I have survived 4 weeks without facebook or blogging - I am making up for it now. More importantly I have survived 4 weeks without red wine, white wine or fine chocolate - I tried to make up for it last night but failed miserably.
Wearing my Adventure Peaks bonnet, and joined by Jim, Chris, Duncan and Mairi our mini break can be summarised as follows:
Point number 1: despite the chinese authority stalling tactics, it is actually possible to gain access to a rather fine mountain deep inside the Xinjian Urghur Autonomous Region.
Point number 2: don't walk behind camels - although very pretty, they are rather windy.
Point number 3: never try and go to the toilet when the wind is blowing from the south east. If you do, be fully prepared for anything heading 'south', to suddenly head 'north' without any warning. With the added bonus of flying toilet roll, it all makes a very exciting and unpredictable experience.
Point number 4: real chinese food is nothing like the chinese take away you will encounter on the high street. It will probably take a few weeks before any of the team can face a bowl of rice again.
Point number 5: if you are faced with bowl after bowl of rice, it is amazing what a bottle of tomato ketchup can do.
Point number 6: the definition of the effects of altitude should read something like this .... "you will feel lousy, have a thumping headache, have absolutely no appetite, will not be able to sleep and feel nausious at all times".
Point number 7: keep reminding ourselves that we have actually consciously chosen to spend 4 weeks in sufferland.
Point number 8: ensure that on return from the mountain, there is a vast amount of pepsi to rehydrate on. Failing that, ensure that on return from the moutain, there is a vast amount of beer to rehydrate on.
Point number 9: snow shoes are just rather large flip flops. Instead of the relaxing sound of 'flip flop' normally associated with sands and sea, the sound of our snow shoes were normally associated with numerous curses.
Point number 10: we probably all ate pigeon without knowing it *barf*.
So, 4 weeks later, probably more than 4 brain cells less, we are back in the United Kingdom. Di & Jim did finally stand on the summit of Muztag Ata (although judging by the summit photo we could actually be on the cairngorm plateau) and life in the mountain suddenly seems a very long time ago...
More information on the Muztag Ata expedition can be found on the website.