Awyakening   42405
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Location: Tsoltak (4926 m)      by: Pedrotti Alberto
Area: India      Date: 19-08-2015
Awyakening is the name that I gave to an awakening among yaks...
After having almost completed in the darkness the climb from Durbuk, 3900 m, to Chang La, Edoardo and I had decided to stop at these tents - the very first that we met during the ascent.
We knew that here there was some yak shepherds, but everybody were already sleeping when we arrived: so, we occupied the tent marked "Snowland restaurant". Since we perceived that some big dog had in turn perceived our arrival and was silently studying us, we secured the closure of the entrance with a big table - we are not so aware, nor confident, of the behaviour of Himalayan dogs at night.
At morning, after removing the table, the view that we had was nearly this one. The yaks were already grazing, the shepherdess already milking the cattle, and the shepherd and owner of the restaurant greeted us with extreme cheerfulness. It is considered normal, in a deserted place at 5000 m, to occupy a tent as soon as there is someone.
Only one kilometer after this little settlement we met the big Tsoltak military post. In front of it, there was a soldier barring us the way. At first, we thought of an unexpected passport control: unexpected because we knew, more or less, where our passports would have been checked, and a copy of our Inner Line Permit requested. Soon, we discovered that the reason was another: "Now you have to rest and to drink a cup of tea with us", and he led us to a little barrel dispensing hot tea, right behind the entrance of the camp. Of course do not expect to see either a photo or a panorama of this event, since in military places, in spite even of the maximum friendliness, the ban of photography is rigidly enforced.
After a handful of switchbacks we found ourselves on the "mighty Chang La" ( which, according to my GPS, is the true "highest motorable pass" of Ladakh.

Position: 34.084765 77.95409


Great Story!
2016/02/27 09:54 , Jens Vischer
Great story. Peculiar landscape.
2016/02/27 11:09 , Giuseppe Marzulli
Another area of everlasting blue skies...
I think you make an important point: In regimes with military checkpoints on major roads, the poorest guys are not those checked, but those who have to man these places. Any diversion from daily routine will delight them, and I'm sure that Italians with bikes don't pass here every day.
Cheers, Martin
2016/02/28 10:43 , Martin Kraus
Martin: your observation makes me remember a lost place in Bolivia, at the border with Chile, where we were stopped half an hour by the military just willing to chat. Of course the photo of the site is "indirect", the military post remaining behind:
For an Indian soldier, however, a checkpoint like Tsoltak and Zingral on the Clang La, or South Pullu and North Pullu on the Khardung La, is a luxury location. For them the true hell is said to be the so called Base Camp close to the Siachen glacier in the Karakorum, at the end of the Nubra valley. Yes, we have very well equipped and sponsored people who climb Nanga Parbat in winter... but they (and their Pakistani counterparts) regularly patrol the high passes at 6500 m between Siachen and Baltoro.
Cheers, Alberto.
2016/02/29 21:07 , Pedrotti Alberto

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Pedrotti Alberto

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