The inescapable road to permissions meant an extra day in Taxkurgan, then from Taxkurgan to Mariang on Tuesday, and finally the team's 2-camel strong cavalcade marched into base camp yesterday afternoon. Their base is the highest (c. 4000m) herder's hut which is empty because it's still too cold for the livestock. Silver lining in Mariang comes in the form of a cow dung fire.
The locals are reporting lots of attacks by snow leopards on livestock since Phil and Kun were last there, and there seem to be very few wild ungulate prey around, prompting speculation from the XSLP that perhaps a disease outbreak has swept through the valley. The local herders have kept some depredated skins for verification, and there are high hopes that the camera traps will capture some activity. Once all the cameras are in position, and training is progressed, the team may possibly relocate to another base camp in the valley in about 5 days time.
Reception on the satellite phone seems variable, but hopefully we'll hear more at the weekend.
Over and out, D.
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