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Asia, India, Panch Chuli

Panch Chuli. Heinrich Harrer was one of two well-known German mountaineers who escaped from an Allied prison camp during the war and took refuge in Tibet. During the summer of 1951 Harrer, with New Zealander Frank Thomas, two Sherpas and minimum equipment made a serious attempt on 22,650-ft. Panch Chuli in the Almora District of northern India. Base camp on this peak, previously attempted by several expeditions but never climbed, was established at 13,500 ft. Above this point avalanche danger, caused by heavy snows, was considerable; and the party was in a critical position more than once before establishing camp on a plateau at about 20,000 ft. The snow was in poor condition; during the unsuccessful attempt to reach the summit from here, two minor slips occurred. On the descent to base camp Harrer and a porter were carried down by a snow slide, but all four reached base camp safely. More than 400 different flowers were collected in the area by a member of the Forest Research Institute in Dehra Dun, who accompanied the party.

* The members of the Swiss expedition, led by Dr. Wyss-Dunant, are Andre Roch, René Dittert, René Aubert, Raymond Lambert, Léon Flory, Jean-Jacques Asper, Dr. Gabriel Chevalley, Ernst Hofstetter, Prof. Augustin Lombard (geologist) and Albert Zimmermann (botanist). They have long climbed together. Their equipment is reported to include double tents lined with swan’s-down, inflated rubber sleeping bags and oxygen apparatus, weighing 22 lbs. per man, “for the final assault on the mountain.” A report of 3 June 1952 from Katmandu indicates that both the Swiss expedition to Everest and the British expedition to Cho Oyu have been cut short by bad weather.—Ed.