National Geographic : 1931 Jul
KONKA RISUMGONGBA, HOLY MOUNTAIN OF THE OUTLAWS CAMPED AT THE FOOT OF' MOUNT CHANADORDJE The summit is hidden in the clouds. The trees are mainly larches and firs, the shrubs chiefly willows. trail, and the ground was littered with slabs of schists over which the water rushed in torrents, depositing everywhere a slippery gray mud, which meant torture for the loaded mules at an altitude of 16,300 feet. In the eyes of pilgrims, we most certainly should have acquired much merit, for the weather god could hardly have sent worse weather-or better-as the case may be, depending on the religious viewpoint. That night we spent on the southeastern slopes of Mount Jambeyang, highest of the Konkaling peaks, rising to an elevation of more than 20,000 feet. Shenrezig and Chanadordje are each about 20,000 feet in height (see Color Plate XVII). On Yaka Pass wonderful primroses formed large round cushions, their roots embedded in cracks between bowlders, the leaves small and glossy. They were almost completely hidden by brilliant wine-colored flowers. Other cushion plants vied with these, such as forget-me-nots of the richest sky-blue. Other primroses stood in rows upon rock shelves, their purple flowers nodding in the wind and rain. The mules, climbing over the rocky pass, which resembled a stairway with giant steps, fared badly and had to be helped bodily over the bowlders. Climbing at such altitudes is difficult enough in good weather, but in a terrific hail and rain storm, with a howling gale driving the icy pellets into one's face and making one gasp for breath in this rarefied atmosphere, it is doubly disagreeable. A stream, its accumulated waters rush ing from the rocks around us, gushed madly over the trail, past a peak with a truncated apex resembling a cenotaph. This was Tuparu, symbolizing another mountain deity.