Gyalzen, Attempt and Map Identity

Nepal, Jugal Himal
Climb Year: N/A. Publication Year: 2006.

Our four-person, primarily American party planned to attempt Gyalzen (6,151m) on the Tibetan border. We were not successful, partially due to bad weather but more because of confusion as to identity of the peak. Gyalzen stands close to Leonpo Gang (Big White Peak) and can only be seen clearly from farther away (30km from where it is possible to view the entire Jugal). The Gyalzen marked on the HMG-Finn Map is not the correct peak. The peak climbed by the 1955 women’s expedition and named Gyalzen is called Gumba Chuli on the map. This was confirmed by Evelyn McNicol, who accompanied our team and was part of the 1955 expedition. After figuring all this out there was no time left to explore Gyalzen, other than climb onto a ridge coming down from Phurba Chyachu.

– Becky Harrison

Editor's note: The first ascent of Gyalzen Peak was made on May 11,1955, by the south face and southwest ridge by British women Monica Jackson and Elizabeth Stark, with Sherpas Mingma Gyalzen and Ang Temba. It was named after Mingma. Evelyn Camrass, her name then, was the third UK. member of this team from the Ladies Scottish Climbing Club but did not attempt the mountain.This is generally regarded as the first all-woman Himalayan expedition and is recorded in Jackson and Stark's book, Tent in the Clouds (1956). The peak has only received two more recorded ascents, by Japanese teams in 1960 and 1961. There are several instances of peaks being misnamed on the HMG map, generally the result of His Majesty's Government giving misinformation to mapmakers.

Editor's update (2019): The peak climbed in 1955 and repeated by Japanese expeditions in the 1960s almost certainly is the one today called Leonpo Gang East (6,733m map elevation) and not the much lower Gumba Chuli.