Saturday, June 2, 2007


Here in Golmud, the jumping off point for field work. Yesterday (the 1st) I flew to Dunhuang, met the crew (Pete, Brian and Brad, and our drivers and interpreters), got in a jeep, and we drove to Golmud.

Today, we celebrated my er-shi-chi (27th) birthday with a trip up to Kunlun pass (there is a big monument to the Kekexili nature preserve and the man who spearheaded the effort to save the Tibetan antelopes from poachers - if your curious, see the movie Kekexili, Mountain Patrol, it is filmed in the area I'm in now).

I logged my highest elevation ever: ~15570 feet, set in India in 2001. Kind of cheating since we drove most of the way to that elevation, but nonetheless, the slow, slow slog the additional way up was suitably wheeze-inducing. I guess that is to be expected going from sea level to 15000+ in less than two days. Mostly feel fine, minor headache and thats about it. Diamox is useful....

Second hike of the day (the theory being we would get our blood pumping high and sleep low for one more night - Golmud is ~8000 feet) sent us up a nice glacial outwash valley, and there was plenty of great geology for us all to geek out on, including the glacier.

Dinner and Piejo (beer) - we had special birthday dumplings, a number of great dishes, a goat leg for each person (yum!) and batter-fried eggplant with sweet & sour sauce with sprinkles for my birthday cake. And many shouts of Ganbei (cheers!. I also learned my chinese numbers (well, only 0-7 and 27) playing a table game involving toothpicks.

We're off to the actual plateau tomorrow to get started so there will likely be no posts until I get back to Golmud or Beijing (~10-12th). Although, now that the amazing Lhasa-Golmud train is running, who knows. One constant in China is how rapidly things change.


chris+libby said...

happy birthday snelly! tom and i were going to call you today, but since you're in china, i'll settle for a note. we miss you and love you! hope you enjoyed your birthday dumplings!
we think of you often.
much love,
sabe and tom

Trifarina said...

Happy Birthday!
Be careful!
(ask Peat about Lonnie Thompson)