maandag 29 april 2019

Augustus Henry Irby • 30 april 1860

Augustus Henry Irby (1808-1861) was een Britse legerofficier. Hij schreef The Diary of a Hunter from the Punjab to the Karakorum Mountains, over een tocht die hij maakte.

30th April.
From Possianah to Dupchin. The road from Possianah descends to the torrent roaring at a considerable depth below, from which the ascent recommences, so that you have to descend from a considerable elevation, perhaps a quarter of the height of the Pir, and then again ascend on the other side; which loss of way is provoking. From Possianah to the foot of the Pir is, I imagine, two miles, the latter part of the road very rough and stony.
I started on this occasion without any refreshment, such as tea, thinking I should better husband my breath, and work my lungs more easily: and I think the idea a success, as I ascended with much more ease and comfort than on the former occasion, when I primed myself with tea, hard eggs, &c. It is, undoubtedly, a tremendous pull; and one meets with a provoking deception as to distance. For when about a quarter of the height has been ascended, the first flight, as it were, up to the snow drift, the traveller looking above him, puffing and panting with his violent efforts, sees above him what appears to be the summit close at hand, which is but the top of the lower ridge, from which runs a somewhat level path on the slope to the snow drift—an enormous mass of snow, some half-mile long, and, I suppose, from one to two hundred yards broad, and, I fancy, from fifty to a hundred feet deep, filling a gorge of the mountain which commences quite at the summit. Over this mass we struggled, a violent icy blast in our faces, to a point where the path turns off to the left, and climbs upwards by zigzags to the more gradual slope under the summit. Here I overtook a woman carrying a boy of, perhaps, five years old, who, poor little creature, was crying bitterly from cold, his teeth chattering, and presenting a forlorn appearance. The woman was sitting down disconsolate, unable to proceed. I tried to persuade her to put the lad down, and lead him, to restore circulation, but she did not adopt my suggestion; so, leaving a man to help them on, I continued my ascent, and finally reached the top.
The height is, I believe, some 10,000 feet above the sea. The view, looking back, is magnificent—an endless succession of wave-like lines of hills terminating, as they gradually recede, in the hot vapours of the Punjab.

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