One reason why the Mongol Horde were so effective, is that they could travel very lightly, free of the slowing and vunrable baggage trains most armies needed. Each soldier had two horses, so one horse was always rested, and only required grass and water to survive. The soldier would live on a form of ‘blood tea’, drinking the blood of the horse (via small cuts that they would rub dirt into to help the blood coagulate), and the milk of the mares. Throw in eating the meat of dead horses, and what could be taken from the defeated, and this self sufficient appraoch, along with the compount bow, propaganda, and great strategy, allowed the Mongols to conquer pretty much all of the known world.
Having a very lightweight foodstuff is vital if you’re planning on a multi-week climbing trip, where you must carry all your own food (rack, ropes, bivy gear and food). Probably the most effective way to do this is to carry dehydrated food, which has improved a great deal over the years, but can result in a hefty price tag and a lot of bulk and trash (always offset the cost of such food by how much you’d have spent at home on food over the same period). For me, the easiest way to carry meaningful and nutritious food is to just bring four staples: rice, lentils, porridge and flour. If weight is a real issue, then you can leave out the porridge and flour and eat rice for breakfast. To make dal, you need to have oil or ghee (ghee is better), turmeric, mustard and cumin seeds, dried chilis. If you can carry the weight, then bring some unions, garlic and stock cubes, as these can add a lot of taste. The flour is to make chapatis (use your Nalgene bottle as a rolling pin), which are eaten with the main meal, or as a treat (bring some small restaurant servings of honey). Nutritionally, people who carry 100lb loads up Everest have this diet, so don’t bitch too much about such a samey diet, just be gratefull, as it could be blood tea!
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Andrew Kirkpatrick is a British mountaineer, author, motivational speaker and monologist. He is best known as a big wall climber, having scaled Yosemite's El Capitan 30+ times, including five solo ascents, and two one day ascents, as well as climbing in Patagonia, Africa, Alaska, Antarctica and the Alps.Follow @ Instagram