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Saifee expedition, October 1999

Rana bhai guides Yatin around a mountainside where the trail was very narrow and on a ledge overlooking a fall of around a hundred feet

The next day we brought back the rest of the stuff in a move to shift camp to C-1. Now came the moment we all dreaded - crossing the narrow ledge around the boulder. Porters had fixed a line tied securely to rocks on both ends, but I think that was more of a moral support than physical. Imagine falling down 15 feet with a 17 kg backpack before the rope becomes taut and still keeping the hold on the rope. The sheer impact would be enough to yank the rope out of the falling person's hands. But amazingly the psychological support worked wonders and everybody managed the treacherous stretch pretty well. The trick to cross these ledges is to walk upright and not to lean on a side. Walking upright provides a better balance to the person than walking while leaning onto one side with a heavy load on the back.

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copyright 1999 Anurag Sharma
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