In EP18 of Adventure Photography On Location I’m photographing Kazakhstan all while suffering some pretty bad altitude sickness…
While EP18 didn’t quite work out the way I thought it would on the ‘photographing Kazakhstan’ mission, it sure delivered on the adventure level! From sea level (in Sydney) 3 days earlier to +3400m was quite a hit to my body and before I knew it I was wishing I hadn’t attempted the popular 4 peak hike here near Almaty.
The plan: a bus would drop us off at 7:30AM near Medeu, a short 20 minute ride from the center of former Kazakh capital Almaty. On the list for the day: 4 peaks. Furmanov, Panorama (3400m), Bashuta (3500m) and Shymbulak Peak (3540m) and then the ski lift back down.
We started off with a gentle 3.5 hour climb, golden lights and beautiful alpine-esque views. We even came across a swing before reaching the first peak and had our fun!
By the time we reached peak Panorama (3400m) I could feel it… my head wasn’t enjoying this hike and signs of altitude sickness were creeping in. After Bashuta (3400m) I was pretty much on all fours crawling along and climbing the incredibly steep, loose rock section to get to the top of the final peak. Unfortunately we didn’t get the views we hoped for. The low visibility (10-20m) definitely added to the toughness of the hike too as it was impossible to predict what was coming next. Add a bit of rain with strong, chilly winds and you have yourself a sufferfest.
The final shot at the peak really didn’t do the situation/place justice… but unfortunately the elements didn’t align and all I could capture was this one spot.
Just pay attention to me waffling along to the camera shortly before capturing the shot. Moments earlier I had been lying on a rock totally exhausted catching my breath…
Was the adventure worth it? Totally!
PS. I should probably mention that Freya did much better than me on this adventure. She had a mild headache and was the driving force that got me up to the top of the 4th peak. Seems like I need a little more time than others to adjust to altitude. Something I’m looking forward to pushing a little further in Kyrgyzstan in the coming months. (+6000m here I come 🙂 )
CENTRAL ASIA! Plenty more episodes in Central Asia. Starting with 3-4 in Kazakhstan and then we’ll be moving on to Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan & Uzbekistan over the next 3 months. Deserts, dunes, mountains, adventure, lakes, snow, ice… you name it – I’ll have it!
Planning travels yourself? You should definitly check out our travel blog: The Sandy Feet that I run together with my ‘subject‘: Freya (the yellow jacket model 😉 ) where you will find for all kinds of travel stories, tips and guides to the places you see us in.