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0047 Memoir on Maps of Chinese Turkistan and Kansu : vol.1
Memoir on Maps of Chinese Turkistan and Kansu : vol.1 / Page 47 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000215
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Sec. iv.]

THIRD EXPEDITION, 1913-15   .   25

and Tangir where Raja Pakhtùn Wall, an exile of the Khushwaqt family of Yâsin, had for some years past established a chiefship of his own. The mountain tracks over which we were taken under his protection crossed a series of high passes and offered great advantages for survey operations. 'We were fortunately allowed full freedom to use them.

A number of triangulated points on the high ranges to the south and north helped to control the half-inch plane-table work, and, thanks to Lal Singh's devoted exertions, a fortnight's hard travel sufficed to map some 1200 square miles of ground distinctly difficult in parts and hitherto wholly unsurveyed. r1 he mapping then accomplished awaits separate publication in the Royal Geographical Society's Journal, and the briefest mention of it must suffice here. 1

Subsequently we crossed the Indus-Gilgit river watershed and the Darkôt pass to the headwaters of the Chitral river. This route allowed me to see

J urndnkush across   ground of distinct historical and geographical interest. From here we
made our way past the glaciers feeding the Karambàr river and across the difficult Chilinji pass into uppermost Hunza, where we picked up Muhammad Yakùb, the second surveyor, with the heavy baggage. Finally we gained the Chinese border on the Ming-taka pass by September 7th.

The journey down to Tash-kurghan allowed the main Sarikol valley to be re-surveyed on a larger scale than before. From it we followed for a couple of days

Survey resumed   the usual caravan route through the mountains towards Kashgar over

in Sarikol.   through   Kashgar

Chichiklik pass. Beyond the Tangitar gorge our routes divided. 2 Lad Singh moved off by rapid marches via Yarkand and Khotan in order to reach the main K`un-lun range near Kapa from where I was anxious to extend our triangulation of 1906 as far eastwards as climatic and other conditions would permit. Afraz-gul, in charge of the heavy baggage, executed a plane-table traverse to Kashgar by the usual route via Ighiz-yär and Yangi-hissar.

I myself set out for the same goal with Muhammad Yakùb by a new route leading due northwards across the Merki pass and down the valley of the Route down Kara-tish Kara-tàsh or Bésh-kan river. s Owing to special difficulties this


important valley, in which most of the eastern drainage of the great glacier-clad range of Muz-tagh-atâ finds its way into the plains between Yangi-hissar and Kashgar, had never been explored in its whole length. During spring and summer the big floods from the melting snow and ice of the range render the extremely narrow gorges of the Kara-tàsh river in the north quite impassable. By the time the waters subside in the autumn, heavy snow on the Merki and Kara-tash passes closes the approaches from the south. In the spring of 1906 I had sent Ram Singh to descend the valley, but the flooded river had obliged him to abandon the attempt.

We were more fortunate this time. Exceptionally early snowfalls had stopped the melting of the glaciers just in time to allow of a passage while the Difficult river gorges. Buramsal pass ( 14,940 feet ), though under deep snow, could still be traversed with laden yaks. Nevertheless the descent through the extremely confined gorges of the river below Chimghan proved very difficult and in places risky. The constant crossings of the river tossing between precipitous rock walls could not have been effected without the help of hardy local camels secured from Kirghiz camps higher up the valley. The trials attending these marches showed that Muhammad Yak ûb, if not equal to my other surveying companions in experience and general aptitude for independent work, was anyhow not wanting in pluck.

After emerging from the last of those gloomy defiles, two marches across fertile tracts brought us to Kashgar by September 21st. Once again Sir George

Preparations at   Macartney's unfailing help greatly facilitated the organization of my


caravan at the ever hospitable British Consulate General, and by

1 For a preliminary account of this visit to Darél and Tangir, cf. A Third Journey of Exploration in Central Asia, Geographical Journal, 1916, xlviii. pp. 101 sqq.

2 See Sheet No. 2. D. 4.

8 See Sheet No. 2. D. 8, 4; Third Journey, 0.1.., xlviii. p. 110.