Day 4 – 双桥沟 (Shuang Qiao Gou)
As per other days, we started the day with the same porridge and man-tous for breakfast. By 0915 hours, we were already on the road, heading out for training. We were heading towards a different site today. Training was tough, but… Today. Was. Awesome.
Karen climbing up the slope in the foreground.
It began with a slow trek across a rocky terrain mixed with thorny bushes and fallen trees. We arrived at a river and we had to cross it. Edwin told us that crossing obstacles like that is part of mountaineering. Slowly, but surely, we walked on tree trunks fallen across the river, knowing that one wrong footing would mean a significant risk of getting a leg or back injury, or even hypothermia.
Daniel taking a breather after crossing the river.
Once we made it past the river, we trekked on towards the base of a frozen waterfall. This was where we put our crampons on for the first time. This was where the actual training started.
Having an unfamiliar addition to our feet, Edwin let us practice walking around the area for a short while to gain confidence in using crampons. After we were comfortable with walking on ice and snow, each of us made our way up the frozen waterfall! The further we went, the steeper the gradient became. Eventually, we arrived at a section of the waterfall with steeper inclines that required us to make use of the rope, jumar, and footwork skills that we learnt the day before. With each section cleared, I personally felt increasingly tired. Nevertheless, we slowly made our way to the top of the waterfall. Upon reaching the top, we were taken away by the amazing scenery. Picturesque snow-capped mountains, clear blue skies, and a large blanket of pine trees stretched out before us. I looked down, and that’s where the second wow came. Who would have thought that the fat kid from school back then, would one day climb up a frozen waterfall! On another note, the Samsung Galaxy Smart Camera can take falls higher than 10m. Trust us. We’ve tested it.
Scenery from the top of our training site.
Yong Siang looking cool in his shades!
When it was time for us to get down, we switched our jumars for our figure of 8s or ATCs and abseiled to the midpoint of the waterfall, where we took off our crampons and harnesses.
Raymond looking really comfortable on the frozen waterfall.
We trekked down the other side of the mountain, and soon enough, we arrived at another river! Only this time, the risks are slightly higher because we now have thinner tree trunks to walk on. We took extra caution and all of us made it across safely, only to be greeted by a minefield of cow dung. We quickly moved past it and went back to our land rovers to complete our day of training. Not before a group photo though. Another snow-capped mountain in the background. Beautiful.
Javier crossing the log with mountains in the background.
Karen making her way across the log.
From left to right: Daniel, 乐普师傅 (Le Pu Shi Fu), 张师傅 (Zhang Shi Fu), Raymond, Samuel
P.S. We don’t know how Le Pu is written so we just used what sounds like his name. It is after all a 小名.