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Full text of "Journeys In Persia And Kurdistan ( Vol.Ii)."

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THE GIL-I-SHAH PASS                      31

It is only on the north side that the snow lasts even into

The marked features of this range are its narrow wall-
like character, its ruggedness on "both sides, its absence of
any peaks rising very remarkably above the ordinary
jagged level of the barrier, its lack of prominent spurs,
and its almost complete nakedness. It is grand, but only
under rare atmospheric conditions can it be termed beauti-
ful. Its length may be about thirty miles. It runs from
north-west to south-east. Some of its highest summits
attain an elevation of 13,000 feet. Its name is a corrup-
tion of Sard Kuh, " cold mountain."

After fording various snow streams and taking a break-
neck goat track, we reached the great snow pass of Gil-
i-Shah, by which the Bakhtiaris come up from the Shuster
plains on the firm snow in spring, returning when the
snow is soft in autumn by a very difficult track on the
rocky ledges above. In the mist it looked the most magni-
ficent and stupendous pass I had ever seen, always excepting
the entrance to the Lachalang Pass in Lesser Tibet, and an
atmospheric illusion raised the mountains which guard it
up to the blue sky. I much wished to reach the summit,
but in a very narrow chasm was fairly baffled by a wide
rift in a sort of elevated snow-bridge which the mule
could not cross, and camped there for some hours; but
even there nomads crowded round my tent with more
audacity in their curiosity than they usually show, and
Mirza heard two of them planning an ingenious robbery.

The heat was very great when I returned, 100 in the
shade, but rest was impossible, for numbers of mares and
horses were tethered near my tent, and their riders, men
and women, to the number^of forty, seized on me, clamour-
ing for medicines and eye lotions. I often wonder at
the quiet gravity of Mirza's face as %he interprets their
grotesque accounts of their ailments. A son of Chiragh