History of Kashmir
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1913, Filippo de Filippi, Dainelli, Henry Wood
1914, Filippo de Filippi
1922, le dr Visser
1929, Duc Aimone Roberto di Savoïa-Aosta
1930, Giotto Fainelli
1934, G.O. Dyhrenfurth
1936, H. de Ségogne
1937, B. Tilman et Eric Shipton
1938, Charles Houston
1939, F.H. Wiesner, E. Shipton
1946, J.O. Roberts

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1913, Filippo de Filippi, Dainelli, Henry Wood :

During the years of 1913 and 1914, the Italian explorer Filippo de Filippi, accompanied by Dainelli made observations and took photos of the Rimo group (7385m) while they were part of an intensive and profitable expedition. In order to obtain the necessary means, De Filippi contacted various Italian and foreign institutions, like the Royal Society and the Royal Geographic Society, the Royal Academy of Sciences and the Italian Geographical Society of Italy. Other than the absolutely necessary guides, the team of the expedition was set up by various specialists, i.e. surveying, astronomy, trigometry, meterology, geology, anthropology and geography. Amongst the team could be found two geographers, Giotto Dainelli and Olinto Marinelli. They made a great number of photos in order to complete the iconographic work of lieutenant Antilli Cesare of the engineering corpse as well as those of general Henry Wood, an experimental explorer and acquaintance of Sir F. Younghusband. The expedition which had two goals - an exploring mission and topographic mission - left during summer 1913 for its first campaign. During this trip, Dainelli left accompanied by Petigax, the Valdotain guide, to explore Cashmere, the Dras and Indus valleys to collect geological and morphological elements. They also studied the population, their cultures and their characteristic live style. They went through the Shigar valley and the mountain fronts of the great Biafo, Baltoro and Chogo Lugma glaciers. They set up a precise map of the region including the Rimo group and the Depsang plateau. This work was the first to go beyond that of the Schlagintweit brothers 58 years earlier. The 12 volume report has never been translated into English.


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1914, Filippo de Filippi :

After the arrival of Marinelli in April 1914 and at the beginning of the second campaign, Danielli left the group, which in the meantime had established their base camp in Leh (3500m), the capital of Ladakh. The two friends took the direction of the high Caracash and closed in basins of the Tibetan plateaus. Danielli's photos were of a determined contribution to the photographic work accomplished by lieutenant Antilli, they enriched and fulfilled them. Actually, Danielli showed documentary evidence regarding the itineraries and sometimes different subjects compared to those being part of the expedition. Lieutenant Attila concentrated more on the panoramas and telephotographies for his own topographic needs, whereas Giotto Dainelli spent more time on documentary images and payed more attention mainly to the geological, geographical and anthropological aspects. During the last part of the campaign they became interested in some of the huge glaciers of the oriental part of the Karakoram, the Siachen and especially Rimo (Rimu). The results found allowed to establish a cartographic representation of the region at a great scale (1/100 000). The expedition was a scientific success of precious value in many ways and the conclusions were given in two series of works : firstly, research, dedicated to surveys and geophysics (3 volumes) and secondly some ten volumes treating the geological and geographical results.

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From left to right :

Giuseppe Petigax, Giotto Dainelli, Cesare Antilli, Filippo De Filippi, Alberto Alessio, Nello Venturi Ginori, Camillo Alessandri, John Alfred Spranger, Henry Wood, Olinto Marinelli et Giorgio Abetti.

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1922, le Dr Visser :

Dr. Visser, together with his wife (both German) accomplished three expeditions between 1922 and 1935. They were the first to explore the Chapchingol pass, the Terong valley and the surroundings of Rimo. However, they never published any photos so no-one really knew what the mountain looked like before 1985 when the first ascend of this mountain was made - it's true that it's in a far away area and prohibited. They found many unknown glaciers like the Terong and Shelkar glaciers.

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1929, Aimone de Savoie, duc de Spolète :

Lodovico de Caporiacco, Aimone de Savoie, Vottorio Ponti et Ardito Desio.

After a forced interruption of all expeditions due to the first world war and also the uncertainties of the Italian political situation which was looking for stability, an intention to finance a mission in the Karakoram mountain range was decided on at the tenth Geographic Congress of Italy which was organized in Milan, the Lombardian capital in 1927. Even though the help of the SGI was initially based on a scientific voyage, it's first goal remained sportive. The ascend and to conquer the K2, a great prestigious undertaking, would, indeed have given Italy it's glory once again. The responsibility of the mission was assigned to Giotto Dainelli, a man of experience. Dainelli first hoped to make use of Ardito Desio's knowledge, a young experienced geologist who had been his student at the Natural Science Faculty of the Institute of Superior Studies in Florence, but ever since the disagreements of the organizing comity took place, Dainelli abandoned the whole project. The town of Milan then proposed the leadership of the expedition to Aimone de Savoie, duke of Spolete. The aims of the mission had changed. A group of mountaineers were to ascend K2 or another summit of the Karakoram, whereas another scientific team was to spend their time examining the geographic of the Baltoro glacier. Other than Aimone de Savoie, the expedition team also included G. Allegri, a doctor responsible for the anthropometric measures of the local population, some mountaineers, a radiotelegraph and two guides from Courmayeur, W. Bron and E. Croux. A well known photographer, Massimo Terzano, was also part of this trip. His accurate documents of the undertaking and superb photos were bound into three official albums of the expedition and he also made a film called "Italian Expedition of SAR, Aimone de Savoie. The upsetting events of the Italian news at that time and especially the scientific community, represented very heavy obstacles for this organization. The tragedy of Umberto Nobile's long and complicated journey in 1928 when he tried to reach the North Pole on the boat Italia and the controversy that had followed, worried the town of Milan and especially the SGE who had organized and supported the polar expedition. The Karakoram program became very limited and the ascend of K2 was excluded. Another failure would have been a hard blow to Italy's prestige as well as the institutions that supported the project. They left Srinagar in March 1929 and during the six months of the expedition, the scientists and the leader were in total discord because of either misunderstandings or disagreements concerning delays or itineraries. In spite of this difficult climate, the mission was able to obtain many scientific material, like the exploration and the topographic study from the top of Baltoro and the big valleys alongside the slopes of Chinese Turkestan, or still, photogrametric results of K2 which later enabled to set up the first map at the scale of 1/25 000 of the mountain. However, the climb that they had not been able to undertake of the K2 left a bitter taste in the mouths of the member of the expedition, especially Ardito Desio for whom it became the primary goal to conquer this summit, a dream that he was able to make true 25 years later.

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1930, Giotto Dainelli :


It's true that Giotto Dainelli was not part of the expedition in 1929 but during the same year, he set up a scientific program in which the main goal was to study Siachen which had already been explored by the Filippi expedition in 1914 and in which Dainelli had taken part. To avoid all restrictions, he decided to auto finance the expedition in order to be freely able to choose the itineraries and his collaborators, under the patronage of the SGI. His first disappointment came from his ex-pupil Ardito Desio who refused to join him pretending family and career problems (a competition of the university soon to come). This refusal, together with Aimone de Savoie's successful expedition where Desio did participate, in spite of his teacher's prejudice, finally ended their friendship. The affectionate relationships that they'd had till then, for so long, turned into a badly hidden rivalry. After Desio's refusal, Dainelli contacted a loyal collaborator Ellen Kaian von Hofe, a researcher and botanist but also a mountaineer and an excellent skier, according to Dainelli , and even better, she was multi-lingual. She was in charge, amongst other tasks, of the correspondence of the expedition which was in many languages. Two officers, lieutenant Enrico Cecioni, photographer and camera man and captain Allessandro Latini topographer, radio operator and responsible for the meteorological statistics, were also part of the team. Both were members of the Military Geographical Institute of Florence but obtained the permission to participate from the Ministry of War. The Institution also gave a helping hand by furnishing material, equipment, tents, cameras and money. The expedition lasted from April to November 1930. After a short halt in Leh, capital of Ladakh, to make the last preparations, the small caravan moved quietly towards its goal, Siachen. During the whole expedition that took several months, there was a lot of disagreements and discords between the leader of the expedition Giotto Dainelli and both officers Enrico Cecioni and Allessandro Latini , regarding the ownership of the many photos of the expedition and the conquer of Colle Italia (Rimo pass 6500m).

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1934, G.O. Dyhrenfurth :

1934 was the year of the first successful ascends. G.O. Dyhrenfurth, leader of an international expedition in the upper Baltoro, came with his wife and they climbed the tops of the Sia Kangri group in the Siachen region. Dyhernfurth's topographic material between 1935 -1939 is the base of our Baltoro maps today.

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1936, H. de Ségogne :

A French expedition set up by H. Segogne , explored the Baltoro region and tried one of the Gasherbrun 1 sharp edges, these edges held up the large Urdok plateau. H. de Segogne finally stopped at 7100m.

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1937, Bill Tilman et Eric Shipton :

Bill Tilman, Eric Shipton, le yeti !

B. Tilman and Erik Shipton organized an expedition in order to explore some of the highest glaciers of the world in the midst of the Karakoram. They left from Rawalpindi (at the time in India) and went through the Karakoram by the Sarpo Lago pass (5684m), thereafter during five months, they explored 5780 Km2 of territory which Tom Lonstaff qualified as being "the mountain fortress most difficult on earth". They reached the foot of the impressing north side of K2 and made a detailed map of the Chinese Turkestan (today Xhin Yang).

E. Shipton who knew the lovely landscapes of the Asian mountains, was thrilled with the Trango glacier and exclaimed "Enormous colons of granite carried these elegant summits, so far away and out of reach, they didn't seem to be part of the colossal structures. The sides of these mountains, covered with ice and soft snow, shine like millions of diamonds in the morning sun". When B. Tilman explored the Snow Lake at the bottom of the Hispar glacier in 1937, he noticed footsteps that he thought those of a Yeti. At the end of this expedition, E. Shipman wrote a best seller "Blank on the Map". He then became fascinated by this region of the world which, according to him, was the most fantastic mountain area on earth.

Map of Shipton's expedition here (40 ko).

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1938, Charles Houston :

Charles Houston

Nine years went by before another expedition decided to undertake another conquest of the second highest summit of the world, the K2. It was that of Dr. Charles Houston, supported by the American Alpine Club. They too, made a recognition trip of the three slopes of the K2, which are located at the Baltoro basin and then decided to try an ascend from the south east edge called "Spur of the Abruzzes" since 1909. They climbed over the most difficult part of the ascend and reached the spur. From there, they examined the many possibilities to reach the top, then came back to camp 7 where they had no other choice but to retreat. The ascend had a tragic outcome and the expedition lost 5 of its members in this adventure.

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1939, F.H. Wiesner, Eric Shipton :

Eric Shipton

In the same year, another American expedition, under the leadership of F.H. Wiesner came back to the Abruzzes spurs of K2. After stocking materials in various camps, a small team managed to get to the Abruzzes. The next day they arrived under the summit after a long day of hard climbing when suddenly the Sherper refused to go any further just when they were about to reach the snows above the rocks of the summit at about 6.30 pm at 8300m altitude - they retreated. After a new dramatic try by the Americans in 1953, the summit was finally reached by Italians in 1954 by using the same way.

It's only just before the second world war that it became possible to set up a map of the Karakoram with precision, when Erik Shipton undertook his second expedition in this region, the most important one for this famous English mountaineer. This geographic study enabled a map of extraordinary precision. This work was going to be the result of a mountain adventure that lasted 16 months. Shipton exclaimed the following "England is at war (…..) maybe even London, where we made our preparations is now, nothing else but chaos, ruins and terror. How this seemed unreal and highly ridiculous in our magnificent far away universe of ice and snow. As if to prove this contrasted statement, the fog disappeared and at that brief moment, the glacier was bathed in a sunset full of light that was reflected by the summits. The huge granite arrows from Biafo detached themselves from the dark blue sky. At least this mountain universe to which I owe so much life and happiness, will survive all the broken hopes ruined by men and still be an heritage to generations of wise."

Karakorams glaciers comments here :
Glaciologie du Karakoram
Karakoram maps of Shiptons expedition here :
Carte d'Eric Shipton 1939
Satellites pictures of Muztagh pass, Baltoro and Sarpo Laggo glaciers here :
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1946, J.O. Roberts :

J.O. Roberts (Great Britain) undertook an expedition into the Saser Kangri mountain range in 1946 (an approach from north and south - the Phukpoche glacier) but could not find the road leading to the Saser Kangri 1. In his narrative of the expedition, he says "To conclude, I need to excuse myself for repeating the word "impossible" many times, I have to encourage someone to go to Panamik to contradict me - he should go".. The Saser Kangri mountain range thus became the first mountain sector that attracted an international western expedition after the second world war.

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See the same topics :
Climbing in Kashmir
Conflict of Kashmir
Historical statistics
Index historiques


Révision A 24/02/06 (http://blankonthemap.free.fr)

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