Friday, August 18, 2017

Gamlang Razi expedition reaches summit

 An expedition team comprised of US and Myanmar mountaineers has successfully completed its ascent to the summit of Gamlang Razi in the remote north of Kachin State, on the eastern edge of the Himalaya Mountains.

The summit of Gamlang Razi. (Photo: Gamlang Razi expedition Facebook page)The summit of Gamlang Razi. (Photo: Gamlang Razi expedition Facebook page)
The Myanmar-US team, upon reaching the summit, used GPS data in order to confirm Gamlang's mean sea level height as 5870.084 metres, with a two-metre margin for error either side.

Previously, digital data had put the height of Mt. Gamlang at around 5850m (19,192ft) above sea level.

The ascent of Gamlang could prove something of a stir in the mountaineering community.

Until recently, the highest peak in Myanmar – and Southeast Asia – was thought to be Hkakabo Razi, at 5881m above sea level. However, this figure is a matter of some contention.

Gamlang Razi expedition team at the summit (Photo: Gamlang Razi Facebook page)Gamlang Razi expedition team at the summit (Photo: Gamlang Razi Facebook page)

The Gamlang expedition team say evidence of its true height has been derived from various sources. The first Survey of India maps give Hkakabo Razi's elevation as 5887m (1923) and 5881m (1925). The second figure has been widely circulated. Satellite imaging confirmed this in the leadup to a 1995 and 1996 attempts at the summit, however post WWII Russian and Chinese maps put its elevation at a mere 5691m. Google Earth supplies the response of 5780m, while a Harvard Map Library researcher using two data set extrapolation techniques reckoned it at 5758m.

Official confirmation and further details will be made available at a press conference upon the expedition's return to Yangon.

Expedition photographer Eric Daft described the remote Kachin location as one of the least traveled areas on the planet, with the possible record-setting height being just one source of fascination in the frontier region.

“A large portion of the story to be documented is the remote villages that we will pass through and stay in,” Daft told the Teton Valley News. “Most of them are only accessible on foot and their inhabitants vary from Tibetan, Kachin and even Asia’s only Pygmy tribe.”

The expedition is sponsored by Htoo Foundation and Phonyin Tours, with significant donations of equipment and other resources from Black Diamond, Goal0, Jupiter Systems, Kate’s, Mad Rock, Mammut, MSR, Nemo, Osprey, Patagonia, Probar, Salewa, Seek Outside, and Sony.