A gentle uphill climb along the river continues, and according to our calculations, I have 50 km left until the final pass, and once over this pass, it should be all downhill to Lhasa, which is my goal.
The roadside markers on the side of the road tell me “only 49km to go”, “good,” and “good,” every kilometre I go. 48km” and counted aloud as I went.
My legs were heavy, perhaps due to accumulated muscle fatigue.
The straight road continued, with snow-capped white mountains visible on its extension, and I wanted to go as far as we could while it was still light, because a steep uphill was waiting for me once the road left the riverbank.
Sometimes, far beyond the straight road, I could see a ‘moving object’ the size of a ‘grain of rice’.
As the road progressed, it became larger and more clearly visible.
It was usually a person or a yak, a long-haired bull.
The only people who would appear on foot were Tibetans, and as they passed each other, they would look at each other and ‘grin’ as they passed.
Even though it was mid-May, it snowed from time to time, I kept my mackintosh on all the time, the mackintosh was quite warm and protected me from the wind when I wore it.
I was able to keep the momentum going for the first 10km, ’40km to go’. I saw a hair-length cattle yak crossing the river in the snowy weather.
“Are they not cold?”
They are not cold because They are wearing fur,’ I kept going, asking myself funny questions.
This pass is over 5000 metres above sea level and the temperature must be much lower, so I walked a little faster.
The snow had stopped, but the wind was picking up, the clouds were moving fast and there were occasional blue skies.
I saw a long uphill path running diagonally up the mountain,
“I didn’t think I were going up that”,
and sure enough, the path was heading that way.
The altitude here is probably in the latter half of 4000m.
There were no people, nothing moving except the clouds in the sky, no vegetation and only moss clinging to the rocks.
Just going up the hill, I breathed heavily in a constant rhythm, “Ha, ha, ha, whoo”, as if I was running a marathon.
After a few dozen steps, I couldn’t breathe in rhythm, my breathing became erratic, and I had to stop, catch my breath, breathe in rhythm again, decide on the next target, and go on for a few dozen steps, repeating the process. Really tough, really tough.
At 19:00, a long, long, visible hill to climb, a bend was turned and the road continued uphill again on the other side, I didn’t get ‘gutted’, I just went up, because by going on, I was definitely getting closer to the pass.
The white snow-capped mountains were visible at exactly the same eye level, icicles were hanging from the rocks by the road, it looked quite cold, but I felt like I was running a marathon, so I wasn’t cold, I was on schedule 10 Kilometre reached, but this was halfway uphill.
‘How much further?’ As I was thinking this, I saw a tarcho (flag) in the distance. Little by little, I get closer,
“I knew it!”
It was indeed a flag, fluttering in the wind, the summit. At 8pm I was at the top of the last pass, the most flags ever to welcome me.
‘Welcome to Gombogamuda!’
When I passed through a gate with the sign
“Mila Mountain” and “5020 US (m) above sea level”,
a marker stood at the edge of the flag.
I could have descended immediately, but I thought it would be a good experience to sleep in the field at 5000m, so I decided to pitch our tent here.
As soon as I took the tent out to pitch it, the tent, which was still wet from the frost the other day, instantly became ‘crispy’ and icy.[Related posts]
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Keiichi Iwasaki Instagram