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Asia, Tibet, Peak 6250, Ascent, and Namlo Karpo, Attempt

Peak 6250, Ascent, and Namlo Karpo, Attempt. New Zealanders Peter Cammell, John Cocks, Cam Falkner, Martin Hunter, John Nankervis and Adrian van Schie spent five weeks in the Kongpo region of eastern Tibet in the autumn. Accompanied by Tibetan mountaineer Ar KeBu (liaison officer), Ang Tsering (Interpreter) and Ang Kami Sherpa (cook), they left Lhasa on October 7 and travelled by road, initially on the Tibet-Sichuan highway, to the picturesque village of Tsogo at the northern end of Draksum Latso (Pasum Tso). This was the soul lake and domain of King Gesar of Ling, a towering figure of Tibetan Buddhism. Base Camp was established in a forest at 3930 meters beyond a smaller steep-sided lake. This was a day’s walk with porters up the Tsogo Valley and just below a glacier terminal. The short glacier was followed to a semi-circle of fierce icefalls. Access through these proved difficult. After a number of recces, a high camp was established above a smaller icefall at the northwestern end of the valley. However, unsettled weather, typical of that experienced in much of the eastern Himalaya in the 1999 post-monsoon season, prevented further progress. After investigating other side valleys, a camp was established in rather better weather on a col overlooking a beautiful meadow basin immediately west of BC at 5800 meters. For acclimatization purposes an unnamed peak of ca. 6250 meters was climbed via its southern ice arête by Cammell, Cocks, Falkner, Hunter and Nankervis on October 26. After returning to BC, a spirited attempt was then made on the principal objective of the expedition, the peak known as Namla Karpo (the White God of Heaven) by the villagers of Tsogo and mentioned by the famed English plant hunters Kingdon-Ward, Ludlow and Sherriff in the 1920s and 1930s. Good progress was made by Cammell, Falkner and Hunter to nearly 6000 meters, high on the western edge of the south face of the mountain, but a return to the daily snowfall and the expectation of difficulties on the cockscombed summit ridge discouraged further progress. Meanwhile, Cocks, Nankervis and van Schie made a further exploratory trip to the head of the valley. The expedition returned to Lhasa on November 7.

This highly glaciated area lies between the Po Yigrong and Gyamda watersheds. Distinct from both the eastern extension of the Himalaya culminating in Namcha Barwa, and the Nyenchen Tanglha visited recently by British teams led by Chris Bonington and others, it offers considerable potential for alpine-style ascents.

John Nankervis, New Zealand Alpine Club