What is Fear Really About?

Isabel Scharrer, CC BY-SA 4.0

(by Isabel Scharrer)

Every day, when I wake up, I have an awesome view of the mountains — the very same mountains we will have to pass by bike — the so-called Rohtang Pass (3,978 m). The name literally means “pile of corpses” and this originates from a time, long ago, when the roads were in such a poor condition that people would be stuck there due to bad weather and sometimes freeze or starve to death.

Here, from the bedroom view these mountains look extremely high, beautiful but at the same time also scary. I wonder:

How will we manage to cross that? How will the trip be? Is the name really justified or is it just an exaggeration?

Unfortunately, by around 8 a.m. this awesome view is already covered by clouds and rain due to the fact that it is monsoon season.

Isabel Scharrer, CC BY-SA 4.0

We have to wait for the monsoon season to pass and we decide to check out the bike shops in the city to find the best available deal and service. After searching for a while, we finally find one, but the bike owner scares us a little, telling us that we shouldn’t do the bike trip by ourselves, that we should join a bigger group or even go by jeep to Leh since there may be ice on the road, or possibly a tyre could burst and there are other dangers we could face on the road.

Disappointed and quite confused, we leave the shop and go for a walk in the city to buy some warm clothes for our trip, like skiing pants, scarves, waterproof shoes, gloves, etc. During our shopping trip, we meet more people and everyone is quite curious and wants to know where we are going. Again, they “scare” us and say the same things as the bike guy said previously: don’t go alone, it is too dangerous, it is really cold at the moment, etc.

While walking home, we don’t really speak as both of us are thinking about what the local people told us. I must say that at this point I am quite concerned as local people generally know better and say things as they really are.

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