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Asia, Himalaya, Mount Everest

Mount Everest. The expedition of this last summer led by H. Ruttledge and composed of C. G. Crawford, Captain E. St. J. Birnie, Major Hugh Boustead, P. Wyn-Harris, Dr. C. R. Greene, Dr. W. W. McLean, J. L. Longland, E. E. Shipton, E. O. Sheb-beare, F. S. Smythe, G. Wood-Johnson, T. Brocklebank, and L. Wager left England somewhat earlier than the previous expeditions, the first party sailing January 20th. Leaving Darjeeling in two groups March 2nd and 8th, they combined at Gautsa the 21st and arrived at the Rongbuk Monastery on April 16th. The base camp was established the next day and the next month was spent in the advance up the glacier, which was hampered by bad weather so that the camp on the North Col was not set up until May 15th. Camp V at 25,700 ft. was established a week later and then bad weather again drove the party down so that it was not until May 29th that Camp VI was set up at an altitude of 27,400 ft. The next day Harris and Wager made a try for the summit, but after spending some time in trying to climb the second step in the ridge directly they were forced to traverse and owing to the shortness of the time left had to return to camp. On June 1st, Smythe and Shipton set out from the high camp to follow Norton’s route which was now accepted as the best way, but after climbing several hundred feet Shipton gave out and Smythe pushed on alone for another hour, finally reaching an altitude of about 28,000 ft., when realizing the impossibility of reaching the summit and returning to camp turned back and picked up Shipton. They followed the ridge back to camp and found an ice-axe on the steeply sloping ledges just below the crest. This axe was a Willisch axe of which there were a number on the 1924 expedition and has been tentatively identified as Mal-

lory’s. The high camps were abandoned on account of the bad weather and the whole party reunited at the base, but when there appeared to be a break that promised a brief spell of fair weather another attempt was made to occupy the North Col camp. The fixed ropes on the steep slope were buried under two feet of snow and the slope was in a very dangerous condition and so the attempt was definitely abandoned until fall. The Mt. Everest committee deciding that the chance of success in the brief fall season was remote, the entire expedition was recalled to England and the base camp was evacuated on July 2nd. The failure of the expedition to reach the summit may be ascribed as due to the very bad weather prevailing throughout the brief climbing season and the unduly short season caused by the fact that the monsoon arrived some two weeks earlier than usual.

The expedition which was to fly over Mt. Everest was unsuccessful in its first flight owing to a mistaken identity of the mountain, but on a second flight made without permission, they did fly over the highest peak in the world and returned by way of Kangchenjunga bringing back a fine collection of photographs.

After these two expeditions had returned there were several earthquakes in Nepal, Sikkim, and Tibet and now the story has gone forth that the gods are displeased at the temerity of the foreigner and have vented their displeasure in this way. This, coupled with the recent death of the Dalai Lama, may make it very difficult to obtain permission for another expedition in the near future.