Changthang: The Big Chill

It has been eight years since I took my first tentative steps into this cold desert at an average elevation of 15,000 feet above sea level — making peace with the effort of melting ice to make water, waiting till eternity for food to cook, curling up in the sleeping bag before the night sucked the stove’s warmth from the tent, struggling to keep camera batteries alive, waiting out snowstorms.
The lesson I’ve learnt is singular: The Changthang is near-fatal on a bad day: far too cold, too exposed, far too distant for help and its great lakes too dangerous to skate across. But as an education in terrestrial metamorphosis, too tantalising to ignore.