Sunday, June 13, 2010

Broad Peak/K2 Double Header 2010: Flight Delays

There are luckily very few climbers heading to Skardu this season, if there were more nobody would ever arrive. The Road has proved problematic and flights have been cancelled significantly over the past couple of weeks meaning priority is given to delayed passengers. Regardless of our longstanding reservations with PIA and the very large efforts of Imran and the whole ATP staff we have started to trickle in slowly.
Today 5 members flew to Gilgit and are now driving over to join us, a few are scheduled to fly tomorrow, Chris and a couple of guides in training are coming by road from Islamabad, and should be here tomorrow night. Fortunately it means we should only be one day off the back departing for Askoli, no big deal.
Skardu remains overcast and not as hot as usual, and means that the 5 members here with me will continue a bit of sightseeing and alot more tea drinking in the garden of the Concordia Hotel with views of the river - terribly civilized really.
High school graduation pranks and future desert crossing expeditions keep us occupied during meals- I was told the shocking news that Brangelina broke up last year as well - perhaps too much time in base camps and not enough time glued to TMZ.
I will keep you posted on our departure for Askoli and base camp.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Broad Peak/K2 2010: Karakoram is quiet!

I arrived in Islamabad two days ago to the news from Essar and Naiknam at ATP that the Karakoram will be very quiet this season. According to them there are only 25 permits sold to the entire range - including 6, 7 & 8000m peaks! Neither could remember such a slow year. Last year we thought was slow with around 70 permits sold - perhaps the economy, the events in Lahore and the Attabad (Hunza) flood and lake formation have really put second thoughts in peoples minds about coming. The KKH is supposedly in bad shape and the lack of people will be good for the always difficult to get seats on the flight to Skardu.

We are very fortunate to have a full Broad Peak and K2 trip! I must admit that I am looking forward to not so many teams in both base camps, alot of hard work lies ahead but it will make everything much more harmonious, less overcrowding at the camps and the possibility for all teams to come together for parties during the down time.

There are some old friends returning this summer and I cant wait to see them. I head to Skardu tomorrow to finalize all of the organization, luckily leaving the duty of getting the permits to Chris, my co leader at Field Touring Alpine this summer, when he arrives with the members in a couple of days - as our liason officer has not reported for duty yet.

Another Karakoram season is underway! I am psyched, 10 days rest between Makalu base camp and Skardu is enough time off mountains it turns out. It was great to spend long dinners and lunches with friends in Thamel. It was especially nice to see some people after they had been helicoptered off Makalu and see the frostbite was not as bad as originally suspected, celebrate with Tunc (congratulations again!) and friends from other mountains. luckily I will get a couple of weeks rest between the Karakoram and the Autumn season on Cho Oyu (finilize your bookings with Stu soon)!

I will be updating frequently from Broad Peak and K2 as we have figured out the email glitch with the PDA, so check back frequently and wish us luck!