|The relay from the spot of Far North
Western Nepal Expedition 2000 Summer
by InmarM and Thinkpad.
2000 SUMMER： A JOURNEY AMONG THE TIBETAN WILD of North Western Nepal
| One of friends of mine S. who has just arrived at a small airfield
of Simikot in Humla, within only 3 days from Osaka via Bangkok, Katmandu
and Nepalganj, was thinking with deep emotion about three great forerunners
entering those land relating to the east of Mt.Kailas, Manasarowvar Lake,
and Gurla Mandhata. They are: firstly Thomas W. Webber(1), who in 1863,
nearly a century and a half ago, wandered after banchowr(wild yak) for
game, on such a inhospitable land of Tibetan high plateau and was in fact
the first discoverer with selfconciousness of the source of Tsangpo River,
inspite of S.Hedin's refute(2), The second person is a great Swedish explorer
Sven Hedin who, in 1907, made the first scientific exploration for the
quest of the source of Tsangpo, and the last is young mountaineers of
Hokkaido University led by Hisao Ando (3), who entered in 1963 into the
area now a part of the source of upper Karnali River of Nepalese territory,
and searched about in the desolated plain where T.W Webber wandered through
just a hundred years ago, for an elusive mountain named Nalakankar. Their
approach march from Nepalganj to the basecamp took 55 days indeed!
Most Americans don't believe the fact that for Japanese climber at present age, it became very easy matter just like to go to his suburban hills, to make some light climbs in the Himalayan mountains. One of our members of this time on his return way, performed a great feat ; left Simikot by morning flight for Kathmandu via Nepalganji, and did catch a nightflight on the same day for Osaka. As a result, in late next morning, he was bathing comfortably in his own home.
Our climbing permission was granted for Nalakankar, but ours was the first expedition since 1963, why was it? In the Cimbing Regulation of revised in 1989, Nalakankar is ranked A group, which means the expedition should be jointed with at least 3 Nepalese. Its height 6062m is extreemly low; too much cost requested for so far distant transport; and its name is good sounds, but means "human skelton"; etc. these factors has staggered for nearly four decades the worldwide climbers. Recent years, a few guide book for trekkers to Mt.Kailas has been published, but we cannot find any book describing about the area north of Limi valley or border areas(4). We started trek toward Nalakankar from Simikot on 4th of June.
Three climbing friends and I, at first approached eastward from Takche Karka, along its northeastern tributary (Taisolu Khola) and on 26th June, settled basecamp at white frozen lake(Taisolu Lake,5400m) on the divide between Taisolu Khola and Ning Khola. Ning Khola is one of the source of Dojam Khola of Changla Himal, explored by our expedition two years ago. Next day we placed a high camp at 5738m on the way to a peak, Changwatang(6125m, N30 19 35, E81 53 17). Started high camp in early next morning, at noon, we stood on the top of this charming snow peak.
From the summit, though the sky was unstable, we were able to identify the highest of Chandhi Himal, Kananu Pukari(6256m,N30 20 32,E82 00 27) and Changla(6563m, N30 18 11,E82 07 44) far to the east. To the north and northwest, there are several peaks exceeding 6000m on the border along Taisolu Khola, but many of them are north climbing. On the country, peaks of the southern group surround Ling Khola, now still completely unexplored, seemed to be rather preferable by their alpine features though their hight is low, than those of the northern divide between Nepal and Tibet.
Wandering among the Tibetan wild to circuit the passes on the border, Lapche La (5018m), Lolung La(4953m), and unnamed pass (4953m),
from most of which we enjoyed so fantastic distant views of Manasarowar Lake and Mt. Kailas from N to NNW beyond Tibetan high plains. Repeating wades in the freezing cold stream of Saja Khola, we advanced to the west along Gya Khola, to settle our basecamp for climbing Nalakankar in the upper stream of a lake,(5250m), now mostly dried up. Here just in front of us, we faced to the gigantic east face of Namnani(7694m, Gurla Mandhata), showing the formidable route achieved in alpine style by young Japanese climbers last Autumn(5). From here, an easy one and a half days' walk bring one to Manasarowar Lake through Nalakankar Bhangjyang(5514m).
Climbing Nalakankar(6062m, N30 21 27,E81 23 58 permission peak) was quite easy but was confused. On 6th of July, when some of the reconnnaisance party was finding route to the south col, they stood on a summit before they were aware of it, without using climbing boots or any other climbing gears, as they were suspicious where the summit was, Summit ridge was almost free from snow and too easy. Next day, with a climbing friend and two Sherpas, I enjoyed a direct ice route of the east face of southern peak, and all become used to call it official Nalakankar. In fact, this South Peak (6024m, N30 21 15,E81 24 20). is a neighboring peak, 0.7km southeast of real Nalakankar(permission peak) and covered with more snow and ice. Other all members, slightly climbing dotages, were here revived, and vividly joined the first ascent of the peak from its north ridge. Anyway, curiously enough "Nalakankar"in summer season granted as the opened peak-list A group No.18 for jointed foreign expedition, was proved only one peak for sneaker style climbing is possible among entire Nepal Himalaya.
After the climbs in Nalrakankar group, we turned for further south Takphu Himal (highest 6422m, N30 15 05, E81 23 31). We crossed Gya Khola at a confluence of its southern fork, and climbed up to a vast high plateau of with three beautiful lakes, Although a long walk on the high land of over 5000m was comfortable and very pleasant one, the grand view previously expected to the entire Takphu Himal was unfortunately hidden in thick cloud. Crossed a pass on the eastern foot of Til Kang(6369m,N30 16 27,E81 24 16), we descended to Halji, the largest village of Limi Valley,
For ten days were spent for reconnaissance to the highest peak of Takphu Himal(6422m). The attempt to the peak was prevented by huge ice cliffs of hanging glaciers. We enjoyed a couple of days to visit three Tibetan villages of Limi valley: Halji, Jang and Til. These villagers are unexpectedly modernized in living life. We were astonished when we were invited into their clean rooms of their house and welcomed with tea and some piece of chocolate! However, we were impressed enough by their traditional buddhist faith, their some aristocratic appearance and their high manner.
At Simikot, our 8 weeks' long journey around far northwestern part of Nepal finished. Most part of the area are really in Tibetan arid zone with no man inhabited above 4500m high on the average. So many precious experiences we got in such a circumstance and I believe that is more valuable for our future life than to climb a few peaks exceeding 6000m. Within the journy, I also got an another fruit. It was only 3 month aged kid of Tibetan mastiff christened "Limi" after its birth place and it was finally moved to Japan. Now 5 months later, he has steadly grown up to eight times in weight and volume. In adition, he is now challenging to the master's position in my family and is beginning to request for his wife among the neighbours. To me, the virtue of perseverance learned in the Tibetan wild seemes to go toward the limit.
(1) Thomas W.Webber: The forests of upper India. 1902. London.
(2) Sven Hedin: Southern Tibet vol.2, 1917.Stockholm.
(3) Hisao Ando: "Japanese Alpine Club Journal" Vol.59,1964 and Report of Himalayan Expedition of A.A.C.H.1963, Hokkaido.
(4)Stan Armington & Sushil Upadhyay: "Humla to Mt.Kairas
(5) Hiroshi Iwasaki: American Alpine Journal. Vol.42,2000.
Twelve friends and Typhoon as leader,Osaka Alpine Club Exploration 2000.