American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Preliminary Scientific Report of the 1959 American Himalayan Expedition

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1960

Preliminary Scientific Report of the 1959 American Himalayan Expedition. The scientific aims of the party included surveying of the inaccurately mapped area of central Nepal that was visited and reconaissance geology and glaciology. Since the expedition was almost continually moving, it was possible to make only very brief investigations in the areas visited.

The most important work, from a mountaineer’s point of view, was the surveying. Using a Kern DKM-1, 10-second theodolite, the party triangulated the locations of the major peaks in the region north of Dhaulagiri, between the Kali Gandaki and the Kanjiroba Himal. Several short baselines were measured, and elevations will be calculated using Dhaulagiri I and II as a base. Since these peaks have been surveyed from the south by the Survey of India, they will also be used to connect the expedition’s map with the Survey of India maps. Observations of the sun were made to determine proper latitude and longitude. Many black and white photographs were taken to help fill in some of the topographic detail. The expedition map will, it is hoped, be compiled during the coming year.

The most important geologic finds were collections of fossils from several new localities. Rough sketches of the geologic structure were also made. It will be at least a year before the study of the geologic data is completed, including the identification and dating of the fossils collected.

Many features related to the glacial history of the area were recorded, including a study of a group of recessional moraines formed by one of the smaller glaciers. Some of the planned glaciology studies had to be omitted because of bad weather at the only time when the party was high enough to make the proposed temperature and accumulation studies.

The scientific work of the expedition was greatly aided by a grant from the Gilkie Fund of the American Alpine Club.

Caspar Cronk

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.