At the foot of the sacred mountain--The temple grounds--My Mongol guide--A south-west track--A treacherous stone--A violent shock--Anxious moments.
FINALLY we reached Tku-fo-pu, and later we came to the foot of the sacred mountain which rejoices in the name of Siao-ou-tai-shan. We did not put up in the village, as there were no inns, but continued up the slope of the mountain to the temple of Tie-lin-tsen, and halted in the temple grounds, where accommodation for pilgrims is provided, similar to, and certainly no better than, that of the poorest inns. The altitude of the temple above the sea was 4,350 feet.
Even as low down as the temple there were still patches of snow and a bridge of solid ice over a torrent. The ma+00A- jestic Siao towered against the blue sky -- now that the sand-storm was over--snow-clad here and there on its slopes, yet with much less snow than I expected to find on it at that time of the year.
I prayed for a bright morning the next day, when I intended to ascend the highest peak, and my prayers were rewarded. The next morning came crisp and clear, a lovely day for the ascent.
At 5 A.M. I set out on the steep track, accompanied by a