It's a little known fact that I don't "do" ice, except in a G&T. Ice skating was one of those dreaded events I was sometimes coerced into when a youngster. Never out of choice. The last time, however was different: Dawn and I had a truly glorious day on a ice rink in New York's Central Park. Our skating was abysmal, but we laughed like twats. No pain.
Progress in Shaksgam was all about ice. Frozen rivers were our way into valleys that are watery torrents at any other time of year. I knew this. I've even made a point of informing anyone who'd listen to me that this "is the only way of getting into these parts". But the reality hadn't struck me - walking up (and down) valleys on ice. In inflexible walking boots, which while great on rocks, mud, pavements and all manner of non-slip surfaces, are truly hellish when friction is limited. All I can say is thanks to the inventor or walking poles - and to Tom and Harry who encouraged me to take them. Brilliant. Hand extensions - like walking on all fours without looking like a (total) idiot. Just a bit of one.
Steady as you go.
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