Twenty-three thousand four hundred and six feet. I drop to my knees upon reaching the wooden cross that marks the summit of Kyrgyzstan’s Lenin Peak. I unceremoniously polish off the last sip of my water and put the empty bottle back in my pack. “At least I have no need for breaks now,” I think to myself in a high-altitude stupor. After ten hours of excruciating climbing through knee to waist deep snow, I have reached my first goal of the summer--to climb the three highest peaks of the Pamir Mountains of Central Asia.
But then the scientist in me snaps me out of my hypoxic haze. I locate a golf ball sized rock, carefully scoop it out of the snow into a pre-labeled Ziploc bag, mark the location with my GPS and begin the interminable trudge back down toward my high camp. Six hours and several samples later, I stumble back into my tent in whiteout conditions…thank goodness for the GPS!
You can read more about Hari's adventures on his blog at hmix.org. Keep up with ASC by subscribing to ASC's blog, liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter (@AdventurScience), Instagram (@AdventureScience) and Google+.