Sunday, July 27, 2008

shimshal pass 4735 m

July 27

4500 m Shujerab - our next campsite was just below Shimshal pass at 'Shujerab'. a small rest stop by the river, where the yaks are gathered every evening after they'd finished grazing higher up. even though the pass was now a few hundered meters above us, we were happy to have camped just below it.
Nafeesah always the most energetic, climbed up a distance in the late evening, helping the porters herd the yaks back into their pens, even got to ride one briefly.

Jul 28 - next morning, in spite of nadirs worsening cold, Nargis' blistered toes, and the general slowing of everyones bodies, as we were getting higher into the mountains, yaks, porters, us - all were anxious to get to the top. there is an excitement the day you get to climb a pass. it is hard for me to describe. its a sort of butterflies in the stomach feeling, the kind you get when you're a kid sitting for exams - no matter how much you've studied and how sure you are of the subject, never 100% sure if you'll get it all right. its the same excitement mixed with trepidation and a mild sense of insecurity mixed with a steely determination to get there - no matter what. ofcourse this was a very short walk to the top - but it still felt like all the other times I've climbed higher more difficult passes. the same tense excitement that makes you burst into song or cry with happiness when you get to the ' top' as the locals call it.

under a clear blue sky, puffy white clouds, perfect gods are smiling on us weather, we started out for the pass from Shujerab.
as always the three young ones got up there much before Kamila and myself, even Nargis with her quickly deteriorating blistered toes was up there to receive the mamas.

there was much clapping and jubilation on our arrival - most of the men weren't too sure if we would really make it up to Shimshal pass - the porters burst into Wakhi song and of course dance ensued. i tried my foot at it - gave up quickly - dancing gracefully was too much effort - out came the phone book instead and 'dil kay afsane' and all the other songs followed.

Shimshal pass - after three days of endless up and down walks on rock and scree with lunch breaks at rivers, we had finally arrived at the 'Pamirs'.

one and all would ask us 'kaisay laga aap ko 'hamra' pamir?' and of course the answer was always in the affirmative 'buhawt acha'. every one was in high spirits - no one was in a rush to get anywhere any more - we just soaked in the snow covered mountains all around this vast plateau , yaks grazing along its green slopes, the Shujerab river shining brilliant in the morning sun. it was heaven - wed all died and arrived at its door smiling for no particular reason. if Tahir were to describe the moment and Hafez were to speak my mind, it would be
'agar aan turk e shirazi bedast aarad dil e mara,
be aan yek khaal e hinduyash bebakhsam samarkand o bukhara raa'

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