The Story Behind the Picture: Karakoram 1936

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Our HEIRtagger sleuths have been at it again! This icy photograph from the Geography Library Collection at the Radcliffe Science Library is captioned “Gaskenbrum I (Streatfield) (1936) 280a”.

Following up the clues, it turned out that the photographer was Captain N. Streatfield, from the French Karakoram expedition, 1936, and this photo is reproduced in Streatfield’s account:

In the account the image is captioned ‘Gasherbrum I, Lord Conway’s ‘Hidden Peak’ 26,470 feet from a point on the Baltoro glacier about 3 miles distant’. Gasherbrum I in the Himalayas is the 8th highest peak in the world, rising to 8068 metres.

Even though the weather conditions meant that they were unable to reach their target, the Gasherbrum Peak, Streatfield reported that the expedition went well. There were no fatalities; they did enjoy some good weather; their skis of ‘a specially light pattern made from contre-plaque (three-ply) hickory’ were considered serviceable; and the ‘feeding was excellent’.

One of the most striking contrasts between this expedition and modern climbing must be the communications: Streatfield notes that: ‘Communication with the outer world was maintained by an expedition postal service to the nearest post office at Shigar, a distance of 120 miles.’

Gasherbrum I was finally scaled by an expedition in 1958.

One comment

  1. […] Source: The Story Behind the Picture: Karakoram 1936 […]


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