It was snowing outside when the three cavemen crawled from their tent. After a way too salty breakfast - we didn't want to waste the herbs so we used way too much - we slowly progressed towards today's challenge: the Ak Baital pass. A 4655 meter high road which makes it officially the world's second highest highway. A stunning altitude and breathtaking in the way that it literally takes away your breath. Vision was limited due to clouds clinging to the ground, trapped between the 6000 meters (and more) high peaks. Breathing heavily, we braved the mammoth of a pass and sooner than expected found ourselves on top, standing in the clouds. Yuri managed to stay in the saddle until the very end while Stef and Anton followed not long after on foot.
For the first time since long we needed our gloves again, and we mentally prepared for the finger numbing downhill. Sadly, the Pamir only granted us a 600 meter drop in altitude for now, with the most terrible gravel roads. Hands and body still shaking because of the corrugated plate that was this awful road, we entered the house where the ice pegs on our hands could be converted into chai at the stove.
Three cyclers crossed our way in the opposite directions before our French friends drove past and called for a break. We decided to meet up in Karakol and stay in the same guesthouse, where we chilled out and filled our hungry stomachs. The car-battery powered light bulbs were ideal for reading, but that was all the electricity they had available. In the end, the only batteries we needed recharged were our own hearts anyway. We were happy to have decent food after the Pamir, and will not complain about AC/DC.