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Himalaya

Day 20: Gilgit to Skardu

Gilgit-Skardu, Pakistan 
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On "the road that eats jeeps". A maintenance gang takes a break from stopping the Gilgit-Skardu road from slipping into the Indus.
Michael Palin - HimalayaAs we set off along yet another gorge I'm aware that this is a significant moment for us. Dominating the mountains on the far side of the Indus is the westernmost bastion of the Himalaya. Nanga Parbat, an uncompromising, irregular giant of a mountain, rises to 26,650 feet (8125 m). It has wide flanks and a bad reputation. It's known as Killer Mountain, claiming 50 lives before it was first scaled by an Austrian, Hermann Buhl, in 1953. According to Hamish, Buhl was a very hard nut indeed. Those who came on his expeditions were issued with one-way tickets only.

Progress seems positively jaunty for a few miles. Then the walls of the gorge close in and the eating of the jeeps begins as we grind along, clinging to the roller-coaster track above the Indus, at one moment rising so high above the river that we can no longer hear its roar, at the next plunging to within range of its wind-tossed spray, and all the time bumping and juddering over half-cleared piles of rubble that fling me from side to side like someone in the terminal throes of fever.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 20: Gilgit to Skardu
  • Country/sea: Pakistan
  • Place: Gilgit
  • Book page no: 44

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  • All vehicles
  • Day 2 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 5 
  • Full Circle
  • Day 3 
  • Pole to Pole

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