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Equipment Report

Hardly any of the technical kit taken was used, as the only technical climbing done was one pitch on the icefall. The kit was chosen on the advice of Lew Hardy for the technically-difficult finish of Manda III's NW face. Some extra ice-screws were taken so that, in the event of a retreat by abseil, there would still be enough left for a second attempt. For what was actually accomplished a few ice-screws and a deadman would have been perfectly sufficient.

Two of the ice-screws were high quality; the rest were Polish and Russian screws purchased at the Bristol climbing wall and in Chamonix. They all appeared to be well-manufactured and were easily placed. None were tested in a fall, however. Two camp snow shovels were bought which were designed to fit onto ice axes. One of these broke in the Alps before hand, when the spot welds failed. This was replaced free in the UK with a wooden handled version. Although weighing a couple of hundred grams more, it was much easier to use. We reinforced it with four nuts and bolts around the spot welds. Both snow shovels performed well on the trip, with no signs of fatigue. They even proved useful in digging into the mud around base-camp to bury the rubbish.

The Phusion Extreme tents also performed well, though they were never tested in storm conditions. At 4.6kg they are quite heavy, but are incredibly strong. Unfortunately, one of the tents had a manufacturing defect, which resulted on one of its poles breaking the first time it was used. The pole was easily fixed, however, with one of the pieces of tubing supplied for such accidents. Obviously, it is very important to check all pieces of equipment thoroughly before departing as this could have been a disaster. The one draw-back with the Phusion is that snow or rain collects on the roof panels at the ends. Eventually, water drips through the fly-sheet and inner, and into the tent. Presumably, in cold enough conditions in which the snow does not melt, this would not be a problem.

The other tent, taken for use primarily at base-camp, was a Mountain Super Nova, borrowed from the Rats. The main problem with this was that the fly-sheet was much newer than the inner tent and did not fit properly. The two side guy lines on the fly-sheet were much too low and failed to stop the fly-sheet touching the inner. More guy lines on the side panels would stop this problem. In its defence, the Super Nova was taken on the second attempt on Jogin, and despite being buried, in over three feet of dense snow, it survived. Digging it out, though, resulted in a lot of damage to the snow valances as the stitching ripped very easily. The Super Nova was excellent at base-camp as it is quite possible to sit six people in it comfortably, and it rapidly warms up. It is very good for team morale to be able to do this. The mess tent, hired from Mount Support, though completely waterproof, was very drafty. It was impossible to warm up to a reasonable temperature. Perhaps the best solution would be to take a large 'family' type tent. It might even work out cheaper as it cost around £15 to hire the mess tent, plus the cost of the one and a half porters needed to carry it - about the same as the freight and porter costs would have been for a 'family' tent, since one would have been much lighter. Leading up to the trip, we discussed what sort of stoves we wanted to take. We all normally used petrol stoves, but most people recommended gas for the Himalaya. The main drawback is the cost and inconvenience of air freighting the gas. The other disadvantage we found with the gas stoves was that, unless we kept the canisters warm, they were extremely slow. One stove stacked on top of another was very effective, but probably not very safe. Mick and George took a MSR Whisperlite and had no problems getting it to run on the petrol there.

The BBC supplied us with World Service schedules, and we took out a good short-wave radio. Listening to news at home and abroad provided welcome entertainment. The water filters operated well and provided us with an abundant supply of clean water. We could have managed adequately with only one, however. The dustbin bags were also extremely useful and were all used. We bought some large hessian sacks in Uttar Kashi and some smaller plastic ones for the porters' loads. Unfortunately, we ran out of strong thread to sew the tops of the sacks shut, something well worth doing to stop anybody meddling with them. These sacks were very cheap and were exactly what was needed. The clothing lists could have been easily trimmed if weight were a problem, and were more than adequate. Passport photos were unnecessary.

Group equipment and supplies

Brought from England

spring balance Mountain Super Nova
shortwave radio and batteries hacksaw blades
2 epigas micro stoves paracord
24 butane, propane mix gas cylinders washing line
medical kit 2 sterilising water filters
150 sandwich bags 100 iodine water purifying tablets
5 brillo pads 30 heavy duty dustbin
10 dish cloths sewing kit
7 pan scourers canoe tape
4 tea towels 2 tubes of superglue
wd40 Araldite
tent repair patches seam sealant
tubing for poles flammable priming paste
file spare glacier goggles
4 60L plastic drums 12 boxes of matches

Bought in India

washing powder toilet paper
2 plastic buckets 20 large hessian sacks
2 plastic bowls 24 candles
24 boxes of matches 24 plastic sacks

These lists were based on those of the 1991 British Bhrigupanth Expedition.

Climbing equipment per rope

6 extenders  
rocks 1-9 nutter
hexes 8 and 9 6 pegs
15 titanium bang in ice screws tuber
jumar 2 screwgates
4 slings with screwgates deadman
12m abbing tape snow shovel
tent epigas burner
2 pans  

Personal Equipment


5 season sleeping bag goretex bivi bag
5 season karrimat thermal top and bottom
jumper or fleece fleece jacket
windproof salopettes windproof jacket
2 pairs outer gloves 2 pairs inner gloves
balaclava neck scarf
mountaineering boots gaiters
2 pairs inner socks 2 pairs outer socks
75+L rucksack sun cream
glacier goggles head-torch
Lipsyl pen knife
mug spoon
2 1L water bottles alarm clock
helmet full body harness
tuber 2 screwgates
2 slings with screwgates 3 prussic loops
pair of ice axes crampons
ice axe holsters  


spare boot laces toilet bag
small towel plate, knife, fork
waterproof trousers sun hat
pair of shorts warm trousers
light trousers 2 t-shirts
2 long sleeved shirts 4 pairs of pants / boxers
sweatshirt thin sweater
walk in boots comfortable shoes
walkman / batteries 3 books
goody bag < 2kg ice axe and crampon tools and spares
foot powder / cream money belt
10 passport photos  
These lists were based on those of the British-Indian Police Expedition 1986.

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Jim McElwaine