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Asia, China, Naimona'nyi (Gurla Mandhata)

Naimona’nyi (Gurla Mandhata). The Japanese part of the joint expedition, of which I was the mountaineering leader, passed through Urumchi and reached Kashgar, where we met the Chinese part on April 11. We went through Yarkand, crossed the Kunlung Mountains and went over the Tibetan plateau. Then we reached the source of the Indus River via Shiquanhe and went along the river. We established our “Base House” at Sukan at 4600 meters on the north of Naimona’nyi. This approach march was carried out with six jeeps, twelve trucks and a bus. We established Base Camp at the tongue of the Zaromalangpa Glacier at 5600 meters on May 2. Camps I, II, III and IV were made at 6100, 6720, 7240 and 7420 meters on May 3, 11, 16 and 25. At 7:40 A.M. on May 26 Japanese Yoshiharu Suita, Kozo Matsubayashi, Toyoji Wada and Kiichiro Suita, Tibetans Cirenuoji and Jiabu, Chinese-Korean Jin Junxi and Chinese Song Zhiyu started from Camp IV to reach the summit at 11:45. A second climbing team of five Chinese including one Tibetan, Yang Chiu-hsui, Chi Mi, Ch’en Kien-Chün, T’sao An and Pao Te-shing, also succeeded in reaching the top on May 28. After the ascent, the expedition made scientific surveys in geology, geophysics, glaciology, high-altitude medicine, hydrology, social science, human geography, etc. On the return journey we visited Kailas and went along the Yal-Tsangpo River to reach Lhasa via Shigatse. The journey was 3000 kilometers from Kashgar to Lhasa via Manasarowar Lake. Although the altitude of the mountain has been given as 7728 meters, a new Chinese survey shows that it is 7694 meters (25,243 feet). Though the mountain has previously been called Gurla Mandhata, the Tibetan is Naimona’nyi. Naimo = herbal medicine; na = black; nyi = heaped-up slabs. The meaning is therefore “the mountain of heaped-up slabs of black herbal medicine.”

Katsutoshi Hirabayashi, Doshisha University Alpine Club, Japan