The night was pretty horrible. Temperatures dropped to 3°C inside the tent. They must have been around 0° or even below outside.
I’d put on all the clothes but was still freezing and didn’t sleep much. A couple of times I dreamed that I was very close to some village, with a proper path across the pass.
Around 5.30am the sun rose and started to warm up the tent a bit, so I dozed off properly. At 6.15 I heard the foot steps next to the tent again, and suddenly realized what it was: rocks falling down from the cliffs above.
I was out of my sleeping bag and had packed everything in no time. (The tent was half covered by a thin layer of ice.) Luckily, the stones sought some other way down and didn’t come too close to my camp site.
So, what were my options? Continue towards the pass from where I was? Didn’t seem possible. Go back the same way I’d come? Certainly not. Go back to Mestia? This seemed like the best idea.
I backtracked a few hundered meters on the way I had come, then ziggzagged down into the valley below. Almost half-way down I crossed a little path and my adventurousness flickered back to life. Would that path take me to the pass? It went in the right direction!
I gave it a try and emerged on not-so-steep slopes a few hundred meters right below Guli Pass! All I had to do was cross a couple of snow fields and climb up some meadows and more snow fields. It looked easy enough!
Well, I made it to approx. 100m below the pass. Then I didn’t dare go any further, the snow fields were too steep.
Had a break and explored other options without the backpack, to no avail. Eventually I turned around and descended back into the valley. On the way back I found the way markers again and followed them in reverse direction, towards Mestia, to find out where I had gone wrong. It was indeed yesterday in the gully where I had climbed up between the two streams. I should have crossed them both as well as a third one, but the markers had been washed away and the remainder was not visible to me.
I returned to Mestia where I arrived at 5pm, totally exhausted. :)
Guli Pass has beaten me. This time.