Himalaya, Pakistan, Rakaposhi

Publication Year: 1959.

Rakaposhi. Before 1958 Rakaposhi (25,550 feet) was attempted by six expeditions, the most recent of which was the joint Anglo-American expedition of 1956. (A.A.J., 1957, 10:2, pp. 54-63.) The British-Pakistani Forces Himalayan Expedition 1958 was composed of Capt. Michael E. B. Banks, RM (leader); Lt. Com. R. F. Brooke, RN (surgeon); Lt. T. W. Patey, RN; Capt. R. N. Grant, RM; Capt. E. J. E. Mills, RASC; Capt. W. M. M. Deacock, Middlesex Regiment; Fl. Lt. J. R. Sims, RAF; Capt. Mohammad Shah Khan, Northern Scouts; and Capt. Raja Mohammad Aslam, Punjab Regiment. Captain Banks has been kind enough to supply the following account:

Base camp was established on May 20 at about 14,000 feet. During the ensuing month the task of establishing the six camps required to get within range of the summit was impeded by incessant snowfalls, avalanches, and blizzards. The work of stocking these camps proceeded steadily during lulls in the storms. Camps were duly pitched up to a height of 19,000 feet. Above this was a 2000-foot snow slope known as the Monk’s Head. On June 20 seven climbers and all the available Hunza porters climbed this great rampart. The way was now open to the summit. The porters had performed a splendid job in carrying loads above the Monk’s Head. On June 23 Mills, Deacock, and Sims helped carry loads from 21,000 to 23,000 feet, enabling Brooke, Grant, Patey, and Banks to camp at this height. On the following day Brooke and Grant carried for the summit pair, Banks and Patey, enabling them to establish the top camp at 24,000 feet. On the next day, June 25, a violent blizzard was blowing, half flattening the tiny two-man tent and driving drifting snow high into the air. None the less Banks and Patey set out for the summit. The cold was intense. In addition to the normal warm clothing they wore special down-filled clothing and vapor-barrier boots. They climbed steadily, fighting both the blizzard and the altitude. In five hours they reached the summit. By this time Patey was frostbitten in the hand and Banks in the feet—luckily not too severely. They did not linger long on the summit but hurried down to the shelter of their tent. Three days later the whole team returned safely to base camp. No oxygen was used.