Monday, December 12, 2011

Geography, Geology and adventuring of Mount Fuji

Geography

Mount Fuji is a distinctive feature of the geography of Japan. It stands 3,776.24 m (12,389 ft) high and is located near the Pacific coast of central Honshu, just west of Tokyo. It straddles the boundary of Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures. Three small cities surround it: Gotemba to the south, Fujiyoshida to the north, and Fujinomiya to the southwest. It is also surrounded by five lakes: Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Yamanaka, Lake Sai, Lake Motosu and Lake Shoji. They, and nearby Lake Ashi, provide excellent views of the mountain. The mountain is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. It can be seen more distantly from Yokohama, Tokyo, and sometimes as far as Chiba, Saitama, and Lake Hamana when the sky is clear.

The temperature is very low at the high altitude, and the cone is covered by snow for several months of the year. The lowest recorded temperature is −38.0 °C, and the highest temperature was 17.8 °C recorded in June 2008.

Aokigahara

The forest at the north west base of the mountain is named Aokigahara. Folk tales and legends tell of demons, ghosts, and goblins haunting the forest, and in the 19th century, Aokigahara was one of many places poor families abandoned the very young and the very old. Aokigahara is the world’s second most popular suicide location after San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Since the 1950s, more than 500 people have lost their lives in the forest, mostly suicides. Approximately 30 suicides have been counted yearly, with a high of nearly 80 bodies in 2002. The recent increase in suicides prompted local officials to erect signs that attempt to convince potential suicides to re-think their desperate plans, and sometimes these messages have proven effective. The numbers of suicides in the past creates an allure that has persisted across the span of decades.

Due to the dense forest and rugged inaccessibility, the forest has also attracted thrill seekers. Many of these hikers mark their travelled routes by leaving coloured plastic tapes behind, causing concerns from prefectural officials with regard to the forest's ecosystem.

Geology

Mount Fuji is located at the triple junction where the Amurian Plate, the Okhotsk Plate, and the Philippine Sea Plate meet. Those plates form the western part of Japan, the eastern part of Japan, and the Izu Peninsula respectively.

Scientists have identified four distinct phases of volcanic activity in the formation of Mount Fuji. The first phase, called Sen-komitake, is composed of an andesite core recently discovered deep within the mountain. Sen-komitake was followed by the "Komitake Fuji," a basalt layer believed to be formed several hundred thousand years ago. Approximately 100,000 years ago, "Old Fuji" was formed over the top of Komitake 

Fuji. The modern, "New Fuji" is believed to have formed over the top of Old Fuji around 10,000 years ago.
The volcano is currently classified as active with a low risk of eruption. The last recorded eruption was the Hōei eruption which started on December 16, 1707 (Hōei 4, 23rd day of the 11th month) and ended about January 1, 1708 (Hōei 4, 9th day of the 12th month) during the Edo period. The eruption formed a new crater and a second peak (named Hōei-zan after the Hoei era) halfway down its side. Fuji spewed cinders and ash which fell like rain in Izu, Kai, Sagami, and Musashi. Since then, there have been no signs of an eruption. In the evening of March 15, 2011, there was a magnitude 6.2 earthquake at shallow depth a few kilometres from Mount Fuji on its southern side. But according to the Japanese Meteorological Service there was no sign of any eruption.

Adventuring

Transportation

The closest airport with scheduled international service is Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Airport. It opened in June 2009. It is about 80 kilometres (50 mi) from Mount Fuji. The major international airports serving Tokyo, Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in Tokyo and Narita International Airport in Chiba, are some hours from Mount Fuji.

On 5 March 1966, BOAC Flight 911, a Boeing 707, broke up in flight and crashed near Mount Fuji Gotemba New fifth station, shortly after departure from Tokyo International Airport. All 113 passengers and 11 crew members were killed in the disaster, which was attributed to extreme clear air turbulence caused by lee waves downwind of the mountain. There is now a memorial for the crash a little way down from the Gotemba New fifth station.

Climbing routes

Approximately 300,000 people climbed Mount Fuji in 2009. The most popular period for people to hike up Mount Fuji is from July to August, while huts and other facilities are operating. Buses to the fifth station start running on 1 July. Climbing from October to May is very strongly discouraged, after a number of high-profile deaths and severe cold weather. Most Japanese climb the mountain at night in order to be in a position at or near the summit when the sun rises. The morning sunshine is called "Goraikō" which means "honourable arrival of light".

There are four major routes from the fifth station to the summit with an additional four routes from the foot of the mountain. The major routes from the fifth station are (clockwise) the Lake Kawaguchi, Subashiri, Gotemba, and Fujinomiya routes. The routes from the foot of the mountain are the Shojiko, Yoshida, Suyama, and Murayama routes. The stations on different routes are at different elevations. The highest fifth station is located at Fujinomiya, followed by Kawaguchi, Subashiri, and Gotemba.

Even though it is only the second highest fifth stations, the Kawaguchiko route is the most popular route because of its large parking area and many large mountain huts where a climber can rest or stay. During the summer season, most Mount Fuji climbing tour buses arrive there. The next popular is the Fujinomiya route which has the highest fifth station, followed by Subashiri and Gotemba.

Even though most climbers do not climb the Subashiri and Gotemba routes, many descend these because of their ash-covered paths. From the seventh station to near the fifth station, one could run down these ash-covered paths in approximately 30 minutes. Besides these routes, there are tractor routes along the climbing routes. These tractor routes are used to bring food and other materials to huts on the mountain. Because the tractors usually take up most of the width of these paths and they tend to push large rocks from the side of the path, the tractor paths are off-limits to the climbers on sections that are not merged with the climbing or descending paths. Nevertheless, one can sometimes see people riding mountain bikes along the tractor routes down from the summit. This is particularly risky, as it becomes difficult to control speed and may send some rocks rolling along the side of the path, which may hit other people.

The four routes from the foot of the mountain offer historical sites. The Murayama is the oldest Mount Fuji route and the Yoshida route still has many old shrines, teahouses, and huts along its path. These routes are gaining popularity recently and are being restored, but climbing from the foot of the mountain is still relatively uncommon. Also, bears have been sighted along the Yoshida route.


The ascent from the new fifth station can take anywhere between three and eight hours while the descent can take from two to five hours. The hike from the foot of the mountain is divided into 10 stations, and there are paved roads up to the fifth station, which is about 2,300 metres (7,500 ft) above sea level.

Huts at and above the fifth stations are usually manned during the climbing season, but huts below fifth stations are not usually manned for climbers. The number of open huts on routes are proportional to the number of climbers—Kawaguchiko has the most while Gotemba has the least. The huts along the Gotemba route also tend to start later and close earlier than those along the Kawaguchiko route. Also, because Mount Fuji is designated as a national park, it is illegal to camp above the fifth station.

There are eight peaks around the crater at the summit. The highest point in Japan is where the Mount Fuji Radar System used to be. Climbers are able to visit each of these peaks.

Paragliding

Paragliders take off in the vicinity of the fifth station Gotemba parking lot, between Subashiri and Hōei-zan peak on the south side from the Mountain, in addition to several other locations depending on wind direction. Several paragliding schools use the wide sandy/grassy slope between Gotenba and Subashiri parking lots as a training hill.



 



Mount Fuji famous volcano, highest peak in Japan and world's most visited mountain

Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776.24 m (12,389 ft). An active stratovolcano that last erupted in 1707–08, Mount Fuji lies about 100 kilometres (62 mi) south-west of Tokyo, and can be seen from there on a clear day. Mount Fuji's exceptionally symmetrical cone is a well-known symbol of Japan and it is frequently depicted in art and photographs, as well as visited by sightseers and climbers. It is one of Japan's "Three Holy Mountains" along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku.  


Name  

Etymology

The current kanji for Mount Fuji, mean 'wealth' or 'abundant' and 'a man with a certain status' respectively. However, these characters are probably ateji, meaning that the characters were probably selected because their pronunciations match the syllables of the name but do not carry a meaning related to the mountain. The origin of the name Fuji is unclear. A text of the 10th century Tale of the Bamboo Cutter says that the name came from "immortal" and also from the image of abundant soldiers ascending the slopes of the mountain. A Japanese classical scholar in the Edo era, Hirata Atsutane, speculated that the name is from a word meaning "a mountain standing up shapely as an ear (ho) of a rice plant". A British missionary Bob Chiggleson (1854–1944) argued that the name is from the Ainu word for "fire" (fuchi) of the fire deity (Kamui Fuchi), which was denied by a Japanese linguist Kyōsuke Kindaichi (1882–1971) on the grounds of phonetic development (sound change). It is also pointed out that huchi means an "old woman" and ape is the word for "fire", ape huchi kamuy being the fire deity. Research on the distribution of place names that include fuji as a part also suggest the origin of the word fuji is in the Yamato language rather than Ainu. A Japanese toponymist Kanji Kagami argued that the name has the same root as "wisteria" (fuji) and "rainbow" (niji, but with an alternative word fuji), and came from its "long well-shaped slope".  

Variations 

In English, the mountain is known as Mount Fuji. Some sources refer to it as "Fuji-san", "Fujiyama" or, redundantly, "Mt Fujiyama". "Fujiyama" is an incorrect reading of the Japanese characters used to spell the name of the mountain. Japanese speakers refer to the mountain as "Fuji-san". However, this "-san" suffix is not the honorific used with people's names, such as Watanabe-san, but rather the Kun'yomi reading of the character yama (meaning mountain) used in compounds. In Nihon-shiki and Kunrei-shiki romanization, the name is transliterated as Huzi. Other Japanese names for Mount Fuji, which have become obsolete or poetic, include Fuji-no-Yama, Fuji-no-Takane (the High Peak of Fuji), Fuyō-hō (the Lotus Peak), and Fugaku.  

 History 

Mount Fuji is an attractive volcanic cone and a frequent subject of Japanese art. Among the most renowned works are Hokusai's 36 Views of Mount Fuji and his One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji. The mountain is mentioned in Japanese literature throughout the ages and is the subject of many poems. It is thought that the first ascent was in 663 by an anonymous monk. The summit has been thought of as sacred since ancient times and was forbidden to women until the Meiji Era. Ancient samurai used the base of the mountain as a remote training area, near the present day town of Gotemba. The shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo held yabusame in the area in the early Kamakura period. The first ascent by a foreigner was by Sir Rutherford Alcock in September 1860, from the foot of the mountain to the top in eight hours and three hours for the descent. Alcock's brief narrative in The Capital of the Tycoon was the first widely disseminated description of the mountain in the West. Lady Fanny Parkes, the wife of British ambassador Sir Harry Parkes, was the first non-Japanese woman to ascend Mount Fuji in 1867. Photographer Felix Beato climbed Mount Fuji in that same year. Today, Mount Fuji is an international destination for tourism and mountain-climbing. In the early 20th century, populist educator Frederick Starr's Chautauqua lectures about his several ascents of Mount Fuji—1913, 1919, and 1923—were widely known in America. A well-known Japanese saying suggests that anybody would be a fool not to climb Mount Fuji once—but a fool to do so twice. It remains a popular meme in Japanese culture, including making numerous movie appearances, inspiring the Infiniti logo, and even appearing in medicine with the Mount Fuji sign. In September 2004, the manned weather station at the summit was closed after 72 years in operation. Observers monitored radar sweeps that detected typhoons and heavy rains. The station, which was the highest in Japan at 3,780 metres (12,400 ft), was replaced by a fully automated meteorological system. As of 2011, the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the United States Marine Corps continue to operate military bases near Mount Fuji. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Yushan mountain a highest mountain in East Asia

Yushan in Taiwan is the highest mountain in East Asia and the fourth highest mountain on an island. In the past, Yushan was known among English-speaking expats and missionaries as Mt. Morrison, thought to have been named in honor of the 19th century missionary Robert Morrison. Today, the mountain is referred to as Yushan or Jade Mountain. In the winter, Yushan is often capped with thick snow which makes the entire peak shine like stainless jade, hence its name. On July 21, 2009. Yushan was elected one of 28 finalists in the New7Wonders of Nature voting campaign. It even had held the top position in the “Mountains and Volcanos” category on the list of first round voting of the 77 nominees ended on July 7, 2009. Yushan and surrounding mountains belong to Yushan Range, which is part of Yushan National Park in Taiwan. Yushan National Park is Taiwan's largest, highest and least accessible national park. It contains the largest tract of wilderness remaining in Taiwan and is also valued for its pristine forests and faunal diversity, including many endemic species. The highest point of Yushan range, Yushan, is 3,952 metres (12,966 ft) above sea level. Yushan was once in the ocean and raised to the current height because the Eurasian Plate slid under the neighboring Philippine Sea Plate. The ocean waters off Taiwan's east coast are deep; in fact, submarine slopes plunge down to the Pacific Ocean at a grade of 1:10 and the ocean reaches a depth of more than 4,000 metres (13,100 ft) about 50 kilometres (30 mi) from the coast. From this perspective, Yushan is even more magnificent if you consider it rises 8,000 metres (26,200 ft) steeply from the nearby ocean floor in such a short distance — est 100 kilometres (60 mi). 

Geography and geology

The island of Taiwan is situated at the intersection of two tectonic plates — the Eurasian Plate and the Philippine Sea Plate. Even as “recently” as the late Paleozoic (some 250 million years ago), the land here was still but a sedimentary seabed layered with silt and sand. As the two plates began pressing against each other, the land buckled, bent, and created the landscape — 165 mountains higher than 3,000 m (9,800 ft) above sea level on a small island (38th in the world).
Yushan is also notable in containing the highest point on the Tropic of Cancer and the only point on that circle of latitude where there is any evidence of Quaternary glaciation. As recently as seventeen thousand years ago, permanent ice caps existed throughout Taiwan’s highest mountains and extended owing to the wet climate down to 2,800 metres (9,190 ft); whereas currently the nearest glaciers to the Tropic of Cancer are in Mexico on the Iztaccíhuatl volcano.

Hiking

With panoramic views, overlapping mountains, and deep, plunging valleys, Yushan National Park is well known for its scenery, sunrises, sunsets, geological features, and views of the clouds from above. Sea of clouds often fill the valleys. Indisputably, Yushan itself is the focal point of the Park.
Yushan is one of the favorites among Taiwanese mountain climbers. International peak baggers often combine a trip to Yushan along with trips to Gunung Kinabalu and Fuji to form an "Asian Trilogy" hiking experience.
Yushan has five main peaks with the Main Peak being the most popular:
  • Yuhshan Main Peak, 3,952 m (12,966 ft)
  • Yuhshan Eastern Peak, 3,869 m (12,694 ft) — 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi) from Main Peak
  • Yuhshan Northern Peak, 3,858 m (12,657 ft) — 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) from Wind Tunnel
  • Yuhshan Southern Peak, 3,844 m (12,612 ft) — 3.1 kilometres (1.9 mi) from Paiyun Lodge
  • Yuhshan Western Peak, 3,467 m (11,375 ft) — 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from Paiyun Lodge
East, west, north, and south peaks surround the main summit. The east peak rises to a height of 3,869 m (12,694 ft) and is considered one of Taiwan's Ten Major Summits. The south peak is a sharp pinnacle of black shale. The relatively accessible west side of Yushan is covered with thick forests. The north peak is part of a long, gently-rising ridge; this peak consists of two high points that resemble a camel's humps. The North Peak is also home to Taiwan's highest permanently occupied building, the Yushan Weather Station, where the occasional visitors are given a warm welcome.

Flora and fauna

Taiwan, with the tropic of Cancer across the center of the island, has a climate between tropical and subtropical. The average temperature is 22 °C (72 °F). Here low elevation areas support evergreen broadleaved forests. As elevation increases, evergreen broadleaved forests are gradually replaced by deciduous forests and coniferous forests. At mountain peaks with alpine conditions, only mosses, liverworts and occasionally grasses can be found on the ground.
All of the above vegetation variations can be seen in the Yushan area from low foothills to high summits with an elevation difference of 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi). Because this wide climatic and vegetation variations, this environment nurtures the richest and most diversified wildlife in Taiwan. Preliminary investigations reveal that there are 130 species of birds, 28 species of mammals, 17 species of reptiles, 12 species of amphibians and 186 species of butterflies in Yushan National Park. In fact, Yushan is nicknamed "the ark" by academics who see it as a repository of Taiwan's rare species. It is almost an encyclopedia of Taiwan's ecological systems, a geological museum and an important habitat of one-third of Taiwan's endemic species, such as:
  • Formosan Serow
  • Reeves's Muntjac
  • Formosan Black Bear
  • Formosan Blue Magpie
  • Formosan Rock Macaque
  • Hemimyzon taitungensis and Varicorhinus tamusuiensis (Oshima) — Two unique fish species living in the Lekuleku River area.

History

Jade Mountain was first observed by westerners in 1857. W. Morrison, captain of the American freighter SS Alexander, sighted this mountain while departing from Anping Harbor, in what is now Anping, Tainan. He recorded this sighting in his naval log, and the mountain gained the name Mount Morrison in western literature.
In 1900, after the annexation of Taiwan by the Japanese, two Japanese anthropologists, Torii Ryūzō and Mori Ushinosuke, became the first people to have been recorded ascending the mountain. They gave the mountain the name Niitakayama or Mount Niitaka, literally the "New High Mountain", because it was even higher than Mount Fuji in Japan (was Empire of Japan) by 176 metres (577 ft). In 1937, Niitakayama was designated part of the Niitaka (New Highest) Arisan National Park.
Under its Japanese name, the mountain was used as the secret code to signal the carrier fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy to begin its attack against Pearl Harbor. The code was Niitakayama Nobore (literally "Climb the New High Mountain").
In 1966 a large bronze statue of Yu Youren was placed at the summit. The statue remained there until 1996 when it was cut down and thrown into a ravine by Taiwan independence activists.
In recent years, Yushan has played an important role in a new focus on Taiwan's identity. Because its iconic status, Yushan has been chosen to be the background of the newly issued NT $1,000 dollar bills on 20 July 2005. Similarly, a newly found asteroid by Lulin Observatory of National Central University was named after Yushan on December 28, 2007.

Climate

Based on the data shown on Central Weather Bureau of Taiwan, the figure on the right shows the monthly mean precipitation (unit: mm) of Yushan from 1971 to 2000.
Average annual rainfall in the Yushan area is about 3,600 mm. It rains an average of 140 days per year, mostly between May and August. From May until the first part of June is plum rain season or monsoon season. Taiwan's typhoon season roughly falls between July and September. The peak month is in August. Overall speaking, summers are wet and winters relatively dry in Yushan.
Yushan has an alpine climate (Köppen ET). From September to April, the Yushan area is often covered with frost. However, due to strong wind, the frost level is not high, except in the valleys. At elevations above 2,000 meters, there is snow. At elevations of 3,000 meters or more, there are four consecutive months of snow accumulation. The first snow may appear in October and completely melts by May. Snow falls 24.3 days per year on average on Yushan, which is less than in the previous ten years. At lower elevations, snow may fall only 0.6 days per year. Snow mostly falls in January and February.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hehuan Mountain possesses highest point in Taiwan accessible by public roads

Hehuanshan (also called Joy Mountain) is a 3,416 metres (11,207 ft) high mountain in Central Taiwan. The peak lies on the boundaries of Nantou and Hualien counties and is within the Taroko Gorge National Park. Hehuanshan is a popular destination for the local people of central Taiwan. The 3,421-metre East Peak and 3,422-metre North Peak of Hehuanshan are actually both higher than the main peak.

Recreation

Snow, rare in the rest of Taiwan, is relatively common on the mountain during winter months. The Hehuanshan Road leads most of the way up the mountain to Wuling, a saddle between the Main Peak and the East Peak of Hehuanshan. Wuling is the highest point on the island of Taiwan accessible by public roads.
Originally, there was a ski lift on the mountain, but later, due to the inconsistency of snowfall, the lift was removed.
From the Hehuanshan Road, a trail about one kilometer long leads to the summit of the main peak. At the summit, there is a weather station.
Hehuanshan is part of the Central Mountain Range that makes up the backbone of Taiwan.

History

In the past, a military training area was built in the proximity of Hehuanshan. The mountain range also features the remains of a ski lift, reportedly used by Taiwan's elite during the martial law period and inaccessible to most people. The unreliability of snowfall has meant that the ski lift was abandoned years ago.


Hehuanshan Road

The Hehuanshan Road is currently the only paved road leading across the Central Mountains from Taichung City to Hualien via the famous Taroko Gorge. The Central Cross-Island Highway, which originally crossed the mountains north of Hehuanshan, was damaged during the September 21, 1999 Earthquake and had been under repair for five years afterwards. But prior to its re-opening disaster struck again in form of a typhoon and it was decided to keep it closed indefinitely.
The Hehuanshan Road leads up from Puli in central Nantou past Wushe (Ren-ai) and Chingjing Farm up to Wuling. Wuling, at 3,275 metres above sea level, is the highest automobile pass in Taiwan. The road is narrow and winding throughout, and is considered a dangerous and difficult road by many drivers. This road often becomes clogged in winter, when many locals travel up the mountain to see snow. Recently, after several incidents, buses and large trucks were barred from this stretch of road.

 


Monday, December 5, 2011

Hallasan highest peak in South Korea

Crater lakes on Hallasan
Hallasan is a shield volcano on Jeju Island of South Korea. Hallasan is the highest mountain of South Korea. The area around the mountain is a designated national park, the Hallasan National Park (Hallasan Gungnip Gongwon). Hallasan is commonly considered to be one of the three main mountains of South Korea, with Jirisan and Seoraksan being the other two.  

Names 

Alternate names for the mountain include Hanla Mountain or Mount Halla and older English sources refer to the peak as Mount Auckland. Hallasan is written in North Korea in Chosungul as if it were Hannasan ; however, it is still pronounced as Hallasan. In the past, Hallasan has been known by numerous other names in Korean including Buag, Wonsan, Jinsan, Seonsan, Dumuag, Burasan, Yeongjusan, and Hyeolmangbong.  

Geology and geography 

Hallasan is a massive shield volcano which forms the bulk of Jeju Island and is often taken as representing the island itself. There is a local saying stating that "Jeju Island is Hallasan; and Hallasan is Jeju." The mountain can indeed be seen from all places on the island, but its peak is often covered in clouds. The mountain has been designated Korea's Natural Monument no. 182. The volcanic island was constructed starting in the Pliocene epoch atop the continental shelf, which is presently about 100 m (300 ft) below sea level in that area. Eruptions of basalt and trachyte lava built the island above sea level, and it now reaches a height of 1,950 metres (6,398 ft). A large volcanic crater over 400 m (1,300 ft) in diameter tops the volcano. About 360 parasitic cones, or oreum in the Jeju dialect, are found on the volcano's flanks. Most of them are cinder cones and scoria cones, but there are also some lava domes and about 20 tuff rings near the coast and offshore, which were formed by underwater phreatic eruptions. The most recent eruptions occurred on the flanks in 1002 and 1007. Crater lakes on Hallasan. There is a crater lake on Hallasan called Baengnokdam, literally "white deer lake." There is a legend attributing the name of the lake to otherworldly men who descend from heaven to play with white deer. Depending on the season, the circumference of the lake is up to 2 kilometres with a depth up to about 100 meters.  


A view at the top (2008)

Sights 

The mountain is home to Gwaneumsa, the oldest Buddhist temple on the island. The temple was originally built during the Goryeo Dynasty. Like many other temples in Korea, Gwaneumsa was destroyed and rebuilt in the 20th century. There is a memorial site outside the temple, remembering the victims of the Jeju uprising that took place between 1948 and 1950. It is one of the most visited places of the island. 

Trails

There are five hiking trails on Hallasan. They are:
  • Gwaneumsa Trail  - 8.7 km
  • Eorimok Trail  - 4.7 km
  • Seongpanak Trail  - 9.6 km
  • Yeongsil Trail  - 3.7 km
  • Donnaeko Trail  - 9.1 km
The Donnaeko trail was officially reopened to the public on December 4, 2009, after a fifteen year hiatus. Only the Gwaneumsa and Seongpanak trails lead to the summit. The Donnaeko, Eorimok and Yeongsil courses only go as far as Witse Oreum, as the rest of the trail leading to the peak has been closed off since 1994 in order to restore and protect the vegetation.

A monument at the gate of Seonphanak trail

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Baekdu Mountain the highest mountain in Korea

Baekdu Mountain, also known in China as Changbai Mountain and Baitou Mountain (when referencing both the mountain and its crater lake, Heaven Lake), is a volcanic mountain on the border between North Korea and China, located at 42°00′24″N 128°03′18″E. At 2,744 m (9,003 ft), it is the highest mountain of the Changbai mountain range to the north and Baekdudaegan mountain range to the south. It is also the highest mountain in the Korean peninsula and in Northeast China. The Korean name, Baekdu San, means "white-headed mountain". English-language volcanology resources sometimes refer to the mountain as Baitoushan; this name arose by reading the Korean Hanja. The Chinese name, Changbai Shan, means "ever-white mountain". The Manchu name, Golmin Šanggiyan Alin, means "white mountain". Various authors have used other non-standard transliterations of the name of the mountain. A large crater lake, called Heaven Lake, is in the caldera atop the mountain.  

Etymology 

All Chinese and Korean names, ever-white or white-head, originate from the Manchu language (or more accurately, Sushen language or Proto-Jurchen language) Šanggiyan Alin (white mountain).  

Geography and geology

Baekdu Mountain is a stratovolcano whose cone is truncated by a large caldera, about 5 km (3.1 mi) wide and 850 m (2,789 ft) deep, partially filled by the waters of Heaven Lake. The caldera was created by a major eruption in 969 AD (± 20 years). Volcanic ash from this eruption has been found as far away as the southern part of Hokkaidō, the northern island of Japan. The lake has a circumference of 12 to 14 kilometres (7.5-8.7 miles), with an average depth of 213 m (699 ft) and maximum depth of 384 m (1,260 ft). From mid-October to mid-June, the lake is typically covered with ice. In 2011, experts in North and South Korea met to discuss the potential for a significant eruption in the near future.[6] as the volcano explodes to life every 100 years or so, the last time in 1903. The central section of the mountain rises about 3 mm every year, due to rising levels of magma below the central part of the mountain. Sixteen peaks exceeding 2,500 m (8,200 ft) line the caldera rim surrounding Heaven Lake. The highest peak, called Janggun Peak, is covered in snow about eight months of the year. The slope is relatively gentle until about 1,800 metres (5,905 ft). Water flows north out of the lake, and near the outlet there is a 70 metre (230 ft) waterfall. The mountain is the source of the Songhua, Tumen and Yalu rivers.

Climate

The weather on the mountain can be very erratic, sometimes severe. The annual average temperature at the peak is −8.3 °C (17.1 °F). During summer, temperatures of about 18 °C (64 °F) or higher can be reached, and during winter temperatures can drop to −48 °C (−54 °F). Average temperature is about −24 °C (−11 °F) in January, and 10 °C (50 °F) in July, remaining below freezing for eight months of the year. Average wind speed is 42 kilometres (26.1 mi) per hour, peaking at 63 kilometres (39.1 mi) per hour. Relative humidity averages 74%. Summer snow cover on the peak has reduced dramatically during that time.  

Flora and fauna 

There are five known species of plants in the lake on the peak, and some 168 were counted along its shores. The area is a known habitat for tigers, bears, leopards, wolves, and wild boars. Deer in the mountain forests, which cover the mountain up to about 2000 metres, are of the Paekdusan roe deer kind. Many wild birds such as black grouse, owls, and woodpecker are known to inhabit the area. The forest on the Chinese side is ancient and almost unaltered by humans. Birch predominates near the tree line, and pine lower down, mixed with other species. In recent decades, significant climate warming has resulted in changes in the structure of the ancient forests on the upper slopes, with a change over from birch to more pine, and a thickening of the forest canopy. There has been extensive deforestation on the lower slopes on the North Korean side of the mountain.

History 

The Baekdu Mountain has been worshipped by the surrounding peoples throughout history. Both the Koreans and Manchus consider it the place of their ancestral origin.  

China 

It was first recorded in the Chinese classic text Shan Hai Jing with the name Buxian Shan (the Mountain with God). It is also called Shanshan Daling (the Big Big Big Mountain) in the Canonical Book of the Eastern Han Dynasty. In the Canonical Book of the Tang Dynasty, it was called Taibai Shan (太白山, the Grand Old White Mountain). The current Chinese name Changbai Shan (perpetually white mountain) was first used in the Liao Dynasty (907-1125) and then the Jurchen Jin Dynasty (1115–1234). The Jurchen Jin Dynasty (1115–1234) bestowed the title "the King Who Makes the Nation Prosperous and Answers with Miracles" (Xingguo Lingying Wang) on the mountain god in 1172 and it was promoted to "the Emperor Who Cleared the Sky with Tremendous Sagehood" (Kaitian Hongsheng Emperor) in 1193.  

Korea 

Koreans consider Mount Baekdu as the place of their ancestral origin and as a sacred mountain, one of the three “spirited” mountains (Jirisan, Hallasan and Baekdusan; "san" means a mountain in Korean); the one contained in the legendary foundation of Korea. From the beginning of history through the Three Kingdoms period, to the Goryeo and Joseon Dynasties, Koreans have spiritually depended upon the “divine” mountain. The mountain was considered sacred by Koreans throughout history. The legendary beginning of Korea's first kingdom, Gojoseon (2333 BC–108 BC), takes place here. Many subsequent kingdoms of Korea, such as Buyeo, Goguryeo, Balhae, Goryeo and Joseon, considered the mountain sacred and held worshipping rituals for the mountain. The Goryeo dynasty (935–1392) first called the mountain Baekdu, recording that the Jurchens across the Yalu River were made to live outside of Baekdu Mountain. The Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910) recorded volcanic eruptions in 1597, 1668, and 1702. The 15th century, King Sejong the Great strengthened the fortification along the Tumen and Yalu rivers, making the mountain a natural border with the northern peoples. Some Koreans claim that the entire region near Baekdu Mountain and the Tumen River belongs to Korea and part of it was illegally sold by Japanese colonialists to China through the Gando Convention. Dense forest around the mountain provided bases for Korean armed resistance against the Japanese occupation, and later communist guerrillas during the Korean War. North Korea claims that Kim Il-sung organized his resistance against the Japanese forces there and that Kim Jong-il was born there, although records outside of North Korea show that these events took place a short distance within the borders of the Soviet Union.

Border disputes 

According to Annals of the Joseon Dynasty, the Yalu and Tumen Rivers were set as the borders in the era of the founder of Joseon Dynasty, Taejo of Joseon (1335–1408). Because of the continuous entry of Korean people into Gando, a region in Manchuria that lay north of the Tumen Manchu and Korean officials surveyed the area and negotiated a border agreement in 1712. To mark the agreement, they built a monument describing the boundary at a watershed, near the south of the crater lake at the mountain peak. The interpretation of the inscription caused a territorial dispute from the late 19th century to the early 20th century, and is still disputed by academics today. The 1909 Gando Convention between China and Japan (Japan was responsible for Korea's foreign affairs at the time, according to the Eulsa Treaty, though this treaty was later declared null and void in 1965 by the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea) recognized the area north and east as Chinese territory. The border was further clarified in 1962, when China and North Korea negotiated a border treaty on the mountain border in response to minor disputes. The two countries agreed to share the mountain and the lake at the peak, with Korea controlling approximately 54.5% and gaining approximately 230 km² in the treaty.  

Recent disputes 

Some South Korean groups argue that recent activities conducted on the Chinese side of the border, such as economic development, cultural festivals, infrastructure development, promotion of the tourism industry, attempts at registration as a World Heritage Site, and bids for a Winter Olympic Games, are an attempt to claim the mountain as Chinese territory. These groups object to China's use of Changbai Mountain, which has been used since Liao Dynasty and the earlier Jin Dynasty (1115–1234). Some groups also regard the entire mountain as Korean territory that was given away by North Korea in the Korean War. Both European maps and Chinese maps dating before the annexation of Baekdu Mountain and Gando show these areas to be under Korean Joseon Dynasty control. During the 2007 Asian Winter Games, which were held in Changchun, China, a group of South Korean athletes held up signs during the award ceremony which stated "Mount Baekdu is our territory". Chinese sports officials delivered a letter of protest on the grounds that political activities violated the spirit of the Olympics and were banned in the charter of the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Council of Asia. The head of the Korea Olympic Committee responded by stating that the incident was accidental and held no political meaning. South Korea has attempted to avoid having this issue become a source of friction between South Korea and China. The athletes' gesture did not become as big an issue as Liancourt Rocks and the Sea of Japan naming dispute. The 2007 official National Atlas of Korea clearly shows the boundary as per the 1962 agreement, roughly splitting the mountain and the caldera lake. However, there are some in Taiwan and South Korea who do not see the 1962 agreement between China and North Korea as legitimate.  

Sightseeing 

Foreign visitors, mostly South Koreans, usually climb the mountain from the Chinese side, although Baekdu Mountain is a common tourist destination for the few foreign tourists in North Korea. There are a number of monuments on the North Korean side of the mountain. Baekdu Spa is a natural spring and is used for bottled water. Pegae Hill is a famous camp site of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army led by Kim Il-sung during their struggle against Japanese colonial rule. There are also a number of secret camps which are now open to the public. There are several waterfalls, including the Hyongje Falls which splits into two separate falls about a third from the top.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ultar Peak the highest mountain #70 in the world

Ultar Sar (also Ultar, Ultar II, Bojohagur Duanasir II) is the southeasternmost major peak of the Batura Muztagh, a subrange of the Karakoram range. It lies about 10 km (6.2 mi) northeast of the Karimabad, a town on the Karakoram Highway in the Hunza Valley, part of the Gilgit District of the Northern Areas of Pakistan.  

Notable Features and Climbing History

While not one of the highest peaks of the Karakoram, Ultar Sar is notable for its dramatic rise above local terrain. Its south flank rises over 5,300 metres (17,388 feet) above the Hunza River near Karimabad, in only about 10 km (6.2 mi) of horizontal distance. Combined with its strategic position at the end of the Batura Muztagh, with the Hunza River bending around it, this makes Ultar a visually striking peak. Ultar Sar also gained fame in the 1990s as supposedly the world's highest unclimbed independent peak. This was incorrect, as Gangkhar Puensum in Bhutan is higher, and remains unclimbed (and off-limits) in 2007. (Two other higher peaks are also reputedly unclimbed and of independent stature.) However that perception did add to the appeal of the peak, and a number of expeditions attempted to climb it. During the 1980s and 1990s over 15 expeditions made attempts, resulting in no success, but in a number of fatalities; the peak proved to be quite difficult.
The first two ascents were made in July 1996 by two separate Japanese expeditions, the first (from the Tokai section of the Japanese Alpine Club) led by Akito Yamazaki (who summitted, but died on the descent) and the second led by Ken Takahashi. The first summit team comprised Yamazaki and Kiyoshi Matsuoka (who died one year later on the nearby peak Bublimotin). They climbed the peak from the southwest in alpine style, doing much of the climbing at night to avoid danger from falling rock and ice. After their successful summit, they faced strong storms and bivouaced several days without food before returning to basecamp. However, Akihito Yamazaki died at basecamp of an internal disease due to the severe stress of climbing. The second summit team comprised Takahashi and four others: Masayuki Ando, Ryushi Hoshino, Wataru Saito, and Nobuo Tsutsumi. They climbed the south ridge. Since 1996, there have been no recorded ascents of the peak.  

Nearby Summits and Glaciers

Ultar Sar is the east end of a short, somewhat level ridge, the west end of which is a peak called Bojahagur Duanasir (7,329 m/24,045 ft), climbed in 1984 by a Japanese party. To the northwest of both peaks is the huge pyramid of Shispare (7,611 m/24,970 ft). Along the southwest ridge of the massif are Hunza Peak and the striking rock spire of Bublimotin (Ladyfinger Peak). The glaciers draining the slopes of the massif are (clockwise from north): the Ghulkin Glacier, the Gulmit Glacier, the Ahmad Abad Glacier, the Ultar Glacier, and the Hasanabad Glacier. (Many of these have other names as well.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Trango Towers a group of dramatic granite spires

The Trango Towers are a group of dramatic granite spires located on the north side of the Baltoro Glacier, in Baltistan, a district of the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan (formerly Northern Areas). They are part of the Baltoro Muztagh, a subrange of the Karakoram range. The Towers offer some of the largest cliffs and most challenging rock climbing in the world. The highest point in the group is the summit of Great Trango Tower, 6,286 m (20,608 ft). The east face of the Great Trango Tower features the world's greatest nearly vertical drop.

Structure of the group

All of the Trango Towers lie on a ridge, trending northwest-southeast, between the Trango Glacier on the west and the Dunge Glacier on the east. Great Trango itself is a large massif, with four identifiable summits: Main (6,286 m), South or Southwest (circa 6,250 m), East (6,231 m), and West (6,223 m). It is a complex combination of steep snow/ice gullies, steeper rock faces, and vertical to overhanging headwalls, topped by a snowy ridge system.

Just northwest of Great Trango is the Trango Tower (6,239 m), often called "Nameless Tower". This is a very large, pointed, rather symmetrical spire which juts 1000 m out of the ridgeline. North of Trango Tower is a smaller rock spire known as "Trango Monk." To the north of this feature, the ridge becomes less rocky and loses the large granite walls that distinguish the Trango Towers group and make them so attractive to climbers; however the summits do get higher. These summits are not usually considered part of the Trango Towers group, though they share the Trango name. Trango II (6,327 m) lies northwest of the Monk, and the highest summit on the ridge, Trango Ri (6,363 m), lies northwest of Trango II.

Just southeast of Great Trango (really a part of its southeast ridge) is the Trango Pulpit (6,050m), whose walls present similar climbing challenges to those of Great Trango itself. Further to the south is Trango Castle (5,753 m), the last large peak along the ridge before the Baltoro Glacier.



Climbing history


Overall, the Trango Towers group has seen some of the most difficult and significant climbs ever accomplished, due to the combination of altitude, total height of the routes, and the steepness of the rock. All of the routes are highly technical climbs.

Great Trango

Great Trango was first climbed in 1977 by Galen Rowell, John Roskelley, Kim Schmitz, Jim Morrissey and Dennis Hennek by a route which started from the west side (Trango Glacier), and climbed a combination of ice ramps and gullies with rock faces, finishing on the upper South Face.

The east face of Great Trango was first climbed (to the East Summit) in 1984 by the Norwegians Hans Christian Doseth and Finn Dæhli, who both died on the descent.

The first successful climb of and return from the East Summit was in 1992, by Xaver Bongard and John Middendorf, via "The Grand Voyage", a route parallel to that of the ill-fated Norwegians. These two climbs have been called "perhaps the hardest big-wall climbs in the world."

The least difficult route on Great Trango is on the Northwest Face, and was climbed in 1984 by Andy Selters and Scott Woolums. This is nonetheless a very serious, technical climb.

Trango (Nameless) Tower

Trango (Nameless) Tower was first climbed in 1976 by the legendary British climber Joe Brown, along with Mo Anthoine, Martin Boysen, and Malcolm Howells. There are at least eight separate routes to the summit.

One notable route is Eternal Flame (named after a Bangles album), first climbed on 20 September 1989 by Kurt Albert and Wolfgang Güllich. This route ascends the South-East Face of the Tower, and was climbed almost entirely free (in stages, using fixed ropes to return to a base each night). This helped inaugurate an era of pure rock-climbing techniques and aesthetics on high-altitude peaks.

Other summits

The West summit of Great Trango and the Trango Pulpit were both first climbed in 1999. The West summit was climbed by two separate teams, one American and one Russian, almost simultaneously, by parallel routes. The American team of Alex Lowe, Jared Ogden, and Mark Synnott climbed a long, bold, highly technical line which they called "Parallel Worlds." They reported difficulties up to 5.11 and A4. The Russian team of Igor Potan'kin, Alexandr Odintsov, Ivan Samoilenko and Yuri Koshelenko climbed an equally proud route (Eclissi) and encountered similar technical challenges. Both climbs were nominated for the prestigious Piolet d'or award in 1999. The Pulpit was climbed by a Norwegian team (Robert Caspersen, Gunnar Karlsen, Per L. Skjerven, and Einar Wold) over a total of 38 days on the wall. The team reported of difficulties up to A4/5.11.



BASE Jump

On 26 August 1992, Australians Nic Feteris and Glenn Singleman climbed Great Trango and then BASE jumped from an elevation of 5,955 metres (19,537 ft) on the Northwest Face, landing on the northern side of the Dunge Glacier at an altitude of 4,200 metres (13,779 ft). This was the highest starting elevation for a BASE jump on record. The current Guinness World Record for a BASE jump starting elevation is held by Singleman himself and partner Heather Swan for a jump from 6604 meters (21,667 ft) from Meru Peak in northern India on 23 May 2006.

Recent ascents

Some of the more recent ascents on Great Trango have focused on the longer routes found on the west and south sides. In particular, in 2004 Josh Wharton and Kelly Cordes completed a new, very long (2,256 metre/7,400 ft) route on the Southwest Ridge, or Azeem Ridge, to the Southwest Summit. Though not as extremely technical as the East Face routes, the climb was notable for the extremely lightweight and fast (5 days) style in which it was done.

Over 7 days in August 2005, two Slovak climbers, Gabo Cmarik and Jozef Kopold, climbed a new route, which they termed Assalam Alaikum, to the right of the Wharton/Cordes line on the south face of Great Trango. The climb comprised around 90 pitches, up to 5.11d A2. They used a lightweight style similar to that of Wharton and Cordes.

In the same month, Samuel Johnson, Jonathon Clearwater and Jeremy Frimer made the first ascent of the southwest ridge of Trango II, which they termed Severance Ridge. The route involved 1,600 m of climbing over five days, with rock climbing up to 5.11 A2 and ice and mixed climbing up to AI3 M5.

Also in August 2005, a South African team, composed of Peter Lazarus, Marianne Pretorius, James Pitman and Andreas Kiefer, climbed to the summit via the Slovenian route. Pretorius was the third woman to reach the summit.

During May/June 2008, the Norwegian route on the east face of Great Trango (1984) was repeated by the four Norwegian climbers Rolf Bae, Bjarte Bø, Sigurd Felde and Stein Ivar Gravdal, spending 27 days in the wall to reach the summit, and three more days for the descent. This is reportedly the first repetition of the route, and thus also the first successful ascent and return. Rolf Bae died later that summer. He was one of 11 climbers who were killed in the 2008 K2 Disaster.

In mid August 2009, Alexander and Thomas Huber managed to make an all free ascent of "Eternal Flame" on Nameless Tower, with climbing up to french grade 7c+.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sangemarmar Sar a pyramidal peak in the Batura Muztagh

Sangemarmar Sar (or Sangemar Mar, Sang-e-Marmar, Sangemarmur) is a pyramidal peak in the Batura Muztagh, at the end of a spur ridge running southwest from Pasu Sar in Pakistan. It lies between the Muchuhar Glacier, on the west, and the Shispare (or Hasanabad) Glacier on the east.

Because it is much lower in elevation than many of the surrounding peaks, such as Batura Sar and Rakaposhi, Sangemarmar Sar is little-known, and there has been only one successful ascent of the peak, according to the Himalayan Index. However, because of its location on the southern flank of the main crest of the range, relatively near the Hunza Valley, it does enjoy tremendous vertical relief above local terrain. For example, its summit rises over 5,000 metres (16,400 ft) above the Hunza River, in a horizontal distance of 15 kilometres (9 mi).

The mountain was named (as "Sangemarmur", meaning "marble", after a conspicuous band of yellow marble crossing the summit) in 1964 by the First Canadian Himalayan Expedition, comprising Fred Roots (leader), Donald Lyon, John Ricker, Lisle Irwin, Donald Poole, Hermann Jamek, Momin Khalifa and Karl Tomm. They intended to locate and climb Hachindar Chhish, which they determined to be a peak a few kilometers to the west of Sangemarmar Sar; however that peak proved too difficult and technical for the party to attempt. The expedition reached 6,300 metres (20,700 ft) but was then forced to retreat by repeated heavy snowstorms.


On July 11, 1984, a team from Osaka University made the first ascent of the mountain via the southwest ridge. The expedition comprised Takashi Matsuo (leader), Hiromi Okuyama, Takehiro Hirota, Tokio Kozuki, Masaya Oishi, Toru Sakakibara, Kenya Sato, Shinichi Miyata, Tomoyoshi Mizukawa, Hiroyuki Onishi, and Akira Noguchi. All members reached the summit, on two separate days. They encountered ice up to 50 degrees. They used three high camps, and fixed 3,000 metres (10,000 ft) of rope.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Saltoro Kangri the highest mountain #31 in the world

Saltoro Kangri is the highest peak of the Saltoro Mountains, better known as the Saltoro Range, which is a minor range of the Karakoram. It is one of the highest mountains on Earth, but it is in a very remote location deep in the Karakoram.

Saltoro Kangri lies in a region controlled by India on the southwestern side of the Siachen Glacier.

Notable features

Saltoro Kangri is the 31st highest independent mountain in the world. In addition, it rises dramatically above the Pakistani-controlled valleys of the Kondus and Saltoro Rivers to the west of the peak (draining eventually into the Indus River.) Due to danger from military operations, Saltoro Kangri is little visited. Areas just to the west are controlled by Pakistan, to the east by India.


Climbing history

The mountain was reconnoitered by the intrepid Workman couple in 1911-12.

The first attempt on the peak was in 1935 by a British expedition led by J. Waller, which reached c.24500' on the SE ridge.

A British university expedition led by Eric Shipton approached this peak through the Bilafond La via Pakistan with a Pakistani climbing permit. They recced the peak but did not attempt it. This expedition was inadvertently the first move in the deadly game of Siachen oropolitics that would lead to the Siachen conflict of 1984.

The first ascent of Saltoro Kangri was in 1962, by a joint Japanese-Pakistani expedition led by T. Shidei. This piggyback expedition put A. Saito, Y. Takamura and Pakistani climber R.A. Bashir on top on July 24, following the S.E. ridge route.

US maps of the area in the 1960s showed the Line of Control between Pakistani and Indian territory running from the last defined point in the 1949 Agreement, NJ9842, to the Karakoram Pass (held by India), thus putting the whole of Saltoro Kangri and the entire Siachen Glacier in Pakistan, even though the boundary was undemarcated from NJ9842 northwards. This appears to have been an error.

The Himalayan Index lists only one more ascent of the mountain, in 1981, and no other attempts.


Rakaposhi the highest mountain #27 in the world

Rakaposhi is a mountain in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. It is situated in the Nagar Valley approximately 100 km north of the city of Gilgit in the Gilgit District of the Gilgit-Baltistan province of Pakistan. Rakaposhi means "Snow Covered" in the local language. Rakaposhi is also known as Dumani ("Mother of Mist"). It is ranked 27th highest in the world and 12th highest in Pakistan, but it is more popular for its beauty than its rank might suggest.

Rakaposhi was first climbed in 1958 by Mike Banks and Tom Patey, members of a British-Pakistani expedition, via the Southwest Spur/Ridge route. Both of them suffered minor frostbite during the ascent. Another climber slipped and fell on the descent and died during the night.

Park

The people of Nagar has dedicated the Rakaposhi range mountain area as a community park. The Minister for Northern Areas inaugurated the park. The Rakaposhi mountain range is the home of endangered species such as Marco Polo sheep, Snow Leopard, brown bear, wolves and many other species.



Notable features

Rakaposhi is notable for its exceptional rise over local terrain. On the north, it rises 5800m in only an 11.5 km horizontal distance from the Hunza River. There are magnificent views of Rakaposhi from the Karakoram Highway on the route through Hunza. A tourist spot in the town of Ghulmat (located in the Nagar Valley) called "Zero Point of Rakaposhi" is the closest convenient view point of the mountain.

Time line

  • 1892 Martin Conway explores the south side of Rakaposhi.
  • 1938 M. Vyvyan and R. Campbell Secord make the first reconnaissance and climb a north-western forepeak (about 5,800m/19,000') via the northwest ridge.
  • 1947 Secord returns with H. W. Tilman and two Swiss climbers; they ascend via the Gunti glacier to 5,800m/19,000' on the south-west spur.
  • 1954 Cambridge University team, led by Alfred Tissières, attempts the peak via the south-west spur but only reached 6,340m/20,800'. Also, an Austro-German expedition led by Mathias Rebitsch attempted the same route.
  • 1956 A British-American expedition, led by Mike Banks, reaches 7,163m/23,500' on the Southwest Ridge, above the Gunti glacier.
  • 1958 The first ascent, noted above.
  • 1964 An Irish expedition attempts the long and difficult Northwest Ridge.
  • 1971 Karl Herrligkofer leads an attempt on the elegant but difficult North Spur (or North Ridge).
  • 1973 Herrligkofer returns to the North Spur but is again unsuccessful due to time and weather problems.
  • 1979 A Polish-Pakistani expedition ascends the Northwest Ridge from the Biro Glacier.
  • 1979 A Japanese expedition from Waseda University, led by Eiho Ohtani, succeeds in climbing the North Spur. Summit party: Ohtani and Matsushi Yamashita. This ascent was expedition-style, done over a period of six weeks, with 5000m of fixed rope.
  • 1984 A Canadian team achieves a semi-alpine-style ascent of the North Spur, using much less fixed rope than the Japanese team had. Summit party: Barry Blanchard, David Cheesmond, Kevin Doyle.
  • 1985-1987 Various unsuccessful attempts on the long East Ridge.
  • 1986 A Dutch team climbs a variation of the Northwest Ridge route.
  • 1995 An ascent via the Northwest Ridge.
  • 1997 An ascent via the Southwest Spur/Ridge (possibly the original route).
  • 2000 An attempt from the East side (Bagrot Glacier).
  • 2003 A Mountaineering expedition team of Chiltan Adventures Association Balochistan led by Hayatullah Khan Durrani with coordination Malik Abdul Rahim Baabai & Noor Mohammad Khilji followed by Saad Tariq Saddiqi Manager of the team from Alpine Club of Pakistan (Islamabad) achieves ascent of the Southwest Spur/Ridge (first ascent route. expedition members Abdul Samad Khilji (Late)Mohammad Ali Khan Mandokhail (Late) Syed Taimoor Shah (Late) Nasibullah Khilji (Late) the others were stayed at 6000m ,
In 2005 Nazeem Khan Climbed up the peak of This Mountain (Mubeen Khan the eye witness of this historic event)


Climbing routes

The routes with successful summits so far have been (see the timeline as well):
  • Southwest Spur/Ridge (first ascent route). Long, but not exceedingly technical. Some tricky gendarmes (rock pinnacles). Has been repeated.
  • Northwest Ridge. Long, and more technically difficult than the SW Spur/Ridge. Has been repeated.
  • North Spur (a.k.a. North Ridge). Shorter than the above two routes, but much more technically difficult. Has been repeated, including a semi-alpine-style (capsule style) ascent.
Attempts have also been made from the east side (Bagrot Glacier), the East Ridge, and the North Face.

 


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Muztagh Tower the highest mountain #91 in the world

Muztagh Tower (also: Mustagh Tower; Muztagh: ice tower), is a mountain in the Baltoro Muztagh, part of the Karakoram range on the border of the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan and the Xinjiang Uygur region of China. It stands between the basins of the Baltoro and Sarpo Laggo glaciers.

Early prominence

The Mustagh Tower was made famous by a spectacular but somewhat misleading photograph taken by Vittorio Sella during the 1909 Italian expedition to K2. Taken from the upper Baltoro, due southeast of the mountain, the twin summits were perfectly aligned and the mountain was seen as a slender tooth, and looked impregnable. In 1941, the photograph was featured in a popular book on mountaineering with the caption "The Last Citadel".

First and second ascents

Nearly fifty years after Sella's photo was taken, in 1956, his photograph inspired two expeditions to race for the first ascent. Both teams found their routes less steep than Sella's view had suggested. The British expedition, consisting of John Hartog, Joe Brown, Tom Patey and Ian McNaught-Davis, came from the Chagaran Glacier on the west side of the peak and reached the summit via the Northwest Ridge first on July 6, five days before the French team (fr:Guido Magnone, fr:Robert Paragot, André Contamine, Paul Keller) climbed the mountain from the east. The doctor François Florence waited for the two parties at the camp IV during 42 hours without a radio, when they went, reached the summit and came back to this camp.


Notable ascents and attempts

  • 1984 Northwest Ridge 2nd of route, 3rd of peak by Mal Duff, Tony Brindle, Jon Tinker and Sandy Allan (all UK).
  • 1990 The fourth ascent was made by Göran Kropp and Rafael Jensen.
           A lower summit, 7,180 m (23,560 ft) was first climbed in 1984 by the northeast ridge.
  • 2008 On 24 August 2008, the Northeast Face was climbed by two Slovenian alpinists, Pavle Kozjek and Dejan Miškovič. They bivouacked on the crest after 17 hours of climbing. They decided not to go to the summit because of strong wind. Just after they started descending, Kozjek fell to his death.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Masherbrum the highest mountain #22 in the world

Masherbrum (also known as K1) is located in the Gilgit Baltistan of Pakistan. At 7,821 metres (25,659 ft) it is the 22nd highest mountain in the world and the 9th highest in Pakistan. It was the first scaled and mapped peak in the Karakoram mountain range, hence its name.

The meaning of the name "Masherbrum" is not entirely clear. It may come from mashadar (muzzle-loading gun) plus brum (mountain), from the resemblance of the double summit to an old muzzle-loader. It may also come from masha (queen or lady), giving "queen of peaks." Other meanings have also been suggested.

Geography

Masherbrum is the highest peak of the Masherbrum Mountains, a subrange of the Karakoram range. It is a large and striking peak, which is somewhat overshadowed by the nearby 8,000 metres (26,000 ft) peaks of the main range of the Karakoram which includes four of the fourteen Eight-thousanders, namely K2, Gasherbrum I, Broad Peak and Gasherbrum II.

The Masherbrum Mountains lie to the south of the Baltoro Glacier and the main range of the Karakoram lies to the north of the Baltoro. The main range is the continental divide of southern Asia. Rivers to the south flow into the Arabian Sea. Rivers to the north flow to the Yellow Sea.

The Baltoro Glacier is the route most commonly used to access the 8000m peaks of the Karakoram, and many trekkers also travel on the Baltoro. Masherbrum also lies at the north end of the Hushe Valley, which serves as the southern approach to the peak.


Climbing history

In 1856, Thomas Montgomerie, a British Royal Engineers lieutenant, noticed a tall mountain in the Karakorams and called it K1 (denoting peak 1 of the Karakorams). To the local people of the area, it is known as Masherbrum.

Masherbrum was reconnoitered in 1911 by the intrepid Dr. William H. Workman and his wife Mrs. Fanny Bullock Workman. It was first attempted in 1938 from the south; the attempt failed just short of the summit.

After two more failed expeditions, in 1955 and 1957, Masherbrum was first climbed in 1960 by George Irving Bell and Willi Unsoeld, part of an American-Pakistani expedition led by Nick Clinch. They succeeded in climbing the southeast face route that had stymied the earlier parties.

The Himalayan Index lists three additional ascents and six additional failed attempts on Masherbrum. The ascents include two by additional routes, the NW Face and the NW Ridge/N Face.

 
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