Thebastidge: Not again?
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    ********************Southwest Washington Surplus, your prepping supply store********************

    Friday, December 03, 2010

    Not again?

    Got up at oh-gawd-oh-dark hundred this morning. Seriously, 3 am should be illegal. Why would I do soemthing so clearly stupid, the gentle reader may ask.

    I went to climb a mountain in Afghanistan.

    The idea has been bouncing around the "office" for a couple weeks now. The fun and edcuational value of climbing Mohman Ghar Mountain, that is. I was kinda iffy on it, and thought perhaps work circumstance might intervene to save me from my foolishness, but no such luck. My boss refused to go: he says "Black folks are too smart to climb mountains" but our Major and a couple other worthies put the lie to that. Black people are just as dumb as white folks, apparently.

    This wasn't quite as strenuous as climbing Mt St. Helens last year, mostly because it was done much earlier in the morning (jeeeez, it was EARLY!) but also because the rally point to start climbing is almost 6000 feet already. The last few weeks of walking about in Kabul have been a bit of conditioning all in themselves. But this climb was steeper than all but the last bit of St Helens. Not as much loose ash and sand, but lots of loose rocks.

    The temperature was about 26 or 27 F when we started, and had only come up to 32F by the time we rallied back at the vehicles. That's pretty cold when you're covered in sweat.

    By the time I was half or 3/4 of the way up, I wasactually feeling pretty good (notwithstanding the pain in my lungs) and I had firmly decided to stand wherever the highest point happened to be. I was goind to dominate this mountain (even if it is only a small one. Maybe I'm a bully when it comes to mountains- I LIKE the little ones, ok?)

    Sure enough, only 5 out of perhaps a dozen of us actually went the last bit. To get to the very topmost point, you had to follow a knife-like ridge up to it. It would have taken real climbing gear, otherwise. The ridge was effing scary- the very definition of agoraphobia. A shear knife-edge with a few footholds here and there, and a couple points where you could either walk along with absolutely zero ground beside your footprint on either side, and nothing to hold onto, or crab walk/scoot along it. Nothing but air on either side, with a good 200ft or better slide/drop on either side.

    The route back down was definitely easier, but harder on the body. My knees and legs were DONE after that.

    The high point? Well, standing up there on top was a pretty good feeling, once I'd caught my breath, but breakfast in an American chow hall back at Phoenix on the way back was even better.

    Mount Ghar

    Don't believe the website: GPS and altimeter say 7200-7400 feet. The spot we parked was somewhere just under 6000.

    For another account by someone I found on the Interwebs:

    Fix Bayonets

    I didn't have a camera with me, but I'll post pics as I get them from other people.


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