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HIGH HIMALAYAN SWEEPSTAKES
Dr. Charles S. Houston
September 13, 1954
This summer more than 100 mountain climbers from nine nations have pitted their minds, hearts and bodies against 13 of the most formidable peaks of the world. The crowning achievement was that of the Italian expedition which scaled 28,250-foot K2, the second highest summit on earth in this, the beginning of the Golden Age of Himalayan Mountain Climbing
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September 13, 1954

High Himalayan Sweepstakes

This summer more than 100 mountain climbers from nine nations have pitted their minds, hearts and bodies against 13 of the most formidable peaks of the world. The crowning achievement was that of the Italian expedition which scaled 28,250-foot K2, the second highest summit on earth in this, the beginning of the Golden Age of Himalayan Mountain Climbing

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1954 HIMALAYAN BOX SCORE

Expeditions that have completed their climbs

NATIONALITY

PEAK & HEIGHT

RESULT

DEATHS

AMERICAN

Makalu, 27,790

failure

0

ARGENTINE

Dhaulagiri, 26,811

failure

1

AUSTRIAN

Saipal, 23,300

failure

1

BRITISH

Snowman"

failure

0

BRITISH

Kanchenjunga, 28,146

reconnaissance

0

BRITISH

Rakaposhi, 25,550

reconnaissance

0

GERMAN-AUSTRIAN

Rakaposhi, 25,550

failure

1

Disteghil, 25,868

failure

0

Unnamed peak, 23,900

success

0

ITALIAN

Api, 23,399

success

3

ITALIAN

K2, 28,250

success

1

JAPANESE

Manaslu, 26,658

failure

0

Ganesh Himal, 24,299

failure

0

NEW ZEALAND

Baruntse, 23,560

success

0

RUSSIAN

Revolution, 22,910

success

0

Expeditions that are beginning their climbs

AUSTRIAN

Cho Oyu, 26,867

BRITISH

Annapurna, 26,503

BRITISH

Saipal, 23,300

FRANCO-SWISS

Gauri Shankar, 23,440

GERMAN

Lhotse, 27,890

Great things are done when men and mountains meet;
This is not done by jostling in the street.
William Blake

Many men from many nations accomplished great deeds this summer in the Himalayas, mightiest mountains of the world. Some men died. Many others were injured. Only a few succeeded in their attempts for the summit.

The greatest victory of the season belongs to the 17-man Italian team, led by Prof. Ardito Desio, which scaled K2, the world's second highest peak. For almost three months the Italians battled this sheer, storm-swept mountain of black rock, ice and snow. When they pushed two men to its lonely 28,250-foot summit on July 31 they won where five other expeditions had failed. Theirs was indeed a magnificent achievement.

One might think that with the conquest of Mt. Everest last year the ultimate goal of all mountaineering had been achieved?a sort of climb to end all climbing. But quite the contrary. Partly stimulated by the ascent of Everest to be sure, but mostly because climbing a Himalayan peak represents the acme of all mountain climbers' dreams, a record number of expeditions are challenging the world's highest peaks.

Besides the Italians on K2, 11 other expeditions from eight countries have been in action this summer. The British tackled the third highest mountain, 28,146-foot Kanchenjunga. Americans were on Makalu, fifth among the hierarchy of kings and never before attempted. The Argentines assaulted 26,811-foot Dhaulagiri, the Japanese 26,658-foot Manaslu and 24,299-foot Ganesh Himal. The Russians tried Mt. Revolution, a 22,910 footer on the Soviet-Afghan border. Two parties chose Rakaposhi, one German-Austrian, the other British. A second Italian team attacked Mt. Api, and another Austrian combination chose Saipal. Sir Edmund Hillary, last year's conqueror of Everest, returned to that area with a New Zealand team to explore, map and climb. Finally there was the London Daily Mail party, pressing a four-month quest for the elusive Abominable Snow Man.

Within the next few weeks five more expeditions will begin their attacks. A German team will move against Lhotse, fourth highest summit in the world. More Austrians will try 26,867-foot Cho Oyu. The British hope to conquer Annapurna, a Franco-Swiss team will assault Guari Shankar and another British group goes to Saipal.

To today's mountain climber, the Himalayas are what the Alps were a century ago. It was the year 1854 that John Ruskin, author, philosopher and critic, hailed as the birth of "The Golden Age of Alpine Climbing." Until then only the highest peak?15,781-foot Mont Blanc?and a handful of smaller summits had been climbed. The following summers were filled with weeks of sunny, settled weather and climbers from all of Europe swarmed over the Alps making dozens of "first ascents."

All of the summits were soon conquered and a peak which once had been hailed as "the most difficult climb" soon became "an easy day for a lady." While tourists choked the conventional routes, the expert climbers tried new routes up more difficult precipices.

CLIMBING IS IN THEIR BLOOD

It was inevitable that men who climb because climbing is in their blood should be drawn irresistibly to the Himalayas. This year Himalayan climbing is on a scale never before seen. Expeditions have become veritable task forces?the Italians on K2 had 11 climbers, six scientists, a score of native guides and hundreds of porters. With all this activity, the Himalayas sound as crowded as a summer weekend in the Alps. It might seem that these expeditions would be jostling each other on the slopes. Actually, there is plenty of room.

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