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

LETTER xvm           DIFFICULT CLIMBING                         45

through with one man at his head, and one or two
supporting him by his tail. The passage of the V took
the caravan an hour, but meantime there was the enjoy-
ment of the sight of a confused mass of mountains,
whitish precipitous ranges, sun-lit, with tremendous ravines
between them, lying in the cool blue shadows of early
morning; mountains with long straight -summits, moun-
tains snow-covered and snow-slashed, great spires of
naked rock, huge ranges buttressed by huge spurs herbage-
covered, with outcrops of barren rock,a mighty, solitary,
impressive scene, an uplifted wilderness without a camp.
The descent of 4000 feet from this summit consists
of any number of zigzag tracks on the narrow top of the
narrow ridge of one of the huge rocky buttresses of
Gartak, both sides being precipitous. Even on the horse
I was dizzy, and he went down most unwillingly, not
taking any responsibility as to finding the safest way,
and depending solely on my eye and hand. Mirza, being
hampered with the care of his own mule, was useless, and
otherwise I was alone. These thready zigzags ended on
what appeared to be a precipice, from the foot of which
human voices came up, shouting to me to dismount. I
did so, and got down, hanging on to Screw's bridle, and
letting myself down over the ledges by my hands for
another hour, having to be careful all the time to avoid
being knocked down by his slips and jumps. I could
hardly get him to face some of the smooth broken faces of
rock. A slide of gravel, a snow-bridge, worn thin, over a
torrent, and some slippery rock ledges to scramble over by
its side led to a pathless ascent through grass and bushes.
The guides and Aziz roared to me from a valley below,
by which roars I found my way down a steep hillside
to the Gokun, a mountain river of a unique and most
beautiful blue-green colour, abounding in deep pools
from which it emerges in billows of cool foam.