August 24, 2017
Tian Shan – I am a fan: habitation, part 2.
Welcome back folks! Herewith, I continue my tales from the Tian Shan side; specifically – our lodgings.
Camp No. 4 – ‘Komsomolets Glacier’
This was our first overnight stay on solid glacial ice – not on relatively warm rock or clay. In a word: brrrrrr. Life on ice. 24/7. And the ice is forever quickly melting…
Just two weeks earlier they’d moved the whole camp to a new spot, and in that time the ice had melted a whole meter! Oh my greenhouse gas! Yes, more than a little disturbing.
But I tried to put global warming to the back of my mind to stay in good spirits. The evening’s psychedelic sunset helped in this regard too:
Btw, to give you an better idea of just how high up we were here at Komsomolets, here’s something… no – two things – to compare it with:
Eiffel Tower: 300 meters.
Burj Khalifa: 830 meters.
Komsomolets: 3800 meters above sea level!
The peak: 5235 meters above sea level!
Oh my. That gives us:
And if you want to work out the height of your house, Big Ben, Empire State Building, etc., etc. – in case you’re not sure just what the heights of the Eiffel Tower or Burj Khalifa ‘feel’ like – knock yourself out. To help, here’s the above pic minus the added towers:
But I digress…
Now. The second most important installation of the camp is the kitchen. Incidentally, it’s the tent that best shows how much the ice has receded recently…
Have a close look at the photo below. What do you see?
Yes – that’s our camp in among all this massiveness!
You see how we’re in a dip? Well that causes rather unique acoustic effects here. If you knock your hand against a door here there’s this really long reverb tail added to that knock. Not an echo, but reverb. Most cool. Just like the reverb knocks right after the opening titles of Blade Runner!
All around – aaaahhh views. Mind-blowing, eye-popping, camera-hungry!
My trusty (Lytkarino!) binoculars came in handy here. Through them the extra detail was most welcome.
So this is where we spent the night – to the accompaniment of falling rocks, the crackling of the glacier, the rustling of rockslides, and the flowing of the streams and waterfalls. In short: unforgettable; and highly recommended.
Camp No. 5 – ‘Dikiy’ (‘Wild Glacier’)
At 3900 meters above sea level, this is a camp in a most brutal environment. All around nothing but boulders, no greenery whatsoever, and already the effects of limited oxygen up here can be felt. Moreover, the weather changes dramatically – every hour!
From here we had a sortie up to the peak of Pesnya Abaiya (4910m), but that’s a story for a blogpost of its own. Meanwhile, here it is:
From this point the views became still more mind-blowing, as we approached our expedition’s final destination:
And that destination was – the South Inylchek Base Camp (height – 4000m).
Wi-Fi was meant to be $5 for an hour with unlimited traffic. However, ‘unlimited’ turned out to be very limited in practice, as the connection was just so slow.
Btw, at this point we understood how we’d gotten over our detox from civilized levels of internet quality. We’d been away from the net a whole week, but not one of us wanted to even try to connect. In fact – just the opposite: with the exception of our guide, all of us wanted to remain on ‘the dark side of the moon’ for a while longer!
The camp has its own sauna and ‘airport’:
The camp’s ‘downtown’:
The restaurant car:
And the surrounding views – philosophical-poetic:
At this point it was time for us to head back.
Tiny yellow spot in the middle: ‘Wild’:
Tiny yellow spots: Komsomol:
Green patch with yellow specks thereon – Merzbacher’s Field:
‘Glina’ (Clay) – almost invisible, but it’s there:
Next up – our helicopter flew up and away and Engilchek Glacier was left behind the ridge.
All the photos from Tian Shan are here.
Back soon folks!