Day 34 – Eagle Hunters Lair & Glacier

20 August 2010

High Point: Quite literally the summit of Tsambagarav at 4208m. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it all the way to the top as after the glacier at roughly 4000m it became a technical climb, however the trek to the glacier certainly blew the cobwebs away.

Low Point: Saying goodbye to Agii and realising we were on our own, and navigation would have to be be done by compass now!

No Point: Climbing up a 30 foot ledge at risk of life and limb just to avoid getting our feet wet in a little stream!

Mongolian phrase of the day: Yamar gazer zagas cricket ve? Where is a good spot for cricket?

Author’s comments: Waking up in a ger is not something one does that often, waking up in the ger belonging to one of Mongolia’s leading eagle hunters is definitely a first for me, and the rest of the crew. The hospitality of Silo and his family was truly humbling. To welcome five strangers into his home and cook for us and allow us to bed down next to his nearest and dearest demonstrated to us what a magnificent culture this is. I know we are all going to love Mongolia. I just hope the snore off between the golden girls aka Ben and Dave in the middle of the night didn’t keep him up as it did me. For some reason they both reminded me of clucking chinkens!
I think all the crew were getting a little concerned about the lack of exercise we have been doing, therefore when Aggi offered to guide us to the glacier near the top of Mt Tsambagarav we quite literally jumped at the chance. It was so nice to have the whole day to actualy do an activity that didn’t involve getting our hands covered in engine oil, no offence intended Martha. Now in my world when someone describes a climb as non technical I tend to think of a gentle stroll across the South Downs, I couldn’t have been further off the mark if I tried. Seven hours of arduous climbing, scrambling and clinging on for dear life was a real test, of not only our fitness, but also our nerves. The scenery was majestic and the climax of the climb was the glacier near the top. A two hundred foot tall wall of ice certainly made the toil worth it.
We were all sad to say goodbye to Agii at the end of the day, however he made the parting easier by insisting we all did a customary couple of shots of vodka. I must confess it made setting our camp up for the night a tad more tricky. The one really good thing about camping is the meals, Vesty Foods have done us proud and last night Ben made me a wonderful chilli con carne with rice. I use the term ‘made’ loosely here as it really involves placing a packet into boiling water and leaving it there for twenty minutes, genius. The end of a great day came about pretty much the same as it began, listening to the golden girls snore off.


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