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Asia, China, Kula Kangri (Künla Kangri)

Kula Kangri (Künla Kangri*). The Kobe University Scientific and Mountaineering Expedition to Tibet consisted of 25 Japanese, i.e. 12 climbers, eight scientists, three TV cameramen, a newspaper reporter and myself as leader, and 17 Chinese, i.e. five climbers who helped with high-altitude transport, four scientists from the Academia Sinica and others (liaison officer, interpreters, drivers). In all we were 42 members. We arrived at Base Camp at 4400 meters north of the mountain on March 17. Advance Base was at 5300 meters and Camp I at 5700 meters just below the west ridge. We climbed a steep ice wall up to Camp II at 6200 meters on the ridge and Camp III was at 6800 meters. A 70-meter-high rock wall rises in the upper part of the ridge. Fortunately we could traverse south to a small snow couloir. Camp IV at 7100 meters was dug out of the snow slope. On April 21 C. Itani, J. Sakamoto, H. Ozaki and E. Ohtani reached the summit (7554 meters, 24,784 feet) at 4:15 P.M. The next day T. Morinaga and H. Hasegawa also climbed to the top. The scientists left Base Camp on April 15 to work towards Chengdu. They were the first foreigners to work first around Base Camp and then on their 2800-kilometer trip back to Chengdu. They did research in entomology, botany, geology, geomorphology, political sociology, cultural anthropology, etc.

Kazumasa Hirai, Kobe University, Japan

* According to the Swiss authority, Professor Augusto Gansser, the name of the peak is Künla Kangri. However, local people near Base Camp pronounced it Kula Kangri. The col where we had Camp I was used as the shortest route to Bhutan. We found there a prayer flag and the skeleton of a yak.—K.H.