Only for the second time I find myself in the field on the first day of the new year. January 1st 2008 I was in Spiti doing my Master's thesis in Spiti Valley in the Himalaya! January 1st 2012 I find myself in Ulaan Baatar doing research for my PhD! But unfortunately, the only similarity between four years ago and today is the freezing temperature; -31C as if today morning! But the cold temperature has brought back a flurry of memories from 4 years ago.
|January 1st 2008, Takpa climbing up towards Kanamo|
Four years ago on this very day Takpa and I were attempting to climb Mt. Kanamo. The summit of this peak stands tall at 5994m. The climb itself was easy but the temperature was excruciatingly cold. Today in Ulaan Baatar, although it is equally cold outside I am sitting in the cozy comfort of my centrally heated room with Internet, chatting with my folks back home. Have I lost the will to step out in the cold and do something adventures? may be not! I recently climbed the highest peak of the Tost mountains in the Gobi Desert region of Mongolia. A small spike of a little over 2500m, this peak is a easy hike. But the remoteness and the cold together makes it hard to get out of your tent and get going. Once you are out climbing up it is much easier.
|Me on the summit of the highest peak in the Tost mountains in the Gobi region of Mongolia|
Four years ago, Takpa and I were convinced that the cold was going to kill us both. This year I was convinced that I was going to fall to my death when I tried to descend through a dried up waterfall. In retrospect, I think none of the two times were so dangerous to bring us close to our deaths. But mountains have a way of cascading dangers. You make on false move and like a cascade your problems just keep on increasing. Sometimes, the fear of death even before the first mistake saves you the trouble of fighting the cascade.