base camp. We were informed by the villagers that all the temporary bridges on the Gyamthang gad had been washed away and we were forced to change our route. We left Nesang village on 28 August, crossed a broken glacier and then climbed to the temple of Parang Mata. From here a steep climb of an hour brought us to a pass (3505 m). We then descended and pitched camp near a shepherd's hut. The next day we crossed a nala and climbed a steep incline. It began raining and finally at 4.30 p.m. we reached a glacial zone and pitched three tents only to spend a sleepless night. The next day in bad weather we started out and reached a pass. From the top we could see the Tibetan landscape. We descended on the other side and made our base camp at 5029 m on the banks of a nala. A long ridge covered the western sides. The highest point of the ridge, Gangchha (6063 m) could be seen distinctly.

On 31 August, 6 members moved forward to establish the next camp accompanied by 3 others for a load ferry. We crossed a nala and a narrow boulder zone. Moving east over undulating terrain we finally reached a ridge at 5365 m. We then descended 200m and made our camp (5165 m) near a nala. 3 members returned to base camp. On the western and northwestern side we could see the same ridge that we saw from base camp, but the east and southeast were covered in dense cloud and offered no view. Later that evening a break in the clouds revealed some peaks to the east. We assumed that Sesar Rang should be one of them. The next day brought rainfall and white-out conditions. In the evening the weather suddenly improved and the view opened up but we could not see Sesar Rang. Next morning we left camp at 7.30 a.m., crossed a nala, moving eastward at 9.15 a.m. we reached a flat land with two small ponds. With the help of a compass we located our peak. At 10.15 a.m. 5 members left to climb the peak as we had enough time. All 5 crossed the nala and began climbing a steep slope. The slope was of loose moraine. There were 4 peaks in the southeast, and 3 to the east. One member returned from there and 4 climbers continued and reached the top of the east ridge at 2.20 p.m. Then moving right over some humps at 3.06 p.m. the first man stepped on the summit of the virgin Sesar Rang. Only the view to the east was clear the other sides were encompassed in clouds. The climbers returned to camp at 7.15 p.m. and to base camp the next day and then on to Nesang village. We were happy to have successfully climbed a virgin peak in an unexplored area without HAPs.

Members: Ashim Kr. Ghosh Chowdhury (leader), Gopal Roy (deputy leader), Ashit Bose, Bhaskar Das, Pradip Dey, Rupayan Chatterjee, Mahesh Lepcha, Bachhan Singh, Chandan Mukherjee, Nilotpal Roy, Malay Ghosal, Prabodh Ganguly and Ms. Mitali Basak.

Summary: The first ascent of Sesar Rang (6095 m), Gyamthang valley, Kinnaur, on 2 September 1994. The team was from 'Calcutta Trekkers Youth'.



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8. D 41, 1992


I ORGANISED a mountaineering expedition to peak (5813 m) in the Zanskar valley.

20 Porters were arranged from Tangol village, from where we had to start our trek to base camp. We finally reached the roadhead (Tangol village), via Leh and Kargil, on 10 June 1992.

Expedition to D 41

Expedition to D 41

The route from Tangol to base camp involved a four hour walk on the glacier and snow. We set up base camp (4270 m) on 11 June. Marmots were our companions at base camp, and when they whistled and gathered around us it seemed that they were giving us a warm welcome over there in the isolation.

Base camp was on the Sentik glacier. D41 peak could be seen in its full magnificence from BC. We had to negotiate an icefall of 225 m to attempt the peak between Camp 1 and Camp 2.

On 13 June four of us ferried to Camp 1 at the base of the mountain where the actual climb started. Camp 1 (5030m) was about three hours uphill from base camp. It was sited on the ridge, on either side of which there was a steep fall and crevasses. We dumped our loads in a tent there.

We decided to ferry to Camp 1 for three days, 13 to 15 June, as it was good for acclimatisation. One other member and I planned to stay at Camp 1 to open the route between Camp 1 to Camp 2. Unfortunately our stove failed to work and we had to return to base camp by night.

The following morning, 16 June, Shashi, Tanesh and I left base camp to open the route. We reached Camp 1 after a three hour walk.

From Camp 1 to Camp 2 was a treacherous route. Next to Camp 1 was a steep icefall with a 60 to 70 degree slope and almost 450 m upto Camp 2.

As Shashi and I reached below the icefall and were adjusting our crampons suddenly a huge mass of ice-avalanche hurtled down from the icefall, we ran towards a safer place. It was our good fortune that the avalanche did not hit us otherwise survival would have been impossible. We thanked God and the mountains.

Two rope lengths were fixed in the icefall. It was tiring climbing through the icefall, full of hidden crevasses. We finally reached Camp 2. Nun-Kun and D41 peak could be seen in all their magnificence from this camp. We came back to Camp 1.

M7 (centre) and M6 (extreme left) from C1.

40. M7 (centre) and M6 (extreme left) from C1.
Note 9 (R. Gemignoni)

Kailash (5656m), above Manimahesh lake, Himachal Pradesh.

41. Kailash (5656m), above Manimahesh lake, Himachal Pradesh.
Note 10 (Maj H.S. Sahi)

On 17 June the other three members also came to Camp 1 and all of us together made a ferry to Camp 2 till 19 June and stayed there. Camp 2 (5450 m) was sited on a vast snowfield, 3 km long and almost as wide (a big plateau).

After taking two day's rest, on 23 June morning, three of us including myself left for Camp 2, the other two members were at base camp because one of them was suffering from dysentry. We had to re-fix the ropes again.

On 24 June we relaxed at Camp 2 to wait for the weather to clear. On the 25th morning the sky was clear and we (Nalin Gautam, Shashi and Rajesh) proceeded towards D41 Peak at 10 a.m. from Camp 2. Walking on a vast snow field we had a narrow escape when a huge hidden crevasse suddenly opened out. We started our climb towards the northwest and gently traversed towards the east from where we climbed the 70 degree steep face. Below the top of D41 there was a rocky portion of climbing and we stepped on D41 peak at 1.45 p.m. Our happiness knew no bounds. On the southwest of D41 there was a sheer fall of about 1200 m and on the other side a magnificent view of Nun Kun peaks. We spent one and a half hours on the top then descended to Camp 2. In the evening the other two members also arrived at Camp 2 and they scaled the peak on 26 June. I was very happy because the whole team successfully scaled D41.

Summary: The ascent of D41 (5813m) by an Indian team on 25 and 26 June 1992.



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9. MULKDLA, 1993


THE EXPEDITION HAD as its target the Mulkila (6517m) peak, the highest of the mountains of Lahul. The climb was along the southern crest and the southwest spur, considered the normal way, and it was between 6 August and 8 September 1993. It was the first Italian climb of this mountain and was dedicated to the alpine guide late Carrara Claudio Ratti.

We reached Darcha (3250m) and began the walk in different stages to Mulkila's base. On the 14 August the expedition reached the confluence between the valley that goes from Darcha up to the Tempo la, with the affluent valley that goes to the Mulkila and Taragiri glaciers at the confluence (3600m). The base camp was on the right side of the big melting torrent.

On 15 August almost all the members went up, through the moraine of stones to 4100 m, where they found a suitable place for setting an advanced base camp.

On 17 August all the members except Franzoni went up to the advance base camp placed on a crest of stones of the enormous moraine. The place was rather uncomfortable but extraordinary for the view of the impressive Mulkila north face.

On 18 August with the two high altitude porters Khem Singh and Virendra Singh, we went up for 14 km and 900 m up the Taragiri glacier. We crossed the first zone with many crevasses and reached a snow plateau at about 5000 m between the two crevasses where we set up Camp 1.

On 19 August the members Cavallo, Gemignani, Molignoni, Moretti, Puccioni, Raso, Tawara climbed to 5350 m to bring up some material and went down to Camp 1 in the afternoon.

On 20 August six members (Bernucci, Gemignani, Molignoni, Tawara, Todisco and Violi) went up with two porters with the intention of reaching the mountain's base to set up Camp 2.

The upper part of the glacier, stopped them at 5650 m. Here they spent the night a little under the upper glacial plateau. At the same time from the base camp Franzoni went up to advance base camp with the LO, and that night they felt the ill effects of the altitude.

On 21 August six climbers went up to the Mulkila's base, where at 5800 m, they set up Camp 2, transferring all the materials.

On 22 August two roped parties led by Gemignani, Tawara, Molignoni and Todisco tried to climb the mountain, and reach the wall's base. They went up the west gully about 250 m long that goes to the crest. Tawara and Gemignani prepared the route with fixed ropes on the high part.

The four then went over the crest up to 6200 m. Here they left the technical equipment that was to be used during the second attempt and they decided to go back to Camp 2.

The decision against making a bivouac on the crest was due to the night's very cold temperatures. At Camp 2 the difference of temperatures was -30°C at night and +40°C in the warmest hour during the day.

On 23 August Bernucci, Todisco and Violi went down from Camp 2 to Camp 1. On 24 August a second attempt failed because of strong wind during the night that stopped only when it was dawn. On 25 August Molignoni and Tawara left C2 at 4 a.m.

They reached the terminal crevasses, at 4.30 a.m. they climbed the channel, at 6 a.m. achieved the base and went up to the crest made of mixed ice and stone, oriented SSE, that went to the spur's base, where they arrived at about 9 a.m. After a 30 minute rest, they started on the rock spur, oriented south, that goes to the summit cap. They reached the top in 2 hours.

In the lower part they found old fixed ropes for the large part covered with ice and with anchorage that now gave no assurance. But it suggested the choice of a very obvious route. At 14.20 they began to go down. They returned by the same route and at 20.00 they .returned to the Camp 2.

It appears that no previous expedition had succeeded in completing the climb without a bivouac during the climb or during the descent.

The terminal rocky spur had a difference in height of 300 m, and climbing it was very complex but it was the best choice, crumbled rock in the lower part and a little better at 6400 m. Difficulties ET and IV° degree, terminal snow channel, to reach the top of about 50°.

On 25 August Bernucci, Todisco and Violi left Camp 1 to go back to base camp.

On 26 August with the first light of dawn the six climbers of the Camp 2, began to go down after dismantling the camp. It had been snowing for many hours and moreover the many days at high altitudes had left its mark on all the members.

At 5000 m they met the two porters who remained at Camp 1 and continued their descent to the base camp.

A little lower at 5000 m they found a well kept, 8 year old corpse of an Indian climber who had died after falling into a crevasse.

Members: Renzo Gemignani (leader), Roberto Bernucci, Paolo Cavallo, Gianluca Franzoni, Fabrizio Molignoni, Paolo Moretti, Riccardo Puccioni, Franco Raso, Yoshiyuki Tawara, Riccardo Todisco, Bernardo Violi (physician).

Sponsor: Cassa di Risparmio of Florence.

Organized by: Mountain Italian club section of Carrara and refuge of Carrara in Compocecina.

Summary: The ascent of Mulkila (6517m) by an Italian group on 25 August 1993.

Photos 41-41-42



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Maj. H. S. SAHI

IN OCTOBER 1994, 11 Gorkha Rifles, a regiment of the Indian army decided to attempt peak Kailash (5656m) in Himachal Pradesh. Though not imposing in height the peak is steep and rocky. It has been climbed only once before, by the Indo-Japanese ladies team in 1968. They climbed it via the east ridge.1


  1. For description and trek around Kailash see H.J. Vol. 40, p. 186 and correspondence in H.J. Vol. 41, p. 246. — Ed.


We proceeded via Chamba and Brahmour to Hadsar. Base camp was set up near Manimahesh dal situated to the west of the peak on 2 October 1994.

Detailed Reconnaissance

A detailed reconnaissance from the base camp was carried out by both the leader and the deputy leader between 3 and 5 October and included many approaches,

First Attempt

On 6 October, despite continuing light snowfall on the previous three days, two assault teams set out for Kailash from the eastern and western spurs. However the attempt was aborted at 1130 hrs due to persistent snowfall and bad weather.

Kailash (Manimahesh, H.P.)

Kailash (Manimahesh, H.P.)

Second Attempt

On the 7th, Kailash was attempted from the southwest and south by two separate teams. The weather was unfavourable and due to an ice patch and a hanging glacier beyond 5200 m, the attempt was abandoned 300 m short of the summit.

Third Attempt

On 8 October, four teams of three members each attempted Kailash from the following directions:

(a) South face, (one team),

(b) Eastern spur, (two teams)

South face: The team commenced the climb at 0600 hrs. Rope fixing was found to be too slow hence it was decided to attempt the peak without using safety ropes beyond the first rope. The progress was very slow due to difficulties. By 1130 hrs the team reached 150 m short of the peak. It took them another four hours to climb the last 150m and the peak was successfully scaled at 1530 hrs.

Eastern spur: This approach being very dangerous was not considered earlier as the spur had seven pinnacles which had to be negotiated. However, acceding to the persistent requests by Hav Khurpa Raj, the team leader gave the green signal for an attempt from the eastern spur. The two teams along this approach made their way up slowly and continuously and at 1130 hrs they were sighted 200 m short of the peak. By 1545 hrs the two teams reached the summit and joined the team which had summited from the south face. Both the teams thereafter offered prayers and hoisted flags and commenced their journey back following their respective routes. All the teams returned to the assault camp by 2200 hrs. The climb down in darkness was extremely risky and slow.

While Kailash was being attempted between 6 and 8 October, other members of the team successfully climbed at least one or both of the following peaks in the vicinity.

(i) Pk. 5113 m and (ii) Twin Peak (4960 m)

Kailash was summitted due to the josh (spirit), collective team effort, individual skill of the mountaineers and the training of the team members who displayed courage of a high order. Though onry 5656 m high, Kailash was technically an extremely difficult peak and scaling it has been both challenging and satisfying.

The following were summitters:

South Face:

Rfn Bikash Rai
Rfn Siddi Raj Rai and
Rfn Chhatra Kumar Changbang.

Eastern Spur:

Team No. 1.

Hav Khurpa Raj Limbu
Rfn Kama Bahadur Limbu and
Rfn Ram Kumar Rai

Team No. 2

Rfn Rajendra Kumar Rai
Rfn Tirtha Raj Rai and
Rfn Mahendra Tamang.

Members: Major H. S. Sahi (leader), Sub Pratap Rai (deputy leader), with 29 other ranks from the Gorkha Rifles regiment of the Indian army.

Summary: The second ascent of Kailash (5656m), Himachal Pradesh, by a team from the Indian army. The peak was climbed via the south face and the eastern spur on 8 October 1994.

Photo 41



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WE STARTED FROM ITALY on 30 June 1993, flying to Islamabad. We spent some days solving the bureaucratic problems. We reached Skardu by land and then Askole, the village from which we started the approach march.

Abruzzi ridge on K2.

42. Abruzzi ridge on K2.
Note 12 (T. Jamnik)

Summit slopes of K2.

43. Summit slopes of K2.
Note 12 (Viki Groselj)


44. Chogolisa.
Note 15 (D. Hamilton)

We set up the base camp at 4900 m on the Godwin Austen glacier after six days of walking along the Braldo and Baltoro valleys. Almost immediately we did a first load ferry as far as 5800m. A few days after, we put up Cl at 6300m, where we sjsent one night before going down again to base camp.

On 27 July, we put up C2 at 6900 m, but, during the night, the wind began to blow violently and prevented us from climbing towards the summit.

Luca Campagna and Renato Lorenzi feeling under the weather returned to base camp, whilst Abele Blanc and I waited at the last camp for two whole days. At 3 a.m., on 29 July we left for the summit. The route was very long and presented some difficulties along the ridge between the col and the fore-summit. I had to take off one of my boots twice to massage a frozen foot. Abele Blanc, reached the summit around noon, and I followed about an hour later with a Pakistani, one of the high altitude porters of the Spanish expedition.

The next day, after spending a third night at C2, we went down to base camp. Luca Campagna and Renato Lorenzi didn't suceed in going further than the Cl.

Members: Martini Sergio (leader), Blanc Abele, Campagna Luca, Lorenzi Renato and Stohr Siegfried.

Summary: Ascent of Broad Peak (8047m) by an Italian team on 29 July 1993.



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A SLOVENIAN EXPEDITION to the second highest mountain in the world, K2 (8611m), was organised by the Alpine Association of Slovenia under the general sponsorship of Smelt International, Ljubljana. The team left Ljubljana on 9 May, 1993

All the formalities, including the purchase of food and kitchen equipment, were completed by 15 May. The same evening the entire team left Islamabad by road as there were no flights for Skardu due to rainy weather. On 16 May, the team members and all the equipment reached Skardu, the capital of Baltistan, which is the starting point for all of Karakoram's eight-thousanders. The following day we made the final purchases and on 18 May we left Skardu aboard 9 jeeps. We had 190 x 25 kg loads and when we reached Askole the same afternoon a small army of porters was already waiting. It took a good two hours to organise the loads and equipment before we finally left, in a slight drizzle, on 19 May.

The approach march went without hitches. The main problem was the weather which did not look promising. Nevertheless we reached the site of our base camp up on the Godwin Austen glacier (5100 m) on 25 May and paid off the 160 porters.

The next day despite bad weather we found, the route across the glacier and set up two tents for our advanced base camp (ABC), 5450m high at the foot of the Abruzzi ridge. Due to the fresh snow and hidden crevasses the walk on the glacier was particularly difficult. Camp 1 was set up on 27 May — at first only two tents, one of which was later destroyed. During this time our liaison officer Capt Khalid Faiz became ill and on 27 May he was accompanied by Dr Mesko and B. Kekec to the lower altitude on Concordia, from where he was evacuated by helicopter. He did not return to the base camp.

The weather over the next few days was not suitable for work on the mountain, but the team members nonetheless succeeded setting up Camp 2 on 3 June at 6700 m and on 7 June Camp 3 at 7250 m. On 10 June an avalanche destroyed the tent in Camp 3; a new tent was later set up a little higher but was subsequently substituted by a safer snow-hole. The period of bad weather which started on 28 May lasted until 8 June, and even on the 9th the Abruzzi ridge was still swept by strong winds. We knew from our experiences of 1986 and 1988 that we would have to make the best use of any period of settled weather, which doesn't usually last longer than five days or so. By 9 June we prepared the route to the height of 7300 m and it was clear that during the first break in the weather we'd have to make our bid for the summit.

On 10 June, G. Kropp and D. Sharman left the broken tent of Camp 3 and retreated in the strong morning wind. The same day the weather settled and the next pair, C. Carsolio and Z. Pozgaj, brought the new tent for Camp 3 to 7300 m. Because of the deep snow they decided to wait for S. Bozic and V. Groselj and spent the day digging the snow-hole. The four climbers spent the night at Camp 3 and on 12 June began the ascent towards the Shoulder. In the evening they set up a tent for Camp 4 at 7860 m and settled down for the night. Very early on 13 June they set out on the final part of the ascent. In the morning the weather was as good as during the previous few days and the deep snow presented the only problem. The same day B. Kekec and B. Sedej left for Camp 4, fixing additional route markers along the way, while D. Kamicar and R. Nadvesnik improved the route below and above Camp 3.

At 12.50 p.m. the top two ropes reported that they were about 20 minutes from the summit and that they would continue despite the rapidly worsening weather. It later proved that their orientation and timing were wrong — they reached the summit in very bad weather at 4 p.m. and immediately began to descend to Camp 4 where B. Kekec and B. Sedej were waiting.

V. Groselj succeeded in finding the tent at 7 p.m., Z. Pozgaj at 8 p.m., while S. Bozic and C. Carsolio were forced to bivouac somewhere on the Shoulder. They finally found Camp 4 at 4 a.m., and at 7 a.m. all six climbers gathered in the small tent. The bad weather which began the previous day only became worse and the descent became a worying problem. Even more worrying was the situation with Bostjan Kekec who already showed signs of uncharacteristic fatigue and loss of vitality since the previous evening. In the morning it became clear that he would need to be brought lower down as fast as possible. They decided that V. Groselj and C. Carsolio should descend immediately to Camp 3 and report whether the conditions for evacuation of B. Kekec were suitable or not. V. Groselj reached D. Karnicar and R. Nadvesnik at Camp 3 at noon, but C. Carsolio arrived only at 10 p.m., by which time many feared he had met with an accident. The group at Camp 4 postponed their descent until the following day, while G. Kropp and D. Sharman immediately left the base camp with medicines and oxygen for B. Kekec. It soon became clear that by the next day they could only reach Camp 2, at best Camp 3. The descent from Camp 4 therefore became vital and during a short lull in the storm on the morning of 15 June S. Bozic, B. Sedej and Z. Pozgaj began the evacuation of B. Kekec. His condition, however, was already so bad that he died during the retreat from the Shoulder and he remained high on the mountain. The other three climbers reached Camp 3 in the evening. The next day their descent to lower camps became even more precarious due to Bozic's snow-blindness and the rapidly worsening effects of frostbite on both the fingers and the toes of Z. Pozgaj. The assistance of G. Kropp, D. Sharman, D. Karnicar, R. Nadvesnik and the team doctor Mesko was most welcome and on 18 June everyone was back at the base camp. After a brief discussion it transpired that only G. Kropp and D. Sharman, the 'foreigners' of the team, were determined to have another go for the summit. Due to the loss of B. Kekec and the suffering of the previous days the other members wished to clear the mountain and leave the base camp as soon as possible. On 19 June we made a small plaque to the memory of B. Kekec at the site of Gilkey's Memorial. A full medical examination of Pozgaj's and Sedej's injuries determined that they needed to be eyacuated as quickly as possible and on 20 June they were taken in the company of Dr. Mesko by helicopter to Skardu.

On 19 June the weather began to improve again and G. Kropp and D. Sharman left the base for their attempt on the summit. The brilliant weather over the next few days also encouraged D. Karnicar to try to perform, at least partly, his ambitious plan and at least ski from the Shoulder. During his previous attempt he had already brought his skis to a position just below the Shoulder, and he left his ski boots at Camp 3. On 22 June, while G. Kropp and D. Sharman were climbing towards Camp 4, a big disappointment awaited him: his clearly marked skis, left at the height of about 7600 m, disappeared. All that was left were the marker poles. The strong winds during the storm probably blew the skis down the mountain. After five hours of digging in the snow he returned with disappointment to the base camp.

At 2 a.m. on 23 June, G. Kropp and D. Sharman left Camp 4 for the summit. Because of the problems with crampons D. Sharman fell behind, slid and fell, and eventually returned to ABC. G. Kropp carried on and reached the summit at 11 a.m. Just as 10 days earlier the weather changed around midday and by the time he began his descent the wind picked up and it started to snow. He, too, had problems with his crampons, experienced a dangerous fall and finally arrived at Camp 4 where he spent so long fixing the crampons that he was forced to stay the night and continued his descent in the growing storm the following morning. He experienced all of the difficulties that the previous summiteers encountered. After a bivouac on the Godwin Austen glacier (just 500 m from the base camp) he reached the camp on 25 June, a day after David Sharman who also spent his last night in a bivvy as he couldn't find the ABC.

The expedition members, together with 50 porters, left the base camp on 30 June, the same day that the two frostbitten climbers and the team doctor left Islamabad.

During the 28 days on the mountain five members reached the summit, while all the others except the leader and the doctor reached at least 7700 m. Each member went up four times on an average; the number and the time spent at altitude depended on the order of ascents. All worked hard to reach the summit and therefore all deserved to succeed. Including the ABC, four camps were established in which eight tents and a snow-hole were used. We fixed ropes between 5700 m and 7400 m, and we marked the route with marker poles from 7300m to 7850m, as well as the approach to the ABC on the Godwin Austen glacier.

In the 36 days since arriving at the base camp (from 25 May to 30 June) there were only 15 days without rain or snow, and there were just two periods of four and a half days each of settled weather suitable for attempts on the summit. Strong winds were prevalent even during the periods of good weather.

The expedition carried 2800 kg of food and 1200 kg of equipment. Most of the food was purchased in Pakistan, while the equipment was brought from Europe. No bottled oxygen was used on the ascent, nor were any high altitude porters employed.

The expedition reached its main objective, the ascent of the second highest mountain in the world. It did not succeed in its other aim, the descent on skis from the summit.

Members: Tomaz Jamnik (leader), Damijan Mesko (doctor), Vila Groselj, Davo Karnicar, Bostjan Kekec, Rado Nadvesnik, Zvonko Pozgaj, Boris Sedej, Stipe Bozic (Croatia), Carlos Carsolio (Mexico), Goran Kropp (Sweden) and David Sharman (Britain).

Summary: K2 (8611m) is the 13th eight-thousander climbed by Slovenian climbers, Viki Groselj's 10th eight-thousand metre peak, and the highest peak reached by the Slovenians without the use of artificial oxygen. The summit was reached on 13 and 23 June 1993.

Photos 44-45



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13. K2, 1994


OUR EXPEDITION HOPED to climb K2 by the south ridge. We were Jordi Angles, Jordi Badiella, Toni Bros, Jordi Canameras, Josep Canellas, Lluis Capdevila, Adria Font, Jordi Latorre, Jaume Matas, Francese Zamora, Francesc Zapater, and I as leader.
The expedition set out for Pakistan on 14 June 1994. After spending a week in Rawalpindi, taking care of paperwork and buying provisions, we made for Skardu on the 21th. The journey was made by coach and minibus, we spent the night in Chilas and on the 22nd checked into K2 Motel in Skardu.

On the 24th we travelled to Askole in 9 jeeps. The approach march was made from 25 June to 1 July when we set up the base camp on the Godwin Austen glacier at 5050 m, below the south face of K2. This part was carried out with the help of 197 porters and 2 Sirdars. We spent our nights in Jola, Urdukas, Gore II and at the Broad Peak base camp.

The climb of the south ridge began on 3 July. Having reached an altitude of 6200 m we met with the problem of finding a site to set up camp. On 8 July we set up Camp 1, which was off our route and at 5550 m.

On 20 July, having overcome the most difficult part of the climb (varied vertical slopes and faces with 60°-70° of ice and IV-V on rock). Camp 2 was established at 6450 m. This comprised of just one tent on a surface of snow.

On 28 July, in order to increase the capacity of the camp, another tent was erected at 6550 m which we called advance Camp 2.

On 30 July we located a snow cave in a crevasse at 7000 m which we used as Camp 3, leaving behind materials to continue the climb with. Up to this point the whole climb had been made using fixed ropes.

From 1 to 20 August we went through a period of bad weather with strong winds from the west and south and snow for days on end, seriously inhibiting our progress on the mountain.

Several parties of climbers set out to take loads to high altitude camps and on one occasion a team of 4 arrived at Camp 3 where they spent 2 nights, returning because of bad weather and being unable to progress.

On the 22nd and 23rd, two groups of 4 climbers set out from the base camp consecutively, with the intention of reaching the shoulder (7900 m) and from there to make an attempt at the summit. After spending 2 nights at Camp 3 and being faced with worsening weather conditions, it was decided on the 26th to abandon the mountain. During the descent all the materials were picked up from Camp 2 and base camp, leaving the mountain clear.

On 1 September we left base camp with 42 porters and 1 Sirdar.

After spending nights in Gore II, Khobutse and Bardumal we arrived in Askole on 4 September. On the 5th we returned to Skardu in 5 jeeps. On the 8th we made the journey back to Rawalpindi by road.

On 6 August, at 500 m from the base camp, some human remains were found which were very bkely those of Art Gilkey, who disappeared in 1953.

Summary: An attempt on K2 (8611 m) by the south ridge by a Spanish expedition. They reached 7000 m on 26 August 1992.



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IN JULY AND AUGUST OF 1993, a group of 5 Irish climbers spent 6 weeks in the Karakoram region of Pakistan. One of the major challenges for the group was to put together a trip to the Himalaya at a reasonable cost to a realistic but challenging objective.

While there is documented information available on the larger and better known peaks in the region, the expedition found it difficult to obtain information on peaks in the 6000-7000 metre range. A peak called Masherbrumll was finally selected on the basis of a description provided by a British commercial expedition company called 'Out There Trekking' (OTT). The description reported the success of OTT in 1991 in guiding 14 people to the summit of Masherbrumll, a 7200 m peak in the Karakoram Himalaya. Masherbrum appealed to be a worthy objective for the Irish expedition and an application for a permit was made to the Tourism division of Pakistan.

Permission to climb Masherbrumll was received from the Pakistani authorities and the organisation of the expedition proceeded at full speed. However, at some point after receiving the permit we began to hear of controversy in the British climbing press concerning the true height of Masherbrum IT. Apparently at the same time as the OTT group were on Masherbrum II, another British commercial expedition from a company called 'High Adventure' was attempting Masherbrum (main peak) 7821m. Photographs taken at a height of 6250/ 6350 m on Masherbrum in 1993 were provided to us by 'High Adventure' which suggested the height of Masherbrum II as being closer to 6200m!

Masherbrum I.

45. Masherbrum I.
Note 14 (C. Carsolio)

Malubiting group. L to r: West, Central and East.

46. Malubiting group. L to r: West, Central and East.
Note 16 (J.C.i Soy)

Malubiting East (left) and Bleu la

46. Malubiting East (left) and Bleu la
Note 16 (J.C.i Soy)

Irish Masherbrum II Expedition, 1993

Irish Masherbrum II Expedition, 1993

We left Ireland for Pakistan satisfied that the peak was well below 7200 m but at that stage the die was cast, we had to make the best of the circumstances. The peak itself was a worthwhile objective but not with a price tag of a 7000 m peak. We also knew that if we succeeded in climbing the peak with accurate altimeters we could confirm once and for all the true height of Masherbrumll. Unfortunately, the weather in the Karakoram put an end to our plans and we failed to reach the summit. However, we did make some observations in the area that should help clear up the controversy.

Skardu, the starting point for most trips to Baltistan, is uniquely for Pakistan, dominated by the Shiite sect of Islam. Shias are to Islam what the 'Wee Prees' are to Christianity; fairly serious in their outlook on life. While Skardu is not generally renowned for its night life, we were lucky enough one evening to come across the locals playing a game of polo. This is the national game of the mountain areas, and to put it mildly, it's not quite the polo one finds Prince Charles involved in; stamping out the divots between chukkers is definitely not de rigueur.

The route to Hushe heads 'east from Skardu for 80 km to a point where the Shyok river is crossed near Khapalu. The track up the valley passes through many attractive villages set in apricot groves and, as altitude is gained, enters a narrow defile flanked by teetering rock spires until suddenly the valley widens, becoming lush and verdant as one arrives in Hushe. The village, which has a population of about 250 families, is situated at 3050 m at the confluence of a number of glaciated valleys and is dominated by the magnificent massif of Masherbrum. The people are extremely friendly and make a pleasant change from the dour atmosphere of Skardu.

Hushe, fairly primitive in terms of basic facilities, is without running water, electricity or any proper sanitation and has only irregular attendances by a doctor. There is a UK-based group called the 'Friends of Hushe' that has raised money to provide books and equipment for the village school and are currently looking at a scheme to bring running water to the village. The group grew out of trekking and mountaineering groups who, over the years, got a lot in terms of hospitality from the Hushe people and are trying in a practical way to reciprocate and help out the community. This, like the Irish Himalayan Trust, is an example of how we can return something to the mountain people whose lives and environment are profoundly affected by our brief visits.

Irish Masherbrum II Expedition, 1993

Irish Masherbrum II Expedition, 1993

At Hushe we picked up our 40 porters and headed for our base camp which was a one-day walk from the village and situated on a flat, dry lakebed at a place called Brum Brumma, 3750 m. The site was adjacent to the Masherbrum glacier and surrounded by numerous unnamed and unclimbed peaks above 5000 m in height.

Summit Attempt

Our attempts on Masherbrumll involved much load carrying, waiting around and was singularly lacking in drama. Within a week of arriving at BC we had established the site for Camp 1 on a narrow col five hours from BC. The route to Camp 1 was up an unmapped glacier known locally as the Dranmay (Bear) glacier, which we got to know better than we wished as we slogged up with loads to stock the camp, often having to make alpine starts to avoid soft snow. The col is at 4900 m and sits below a 700 m high avalanche strewn face that was the 'crux' of the route. The face (Scottish Grade 3 near the top) finished on a plateau at 5600 m, the proposed site of Camp 2. Above this rose a dramatic snow covered pyramid leading to the summit at what we estimate to be 6600 m. This is quite a bit lower than the 7200 m claimed by previous visitors to the mountain. Over the next three weeks we made a number of sallies up this face, coming to within 200 m of the plateau on a few occasions and creating a gear stash, but having to retreat on each occasion due to bad weather. The plan for the summit was to leave Camp 2 with light loads, collecting gear at the 'stash' high on the face, and, following a daytime bivvy on the plateau, go for the summit returning directly to Camp 1. After spending 10 frustating days at Camp 1 waiting for the daily snowfalls to come into condition, like many other expeditions to the Karakoram this year, we eventually had to abandon our attempt. To add insult to injury, as we were breaking base camp, the weather cleared. Our walkout was tinged with sadness as we reflected on the fact that we knew we would have made it to the top if we had only got a break in the weather.

Despite the bad weather our expedition did manage to come within 200 m of the site of Camp 2. The table below lists the heights claimed by the three expeditions known to visit the mountain. The confirmed height of base camp (map and 2 altimeters) shows that the cumulative errors may be the result of uncalibrated altimeters. The table shows that room for doubt exists.

Base Camp (Brum (Brumma) Camp 1 (Col) Camp 2 (Plateau) Summit
1988 Italian Expedition 3700 m 5400 m 6400 m 7200 m
1991 OTT British Expedition 3500 m 5200 m 6400 m 7100 m
1993 Irish Expedition 3200 m (confirmed by map) 4900 m 5600 m (estimated)

Masherbrum II was first climbed by an Italian team in 1988 who gave it this name and attributed to it a height of 7200 m. Calling it Masherbrum II was stretching a point as it is at least 8 km across the glacier from its famous neighbour. The local people we spoke to had names for peaks all around the valley but had no name for this peak until the Italians named it in 1988. We can confirm that Masherbrumll is the only prominent feature on the ridge between the Aling Ice Cap (as shown on the Swiss map of the area) and Masherbrum and is located on the southern end of the ridge in the approximate position of Cathedral Peak.

The area south of Cathedral Peak on the Swiss map is incorrectly mapped. The glacier, known locally as the Dranmay (Bear) glacier, is as drawn on our sketch map and not split as shown on the Swiss map. Another point to be noted is that we believe the Aling Ice Cap is in fact the 'plateau' below the summit pyramid of Masherbrumll as shown on our map and on the 'High Adventure' photograph.

We hope that our observations can help settle the dispute concerning the height of Masherbrumll or as we would now prefer to call it, Cathedral Peak. Hopefully, in the near future, someone will climb the peak and provide an accurate altimeter reading of its height. Cathedral is an attractive mountain in superb surroundings. It offers a number of advantages including a base camp situated 2 days from Skardu and the wonderful hospitality and friendliness of the Hushe people.

Members: Mike Keyes (leader), Noel Clarke, Shay Nolan, Dermot Fleming and Kevin Yallup.

Summary: An attempt on Masherbrumll by the Irish Masherbrumll expedition, 1993. They reached Camp 2. The height and name 'Masherbrumll' are disputed by them and they suggest the name 'Cathedral Peak' and claim the height to be 6600 m, almost 600 m lower than was previously thought.

Photo 45



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TO MAKE THE SECOND ASCENT of the 1986 British (Fanshawe) route on Chogolisa (7668 m). The route is approached from the East Vigne glacier and ascends a north facing slope at the head of the glacier to a col at 6800 m on the ridge joining Chogolisa to Prupuo Burakha. From this point the summit is gained by following the line of the Austrian group who made the first ascent of the peak in 1975.

After a speedy and trouble free journey through Islamabad and Skardu the team began the walk in to BC six days after leaving London. It took a further six days to walk from Hushe village to BC with 45 porters. Poor weather in the preceding weeks had caused conditions on the Gondokoro la (5650m) to be more dangerous than usual. One of our porters suffered a broken leg when caught in an avalanche, and our cook developed serious AMS (acute mountain sickness) and was treated with drugs and a Gamow bag before being evacuated to Skardu by helicopter.

Base camp was established close to the mountain at 5200 m. The weather was poor for two weeks and we were not able to get on to the mountain because of avalanche risk. During this period a 'dump' of food, fuel and equipment was established at the foot of the face (5400 m). Three days of better weather (12-14 August) enabled us to establish two lightly stocked camps: Camp 1 (5900m) and Camp 2 (6350m). Climbing was done between 03.00 and 08.00 hrs to minimise exposure to avalanche risk. Bad weather then forced us back to BC for six days. 21 August saw the start of a period of better weather. In six days our group of four climbers moved supplies of food and equipment up the mountain to Camp 3 (6800m). Snow conditions were very poor and several sections angled at 35-45 degrees could only be ascended by digging a one metre deep trench. This was hard work for such a small team. It proved impossible to break trail on this ground and carry a load at the same time. We resorted to making unladen trailbreaking journeys between camps, and then descending to repeat the trip with a load.

By the 26th all four climbers were established in Camp 3 with sufficient food and fuel for six days. The route to the summit looked straightforward and we were optimistic about our chances of success. There was a nasty surprise waiting for us 150 m above our camp. A short section of horizontal ridge which had looked simple from a distance, was capped by a dangerous double cornice. After studying the possible ways of crossing this section and assessing the risks in the light of the very changeable weather, the team reluctantly decided not to press on for the summit. The high point of 6950 m was reached by all four climbers.

We concluded that snow conditions on this section must have been substantially different when the peak was climbed in 1975 and 1986 as the expedition reports had made no mention of the very significant obstacle which we encountered. The decision to retreat came as a great disappointment to all of us. The final slope leading to the summit did not look difficult, yet it was just tantalisingly out of reach. The next day we descended to the glacier 1400 m below. It took six hours to descend the face which had taken us six days to climb! The trench which we had made up the face could be clearly seen from BC (until the next snowfall). 14 porters were sent for to take the expedition back over the Gondokoro la to Hushe. While awaiting their arrival the four climbers explored the upper Baltoro glacier visiting Concordia and the base camps of Broad Peak and K2. Chogolisa BC was dismantled on 5 September, Skardu reached on the 9th, debrief in Islamabad and return to UK on the 12th.

Chogolisa is an impressive and attractive mountain located in the heart of the Karakoram next to some of the world's largest and most famous peaks. Yet it is not a 'popular' peak and is infrequently climbed. This is why we chose it. If mountaineering is about quality of experience, then the overcrowding being witnessed on the popular $000 m peaks can no longer be called mountaineering. Perhaps the crowds of climbers and porters on Broad Peak and Gasherbrum IT increase an individual's chances of success on these peaks — but is that all that climbing is about? The chances of success may be slightly less on the less popular peaks but this is more than compensated for by the adventurous nature of the experience. We were the only four people on Chogolisa for a month. We experienced the remoteness and isolation that has traditionally characterised big mountain climbing — an experience becoming increasingly rare on 8000 m peaks. When will the blinkered members of the mountaineering community realise that there are many excellent peaks in the 7500 m — 8000 m range which are cheaper and more interesting than the overcrowded 8000m peaks?

Postscript: After the completion of the Chogolisa expedition David Hamilton teamed up with John Kentish for a short visit to the Hindu Kush region on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. They investigated routes on Tirich Mir (7708 m) for a proposed expedition in 1995. On 2 October they both summitted on Gul Lasht Zom (6611m) repeating Kurt Diemberger's 1975 route.

Members: David Hamilton, Jose Bermudez, Jerry Lovatt, Grant Dixon, Robert Parker and Capt Nadeem Raza (liaison officer).

Dates: 24 July — 12 September 1993

Summary: An attempt on Chogolisa (7668m) by a British team in August 1993.

Photo 46

Koz Sar.

48. Koz Sar.
Note 17 (A.P. Creigh)


49. Shayaz.
Note 18 (Y. Tagawa)

Akher Chioh and Koh-e-Tez from South

50. Akher Chioh and Koh-e-Tez from South
Note 19 (A. Fendt)

A. Guha Thakurta

51. A. Guha Thakurta



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Indo-Japanese expedition


THE EXPEDITION WAS COMPOSED of 10 members who came from C.E. de Banyoles and C.E. Besalu, Catalonia (Spain). We tried to climb Malubiting West (7458m) in Baltistan (Pakistan) from 18 July to 27 August 1993.

We arrived at Rawalpindi on 19 July and we spent 4 days resolving the government's hurdles — L.O., transport, Embassy deposit for helicopter, food, police permits, and so on.

This year the monsoon was very severe, and blocked the Karakoram highway for two weeks. Finally on 24 July we left Rawalpindi. It was raining heavily and the road near Chilas was blocked again. We spent two days and two nights in the vans till we arrived, exhausted, at Skardu on 27 July. There we contacted our Sirdar, and in a day everything was ready.

Approach March

There is a motorable road from Skardu to Doko (5 hours). It is important to know beforehand if the weather is good as the road could be blocked by melting waters from the glaciers. But, if the weather is bad, the road could also be blocked by landslides!

At Doko the approach march starts, (11 days from our arrival in Pakistan).

The estimated time to reach the base camp is 7 days or stages, but it is possible to cover this distance in only 4 days, in 7 stages.

The four stages were, 1. Doko to Arandu (2770 m) the last village. In this village we had some problems with our porters. It appeared that there was a special regulation about the percentage of porters between Doko and Arandu. The Sirdar resolved the situation and changed most of the porters. 2. Arandu to Chonob Langsa (3400m). 3. Chonob Langsa confluence of Bolocho glacier with Chogolugma (3900 m), 4. We reached base camp (4300 m).

Base Camp

The BC was situated in the middle of the glacier, under the first ice-step. We had to move some tents because the crevasses were growing every day. Water came from small streams, that melt from ice. It was not a comfortable or welcoming place. We stayed at BC for 3 weeks, and we only had 3 days of sunshine, on 7 days it was snowing, and the rest were very cloudy or foggy.

Camp 1 — Camp 2

It was a long way from BC to Cl (11km). It was very difficult and dangerous. In this area, Chogolugma glacier, there were some lateral glaciers that converge into the central glacier. The route runs through the middle of this glacier. It was a sort of an enormous puzzle with breakable ice-bridges. In spite of marker flags, it was often necessary to open a new route. The accumulated snow, crevasses and fog turned this place into sort of a trap, in which some of us fell.

Eleven days after our arrival at BC we had set up Cl, and turned it into a sort of advanced BC in order to save trips on this difficult route. On the 13th day with similar or worse snow conditions, we reached the base of the wall of Polen la, a strategic pass and a suitable place to set up C2. It was too late and too hot on the only day of sunshine to climb the ice wall, of 50° and 300 m long. We decided to set up a camp at a cautious distance from the mountain. The team decided to return to Cl, and a second team had to arrive at C2 that night. Half an hour before the second team reached the provisional C2, an enormous avalanche from the top of Malubiting East, 1000 m above, destroyed C2 and put the second team in a dangerous situation. They had to bivouac at 5500m.

On the next day it snowed heavily again. Later the second team reached Cl, and the bad weather persisted for 3 more days, with over lm of accumulated snow.

Under these conditions, we decided to abandon the mountain. We had no time to wait for a change of weather.

General Observations

The Malubiting peaks are in an isolated area, with especially bad micro-climate. While in other areas nearby there was good weather,. on the Malubiting peaks, there were concentrations of storm clouds. We stayed 3 weeks at BC with only 3 days of sunshine.

The Chogolugma glacier is a broken and dangerous glacier with other lateral glaciers that converge in it. The BC is 12 km away from Polen la. The route runs through the middle of this glacier.

Over Polen la there is a rocky step, 300 m high, and from this point to the top there is a snow plateau about 5 km long.

We had very little information about this mountain. The only information came from an Austrian expedition, in 1972. Since then no other expedition has reached the top of Malubiting West. Ten years ago a Japanese expedition visited this area, but could not reach the top and they lost a member in an accident.

We consider that the alpine style, like we used, is not suitable on such a mountain. Malubiting requires time and patience. Three weeks is a short time.

Summary: An attempt on Malubiting West (7458m) by a Catalan expedition in July-August 1993.



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THE EXPEDITION consisted of five members, Andy Creigh (leader), Peter Williams, Declan MacMahon, Steve Richardson and Ivan Wolton.

The aim of the expedition was to make the first ascent of Koz Sar (6677 m), at the western end of the Karakoram. The peak is located close to the border with Afghanistan, and the area was only re-opened in 1991 after 40 years as a closed zone.

Our chosen route was the south ridge, and we arrived at the foot of it, following two weeks of acclimatisation on 6 June 1993, and established base camp at 3700 m. The route we chose followed easy ground up a moraine to 4450 m where we established an ABC as a gear dump for load-carrying. Camp 1 was a snowhole at 5000 m, reached by a safe route up a small glacier later that morning (10 June). From here, the main difficulties began with a 900 m high face between us and the crest of the ridge.

KOZ SAR - Approach Route Map And Climbing Route

KOZ SAR - Approach Route Map And Climbing Route

By the first week of July, we had experienced a good deal of bad weather but had made steady progress fixing rope up to 5800 m and hoped to establish Camp 2 any day. However, the freezing level had risen steadily as summer progressed and the snow conditions were deteriorating daily. The team was becoming increasingly tired and on 14 July, the last day of the permit, an attempt to establish Camp 2 turned into a gear stripping session and a final withdrawal to base camp.

Summary: An attempt on Koz Sar (6677 m) in the Karakorams. A height of (5800 m) was reached on 14 July 1993 by the Anglo-Irish team.

Photo 50



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THE NAME OF OUR EXPEDITION was the Nagasaki Hokuryo Alpine Club Hindu Kush expedition, 1993. Our objective was to climb Shayaz Peak (6050m), the highest peak of Yarkhun mountains of the Hindu Kush range.

The route to base camp:

We started at Rawalpindi through Dir Chitral to Paur by motorable road. The trek began from Paur through Dobargar, and Yoshkist to reach BC in three stages.

From BC up to Cl we climbed along the moraine. On the way, there were many streams blocked by the moraine, but they were not deep. Between Cl and C3 we had to watch out for avalanches and crevasses.

We decided to scale the col between peak 6035 m and Shayaz from the Siru glacier, then to get over a snow wall and climb the ridge leading to the peak.
After climbing over the snow wall near C3 we did not encounter any technical difficulties from C3 to the peak.

Our campsites were as under:

Camp site Height Date
BC Siru glacier 3850 m 28 June A little above the village of Yoshkist.
BC Siru glacier 4380 m 29 June The spot where there are many small crags.
C2 Halfway between Siru gl. and the col 4910 m 2 July On the Siru glacier.
C3 The col between 6035m peak and Shayaz 5340 m 4 July The col is quite wide and flat.

We avoided the rocky glacier and constructed BC 3850 m on the green zone on 28 June.

We climbed toward the Camp 1 from the moraine onto the glacier. The glacier gradually changed from craggy to snowy. Then the snow melted and began flowing and we got wet up to the knees. We constructed Cl at 4380m. The next day we discovered a new route on the right side of the moraine.

On 2 July, we started early in the morning in consideration of avalanches and snow conditions. We passed through small crevasses and constructed C2 at 4910 m.

On 4 July, we started early in the morning. We were able to advance smoothly due to good snow conditions and we set up C3, 5340 m on the col. This col was quite wide and flat.

On 5 July, after unloading we opened the route .to the summit. We climbed over a snow wall near C3 which seemed more than 200 m high and with an inclination of approximately 50°. We scaled the ridge to reach just under the summit. The summit was also up a snow wall.

We followed the previous day's route and climbed under the top smoothly. The snow wall was 240 m high. Three members reached the Shayaz peak on 6 July a little after noon. The summiters were Yoshihisa Tagawa, Jiro Tomonaga and Wataru Kawakami.

We closed BC on 9 July. Kawakami, suddenly afflicted by a severe stomach ache near Yoshkist village, was moved to hospital in Chitral by a helicopter on 11 July.

Members: Yoshihisa Tagawa (leader), Jiro Tomonaga, Wataru Kawakami and Haruyo Hasegawa.

Dates: 18 June to 19 July 1993.

Summary: The first ascent of Shayaz (6050m), the highest peak of the Yarkhun mountains of the Hindu Kush. The Japanese expedition reached the summit on 6 July 1993.

Photo 51



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19. AKHER CHIOH, 1993


THE GOAL of the private German expedition was the fourth ascent of Akher Chioh (7020 m) by any possible route from the Kotgaz glacier. Another intention was the further exploration of the Upper Kotgaz glacier via Ushnu Gol, because since the first climb of Akher Chioh (Austrians, 1968) there have probably been no further expeditions there from the Pakistani side.

The members of the expedition were: Alfred Fendt (leader), Anita Burkhardt-Fendt, Klaus Cramer, Christine Wieloch, Edeltraud Schoenwald and Dr Klaus Schoenwald. The crew reached Islamabad on 25 July 1993, and left the capital after clearing formalities on 28 July via Dir and Lowari pass to Chitral. On 30 July we continued by jeep to Uzhnu (2400m) in the Thurko valley. The three-day approach march to the Kotgaz glacier followed with 25 porters via Uzhnu Gol, Undusk, Palut Gari and Wakhikan Gumbat to the base camp (3600 m) at the mouth of the Chuttidum glacier.

After setting up B.C. on 2 August the group reached Pk 4460 m on 4, 5 and 7 August and established Camp 1 on the Upper Kotgaz glacier. On 8 August the crew did an exploration trip up the Kotgaz glacier turning southeast to the basin at the foot of the Kotgaz Zom/Akher Chioh group. After observation of possible routes it was decided to try the one of the first routes, (Schell/Pischinger), the northeast slope of Kotgaz Zom. No risk was envisaged by the climbers. On 9 August the first two had just reached the place for C2 (5250m), the other two climbers followed 70 m behind. An earthquake caused a serac-avalanche 400 m higher and killed Anita Burkhardt-Fendt and Klaus Cramer. The rest returned to Cl. The heavy earthquake had changed the conditions of the glaciers. On 10 August the bodies were brought down to Kotgaz glacier and the other members returned to B.C. LO Capt Ikhlaq Khattak and the leader returned to Uzhnu on 12 August, the other surviving members on 15 August with 15 porters. Helicopters of the Pakistan Army rescued the bodies on 15 August and took them together with the leader to Islamabad, where the others reached on 18 August.

Summary: A German expedition to Akher Chioh (7020m) Hindu Kush, Pakistan. An earthquake started an avalanche, killing two members on 9 August 1993.

Photo 52



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THE KUN LUN MOUNTAIN range is known as the holy place of Taoism in China, especially in and a round the Kun Lun pass. The ladies joint expedition for Yushu (5933m) was offered to us by the Qinghai Mountaineering Association last summer. We were informed that our object was an unclimbed peak because it is one of the most sacred mountains. It is situated on west side of Kun Lun pass (4775 m) located on the Qing-Zang highway linking Xining, the provincial capital of Qinghai, to Lhasa in Tibet. The legend says that the emperor in heaven made his two younger sisters named Yuchu (or Yuzhu) and Yushu (or Yuxu) live on the earth permanently because he found that they had enjoyed taking a bath at the lake near Kun Lun pass secretly. Princess Yuchu was made to live on Yuchu (6179 m) and princess Yushu, on Yushu (5933 m).

On 30 June 1994, four Japanese members left by air and reached Beijing the same day. The next day we flew to Lanzhou and from there we carried on to Xining by car. We joined the Chinese members and staff in Xining and got ready for our expedition.

On 3 July, we left Xining and stayed at Heimahei on the south side of lake Qinghai, for four days to acclimatise to the high altitude. After the acclimatisation at Heimahei, we arrived at Golmud in the famous Qaidam basin.

On the 10th, we crossed the Kun Lun pass and went by jeep towards the place pre-arranged as our base camp situated on a rough plain. Hordes of wild donkeys, chilues (scientific name = pantholops hodgsoni), some kinds of guinea pigs and others were running about. It is said that one can see wolves and wild yaks here too. We reached and established our base camp after 8 p.m.

On the 11th and 12th, we reconnoitered the south side of our peak and checked our route. After resting on the 13th, we tried to attack the summit from our base camp directly on the 14th. We started from the base camp at 6.00 a.m. and reached the summit at 12.20 p.m. All members could stand on the summit because of the gentle snow slopes, in spite of it being the first experience in mountaineering for two Chinese members and the interpreter.

We were surprised to see a triangular iron tower, 3 m high, waiting for us on the summit! All of us thought we had imagined it, but it was there. After the expedition, I asked the president of Qinghai Mountaineering Association about this fact, but he was also surprised to hear our report. In 1985, one of the Japanese Alpine Club teams was sent to Yuchu (called Kakasaizimongka 6179 m) for their Club's 80th anniversary. They were informed that Yuchu was an unclimbed peak at that time. But they were also welcomed by the same type of triangular iron tower when they reached the summit!

By the way, the Qinghai Mountaineering Association holds International Mountaineering Camps round the Yuchu mountain range. Two HAJ teams in 1993 led by K. Yamamori and in 1994 led by Sakai succeeded in climbing Yuchu.

Mountaineering in China has opened up since 1980. At first, only eight peaks were permitted, but year after year more peaks have been opened. But it is difficult to grasp the whole mountaineering scene in China due to their political and social situation. It is said that such triangular iron towers were constructed by the army for surveying.

Though we regretted the fact that this unclimbed peak had in fact been climbed, we were very glad to make many good friends.

Members: Fan Yong Nmg (Mrs), Overall leader, Chinese members: Wen Ying Zian (Miss), Ma Zhan Feng (Miss), Qi Wang (Mr) Interpreter, Reiko Terasawa (Mrs) Japanese leader, Japanese members: Sachiko Sawada (Mrs), Haruyo Ichikawa (Ms), Haruko Tsujino (Mrs).

Summary: The ascent of Yushu (5933 m) by the Chinese-Japanese ladies team on 14 July 1994. The peak is located near the Kun Lun pass.



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ON 25 AUGUST 1994, we established our BC (3950 m) on the right bank of the lower reaches of Yanzigou glacier. On the 30th, Cl (4200 m) was established and C2 (4950m) was set up on 6 September. C3 (5950 m) was established on the snow-plateau going up through a 'glacier-like-staircase'. On the 19th, 33 ropes were fixed. On the 20th, 7 ropes were fixed and two members reached 6050 m on the northeast ridge. After resting from the 22nd to 24th, four members climbed up to C2 and two up to Cl. On the 26th, six members gathered at C2. The aforesaid four climbed up to C3 and the other two went down to Cl to carry up some loads to C2, but they had to stay at Cl because of their poor physical condition.

Minya Gonka

At 11.00 a.m. on the 28th, the four told me over the walkie talkie that they had collected their loads which were deposited the day before on the 'glacier-like-staircase' and had established one more tent at C3, and would climb up in order to consolidate their route. At 3.00 p.m., nobody answered the walkie talkie. Their walkie talkies have been silent since then.

The next day, on the 30th, two members went up to C2 and searched the upper ridge eagerly with binoculars, but they did not find anyone. On 1 October, they tried to dig up the fixed ropes buried in much snow in order to reach and check C3, but they could dig up only four ropes out of 33 because of heaps of avalanche snow. They could find nobody on the upper side. We felt as if our hearts would break, but we had to abandon the search mainly to avoid the danger of another accident.

Members: Kinichi Yamamori (leader), Hitoshi Watanabe (deputy leader), Takuya Fukuzawa (28) (climbing leader) missing, Sachiko Takada (F, 44), Yasuyuki Watanabe (27) missing, Yosuke Suzuki (27) missing, Junji Kudo (22) missing.

Summary: A Japanese expedition lost four members in an avalanche on Minya Gongka (7556m) on 28 September 1994.


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