1936 - 1937 Mission Diary

The official diary of the Gould mission to Lhasa sent by the British government. Read more about the mission diary.

18th August, Tuesday, Dzara camp.

see photographs below

15,700 feet, 16 miles.

The sky was clear at dawn except for low cloud round the 23,800 feet Peak of' No-jin-kang-sang, near the Karo La. About 3 miles after leaving Ralung we came to a great flat plain called the Ralung Pangde at a height of 15,200 feet, which would afford an excellent aerodrome. There are a lot of "mouse hare" holes all over this plain but they are too small to endanger an aeroplane landing. It is easy to find an area 1 mile long and 500 to 800 yards broad, quite level and with no nullahs or depressions. Actually the whole plain is some 5 miles long.

From Ralung Pangde we had a fine view of No-jin-kangsang (23,800 feet) and the clouds cleared sufficiently for good photographs to be taken.

Under the foot of No-jin-kang-sang, a tableau of all the gaily dressed chaprasis and saises was enacted to enable Chapman to make some cine film with the great snow peak as background. We soon turned right handed leaving the peak on our left and entered a narrow valley leading to the Karo La. We saw Goa (Tibetan gazelle) grazing on the plain and several flocks of burrhel (blue wild sheep) on the slopes above this valley. The clouds now came down and all we could see of the snow peaks which bound the Karo La on every side, were the lower parts and snouts of the numerous glaciers, all covered in serae formation. It is obvious that all these glaciers have retreated from 300 to 600 yards from their maximum, for all have old terminal moraines right on the valley floor and lateral moraines leading down from the present snout which in most cases is several hundred yards from the valley bottom. In one or two cases they are almost becoming hanging glaciers with big ice cliffs forming the end of the glaciers.

The ascent to the Karo La (16,600 ft.) is very easy and the summit of the pass is marked by a rough stone gateway spanned with streamers of red and white calico and adorned with similar flags. The mule and donkey drivers and saises bowed low and muttered some spell as they passed the gateway of the pass.

An easy descent of 900 feet in some 4 -Miles - brought us to our camping ground of Dza-ra, where there are a few Tibetan huts.

A mile or two below the pass were the remains of old Tibetan fortifications last used in a fight with our troops in 1904. They formerly comprised, a continuous loopholed wall right across the valley from lone precipice to another, but it is now raized to the ground and only the trace is visible. Richardson and Chapman climbed a hill 2,000 feet above the camp and found some interesting new flowers. They also found signs of a gruesome tragedy, a pig tail jammed between two rocks, a skull near by, and other human bones!

It came on to rain hard at dusk after a preliminary thunderstorm and this combined with a cold wind and altitude of 15,700 feet made Dza-ra rather a grim camp.

Author: Philip Neame [see handwritten annotations in Diary by Hugh Richardson in MS. Or. Richardson 2, Bodleian Libary, Department of Oriental Collections, University of Oxford]

Page Reference: Pt III p.3

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