A Simple Recipe For Adventure.
In anticipation of increased demands for endurance at a higher altitude of impending climb of the Stok Kangri. We decided to use a part of a rest day to scramble up one of the orange granite ridges buttressing Leh on the North side.
The ridge looked snow-free with seemingly good approach and a good panorama of the valley from it.
My companion Martin is in a very good shape. Justifiably he is from Austria — the country which landscape partially occupied by glorious Alps.
Stocked with water and some snacks we leisurely started our march from the Dorje guest house. Our route went through the old part of town, passing the Palace following on to pass Tsemo Gompa and on along the contour of the same slope butting into a much steeper granite wall over a kilometer away.
We kept up a good rhythm seeming effortlessly flying up a steady slope of the Namgyal Castle passing a group of high schoolers from England with selfie sticks busy recording their summer episodes.
This adventure was fairly short — only half a day which could’ve been spent laying in bed or sitting at a table in a restaurant. But for these few hours I lived a completely different life that added an intricate richness to the whole of my life.
Once we left the contours of the city below, what seemed so close from below now looked quite in a distance. The slope leading to the wall had a steady incline and it kept us under pressure to be vigilant of the pace.
I enjoyed the comfort of my Asolo GTX boots which were a perfect fit for the high altitude desert floor covered with sharp crumbled granite. Their durable and light suede leather top stitched to the high-friction vibram soles afforded me to place my feet with precision of a guided missiles.
After forty five minutes walking along the ravaged wash that now bore a scar of a deep furrow carved out by the unusual almost daily occurrence of rain, we encountered our first vertical rock climb. Now the incline gained close to forty-five degrees and demanded a three-point contact position in many stretches of continuous ascent. Now every step was becoming exciting as it was offering new perspective, just like on a real mountain.
A bleached plastic bag smoothly glided by in the air as if carried by invisible hand of a local spirit clearly demonstrating why Leh and many other little towns and villages of Ladakh banned plastic bags outright.
At this altitude view from here offered a spectacular panorama of Leh city now covered in the shrouds of rain. It seemed that a ring of rain clouds was going to close on us from each side. So if it was to be, we marked few overhang formations for shelter just in case.
Now it was a sustained steep step-by-step walk up to the ridge demanding mindfulness and silence. The temps dropped and sneaky gusts of winds begun to play drama of a mountain weather. Lucky for us it was still dry.
I reached the fin of a ridge and started to surf it upward. Martin is an expert of reaching heights on a tour bicycle, so this exercise was presenting a bit of a learning curve which was clearly invigorating for him.
Veils of hanging clouds dropped to the ground on each side of the ridge, magically holding a dry space for us. Now it was calm. We did a guided meditation together to leave behind anything that was no longer needed.
And when we reached a pinnacle I asked Martin what does adventure mean to him. He came back with the most profound yet short answer: – “To do something where my own body takes me to.”
We quickly descended a steep granite couloir cleaned up by the recent abundance of rain and as we were crossing the flat sole of the mountain we fell in unison comfortably silent. Each of us naturally withdrew inward to process and assimilate the internal event of this brief adventure.
I felt my buoyant joyful presence empty of conscious thoughts filling space of each moment. This adventure was fairly short — only half a day which could’ve been spent laying in bed or sitting at a table in a restaurant. But for these few hours I lived a completely different life that added an intricate richness to the whole of my life.
That’s living an adventure.