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Charnel Grounds Pass Deep Mountaineering Project Report

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Vanguardian, Apr 28, 2018.

  1. Vanguardian

    Vanguardian Citizen

    Joined:
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    the_peoples_vanguard
    The United Socialist States
    Of
    The Peoples Vanguard


    [​IMG]

    Ministry of Culture



    [​IMG]
    Drepung Gomang Monastery, Kingdom of Alokamala


    Charnel Grounds Pass Deep Mountaineering Project Report
    Written By Lead Archeologist, Dr. Daniel Jackson

    04/01/2018

    The Ministry of Culture sets out on another annual expedition to discover
    The Lost Kingdom of Alokamala, this time following reliable satellite data to
    traverse the dreaded Charnel Ground Pass. This pass is believed to be the entryway
    into the fabled hiding place of the centuries-old former Alokaian Kingdom; which was believed
    to have been oppressed and destroyed by the old colonial powers that turned to fascism and
    began a cultural purge of native religion and institutions. The fables said that thousands of
    Alokains fled to a secret sanctuary hidden in the mountains beyond the treacherous
    Charnel Grounds Pass. The ministry is so sure about this they have started infrastructure
    projects to connect Base Camp 1 (our first destination) to the outside world, however, we must
    take a helicopter...god I hate flying.

    04/02/2018

    Vangaurdian explorers arrive by helicopter to Base Camp 1, several miles north of the
    Charnel Grounds Pass. Higher altitudes and powerful updrafts from the deep canyons prevent
    helicopters from getting any closer to the intended destination. The expedition team spends this day
    preparing and then resting for the nearly week-long journey.

    04/03/2018

    Vangaurdian explorers numbering 12 individuals leave Base Camp 1 and begin the 2-day
    journey south to Base Camp 2.

    04/04/2018

    Weather good. No reports of difficulty.

    04/05/2018

    Expedition reaches Base Camp 2 early morning, on the very edge of the Charnel Grounds Pass.
    The team rests for the remaining day needing energy for the next phase of their journey which will be the 2nd most dangerous part of their entire trip. There are no more base camps on this slope. However, a cache of supplies is located halfway through the pass; left from a previous expedition that had to turn back.


    [​IMG]
    Base Camp 2, looking out from shelters you
    can see terrain fortification to prevent spring
    erosion damage to the camp.



    04/06/2018

    Left Base Camp 2 early morning. Heading into the pass. Slowly made our way across the broken terrain, the
    land here is even more jagged and rough than the rest of Vanguardia. Deep crevices in the ground make it a difficult journey. Four members of the expedition head back to Base Camp 2 due to a broken ankle suffered by Ted...it's always Ted. His foot slipped right into one of the crevices. I myself have nearly broken my ankle several times, the ground is so rough.
    04/08/2018

    Two days of journey walking along edges, and climbing slopes. We have had to backtrack several times.
    This place is like a labyrinth. I have no @#%!ing idea why they call this place a "pass". Bad weather coming, great.

    04/09/2018

    Reached cache before the brunt of the storm hit. The cache is in a cave that the last expedition found.
    They turned back because of this same cave too apparently. They claim to have heard "ungodly" sounds from a small crack in the cave floor. Apparently, they were scared enough to not finish placing their caches the rest of the length of the pass for the future expeditions. We could not build base camps on this terrain so these caches were the next best option. However, the one we are currently at is the only one left after weather buried the others. We will have to wait for the storm to pass. We will need the rest anyway.

    04/10/2018

    Morning and the snow is not letting up. We have to keep unburying the entrance to the cave. Thankfully there are plenty of supplies. If the snow does not stop we will have to wait another night. I have located this crack they were talking about in a distant chamber of the cave. I have heard nothing, but the room does smell like a corpse. We are keeping away from this room regardless. Woolsey said he could hear something like 'scraping metal'. I hope he is joking but he is as boring as a rock and it would be out of character for him to do so.

    04/12/2018

    Two days, more snow, more waiting, more digging out the entrance so we don't get trapped. Some of the others have had bad dreams and claim they have seen things while awake. I told them it is just anxiety nothing more. Woosley had to be calmed down by Murry, as he was panicking badly. Murry threated to knocked him out...it got him to calm down at least. After lunch, I will have them take a break from digging out the entrance. They are tired and could use a nap...me too.

    04/13/2018

    We slept a little longer than we had hoped, I guess we were more tired than we had thought. We slept through last evening onto midnight the next day. Woolsey was not here when we all woke, I will put the others to work with Murry in charge digging out the tunnel while Sam and I check on him.

    04/14/2018

    I don't know what to say...Woolsey is...gone. We found his clothing in the room with the cracked floor. The smell in the room is worse now His clothes were laying over the damned crack...like he...I don't even want to think about it. Maybe he is just...not well and naked somewhere...I hope. I am going back to get Murry. He is a big guy and will take care of 'things' I am worried Woolsey has just gone a bit nutty he might be dangerous so wemight need Murry.

    04/14/2018

    It is almost night and we have not found him. The others have finished digging out the tunnel and the good news is the storm is over. But we can't leave without Woolsey, I don't understand where he could be, this cave is not that big! But it is getting late, we will sleep one more night in this godforsaken cave and try looking for him in the morning.

    04/15/2018

    I have had a terrifying dream. In the dream we were looking for Woolsey, we went back to that room...and...I...there was this thing there! It looked sorta human but was all skin and bones. It had unnaturally long limbs and web-like hair. No eyes...but it stared at me! The neck was long and its mouth was tiny. It made a horrible scraping and cracking sound as it moved...like its bones were breaking with each step. It came close to us and screamed...the sound was like shattering ice. That was when I woke up. I will just try to relax until the others wake up.

    04/15/2018

    Well the others are awake...but only after 3 of them simultaneously woke screaming and in a panic. More bad dreams they later said. We managed to calm them down but they are now waiting outside and are refusing to help us look for Woolsey. Me, Murry and Samantha have gone back to look for him one last time.

    04/15/2018

    We looked all over the cave again...except that damn room with the crack. We are headed there now

    04/15/2018

    Woolsey is dead and I am losing my mind. We looked all over last night including this room...where we found his clothes. Now he is here...and I don't know if I want to describe what happened. He wasn't here last night and now he is and he is INSIDE the crack! His body is torn to pieces and stuffed inside the damned hole! It is like he tried forcing himself into it or something. He is cut to pieces, blood everywhere. I swear I can hear scraping sounds. Maybe we just did not see him last night for psychological reasons?...maybe we blocked his body out and only saw clothing because we could not deal with it until now? I don't like this. Did an animal do this? Did he? We are leaving this cave now. It does not matter how but he is certainly dead. We will retrieve the body on another expedition.

    04/15/2018

    I have talked to the others. Half are going back. I am terrified but I will be damned if this expedition ends! I am moving on with Samantha while Murry guides the rest back to Base Camp 2. It is a risk going with only two but I will not end this. I will not let people die for nothing...well unless it is me and Sam I guess, but we both knew and accept the risk.

    04/16/2018

    Me and Samantha have made excellent time with just the two of us. No issues and the weather is good. I just want to get as much distance as possible from that cave.

    04/17/2018

    I hope the others are making it back easily enough. Me and Sam seem to work better without the others but I wish Murry was here. He needed to be the hero and look out for the others and he knows we can take care of ourselves. The pass is getting less dangerous as we go. The air smells better now too. I think was are getting close!

    04/17/2018

    The pass has ended in a stairway! Well, someone has built something here. The stairs are old, ornate and go for some meters. I cant tell because it is too dark. We are excited but must rest and explore this stairway in the morning light.

    04/18/2018

    This is amazing! The top of the stairs leads to a cave tunnel. Once on the other side of the tunnel, it was like a whole new world opened up! A vast valley, warm air, trees, and grass! And in the distance, we see a temple! We are walking there now. We can hear horns and other musical instruments playing. There are people here! We have found them at last!

    04/18/2018

    The temple is a monastery filled with monks! We interrupted their morning prayers but they are welcoming and gracious. They speak another language but they also seem to know old Vanguardic aswell! These people are without a doubt our long lost brothers! We have told them where we come from and have asked to be taken to a high point. I bet we can get a radio or satellite signal now that we are out of the pass.

    We have made contact with Base Camp 1 using our radio. They tell us the others made it back to base camp 2, and are doing well. They say the government contractors are already trying to think of ways to connect this new area to the rest of the Vanguard. I hope these monks like tourists.


    04/19/2018

    Next morning we got back in touch with Base Camp 1. They have already sent another team our way as well as started building some stable ground for future infrastructure. Hopefully, the pass will be more accessible in a short while. A week-long walk over hell is not fun. They have asked me what I want the papers to say and I have suggested this, "Vangaurdian explorers inticed by the old tales of The Lost Kingdom of Alokamala have recently stumbled upon the small kingdom after many years of searching remote mountain passes and valleys. Vanguardian archeologists and historians are astounded by the fact that this Kingdom has indeed survived the first fascist purges almost one hundred years ago by the former corrupt government deposed by our glorious revolution. Tragically one member of the expedition lost their lives but their sacrifice has not been in vain as we have reconnected with our lost ancestors. Richard (Dick) Woolsey your contribution shall not be forgotten."

    04/20/2018

    The food at the monastery is better than I had thought. They make these dumplings that are simply amazing! After our lunch, we watched as the monks did their noon prayers and chanting. They chanted while playing large drums and horns that made the whole temple shake with their deep reverberations. They also played these smaller flute type instruments that make a high pitched eerie sound, almost like a bagpipe whining. However my favorite instrument they called a "Damaru". It was a small handheld double-sided drum with two woven beads attached to the drum by threads. When held in the hand one rotates the wrist back and forth causing the beads to strike the drum. The sound is delightful! Like a pile of sticks falling down stone stairs, or very heavy rain. Sam, however, does not look as impressed, she is a scientist and soldier, not an archeologist like me. All of their ceremonies are fascinating!

    Things became more somber later that night when we talked with the Abbot about our journey through the pass and the loss of our friend. He told me and Sam that the Charnel Grounds Pass has areas within it connected to what he called the Preta Realm or the realm of 'Hungry Ghosts'. He said this is one of the many realms of rebirth humans can be born into because of material desire. In this realm, your past obsessions curse you to live in never-ending hunger and thirst. In this realm, the Preta can never feel comfort or satisfaction. On the rare chance that food or water is found in this realm, it becomes blood, entrails or some other unpleasant thing. The mouths of the Preta burn like fire and water evaporates if they try to drink. The visual description he gave of these beings sounded similar to the dream I had in that cave.

    [​IMG]
    Preta, Hungry Ghost

    04/21/2018

    Well, Samantha is happy as can be. Apparently, these monks have a damned observatory! She is with their astronomers now preparing notes and some observational work for later tonight using the telescope. The only downside, for her anyway, is that they also believe in astrology. For me, however, I am excited to learn about how different their form of astrology is to other cultures. She can look at the stars while I learn more about these people. I asked the Abbot about what happened to their original kingdom and he told me what we had all suspected, that the former foreign colonizers began a purge of all native culture, thousands escaped to this hidden region and built a new Kingdom in secret. I never dreamed I would be the one to find these people, and in our own backyard too.

    04/24/2018

    We have been here a couple of days. It is nearing night time. Sam is spending the night at the Observatory and I have been reading the Monasteries 'scrolls' out on a 3rd story patio, the view here is amazing and the moon is bright tonight. The 'scroll' I am reading pertains to the name of the kingdom and is called Kambala's Alokamala it is written on about 30 or so dried pressed linen sheets between two wooden boards, the boards are decorated with the most beautiful artwork and the written language itself is stunning. I enjoyed this area of study during school and I remember the many different schools of thought/philosophy that this particular text belongs too that being the Yogacara (mind-only) school which is a philosophy within the 3rd main School of Buddhism which is called Mahayana this school believes in trying to achieve a state of being called a 'Bodhisattva' or a being that lingers between enlightenment and mortality in order to more fully direct others toward enlightenment. This was written before a schism between this school and several others involving a disagreement on core concepts of Emptiness. This book, however, represents a time before that schism so its insights are unique. It is also a rare document considered to be one of the last contributions to the golden area of Mahayana Buddhism before the concept of 'mind-only' was questioned and accused of being contrary to the core tenant of 'Emptiness of Self' which is a concept all forms of Buddhism share, but which itself has created countless schools of thought to try to understand it. I will share a few passages from the Alokamala that I have found interesting.

    Kambala's Alokamala verses 213-216

    213. He becomes impassioned by creating an object of passion; being hostile
    he is harassed by hatred. Being perplexed by the rise of the afflictions he is
    destroyed by delusion


    214. By not practicing concentration one is impaired by a
    conceptual construction when one imagines something unreal through various
    "doors of destruction"


    215. A fool, who, due to a deluded notion, thinks of a false concept, falls still
    more into the darkness like a blind person.


    216. A clever Bodhisattva should make their minds hostile towards the objects
    of fixation. A little occupation with the defilements increases them, as an oblation
    increases the flames.


    The is it, for now, I am going to sleep.

    [​IMG]
    Kambala's Alokamala an insight into the
    Mahayana Schools concept of Yogacara
    or 'mind-only' philosphy



    04/25/2018

    It's another good morning, the weather here is surprisingly mild for its altitude. The other expedition team should be arriving later tonight. I have a lot of things to show my old university colleague Dr. Sarah Gardner. I can't wait for this infrastructure to be finished so we can expedite this project. In the meantime, Sam and I are checking out a few ruins and other interesting spots around the general area.

    04/25/2018

    I spent the afternoon copying some various writings while Sam joking patronized me about ancient cultures, she likes to act like she knows things about archeology, which she does know them, but she will purposely make a mistake in the historical context just to bug me. Her humor is becoming like Jacks I swear. We are heading back to the monastery now. Sarah and her expedition have arrived and are settling in for the night. But not before the monks showered them with food. They did the same thing with us our first night...every night actually. Food, that is one thing I have forgotten to write about here I will do so tomorrow if I am not too busy. The second expedition has brought an additional 8 people here. Sarah is as radiant and clever as ever. They made it safely through the pass and have told us that Woolsey's body is being sent back to The Gathering my prayers are with the family. He will be remembered for helping to find our peoples lost brethren. A noble sacrifice...if not under strange circumstances. I still don't like to think about that cave and I did not ask about anything else regarding it to the second expedition team. My belief is that cave gases from an underground thermal source triggered hallucinations and hysteria.

    04/26/2018

    Sarah, Samantha and I, along with a few others, are heading back to the ruins near the monastery. The other members of Sarah's expedition are apparently already discussing with the monks about ideas on trade deals, infrastructure, treaties, etc. I am not sure how good the 2nd expeditions translator is. Even though they know much Vanguardian the monks generally prefer speaking in Sanskrit or some other language. After our morning and noon work here I will head back and help with the negotiations and treaties, that is one of my areas of expertise after all.

    04/26/2018

    We got back late from the ruins so we I will help with continued negotiations tomorrow, in the meantime, I just got done with a great dinner of which I will describe. The monks have fed us well during our stay here. Barley is the main crop at these altitudes. As far as food goes you will get a lot of hardy and spicy stews with barley, yak or goat meat and various vegetables. One of my favorite foods is called a Momo which is like a Himalayan version of dumplings, made with barley flour, stuffed with spiced meats or vegetables and then steamed. Good rice here too. They also have a rather strong type of tea called butter tea, a combination of black tea, butter, and salt. Let's just say it is an acquired taste, and it is so common here you will get used to it. On the opposite side of the tea taste scale, they do also have amazingly sweet Chai Tea!


    04/28/2018

    We have been here for several more days, I have not made any more updates as infrastructure is nearing completion, rather quickly I might add, and we will be on our way back to the underground majesty of The Gathering soon with plenty of findings and with even more to study and contemplate. I have plans to come back to Alokamala again in a month or so for another exploration into the regions seemingly endless archeological sites. The monks have given us plenty of gifts, artifacts, food, etc. We will also be bringing back to the capital the members of Alokamala's future embassy.

    04/30/2018

    Well, we are on our way back to the capital and will arrive in only a few days this time thanks to the efforts of our engineering teams. I will only have a few more updates in this journal but overall this is just the beginning for our entire country! Our history and culture will greatly expand because of this expedition. Many thanks to all the members, most notably the ones who sacrificed everything.


    05/1/2018

    Vanguardian and Alokamalian ambassadors and diplomats are currently being exchanged. General
    Tso of The Ministry of Defense, given by the fact that the Alokamalians have no army, has issued a declaration
    granting [nation]Alokamala[/nation] military-protective status. All Alokamalian defenses will be handled by [nation]The Peoples Vanguard[/nation]
    Ministry of Defense. Infrastructure is being quickly developed to connect the nation-state to the rest of The Peoples Vanguard.

    05/3/2018

    Embassies are currently being established. Cultural representatives from Alokamala arrive at the Vanguardian capital city The Gathering.




    End report of Charnel Grounds Pass Deep Mountaineering Project
    Signed by lead Archeologist Dr. Daniel Jackson
    Ministry of Culture, The Peoples Vanguard

    Factbook Entry
     
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