Day 35 – Climbing Higher and mangled Sumps

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In the morning we changed money then filled the cars and jerry cans and set off on the next section of the Pamir. The roads were not quiet as bad as before Kharugh but don’t think for one second they were actually good.

After a few hours drive we came across possibly the most rickety looking bridge in existence, after testing it by jumping up and down all across it we decided it wasn’t actually as bad as it looked….ok so maybe it was but it served its purpose.

The Rickety Bridge!

The Rickety Bridge!

We set off from the bridge infront with the aussies and germans behind. We lost them pretty quickly but since there was only one road we decided to press on and just wait for them a bit later on. We drove for an hour dodging huge potholes at least 2 foot deep when my phone vibrated. 2 texts, one from the Germs and one from Adam from 4 Idiots, both said go back the germs have fucked their sump. We spun round and headed full speed back down the road. There were some dodgy road parts that I remembered from the last hour of driving so I assumed they would be at one of those parts.

Moments before the Germs destroyed their Sump

Moments before the Germs destroyed their Sump

After 10 minutes of driving we ran across the aussies, they had failed to dodge the 2 foot pothole and instead managed to hit it at 60kmph. Luckily it had only caused a blowout on one tyre so we left them to replace the tyre while we headed down to find the germans. A full hour of driving later we found them, 5 minutes from the bridge we had set off from. They had sent the text almost 2 hours ago but because of bad signal we didn’t receive it for an hour. They managed to fix the holes in the sump with epoxy resin but had lost all of their oil. I drove seb down the road and we managed to find a random place that sold oil. Success!.

While we waited for the resin to dry the locals brought out mats for us to sit on in their garden as well as tea and bread. So we ate and drank in the warm mountain air while the germans sump dried. The aussies were back with us again by this point and after an hour we were ready to go again.

We climbed higher again until we reached a plateau at about 4200m, we headed towards the bit with the last of the dying light but disaster struck. Not 1km away from the light the Aussies hit a massive rock head on and their car came to an almost instant halt with smoke pouring out of the engine. We jumped out to assess the damage. Cracked radiator and bent anti rollbars which meant the steering no longer worked.

Kilo Tango having a bad time

Kilo Tango having a bad time

With the light fading we took the tents off the road and setup camp before it got dark. The air 4200m up is extremely thin. This made the normally easy process of carrying tents and bags difficult leaving us out of breath very fast. We decided to put everyones gear in the terios and drive it down to the camp site as the Panda would not be able to get down and the alto was currently immobilised.

We set about rebending the anti rollbars so that they could steer again. To do this we tied a slack line around the bent bars and then to the back of the terios. We then found 4 massive stones and used them as chocks under the alto’s wheels. We also put the handbrake on and had Tim sit in and use the foot brake. The rest of us braced against the car as we tugged with the terios to straighten the bar out. After maybe 15 minutes of tugging we had straightened the bar out enough so the wheels could turn! With the light gone we headed down to camp.

Did I mention its bloody cold at 4200m? And that it started pissing it down? Such fun. There we’re upsides though; we had purchased potatoes and oil from Kharugh earlier today so that we could make chips. Nothing like a taste of home sat 4200m up a mountain pass in the pouring rain with 2 Aussies, 3 Germans and an immobilised car.

Luckily our snugpak sleeping bags that have been pretty much roasting us alive over the last few weeks really shone on the Pamir as they easily kept us warm enough, I was even too warm at times!