The narrow, 400-mile-long Wakhan Corridor connects Afghanistan to China, a remote bubble of peace in an otherwise war-torn area of the world. Hemmed in by massive peaks soaring over 20,000 feet, it could be a ski mountaineering paradise. So when a group of adventurers visited the Wakhan in the spring of 2012, their goal was twofold: de-mystify one of the most demonized places on Earth and explore one of its most enticingly unexplored areas.

Words: Danny Uhlmann

As the early May dawn breaks, I sit huddled with Dylan Taylor on a remote and unnamed glacier, under the towering western buttress of 20,735-foot Koh-e Pamir. He slides his icy feet under my jacket and onto my bare stomach. There is no better way to warm them.

We’d left camp on the Issik Glacier two hours earlier under a starlit Afghan sky to climb and ski Koh-e Pamir’s great western couloir. Cece Mortenson and Ben Mitchell are ahead breaking trail, ascending into a swirl of white clouds and blue sky. It had taken a few hours of struggling to reach the couloir’s intersection with the summit ridge, and when we arrived my heart skipped a beat.

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