We were told by Samander our Hushe Treks rep that the days walk to Urdukas
would be the hardest day. Travelling over undulating moraine for most of the
journey. It actually turned out to be not so bad and we arrived at Udukas in
The camp is situated on terraced levels with the impressive summit of Urdukas
peak behind. The only problem we have had at these camps is the dust, it gets
into everything and dries your throat. However it's nice to have decent
facilities on the approach to base camp.
On the 19th we had a slightly later start of 6.00am still far too early for my
liking. Today was to be an easier day,travelling over a slightly more level
Baltoro Glacier. The sun was blasting down on us but the clouds seemed to be
clinging to some of the surrounding peaks. Masherbrum kept it's head in the
clouds, Mustagh came into view for a spell. Eventually we rounded a corner and
got our first sight of Gasherbrum 4, at first only a silhouette in the mist,
eventually revealing itself through the clouds. To its right Mitre Peak, too
its left Golden Peak. Barely visible through the cloud further left the summit
of Broad Peak.
After arriving at Goro 2, our camp on the glacier for the night. We relaxed
and looked at some of the surrounding peaks. Suddenly there was an almighty
crash and an avalanche came down from one of the peaks. Very impressive from
the safety of our camp several kilometres away. Tomorrow all being well we
shall at Broad Peak base camp. Although it requires another early start, which
I'm not looking forward to.
Dave is about 4 days behind us, today should be is first day trekking from
17/06/04: Well after travelling overland to Skardu and
then by jeep to Askole, we started our trek towards Broad Peak base camp on
the 15th. Askole itself wasn't a particularly pleasant place to stay, but was
fine for one night. There has been a lot of work done to the other camps as
far as Urdukas, in that they have good sanitation and bins to separate waste
as well as camp management. Askole is due to be developed for next years
The trek to the Jhola camp takes about 5.5 hours with a 1.5 hours dinner stop,
this was made at the junction with the Biafo Glacier. The weather turned a bit
miserable and eve started to rain a little bit.
Arriving at the camp we were amazed to see how much effort has been made to
prevent further damage to the environment. Toilets, washing facilities, solar
charged lighting for the night, recycle bins and an incinerator as well as
replantation of trees.
In the evening the clouds lifted and we spent some time looking at a very
impressive peak on the other side of the valley, working out possible routes
on to the knife edge summit ridge.
On the 16th we had another early start on our trek to Paju. This was a
slightly shorter day. It started with some spots of rain, and it looked like
it was going to get worse. Fortunately it didn't and soon the clouds broke,
before we new it we were in the baking sun. Just after passing a military
encampment we stopped for another delicious dinner, after which we ad the
final two hour walk into camp.
Paju sits amongst a cluster of trees, so is well sheltered from the sun. Paju
is at a height of 3480m , here we are having a rest day for the porters and
allowing us time to acclimatise.
We're still having problems charging the laptop. Hopefully this will be sorted
when Dave joins us at base camp.
It will take another 3 days to reach base camp. Tomorrow we head up to Urdukas,
which should take around 7 hours. En route, weather dependant , we should see
some of the most technically challenging mountains in the world. Ralph will no
doubt be looking for future base jumping possibilities
14/06/04: We are now camped above the river at Askole. It
took us 7 hours to drive the 106km from Skardu and looking back at the tracks
we have come up I think we made good time. It now feels like we are on our
way, we have left the fields behind and are now surrounded by snow capped
peaks. On asking the guides what the local peaks are they tell us not to worry
they are only small mountains, most are unnamed. The map shows them as around
On looking back at the last few days, we were disappointed to be driving in to
Skardu not flying (weather and road closures all conspired against us and
meant the flights were over booked), but I believe the 3 long days we've spent
on the road have been worth it for the places we've seen along our way. Flying
out would be nice though.
Tomorrow we start our week long trek to base camp.
13/06/04: Skardu is the last of the big towns on our
route and the end of the tarmac roads, that we seem to have spent so much of
the last few days on. Here we swapped our mini bus for jeeps.
The team spent the morning sorting final admin and doing some last minute
shopping in the bazaar, before heading out for a relaxing afternoon exploring
the local area. Our liaison office Captain Hassan did us proud by managing to
convince the local officials to open their offices and by getting all our
paper work signed. Not bad for a Sunday...........
12/06/04: We breakfasted at 9:00am and were relieved to
see Chris feeling much better.
After breakfast the hotel shop owner was trying to get us to buy some maps of
the Karakorum for $12 each. Well Let's just say Poker-Faced Mothersdale drives
a hard bargain and we left the shop owner in tears, having bought 4 maps for
We restocked with water and then set out on our 7 hour journey to Skardu,
along the way stopping to get some pictures of The North Face of Nanga Parbat
and surrounding areas. The landscape is quite arid with high mountains, albeit
foothills, on both sides of the River Indus. Along the way we had a quick stop
by a monument which marks the point at which the 3 great mountain ranges of
the Hindu Kush, Himalyas & Karakorum meet. Then it was back in our bus to
Tricko where we planned to have our pack lunches.
We passed through Shangri La, which is just outside Skardu. Here the Indus
opens up into what was up until last year a big lake, now it is mostly
sandbanks, although still very picturesque. Finally we reached our journeys
end. We are staying at the Pioneer hotel which is a nice hotel, although we
lost the electricity a couple of times last night and so started our evening
meal with headtorches.
While still feeling enthusiastic and organised we sorted out the barrels and
personal kit so that none weighed more than 25kg, which is the limit for the
We also met the Cook & Pakistani High Altitude Porter who will be joining us
on our merry journey.
11/06/04: We left Islamabad at 10:00am and headed out on
our 450km, 14 hour journey to Chillas part way along the Karakorum Highway.
The road is better than expected although still a little bit bumpy in places.
At one point we stopped for some photos looking down on to the Indus and here
we had our first victim to succumb to the dodgy tummy. Chris was sick a few
times, this we have put down to him midnight snacking at the Conference room
on his floor in the hotel after we had been out for a drink. Those nasty can
Don't worry though we've put him on Nil food by mouth for the day and just
We reached Balham at 6:00pm and stopped for dinner, Chris flaked out and
stayed to Pepsi, while Ralph and myself opted for Chicken Chow mein. The food
has been excellent so far, although I'm sure we're all going to have our turn
at being ill... it's only fair!
We had the choice to stay at Bisham with Chris feeling ill, but Chris insisted
we carry on to Chillas, even though it was still another 4 hours' drive. Well
Chris did a sterling job of keeping what was left of his stomach contents in
his stomach. Amazingly we reached Chillas right on time, to the very minute,
at 12 midnight.
We were staying at the Chillas Inn and upon arriving were treated to a late,
but welcome hot buffet tea, while Chris retreated to his room. The hotel
itself was very pleasant, a far cry from the 5 star luxury in Islamabad, but
good never the less.
PS. We only found out, late on the way to Chillas, that the driver had only
had 2 hours sleep since the previous day, this unnerved us somewhat while
travelling along the precipitous cliffs, but it has to be said he did a
climbing Sherpa from Nepal)
climbing Sherpa from Nepal)
Two years have passed since
the decision was made to attempt K2. We had summited on Everest on the 16th
May 2002 and had vowed never to set foot on another 8000m peak after the
months of discomfort and the debilitating effect of altitude on mind and body.
We arrived in Kathmandu a few
days later already thinking of the next mountain, K2 was the ultimate if scary
In three weeks we fly to
Pakistan, to Islamabad and all the reading and dreaming and training is at an
end and the hard work will start in earnest.
In this unknown city we will have to go through the rigmarole of finding our
freight at the airport, not a short process normally, signing the last minute
papers necessary to move onwards and deal with all the little problems
associated with moving four climbers and equipment to Skardu and then on to
the Broad peak base camp. We hope to fly to Skardu but may have to drive if
the weather is poor.
When we arrive at Skardu we
will need to employ a number of porters and mules to carry the equipment for
the eight to ten days that it will take to get firstly to the Broad Peak Base
camp. We will walk to Askole and from there along the Braldu River to the
Boltoro Glacier until we reach Concordiaat 4720m. A short walk up the Godwin
Austin Glacier towards K2 will bring us to the base of Broad Peak and base
camp (4900m) for the first objective.
Broad Peak is the 12th
highest mountain in the world at 8047m. It was first climbed in 1957 in
'alpine style' by an Austrian team. They were thwarted on the first attempt by
a false summit and had to return a second time to climb it. We plan to place
camps at 5400m, 6250m and finally at 7200m. From here we will push up to the
summit ridge and follow this over the fore summit fixing some pinnacle
sections to the summit. Although the mountain is an 'easier' 8000m mountain
the summit day will still be in excess of 12 hours and will be a real test at
K2 is the second highest
mountain in the world at 8616m and is variously called the 'killer' mountain,
'the climbers' mountain, and the 'most difficult' of the 8000m mountains. It
gets this reputation from the weather, which is unpredictable, the technical
difficulties, objective dangers such as stone fall and avalanche and the
problems associated with cold and altitude. It has not been climbed for three
years. This is our second objective.
We will establish Base camp
at about 5200m on the Boltoro glacier before pushing the route up the mountain
to Camp 1 at 6100m. Above this camp is the notorious 'Bills' or 'Houses'
Chimney, which is the crux technically. This is climbed to camp 2 at 6700m,
which lies below the Black Pyramid - a broken, steep rocky section that is
often very difficult if the conditions are poor. Camp 3 above this lies on
snow at about 7200m, although the position of this camp varies from year to
year and from team to team. The shoulder is a long snowy glacier with some
large crevasses which although not technically difficult is very tiring and in
poor weather route finding up and down this section can be very difficult if
not impossible. Camp 4 lies as high on this, anywhere between 7600m and 8000m.
Once this camp has been established the team can push on to attempt the
Very early in the morning
(11.00pm/12.00am) we will set out up snow slopes to the 'bottle neck'. This is
a narrow gully about 100m in length, which gradually steepens and is at an
altitude of about 8300m. In dry years it can be very steep and be 80 degrees.
This ends at a hanging glacier, which must be traversed under until the final
summit slopes can be gained. The sting in the tail is a rocky step just before
the summit. If all goes well we would hope to be on the summit in the early
This is the plan!
Chris Mothersdale May 2004.
Digital Altimeter, Barometer, Compass and Thermometer. Time/Date/Alarms.
Chronograph with 24 hour working range. Timer with stop, repeat and up
function. Rotating Bezel. Leveling bubble. Carabiner latch. E.L. 3 second
backlight. Water resistant. 4" x 2-1/4" x 3/4" 2 oz. Requires 1 CR2032
See more here.