Bonington sets out to conquer Tibet's unknown peak
Wednesday 31 July 1996
But it is a fair description of the region of north-east Tibet that he and fellow climber Charles Clarke will head for later this week. No European has visited it, no climber has attempted any of the mountains, or penetrated the glaciated valleys that guard it, according to Bonington.
Two Europeans went to a range to the south before the Second World War and reported on the high mountains to the north. Bonington got a view from 60 miles away, while on a flight from Chengdu, in China, to the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, in 1982. His photograph reveals jagged ridges and steep, spiky summits. US air force and Russian surveys show at least 20 peaks over 6,000m (19,700ft).
"We know the highest mountain is called Sepu Kangri [22,700ft] but the only view we have got is from the south," Bonington said. "It looks dangerous; steep-sided with big ice-cliffs. We are hoping there's a better route from the north, but we don't know whether it can approached from that side."
The main expedition flies via Kathmandu to Lhasa in mid-April 1997, when Bonington and Clarke will be joined by three other British climbers.
The trip will be a recce; to meet representatives of the China-Tibet Mountaineering Association who handle the climbing permits, approach the range by four-wheel drive vehicle across the Tibetan plateau and then head in to unknownterritory.
"The recce, in a way, is the most exciting part of the whole thing," Bonington said. It will be the monsoon season so crossing rivers may be a problem. But it is above the glaciers that the exploration will begin in earnest, as the pair climb the flanks of the mountains, testing Sepu Kangri's defences. The recce could mean the difference between success or failure in 1997, when the team will not be able to afford to spend weeks testing dead ends.
Bonington and Clarke, a consultant neurologist, aged 53, have made several expeditions together. Bonington will celebrate his 62nd birthday as the pair fly into Lhasa on 6 August.
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
- 4 Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
- 5 Grumpy Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' rediscovered after 35 years
King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Front End Web Developer is re...