“Very few care for this laborious kind of pursuit, which is in no means lucrative. It is not everyone who can take pleasure in climbing hills which reach the clouds.”
Starting out from what is considered the last settlement, the last town in which people live besides the sporadic tea houses set up for climbers, Kevin and I felt great. Though our muscles were a bit sore, Kevin had fixed his back problem by creating a bamboo frame for his backpack, while the fuzzy slippers I had been hiking in had given my painful blisters time to harden into calluses. We steadily gained over a thousand meters of elevation without hardly realizing it, that is, before we came to the snow. Though we only had five hundred or so meters left to gain for the day, we were slowed down immensely by the fact that we were walking up an extremely steep hillside completely covered in snow. I found myself more often than not using my hands and knees to push myself up through the most difficult sections, and joked that for every two steps up, I was sliding at least one down. Eventually though we spotted a decently sized cabin type structure through the clouds and snow and knew we had arrives.
Here is our tent covered in fog. This is what it looked like for much of our two day stay.
We spent the afternoon hanging out with three geologists who were here to collect rock samples. They had three cooks and four porters, and Kevin was definitely jealous of their luxurious life even up here in the mountains. It was cold though, bitterly cold. Though the temperature stayed above freezing during the day, it was so wet as we were constantly socked in by clouds. Is created a bone-chilling inescapable cold which would stay with us throughout the whole day.
Here we are roasting socks over the fire to dry them out.
Luckily the next morning we did indeed get to see the mountains, if only for a brief amount of time, before the clouds rolled back in.
As we were at 3,600m and were planning to climb three passes the next day, we opted for an acclimatization day to prepare for the climb. Unfortunate Kevin got sick (again, probably the same thing that he had before which never completely went away) so we ended up spending an extra day hanging out, playing cards, and trying to stay warm.
Though it was cold, wet, and miserable, I couldn’t have been more happy to be in the mountains. While most people find snow camping unbearable (because it definitely can be..), living in nature surrounded by mountains right on top of the wonderful snow is always more than enough to take away the misery it may cause.