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Himalaya

Day 21: Skardu to Concordia

Michael Palin - HimalayaThe helicopter roars into the air, and once in the air the roar is augmented by various rattles and groans. Communication is only possible by shouting into the ear from point blank range.

Below us, the green fields become sparse and scattered and eventually disappear altogether as we enter the valleys that lead to Concordia. What is for us a 90-minute flight would be an eight-day trek on the ground.

The mountains close in. Steep slopes and jagged summits rise above us, the clatter of the engines echoes back off the rocks and the M-17 that looked so bulky and secure on the ground seems suddenly small and vulnerable. At 11,000 feet (3350 m) the pen I'm making notes with explodes, spattering ink around like a nosebleed.

We're now over the imperceptibly moving tongue of the Baltoro glacier, not romantically blue and white but covered with a grey patina of dust and debris and dotted with lurid green pools where the snow and ice crust has collapsed.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 21: Skardu to Concordia
  • Country/sea: Pakistan
  • Place: Concordia
  • Book page no: 46

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