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Asia, Tibet, Kangri Garpo Range, Kangri Garpo Range, Exploration and Naming of Peaks

Kangri Garpo Range, exploration and naming of peaks. In spring 2001, the Fukuoka Section of the Japanese Alpine Club dispatched a reconnaissance survey team to the Kangri Garpo Range in Eastern Tibet. Many previously unknown peaks were named with respect to geographical characteristics and proper local names. In the spring of 2002, a second team visited the Mizui Valley, most probably the first foreigners ever to visit the area. They investigated peaks soaring higher than 6,000m.

In November 2003 a third expedition comprising Dr. Yukio Matsumoto (team leader), Takeshi Nakayama, Hideki Watanabe, Koji Sasaki, Miyoko Watanabe, Kazuki Tsuji, Tadaomi Fujino, and Nobuhiko Miyahara, set up base camps at both Lhagu and Mizui, from where they executed an extensive investigation of the region with the following three objectives: 1) to identify peaks on the principal mountain ridges of the Kangri Garpo Range; 2) to clarify the headwaters of the Lhagu Glacier Valley and surrounding peaks; 3) to identify the headwaters of the Mizui Glacier Valley.

The team succeeded in taking clear panoramic photographs of the peaks from four viewpoints on the road to the Dema La. The photo analysis revealed that there were 13 peaks higher than 6,000m. Of the 13 peaks, four had local names, but names for the other nine peaks could not be confirmed, as they cannot be seen from local villages due to geomorphologic barriers.

Hiyong (4,923m), which is located directly west of Lhagu Village, was successfully climbed by four members (T. Nakayama, H. Watanabe, K. Sasaki, and N. Miyahara). They established two camps on the route. During the ascent and while on the summit the four were able to precisely place on both the 1: 200,000 former Soviet Union map and the 1:250,000 Chinese map, Dojizangdoi (6,260m) and other peaks next to the deep headwaters of the Lhagu Glacier. Measurements were made using a Brunton compass and GPS-device.

A rugged and long ridge at an altitude of ca 6,000m divides the Mizui and Lhagu valleys. The former flows northward, while the latter drains to the southeast. The team tried to climb up to ca 4,500m in the Mizui Valley, in the process confirming the locations of Hamokongga (6,260m) and Gemsongu (6,450m).

All the peaks in the report except for the highest, Bairiga (Ruoni: 6,882m), were named by the present and previous survey expeditions from information provided by local people. A total of around 30 peaks were identified and named by the three expeditions. These names, which were translated into Tibetan, were approved by local villagers.

Yukio Matsumoto, Fukuoka Section, Japanese Alpine Club (translated by Tamotsu Nakamura, Japan Alpine News)