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Kabru, for there is no other high peak there which he could have ascended [Pg 20] from his starting-point except Kanchenjunga itself; moreover, unless he had climbed Kabru, neither he nor Emil Boss could have seen Devadhunga nor the two enormous peaks to the north-west, which they distinctly state must be higher than Devadhunga. Now, if they climbed Kabru, they were at a height of 24, feet whether they had a barometer with them or not, for that is the height determined by the Ordnance Survey. The heights reached in all their other completed ascents are vouched for in the same way, for if a mountain has been properly measured by triangulation, its height is known with a greater degree of accuracy than can ever be obtained by taking a barometer to the summit.

Zurbriggen as guide, explored a large part of the Mustagh range. In all they made some sixteen ascents to heights of 16, feet and upwards, the highest being Pioneer peak, 22, feet. Arriving at Gilgit in May, when much winter snow still lay low down on the mountains, they first explored the Bagrot nullah. Here they ascended several glaciers and surveyed the country. But huge avalanches continually falling entirely stopped [Pg 21] any high climbing.

They therefore went into the Hunza Nagyr valley as far as Nagyr. In the meantime, as the weather was bad, they investigated first the Samayar and afterwards the Shallihuru glaciers. At the head of the former a pass was climbed, the Daranshi saddle, 17, feet, and a peak called the Dasskaram needle, 17, feet. They then returned to the Nagyr valley and reached the foot of the great Hispar glacier, 10, feet. From here they travelled to the Hispar pass, 17, feet, nearly forty miles, thence down the Biafo glacier, another thirty miles.

The Hispar pass is therefore the longest snow pass traversed outside the Arctic regions. About half way up the Hispar glacier Bruce left Conway and climbed over the Nushik La, but joined him again later at Askole.

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From Askole the Baltoro glacier was ascended. Near its head the summit of Crystal peak, 19, feet, on the north side of the valley, was reached. From the summit, the Mustagh tower, a rival in height to K 2 , 28, feet, was seen. To quote Conway's description: 'Away to the left, peering over a neighbouring rib like the one we were ascending, rose an astonishing tower. Its base was buried in clouds, and a cloud-banner waved on one side of it, but the bulk was clear, and the right-hand outline was a vertical cliff. We afterwards [Pg 22] discovered that it was equally vertical on the other side.

This peak rises in the immediate vicinity of the Mustagh pass, and is one of the most extraordinary mountains for form we anywhere beheld. Two days later they made another climb on a ridge to the east, and parallel to the one previously climbed. From here they first saw K 2.

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Amongst the magnificent circle of peaks that surrounded them at this spot, many of which were over 25, feet, one only seemed to offer any chance of being climbed. This was the Golden Throne.

It stands at the head of the Baltoro glacier, differing greatly in form and structure from its neighbours; and of all the mountains it seemed most accessible. Amongst, however, the enormous glaciers and snow-fields that eclipse probably those of any other mountains in ordinary latitudes, even to arrive at the beginning of the climbing was a problem of much difficulty. To again quote: 'We struggled round the base of the Golden Throne, up feet of ice-fall to a plateau where we camped; then we forced a camp on to a second, and again on to a third platform It was an ice-ridge, and not as we hoped of snow, [Pg 23] and it did not lead us to the top but to a detached point in the midst of the two main buttresses of the Throne.

After this climb they returned to Kashmir. Major Bruce, who accompanied Sir M. Conway in this expedition, has been climbing in the Himalaya for many years. In , whilst at Chitral with Capt. Younghusband, he ascended Ispero Zorn.


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In July of the same year he made several ascents near Hunza on the Dhaltar peaks—the highest point reached being 18, feet. Gurdon, and even in December, at Dharmsala, he had some mountaineering. Major Bruce has done some excellent mountaineering in a district that may be said to be his alone, namely in Khaghan, a district south-west of Nanga Parbat and north of Abbottabad.

Here, in company with Harkabir Thapa and other Gurkhas, a great deal of climbing has been accomplished, the district having been visited almost every year since The best piece of climbing in Khaghan was the ascent of the most northern Ragee-Bogee peaks 16, feet , by Harkabir Thapa alone. This peak is close to the Shikara pass, though separated by one peak from it.

Several new passes were traversed, and peaks up to 19, feet were climbed. There is certainly no mountaineer who has a record of Himalayan climbing to compare with Major Bruce's, ranging as it does from Chitral on the west to Sikkim on the east. In fact, to show how the mountains exercise a magnetic influence on him, in the summer of he saw, what no one had ever seen before, in the short space of two months, the three highest mountains in the world: Devadhunga, K 2 , and Kanchenjunga.

In Dr. Zurbriggen as guide, went to Askole and up the Biafo glacier to the Hispar Pass.

Afterwards, returning to the Shigar valley, Mount Koser Gunge, 21, feet, was ascended. The last mountaineering expedition to the Himalaya was that of Mr. Douglas Freshfield, who, in company with Signor V. Sella, Mr. Garwood, and A. Maquignaz as guide, made the tour of Kanchenjunga, crossing the Jonsong La, 21, feet.

Amongst mountaineers, who has not at some time or another looked at the map of India, wishing at the same time for an opportunity to visit the Himalaya? But these Himalaya are far away, and often as one may wish some day to start for this marvellous land, yet the propitious day never dawns, and less ambitious journeys are all that the Fates will allow.

Although it had seemed most unlikely that I should ever be fortunate enough to visit the Himalaya, yet at last the time arrived when my dream became a reality. I have seen the great mountains of the Hindu Kush and the Karakoram ranges, from Tirach Mir over Chitral to K 2 at the head of the Baltoro glacier; I have wandered in that waste land, the marvellous gorge of the Indus. I have stopped at Chilas, one of the outposts of civilisation in the wild Shinaki country, where not many years ago no white man could venture. I have passed through the defile at Lechre, where in a landslip from the northern buttress of Nanga Parbat dammed back the whole Indus for six months, until finally the pent-up masses of water, breaking suddenly through the thousands of feet of debris, burst with irresistible force down through that unknown mountain-land lying [Pg 27] below Chilas for many hundreds of miles, till at last the whirling flood, no longer hemmed in by the hills, swept out on to the open plains near Attock, and in one night annihilation was the fate of a whole Sikh army.

Also I have seen the northern side of the mighty Nanga Parbat, the greatest mountain face in the whole world, rising without break from the scorching sands of the Bunji plain, first to the cool pine woods and fertile valleys five thousand feet above, next to the glaciers, and further back and higher to the ice-clad avalanche-swept precipices which ring round the topmost snows of Nanga Parbat itself, whose summit towers 26, feet above sea-level, and 23, feet above the Indus at its base: whilst further to the northward Rakipushi and Haramosh, both 25, feet high, seem only to be outlying sentinels of grander and loftier ranges behind.

It was in that the late Mr. Mummery and Mr. Hastings arranged that if they could obtain permission from the Indian Government to visit that part of Kashmir in which Nanga Parbat lies, they would start from England in June , and attempt the ascent. Early in I made such arrangements owing to the kindness of Professor Ramsay of London University College that I was able to join the expedition.

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We left England on June 20, joining the P. At the latter place the foothills of the Himalaya were seen for the first time, rising out of the plains of the Panjab. And that night, amidst a terrific thunderstorm, the breaking of the monsoon on the hills, we slept in dak bungalow just short of Murree.

From Rawul Pindi to Baramula, in the vale of Kashmir, an excellent road exists, along which one is able to travel in a tonga.


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  6. These strongly built two-wheel carriages complete the journey of about one hundred and seventy miles in two or three days. Owing, however, to the monsoon rain, we found the road in many places in a perilous condition. Bridges had been washed away, great boulders many feet thick had rolled down the mountain-side sometimes to find a resting-place in the middle of the road, sometimes to go crashing through it; in one place the whole mountain-side was slowly moving down, road and all, into the Jhelum river below at the bottom of the valley.

    But on the evening of July 9 we safely reached Baramula.