From 30th,May to 15th,Sept. '99
West Nepal Expedition '99 Summer and Autumn.
(C‚’ossing Upper Dolpo to Humla)

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@On 4th July in 1900, a Japanese Buddhist priest Ekai Kawaguchi crossed the border in Dolpo district of western Nepal to smuggle himself alone into Tibet, struggling in deep snow to cross over a 5000m high pass, carrying 30kg of burden on his back. He at last attained his destination Lasa on 21th March 1901, after making a circuit of Mt.Kailas. It was exactly a hundred years ago from now, and seven years earlier than Sven Hedin's exploration of the source of Tsanpo River.
He was not only the first foreigner who had ever been in Mustang or Dolpo, but the first Japanese who had ever entered into the kingdom of Nepal, then under the control of the prime minister Chandra Shamsher Rana. Kawaguchi's adventurous personal narrative of his Tibetan journey was first published in Japan in 1904, and the English version "Three Years in Tibet", which achieved his worldwide fame, was come out in 1909 at Madras. In these recent years, several books commemorating a centenary of his entering Tibet has been published or revised, and in Japan TV programs relating to his journey were also produced. Some of his earnest adherents visited a part of Mustang and Dolpo in pursuit of Kawaguchi's footprints, however, a minor riddle of his route for 11 days in Dolpo is not confirmed and remains still unsolved; What route did he take from Chharka prior to crossing the border? Or, by which pass of the numerous those on the border did he cross over into Changtang(Tibet)?

@Our proposed aim in the 1999 journey to Dolpo was firstly to reveal ever politically concealed topographcal detail of the border range, now called Gautam Himal, including the practical research for the all passes of northern Dolpo. Gautam Himal demarcated on the border is from Sana La Bhangjyang (5465m), very close west of Arnikochuli(6034m) of Mustang Himal, to northwestward Laru Bhangjyang (5239m). Peaks on the border are almost nameless and not exceeding 6000m, the height of which is considered the lowest limit to satisfy our climbing greedness. Next and our main target of the expedition was to make clear the range named Palchung Hamga Himal, which defined from Laru Bhanjyang to Peak 6263m(E82 49 40,N29 41 20) on the border, the most northwestern point of Dolpo.
@The latter range, Palchung Hamga Himal, had never been explored and all peaks in the range has been quite unknown even to this day. Among several peaks of exceeding 6000m in the range, there is a peak named Daphe Shail or Palchung Hamga on the recent Nepalese maps; (6103m,E83 00 32, N29 40 20). However, as this peak is seen from the south to be the most prominent and highest peak in this range, like a double for Mt.Assiniboine in Canadian Rockies, the figure of its height 6103m shown on maps has been considered too low. It is the fact that the peak can be seen from most places on moutain ridges or inner passes in the western Dolpo, and it is seemingly a true that this peak was Ekai Kawaguchi's guided mountain when he was proceeding to north on the way to Tibet a hundred years ago. In the western part of Palchung Hamga Himal, most of peaks have the height exceeding 6000m.
@The next mountain chain toward west on the border is Kanti Himal group, the highest of which is 6859m and was explored twice by our previous expeditions in 1997 and 1998. (see Japanese Alpine Club Journal"Sangaku" vol.94.1999)

@By the 11th June in 1999, We enterd into Upper Dolpo, by way of Jomsom, Tuje La, Chharka, Moh La and Tinkyu. At the first pass Tuje La Bhangjyang (5124m), we were suffered from unexpected deep fresh snow on the way to the summit of the pass. However, after that we enjoyed all the days in usual summer weather of Dolpo with occasional rain and hail. Seperated from the main party to cross Upper Dolpo toward Phoksumdo, our ten menbers, two Japanese, two Shepas, and six porters, left Tinkyu on 24th of June and started an long investigation tour of two mountain ranges on the political boundary. We planned to ascend all passes exist on the border successively, but, as a result, we left our footprints totally 7 of 11 passes during our activity for about three weeks. A rocky unnamed peak(6024m, E83,08,31,N29 39 37),located to the esat of Lung Chung Kamo Bhanjyan (5393m, E83 07 47,N29 37 15)in the eastern part of Palchung Hamga Himal, was climbed to get the last panoramic view from the summit. Three eastern passes well known were omitted on the program and the westernmost unknown pass on the border, which is scarecely known even among the locals, was abandoned because of the difficulty to access from the south. However,this pass is considered the most desirable access from the east to Daphe Shail or Palchung Hamga main peak. Here I have to mention about the correct topograpy of Palchung Hamga Himal. Although Daphe Shail(6103m) and other more higher peaks in the group are on the boundary through Palchung Hamga Himal, the peak clearly considered as the highest of the group is located about 1.2 km north on the ridge extending into Tibet, and is clearly out of border. From most of the inhabited highland of western Dolpo, these two peaks are overlaped and seen as a single predominant peak. I could distinguish them clearly by glancing from three directions, east(Lung Chung Kamo Bhangjyang), south(passes near Shey) and southwest(on the way to Yala La).
@0n 2nd, July, we descended to Nisal from the border area and finished our activity of the first stage, being exhausted and were nearly starveling. The most impressed thing during the first stage was that we had a chance to observe an old Tibetan life at Moe village near Meng La Bhangjyang, very isolated and unchanged since the time when Snellgrove had visited there in 1956. and completely still remains old Tibetan life style.
Entire expedition gathered at Shey Gompa, on 14th july, main party started their return trek to Jumla, via Phoksumdo Lake, Kagmara La, Hurikot, Maure La and arrived at Jumla on 24th of July.
The second stage was followed by the remaining members to make reconnaisance to the border range from Poe to Mugu, going through southside of Kanti Himal. Poe is the innermost small village of Dolpo, northside of Panjang Khola, three days far north from Shey gompa, From there a poor track leads to Mugu district. We climbed up along Swachha Khola to the snout of the glacier, flow down from one of a peak of the border range. We crossed Yala La(5425m,N29 39 10,E83 49 40) on 19th July. At the top of the pass, new peaks on the border attracted us. One of the peak(6455m,N29 41 23, E83 52 25) had ever been climbed by German-Austrian Joint Expedition in 1993. They were two doctors and a climber with a guide, who had failed to cross Langu Khola before reaching the northside of Kanjiroba main peak.(AAJ vol.36 1994)
@The highest of this group (6505m, N29 41 23,E83 53 10) lies 1.7km east of this 6455m peak. There are five or six peaks (including those in Tibet ) of 6200 `6500m in this group with abundant snow and glaciers both side of the border and all peaks are not attempted except above one. They had been sketched in 1907 by Sven Hedin from the north ("Southern Tibet". Panorama from camp 193. 252b) and now can be seen from Paryan on the motor road between Lasa and Puran along Tsangpo River.
@From Yala La, we suddenly entered into the world of green forests and bushes, extremely different from the scenery we used to have in all Dolpo. Eight Nepalese from Kathmandu raised a shout of joy that they seemed to have returned to Nepal. Traversing to westward on the southside of Kanti Himal, we were suffered from wading in the deep sea of bushes, and we couldn't find even a poor track in the way. After reaching Ghora La(5182m), we ran down into the jungle along Chhang Khola, in full of great heat and stuffy atmosphere.
At Mugu, bathing our skinny body under the bright summer sunlight , I thought back almost 70 days' longest trek under such a severe circumstance without taking any breathing space and any supply of food on the way along the border. However, I was fully satisfied with a feeling of a kind of achievement.
@ @@ Four friends and Typhoon as leader.
Osaka Alpine Club North Western Exploration '99