<photos: clockwise from top left: 1) Mount Khuiten basecamp at Altai Tavan Bogd National Park, 2) Mount Khuiten advanced basecamp with the moon still visible at sunrise, 3) advanced basecamp with "open air toilet" rocks in the background (there is no modesty in the mountains), and 4) advanced basecamp with Mount Khuiten in the background>
Mount Khuiten is located in a very, very remote corner of Mongolia. To be precise, the highest peak in Mongolia can be found in the Altai Tavan Bogd National Park in the western-most reaches of the 18th largest country in the world. It takes several days of flying, driving and trekking to reach the Mount Khuiten basecamp, and some more trekking to the Mount Khuiten advanced basecamp. Getting to the basecamps is the easy part. The tough part is the waiting - waiting for the right weather and conditions that will allow climbers to commence the push from basecamp, to the advanced basecamp and then the final climb to the summit of Mount Khuiten.
It could be days of waiting and all this in a desolate area without any Internet, social media and mobile phone communications. Totally disconnected and totally awkward because we had nothing to do but talk. We could not type LOL and WTF - we had to say it out loud and we struggled to speak sentences to replace the abbreviations that we have gotten so used to thumb-type in Whatsapp. We have become so addicted to social media that we are losing the ability to be social. And with that we also lose our ability to find our purpose in life. For in that few days of disconnected desolation, we realised that purpose can be found only when we talk. #alwaysbelieve
End note: After much actual talking and many moments of awkward silence with thumbs twitching to type, we summitted Mount Khuiten on 10 August 2017.
"We don't need competition between people. There is competition between every person and this mountain. The last word always belongs to the mountain." quote by Anatoli Boukreev from the movie Everest (2015)