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Asia, India—Himachal Pradesh, Menthosa, Deo Tibba, Indrasan, Ali Ratni Tibba

Menthosa, Deo Tibba, lndrasan, Ali Ratni Tibba. I was leader of the Army Mountaineering Association Himachal Pradesh Expedition, which consisted of 27 members of the British Services. British Army Gurkhas were also included. We aimed to climb four peaks to select the team to attempt Everest during the pre-monsoon period of 1976. We were also testing equipment, especially oxygen equipment, clothing and food. Once at the mounting base at Raisan in the Kulu valley, I split the team in two. A party of ten, under the leadership of my deputy leader, Major Gerry Owens tackled lndrasan (20,410 feet) and Deo Tibba (19,687 feet). The details of this group’s activities follow: June 5, Deo Tibba from north by Sergeant Andy Anderson, Lieutenant Simon Eskell, Major Owens and traversed from south to north by Sirdar Chand, Lance Corporal Lane; July 7, Indrasan by east ridge, a new route, by Owens, Eskell, Anderson, and Deo Tibba from north by Captain Henry Day, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hardie and traversed from south to north by Captain Hellberg, C/Sgt Gyalzen Sherpa; July 9, Indrasan by east ridge by Captain Patrick Gunson, Day, Hardie; July 12, Deo Tibba from north by Chand, Lance Corporal Norbu Sherpa; June 14, Ali Ratni Tibba (18,013 feet) on south face (Moss’s route) by Gunson, Hellberg, Lane; June 16, Consolation Peak (16,800 feet) by Day, Chand; June 18, Ramchukor (17,200 feet) by Day, Hardie; May 26, Jagatsukh Peak (17,155 feet) by Day, Hardie; May 27, Wangyal Peak (16,800 feet) by Eskell, Hellberg, Sirdar Wangyal. The Menthosa group led by me consisted of 19. We had a much longer walk in than the other party, about 100 miles which took us over the 13,050-foot Rohtang Pass. Base Camp was established on May 17 at Udaipur. After a further three-day march up the spectacular Miyar Nallah, Advanced Base Camp on Menthosa was established at 14,200 feet, Camp I at 16,500 feet on May 23, Camp II at 18,350 feet on May 26 and Camp III at 20,300 feet on June 3. Menthosa was climbed from the east on June 3 by Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Dill, Lieutenant Thompson, Sergeant Anderson (RAF), Lance Corporal Khagendrabahadur Limbu, on June 5 by Majors Fleming, Muston and Swanston, Captain Page, Lieutenants Brister and Beckett, on June 7 by Captain Kefford, Rfm Basantakumar Rai, Rfm Pasang Tamang, Flight Lieutenant Bhatacharya, Fleming, Swanston and on June 9 by Lieutenant Colonel Peacock, Captains Lynch, West and Bridges. This provided interesting climbing and route-finding all the way. After revictualling at Base Camp we made another three-day walk up a nallah further west and established Advanced Base Camp underneath a 2500-foot icefall at 14,100 feet on June 18. On June 23 Thompson, Brister and Anderson climbed Duphao Jot (20,011 feet) from the southeast. On June 24 Peacock, West, Lynch and Bridges made the first ascent of Baihali Jog or Bahuguna Peak* (20,602 feet) from the southwest. That same day Fleming, Swanston, Kagendrabahadur Limbu, Basantakumar, Pasang Tamang and Sirdar Riksing made the first ascent of “Gurkha Parbat” (19,500+ feet). This name has been formally suggested to the Indian authorities.

Jonathan W. Fleming, (British) Army Mountaineering Association

*It is not yet certain which peak we climbed. Our map was very inaccurate. In 1969 an Anglo-Indian expedition led by Major H.V. Bahuguna (killed on Everest in 1971) claimed to have climbed Baihali Jot (A.J. 1970, pp. 39-47.) Having now seen the ground, we do not believe they climbed our peak. The peak which they call Baihali Jot is a high point and a bend in the ridge. When our party got to the top of our peak, the 1969 Baihali Jot was about 800 feet below them, indicating it cannot be 20,602 feet high.