Pursuing the Leviathan – Tajikistan


When it comes to committing stories to the written word, there’s a trick known as a “hook”. Think of it as a point of no return, where the reader (hopefully) can’t not continue reading.  Vince Shuley’s work in Mountain Life’s latest edition Higher Learning starts off with the horror-phrase we hope to never hear:

Avalanche! Avalanche!

So yeah, you’re gonna wanna keep reading.

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Shuley, a talented photographer in his own right, contributed the story after hiking the Fedchenko Glacier out in the hostile wilderness of the Pamir Mountain Range in Tajikistan. Self-admittedly out of his depth, the article has numerous parallels with Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, and its character Ishmael, whose desire to become a sailor is hampered only by his having never seen the sea with his own eyes. A harrowing story that tackles a different white monster, it casts a spotlight on a lesser-known area of the world.

Last week, Vince released the following video. A perfect accompaniment to the print article, it sets the scope of the journey and the scale of their target. Shuley’s photos are sprinkled throughout the video, giving a candid look at this corner of the world.