Climb high in the Afghan Kush

Broca

Senior Member
Italiano
Hi everyone,
in a Mark Greaney novel I've come across this sentence:

Although well into her thirties, she was in better physical shape now than she had been when she climbed high in the Afghan Kush providing combat aid for Marines, and she knew it.

First off, that "Afghan Kush" confused me, because I've found it is some kind of seed, but then that the Kush is a mountain between Pakistan and Afghanistan, so it could be that part of the mountain located in Afghanistan. This meaning is coherent with the verb "to climb".
Now, the woman ("the "she" of the sentence) is also a pilot, so it could mean that she flew her plane high above this mountain to support the Marines. But I'm not sure at all. At first I thought it meant that she climbed the mountain herself, because according to the text she is in better condition now than she used to be, but even then she must have been in shape.

What are your thoughts on this?

Thank you in advance,
Andrea
 
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    If you are in a plane, you can't be in the Afghan Kush, though you can be over it.

    My concern is with the meaning of "climb". When it means "engage in mountain-climbing", I understand it as a sport; here it seems to refer to an activity that one can do for the military. Maybe "climbed" means that she taught soldiers to climb mountains, transmitting skills that one associates with the sport?
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Her job was providing combat aid for Marines at some time in the past. The Marines were located in the Afghan Kush mountains, so she had to climb them in order to do her work. (While most mountain climbers do it for sport, it can also be done as part of a job. Consider, for example, the people who search for and try to rescue people who fall while climbing for recreation.) That required her to be in very good physical condition (shape*). Now, she is in even better physical condition.

    ________________________
    *While "shape," used about women, usually refers to the attractiveness of their figures, it does not have that meaning in the phrase "physical shape."
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    First off, that "Afghan Kush" confused me, because I've found it is some kind of seed, but then that the Kush is a mountain between Pakistan and Afghanistan,
    The origins of the word "Kush" are probably Persian: Kush is probably related, in general, to "mountains" as a tribe called the Kassites inhabited the Zagros Mountains in western Iran prior to 1500BC.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Much of the Hindu Kush is high-altitude, which imposes physical strains even if you are 'climbing' in a vehicle.
    Correct. However, I doubt Greaney would have used climbing as an example of an activity requiring high physical fitness if that climbing involved sitting down while an engine did most of the work.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    It's possible that she means that she was in better shape just because she was in the Marines and the information about what she did in the Marines is not directly related to the "in shape" part.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It's possible that she means that she was in better shape just because she was in the Marines and the information about what she did in the Marines is not directly related to the "in shape" part.
    That would miss the point of the comparison. The author deliberately compared her physical condition now to what it was at a time in the past, and described what she did then. That is a logical thing to do only if that past activity required her to be in good physical shape. The point of this passage is to say that she is in very, very good physical shape today.

    We can argue about other possible interpretations that a lawyer might come up with, but that is the natural one.
     
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