National Geographic : 1968 Jan
National Geographic, January, 1968 Mohammad Mirza was already crusted with ice. When I thanked him, he grinned and shrugged. "It doesn't matter," he said. "I am used to this. Besides, I am an Afghan." That day we made only three miles instead of the expected ten, stopping at a village where the aged chief welcomed us. We gave our quarters in the village guesthouse a four star rating. We had an oil-drum stove, dung patties for fuel, and felt pads on the floor. Warm and dry and full of spaghetti, we sprawled on the floor and studied the map. With any luck, we should make the 11,650 foot summit the next day. Writing of the Khawak, Curtius says, "The unusual cold of the snow caused the death of many.... It was especially harmful to those who were fatigued...." Fatigue was our constant companion that next day. We were above 10,000 feet and climbing steeply; the thin air was so cold it seemed to sear our lungs. Ghulam Zubair repacked the horses, loading one lightly. We took turns riding it, and grabbed other horses' tails to help us along when we were afoot.