Q: What was the most memorable moment of the trip?
I had an incredibly close encounter with a beautiful snow leopard. I found a mother with her baby - and I stayed with them for two days, watching them from behind a rock. At first, she tried to hunt blue sheep, the snow leopard’s main prey. When she failed, she moved to a canyon, and I managed to follow her there.
I was about 100 meters from her, which was both incredible and terrifying. Then I noticed her detect my shadow. I instantly dropped to the ground, she came closer and closer, and I realised she could attack me at any minute. After a moment, I stood up to reveal to her that I was a human and not a wild yak or potential prey. She ran away, but looking at each other before she fled was an amazing moment. I have read a lot about snow leopards, but haven’t heard of anyone tell a story like this. They know everything about their mountains – most of the time they see you but you don’t see them. This time, we saw each other.