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  • Writer's pictureVoita

Monday, Hoon

Hoon is the iconic peak presiding over a three thousand feet high vertical massif towering over Karimabad. You can't actually see it from below.

new dawn

Hassan and Alian, my company for the day

It's fairly easy to climb from the Ultar Meadows, provided one spends a night there. The alternative is a hellish climb right through the vertical from the town. The maths is clear: 5.000 feet is something I must be able to climb in a day. All that remained was to test the theory in practice.

cliffs

views

First third of the ascend is a simple warm-up. The path follows a frequented road in higher echelons of the village, well trodden and easy to walk on. Beyond it the enjoyable part of scaling the cliff starts.

shepherd's hut

12.000 feet

hut views

Coincidentally right on the divide is where I met two young local guys out for a walk; no water, clothes, food. They went out for couple of hours to stretch their legs. Local pride has somehow forced them, to instantly switch and start taking care of me as if I was a lost foreigner. We're sometimes hard to tell apart.

pushing for the top


After I refused to follow them into a lower cottage below the slopes they went with me for the mile high mountain goating skills practice. They were much faster than me and rightly so, given their age and growing up in the mountains. I've mostly followed from distance as we climbed into the kingdom of eagles.

with Alian

Hoon peak views

Halfway through, after two hours of staring on Hunza far below us, we reached a shepherds' cottage. They're kind of like the mountain emergency shelters in Japan, equipped with water, wood and blankets, however here they're meant for the locals and are visibly homemade.

dominant Rakaposhi

perspective

heading back

Two more hours of intense cardio brought me and the more fit brother up to the peak sat in 13.500 feet. Views into four directions with a fifth deep beneath go unmatched in the entire valley. I could sit there until the end of the world. Or sunset, at which point I'd swiftly and unquestionably freeze to death.

Instead, I bowed to the mountains and set off for the long climb back down.

admiring the cliffs

in truth, the path was best I've seen in the mountains

Took three hours to descend, right as the sun moved on to visit Europe and Americas. The timing worked out perfectly today even if my legs hurt like an old goat's as I came down. If I wasn't stubborn and picked up trekking poles somewhere, I could've saved myself the pain. These slopes are three times as hard on the knees as they're on the lungs.

Sahlan (R)

Rubab (instrument)

Home at Sahlan's, as every night, a party. What could be better for fatigue than few shots of a moonshine? Hunza is a different world, kind of like Hokkaido in relation to rest of Japan.

And so the slow months peacefully pass...

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