January 20, 2006

‘Marsimik La’ – the highest vehicle mountain pass in the world

Navin Guila is an adventurer with a disability, a taste for the novel, and the ability to tell a story. Audacity magazine carried the following story:

Mission ‘Marsimik La’ – the highest vehicle mountain pass in the world. At 18,632 feet, it is 1,232 feet higher than the base camp of Everest, which is 17,400 feet. It is at a distance of nearly 1200 kms from New Delhi, the Indian capital. To reach it you have to cross 7 of the world’s highest vehicle mountain passes with broken or missing roads, streams flowing over the road, extremely steep climbs and sub zero temperatures. It was going to take me 55 hrs of near non-stop driving.

What is the big deal?

1. In mountaineering Jargon, an altitude beyond 18,000 feet is referred to as death zone because a human body can never permanently acclimatize to that altitude. The body starts degenerating and one can at the best spend some time there and return back to recover.
2. One usually requires four stages of acclimatization to reach that altitude. I was not going to get any time to acclimatize.
3. There is about 20-25% less oxygen at that altitude.
4. I am C5-6 quadriplegic, medically termed 100% disabled with a 90% paralyzed body. My fingers don’t work and of course my legs don’t work.
5. I was going to drive a manual transmission SUV, using gadgets designed by myself. I would be controlling 5 controls (gear, break, accelerator, clutch, clutch lock) with my left hand and the steering, horn and indicators with my right.


Posted by rollingrains at January 20, 2006 02:09 PM