Myanmar Trekking Vacation

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Myanmar Trekking Mountain Vacation

 

In October another fine day dawned, with a pleasant temperature, the right day for the trek. Cloud soon came up and hid the snow peaks, but there was no rain. Occasionally patches of blue sky and sparks of sunshine. After breakfast we went up the valley to find another view of the precipices which stood between us and the Hkakabo Razi, Myanmars and south east Asian's highest peak with almost 6000 meter.

A our trip to Hkakabo Razi was concerned,

was that if I could climb the cliff above our camp and look over then I must see the mountain around two miles away. But the cliff was sheer, smooth and of unknown but considerable height.

There was no way up it, better we thought to trek to the head of the valley and have another look round, though the glimpse I had had of those forbidding   

precipices convinced me that there was no possible way up there either. Now the other way around we reached the source of the stream in an hour, and the weather being fine, I had an excellent view of the cliffs all round me, of a glacier which swept down from the left-hand side, south-west of the peak, and of a small hanging glacier straight in front of me. High up in the left-hand corner I noticed a place which I thought it might be possible to reach.

The glacier, too, came from the summit of the ridge,

which it seemed to have breached. Could I reach the ridge via the glacier? An ice fall between the snowfield at the top and the glacier proper suggested that it would be difficult, it was not our day at this Myanmar trekking vacation.

On the whole it was not a promising view. I decided to go on as long as I could, following the glacier, which was a real glacier and not a snow bed. We began to ascend the moraines, the open ring of cliffs looked horribly forbidding, some of the gullies were filled with snow and ice; others seemed to be quite bare, all were sheer. I had to dodge the cliffs, first to the right, then to the left, but I got on reasonably well and was soon, as I judged about a

Hkakabo Razi in the distance
Hkakabo Razi and glacier in the distance
trekking vacation
North Myanmar trekking vacation

a thousand feet above the valley floor. A glacier now appeared on my right, and I traversed to the left. There was no way up to the ridge here. Then a larger glacier appeared on my left. I therefore ascended the median moraine between the two glaciers, to where it petered out at the foot of some cliffs

Myanmar trekking vacation

that was as high as I got, scrambled down the steep moraine and out onto the left-hand glacier which was much the larger, but the ice was rather badly crevassed and I did not much like the look of those cold blue gaping lips into, were streams of water poured ceaselessly. I saw no hope of a single climber, without so much as an ice axe, getting to the top of the glacier, but two or three roped men might have done so. The crevasses were lenticular; one could pick one's way between them, and there 

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was no surface snow to hide them. I estimated the glacier foot at about 4000m altitude. One thing I noticed, all the glaciers were motionless, and withering away where they lay stranded, like dead whales. Soon there would not be enough weight of snow above to form ice below; the glaciers would vanish, snow beds would linger indefinitely in their place.

Cloud was now rising up rapidly, blotting out the view bit by bit. It was certain that to be caught high up on the glacier in a mist would be disastrous. I still had occasional views of the crags above me, but the ring or granite and ice was not an encouraging sift, it was time to start down.

Before the view completely vanished I examined the cliffs on the other -north-east side of the valley, towards the high peak, but found no comfort in those cold dark cliffs. Back in camp I found that two locals had arrived with rations, so I had again for rice for supper and eggs for breakfast. This mountain trip just

Mountain trekking
Mountain trekking in the snow
Myanmar mountain
Myanmar mountain

described what the high alpine valleys of far north Myanmar really look like where plant life comes to an end and glaciers begin. It had demonstrated the enormous disintegration of these mountains at the headwaters of the Irrawaddy, and it had convinced me that it was quite impossible to reach or even to see Ka Karpo.

   
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