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Ichiro Yoshizawa, 1903-1998


Ichiro Yoshizawa, a member of The American Alpine Club and one of Japan’s most distinguished mountaineers and mountain scholars, died at the age of 95 in September. Mr. Yoshizawa led the first Japanese expedition to the Andes in 1961 that made the first ascent of Pucahirca Norte, one of the last unclimbed 6000-meter peaks in Peru, as well as various first ascents in the Cordillera Apolobamba. In 1977, Mr. Yoshizawa was the leader of the successful Japanese expedition to K2.

His writings and translations were prodigious. Besides writing several books about his climbs in the Japanese Alps and the Japanese K2 expeditions, he edited Encyclopedia of Mountaineering and the monumental two-volume work, Mountaineering Maps of the World. He introduced Japanese climbers to many important English-language mountaineering books through his translations. Among the books he translated were Smythe’s biography of Edward Whymper, Shipton’s Upon that Mountain, and Tilman’s Snow on the Equator.

He joined the Japanese Alpine Club in 1925, served on its board and later became vice president in 1972, and was elected an honorary member in 1977. He conducted a vast correspondence all over the world, and for many years furnished information on Japanese mountaineering to Ad Carter, editor of the AAJ. Mr. Yoshizawa was a member of various other foreign alpine clubs, including The Alpine Club (London).

He had a long-standing friendship with American mountaineers that began in 1961 when I realized that there were four and not just three 6000-meter peaks in the Pucahirca group, and that two of them were unclimbed. When I told him that there were two “North Pucahircas” and not just one, his expedition was able to make the first ascent of the unclimbed one. Years later, in 1969, when I was president of the AAC, he was visiting the United States and accompanied me on a trip to visit the western sections. He loved the opportunity to meet members of the Club.

Mr. Yoshizawa’s warm courtesy had no seeming limit. In 1963, my plane from India to the United States stopped briefly at the Tokyo airport to refuel at three in the morning. Mr. Yoshizawa drove for more than an hour through a rainy wind-swept night to spend 15 minutes with me in the transient lounge before returning home. We have lost a friend.

Nicholas B. Clinch