Nothing – no journey, no endeavour can happen without a team and somewhat of a shared vision. Journeys through the mountains require friendship, often brutal directness, and beyond all else a respect for all of the beings that share in the adventure. Neurosis, grinding days with little oxygen, and a bit of morbid humour are inevitably along to share the journey with the stunning views, local culture, and grand silences.
A brief introduction to our team, which thankfully – and by necessity and choice – is small.
Firstly, good friend Michael Kleinwort, a trek-mate without equal and man of ferocious quadriceps…and a lover of all things ‘mountain’. Perhaps, above all else, he deals with my own tangents with a smirk, the odd bit of rambling abuse, and a good spirit. There are few better than those who simply ‘get it’, ‘get you’, and keep the mind open…those quadriceps help though. One little example that sums up his efforts and mindset occurred during our circumambulation of the sacred Amye Maqin, when he had (without mentioning or complaining once) actually worn off an entire layer of the sole of his footpad. He was traipsing about with a completely open sole for 13 hours at 4300 metres. Epic!!
Myself, I’ll just be glad to finally experience the journey that has been in my mind – and on scraps of paper – for over a year actually become a journey that the feet, and senses can partake in. I’ll be taking along a magnificent portion of Puerh tea with me to fuel the body and mind and to take in small little doses when the moods require.
We’ll also be joined by mules, though we’ve yet to meet them…many of my journeys have been made possible by these understated, combustible animals.
To round out the team, we have four guides and local mountain men who we’ve (again) yet to meet. One of our main guides is a local teacher whose skills in the mountains is only matched by his story-telling abilities…stories of his grandparents who were themselves traders on this great route through the sky. How fortunate we are.
Updates to follow