Two hours later, I was sleeping and Vince was reading when someone knocked on our door. It was Wissam. “Wake-up, get ready and grab your passports, I’ve got a surprise for you, the taxi is waiting! Oh and don’t forget some warm clothes, it’s gonna be very cold up there”. We had no idea how much of an adventure was about to start.
That’s how my travel story ended and where this How I got the Shot starts. I pack my things, I put all the warmest layers I have and I hope that Wissam whom I’ve just met won’t take us somewhere to steal all my photo gear. As it turned out, we did risk our lives but it was more than worth it!
After grabbing our travel permits, Wissam told us that we were going to try reaching Kardung La, the highest pass in the world and that we were very lucky because he finally found one travel agency who accepted to try. “All the others are too afraid because it’s dangerous to cross it in the snow storm”. Well what a piece luck for us…I guess?
At first, everything goes well, no snow at all and clear roads but as the time passes and we get higher and higher, the landscape becomes all white and the road as well. Still not so bad compared to Quebec road conditions but I was not quite sure we had winter tires. That and the fact that the road was the size of Montreal backstreet with a deadly way-too-high fall on the side. Yay. The landscape was truly magnificient though and it was easy to ask the driver to stop anywhere to let us take picture. You just have to frame and click with frozen fingers while never forgetting to pray to all the gods you know that there is no car arriving from the other way. Remember the rule of thirds and do not get run over to your death.
After crossing the not so serious military control (the highest in the world!), our driver searched everywhere in the car for the chains to put on the wheels and after a good 15 minutes struggle (so reassuring) he succeeded! By that time, there was a good 10 to 15 cm of snow on the roads and the soldiers told our driver that they usually would not let anyone go but that we can try if we wanted. Vince, Wissam and I looked at each other and probably because no one said it was a bad idea, we decided to go on. It was a bad idea, a funny idea but a bad one.
Now the snow is falling heavily, the roads are very slippery and the car slides dangerously close to the side, not the safe side, the one that would have us fall hundreds of meters down. The chains on the wheels are making a constant creepy noise, until the moment that they just slip off completely, leaving the car motionless and dangerously close to the edge. We all got out in the storm to evaluate the situation and try to push the car. No results thus far. Wissam insists to leave the car there and get some help from the military base but our driver wants to stay with the car resulting in our group splitting up; Vince tries to help M. Driver and I join Wissam in our quest to reach the military base before night falls.
Will our adventurers survive? Will Vince fall in the cliff while pushing car? Will Fred freeze to his demise in the storm? The answer to all these questions in the rest of this gripping story…next week!
Oh and also, I’ll talk about the image I got at the end because the whole purpose of this post is to tell How I got The Shot!
Stay tuned to see if I survived or not!