Event Detail


The Last Frontier: the Alps of Tibet and Beyond

Tamotsu Nakamura
Thursday, 21 Apr 2016
Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm
Conference Centre, 23/F, Euro Trade Centre, 21-23 Des Voeux Road Central (this venue is 10 seconds walk from MTR Central Station Exit A)

“Today the map has no more secrets; Idle minds repeat that parrot phrase.  But who knows all Tibet, or its far-away frontiers on western China?  Even its own prayer-muttering tribes know only their own bleak, wind-swept valleys.” (1930, Joseph Rock)

The Royal Geographical Society is pleased to welcome the great Japanese explorer and mountaineer Tamotsu (Tom) Nakamura to speak on “The Last Frontier: the Alps of Tibet and Beyond”.  Mr Nakamura, inspired by Joseph Rock’s quote, visited the Alps of Tibet, only to find that the “blank on the map and veiled mountains” still existed more than half a century on.  For 25 years, he has explored a multitude of independent mountain ranges that spread from South and East Tibet to the western rim of Sichuan basin, where incredibly complex topography holds countless unclimbed summits and hidden valleys, one of the largest unexplored areas of the Globe.  

Mr Nakamura became the only modern explorer to travel widely through the remotest and least known borderlands of East Tibet and the Hengduan Mountains.  He also made countless first ascents in these ranges.  He has shown that these previously undocumented ranges are stunning, magnificent and alluring.   He followed in the footsteps of Frank Kingdon-Ward and F. M. Bailey, reaching the least known regions of Asia.  

Part of Mr Nakamura’s quest to these unfrequented peaks and mysterious gorges was finding the headwaters of the five great rivers of south Asia, the Yangtze, Mekong, Salween, Irrawaddy and Tsangpo-Brahmaptura.  He describes his findings in the lecture, together with descriptions of numerous previously unknown mountains exceeding 6,000m.   He also describes how there are still vast opportunities for exploration and adventure in a presentation which is richly illustrated by over 150 fine photographs.

Tamotsu (Tom) Nakamura hails from Tokyo, Japan.  In 1953, he began climbing with the Hitotsubashi University Mountaineering Club.  In 1961, he made the first ascent of Pucahirca Norte 6,046m and Cordillera Blanca in Peru, and three other first ascents in Cordillera Apolobamba and Pupuya in Bolivia.  From 1967 to 1994, he resided in Pakistan, Mexico, New Zealand and Hong Kong.  Since 1990, he has made 37 expeditions to the West of China, in particular the mountains of South, East and SE Tibet and the Hengduan Mountains of Northwest Yunnan, West Sichuan and Qinghai.  He is the author of numerous books, including “East of the Himalayas”, “Deep Gorge Country”, “East of the Himalayas –To the Alps of Tibet”, “The Alps of Tibet” and “The Final Frontier – Alps of Tibet”.  He is a Fellow of The Alpine Club, The American Alpine Club, The Himalayan Club, The Japanese Alpine Club and numerous other organisations.  Mr Nakamura has lectured worldwide on his expeditions.  He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Busk Medal of the Royal Geographical Society and the International Explorers Award.

Members of the RGS and others are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$150 for Members and HK$200 for guests and others.



See other events in 2016