Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Highlands

After several days of trekking, we finally arrived at Khan Tengri basecamp. At about 24,000 feet, with a picturesque peak, Khan Tengri is a popular destination for climbers. They actually helicopter into base camp, and then spend about three weeks to get to the peak. For me, base camp represented the end of the trek. We spent about three days there, hiking to the head of both Khan Tengri and Peak Pobeda, but not doing any serious technical climbing. After a day and a half of a pleasant rain/snow mix, the skies finally emptied one night in a serious snowstorm, and the remainder of our time there was brilliant. My guide told me that there are usually two or three perfectly clear days in the mountains every month. We were lucky enough to heave three on our trip.

Hiking into base camp, the morraine turned steadily into ice. We're a couple of hours from finished at this point.

The second night at base camp, a serious storm made for some tense sleeping, but also, the next morning, gave us a view of the surrounding mountains for the first time.

This is Khan Tengri. On the other side is China. We had to have special permits to hike in this border zone.

This helicopter was delivering a team of climbers, and also ferrying us back to the lowlands.


Jon said...

Impressive list of places visited. However, for some(B1), Yellow Springs is not one of them. Either as a couple you choose to leave it undone, as a thru hiker chooses not to summit Katahdin at the end of 2000 miles of walking-to hold a piece of the walk in his or her heart forever, or we're small 'taters. Or our berg doesn't have enough traffic lights for you? *sniff. Either way, I feel even more unaccomplished in my life after reading your tales. Oh, the cruel hand I have been dealt(job). I shall have to make do until the good Doctor can support me so that I may roll in the worlds clover fields as you do. :O) BW

Geotacs said...

wow! what great shots you have of beautiful scenes of those mountains!