23 November 2008


After two unsuccessful tries in the past weeks to scale the heights of Mitsumine, two German alpinists and their American Sherpa started yesterday another run. Meeting at the Futago-Mandu, the capitol city of the small Himalayan country of Chichibustan at 8 AM in the morning, the first part of the TREK along the river was fast and various new techniques were tried to add momentum to the tour, thus proving everybody wrong who dared to call the expedition a "late local train".

At the basecamp in Omir, the friendly locals supplied the adventurers with the required freshly backed, fluffy bread which is traditionally eaten since many years at this place. The town was in a mild uproar, as the local festival of "International High Color Exchange", whatever that shall mean, was celebrated. From there onwards they entered the hilly lands of Chichibustan. A last supply of water at a holy fountain, and off they went to attack the first mountain of the day, the lowly ranked Yamabushi. Giving it all and, for the first time in the history of mankind, marking the start and the end of the climb, one can expect to see a new addition to the traditional records of the Togebaka.

From there on everything was a fast downhill to the abandoned city of Chichiborek, where a last lunch was taken and prayers for a safe journey were send towards the nearby skies. Along the old trading road to the lost state of Yamanashikan, the three proceeded with great haste and after many dangerous adventures, featuring fabulous creatures disguised as speeding dumper trucks, endless hairpin turns and inhuman exhaustion, they finally arrived at the entrance to a tunnel which should lead to the enchanted Mitsumine mountain. Under many tears they bate farewell to their faithful sherpa who needed to be back at his village before 6 and hunt down some dinner before that.

Thus they entered the tunnel, which was so small that a modern time commuter bus could barely fit into its cross section. The tunnel was dark and water was dripping from the ceiling and the remaining two were constantly afraid that a horde of wild animals, fearless warriors or
fabulous creatures disguised as speeding dumper trucks would turn up suddenly right in front of them without any place to let them pass peacefully. After about 170 meters, a branch of the tunnel was leading to the left and finally here they stepped out again into the light, seeing the most wonderful thing they have ever encountered.

Before their eyes, the vast lake of Chichibustan was extending to the horizon, the huge water masses conquered and impounded by a dam, built by a long lost civilisation which the older still remember as "The ministry of Construction". The two rode over the dam crest and started the final approach on Mitsuhime. Barren was the land and all traces of civilisation were long left behind. In an endless sucession of hairpin curves, the last 600 meters to the top were attacked, steadily moving up at low speeds. The bodies were close to fall apart from sheer exhaust ions and the temperature dropped to a life threathing 3 degrees (plus). Nevertheless the two pressed on and finally, after time has almost come to a standstill, the parking lot of the Mitsumine shrine was detected under shouts of joy.

Now it was only a matter of time until they reached the Mitsuhime shrine itself, which was built by a sage a long time ago on top of the mountain (Note: Why is somebody considered a sage who builds a shrine in such a goddamn difficult accessible place without any infrastructure?). The two planted the German flag on top of the mountain to claim the place once and for all times, before the much competitive Kingdom of Belgium would have any chance to do the same. And then it was already time to start the descent, as the darkness of night was approaching with great speed.

After many more adventures, which are too many and too boring to be told here, they finally arrived already in pitched darkness at the signpost of new civilisation. Their trip was such long, that in the meantime the Seibu department store company, a venerated and fast growing state-owned company has built a railway almost as far as the lake which facilitated very much their return to the capitol. Although, as they noted, the bloody trip on this local trains took more than three hours to complete.

And finally they arrived at home, welcomed by their loved ones and scolded for their emphasis on the adventurous and by not being back for dinner on time.

Thanks David and Ludwig for this very nice trip in late autumn. Ludwig made some photos which he might add to this post in due time.


TOM said...

Belgiun beaten again...must seek revenge with you guys!

Manfred von Holstein said...

Lovely report on an enjoyable day! I've posted photos separately as it is a pain incorporating them into a comment.

mob said...

Well, if beaten or not, I suggest we ride out there together another time. It takes quite a while to arrive at the Chichibu lake but once you stand in front of the tunnel there is only pure excitement left.

And the climb up to Mitsuhime is very nice. And because there are a lot of long stretches, the descent is also fast.

This is not a brutal climb in the tradition of Wada, but the landscape is beautiful and the traffic is few.

Maybe better to wait for spring now.

TOM said...

Agreed...let's do this one together in early spring. Fantastic story...Mob at his literally best!