Tuesday, June 21, 2011

2011 K2: KKH and Skardu

The drive up the Karakoram Highway was really good when it was done. In all honesty it is not as bad as I make it out to be, just a bit hot and bumpy. We stayed in Besham with the guys heading into the Charakusa Valley, and had a super dinner of fried chicken, chips, subzi ( vegetable curry) and lentils and roti. Way too much food, we slept 3 hours and then finished off the last 18 hours of driving. We stopped many times for cool drinks and it is business as usual, everybody is friendly and nice, not one problem so far here. I have heard a few very interesting theories about US military actions of late, but that has been said with a smile and with no bad intentions.

I went to the briefing today - which has finally been changed from Islamabad to Skardu, which is a small godsend as we now dont have to waste two days in Islamabad. I am the leader of the 2011 Georgian K2 Expedition. Funny when you think that there are no Georgians on the permit - visa troubles kept them from coming. We, Blue Sky Trek and Tours, split the permit with Jasmine tours, so it was fun to sit in the office with Ghulam and Asghar today as they are good friends, and old friends of mine. The level of cooperation between some companies here is great as times are tough. Nice to see.

Being in Skardu is great, like Kathmandu a few weeks ago, seeing old friends and catching up.
There are so few people heading into the mountains that for people who come regularly it is nice, last night we had a great dinner in Ghulam's house and it all makes me think about less commercial times. I do hope that things pick up for next year, for my personal guiding and for all the agents sake.

For those that stay in the Concordia hotel regularly, Sher Ali has given up playing volleyball, said it was too much work. I know, for those of you who dont know him, WTF - big news here in Skardu.

Ok, time for more fried chicken and chips!