Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/116

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gained the summit, whence I had a magnificent view. The valley of the Tatung, with its tributary streams hurrying to join it on all sides, the northern range and the snowy peaks far to the westward, combined to produce an effect indescribably beautiful. I had never been so high before; at my feet were great mountains covered with wild crags and clothed with forests, through which wound rivers like silver threads. For a long while I could not tear myself away from the spot, but remained as one entranced, and shall remember that day as one of the happiest of my life.

In the hurry of starting I had left the matches[1] behind, and could not strike a light by the flash of my gun. I had, therefore, to defer taking the altitude for two days, when I again ascended the Sodi-Soruksum with the boiling-water apparatus complete, determined this time to discover the secret; a few minutes after lighting the spirit lamp I found it to be 13,600 feet above the sea. This is below the limit of perpetual snow, only a few patches being visible under the rocks, where the sun's rays did not penetrate.

After passing July in the mountains on the southern side of Tatung-gol, we crossed in the early part of August to the northern range and pitched our tent at an elevation of 12,000 feet, at the foot of the gigantic peak of Gadjur. Here we remained about a fortnight, rain falling incessantly,

  1. These matches, of Viennese manufacture, are sold by the Chinese all over the Empire.