In the summer of 2007, I went hiking to Concordia and onwards to the base camp of K2, along with 4 friends, a guide, and 13 porters. I maintained a diary throughout the hike so I could write a detailed article once I got back – the following is my diary for the K2 base camp trek
Before setting out on the hike, I had looked up practically everything on the internet about the hike to Concordia, the acclaimed ‘throne of the mountain gods’. I wasn’t too happy with the information available on the internet, so I wanted to write a comprehensive article on the whole experience. Eight months later, that article remains unwritten, and after much head scratching, the simple answer is that words can’t do the experience justice.The pictures of the trip, while certainly nice, and some are downright amazing, fall short. So instead of a article, the following pages contain my notes from the my diary of the hike.
This was my first major hike, and it’s made me into a convert – I plan to go explore as much of the world as I can by human powered means – really, it’s the only way to see the world.
The plan is simple: Hike to K2 base camp, and back over the Gondogoro LA pass!! 26th June if all goes well we take the flight to Skardu – so stands the plan. You can see our initial plan here.
The ghutter gou, ghutter gou call of pigeons carries me into another dimension. An instant calm descends as I park my jeep and walk down a dirt path, through the wrought iron gates of a tiny green domed, white washed building which stands at a slight angle in its grounds. I have seen it from afar, a deep green, jumping out of the golden brown stretch of land that is being developed at break neck speed. A tiny mazar, I presume, like the many small ones that dot Karachi.
One could perhaps be forgiven for thinking that a off road trip to set up a medical camp for the villagers of Pakistan would be a mixture of mosquitoes, no running water and intense heat. THINK AGAIN !!!.
As an Angraise, I found the whole experience to be both, humbling and exciting.
The whole journey started off from the Founders of the ‘Off Road Karachi Club’, sumptuous house in Karachi. A convoy of five robust but yet luxurious jeeps set off for fun and adventure. More vehicles became added to our convoy at later stages.
Photographs from offroadpakistan’s medical camp in the village of Khorwah, district Badin in Sindh. The group included doctors, veterinarians and volunteers from Karachi who were selfless in their efforts to give back to a community. Hand pumps were also distributed.
A few years ago, longer than I’d like to think about now, we met Jay Shah, who had come to Pakistan to visit Mata Hinglaj. Our offroad club took him to Hingol, and it was the start of a wonderful friendship. Jay wrote a wonderful writeup of his visit to Pakistan and his travels with the offroad club and his pilgramage to hinglaj, as well as a video of his trip:
OffroadPakistan and friends have put together an effort to help people effected by the floods in Pakistan. We are providing relief ourselves (delivery and distribution) in Sindh area. Right now it’s food and essentials and temporary shelter. Next we would support run a refugee camp (our choosing of location) providing food, water, medicines/medical camps, clothing etc. Later help some really needful families to rebuilt their homes etc.
Since we are not an NGO, we have got the help of Behbood Association (local NGO) working far last 35 years – they have set up a separate account for us, they will manage, supervise and audit for us.
If any one wants to help contribution can be sent to this account (details here)
Please pass it on to friends!
To find out more check these out:
CNN on our relief efforts: [OffroadPakistan] club members, family and friends raised money for supplies to the neediest survivors.
(CNN)—“Everywhere we go we see eight to 10 feet of water,” said Kapadia, who traveled through inundated villages between Shikarpur and Sukkur. “All we see are the tops of houses.”
Just a month ago, Kapadia was a recreational rider in the 4×4 Offroaders Club of Karachi. He didn’t expect to use his off-roading skills to deliver life-saving supplies to flood victims across nearly impassible terrain and waters.
“We never thought of that,” Kapadia said. “But when you see things happen like this, you can’t just sit on the side and watch thousands of people die.”
So club members, family and friends raised money for supplies to the neediest survivors.
So far the 4×4 Offroaders Club of Karachi has distributed 100 tents and about eight truckloads of food.
Dave’s Landslide Blog—an excellent overview of how the flooding began: The regular seasonal monsoon rains started on July 27th, initially impacting the Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa province (formerly NWFP). The following graph shows the sudden increase in rainfall in that region from July 29th.
“The loss of life appears to have been the result of a combination of losses in the main rivers and their tributaries, flash floods in upper catchments, collapses of mud brick houses, and landslides.”—Dave’s Landslide Blog.
Downstream the impact of the incredibly heavy rainfall on the Indus River catchment shows increased inflows.
The earthquake’s that have hit Pakistan in 2005 and 2008 were regarded as the worst tragedy for the nation. Few have realized that the recent floods have in fact caused more damage then those earthquakes did. As per latest reports official figures stand at 1600 dead and 20 million left homeless.
The Monsoon rains began three weeks ago and have washed away roads, bridges and communications lines, hampering rescue efforts by aid organizations and the government. The downpours have grounded many aircraft trying to rescue people and ferry aid.
I stood there amongst the trees, the wind moving through the leaves, making a whistling sound. The entire campsite was bathed in bright moonlight, so bright that you did not need a torch to cook something. Before me, the Hingol River flowed along lazily between the mountains, a silver serpent in a landscape that is otherwise harsh.
This reads like an excerpt from a fiction novel, does it not? Well one need only travel 240 kilometres from Karachi to make this fiction a reality. That is, if you have the gumption to make it out to Hingol National Park in Balochistan.
I recently had the chance to do so with the team of adventure travellers known as Offroad Pakistan. I refer to them as a team and not a group of individuals because that’s what they are, and that’s what one needs to make it through the terrain of Balochistan, which comprises bogs, jungle, mountains, and quicksand with a few wahgus (local slang for crocodiles) standing in as an audience. On this trip, the team included inventors, photojournalists, lawyers, doctors and a few lowly scribes such as myself, all with one thing in common: “the love of nature.”
There are camping lists, and then there are camping lists. This is one of those. There is the minimalistic school of thought which believes in grabbing just a shotgun and a wallet and heading off into the bush – but if like us, you get off the city to take a break and enjoy, than it’s nice to have all the essentials (and more!) along.
Keep this in mind – You must take everything you might possibly need from home – there is nothing (except oxygen) available on the way! Be prepared to change tires, dig your 4×4 out from a lot of mud, and other such goodies.
“The world’s greatest museum of shape and form” is how Italian mountaineer/author Fosco Maraini described Concordia in his book, Karakoram. Galen Rowell called it the “Throne of the Mountain Gods”. Come 2007, somehow or the other, 5 of us from Karachi ended up hiking to Concordia, and on to K2 base camp.
Sir, in December 2008 it will be the 30th anniversary of the historic “Indus River Expedition”. This Expedition of three people started from Amb- Darband, upstream of Tarbela Dam, and covered 1,600 miles in 30 days right up to the “city of lights” – Karachi.
Our group has been approached by the Management of Hingol National Park to help them in organizing a free medical camp at Jhal Jhau for the villagers living along the Hingol River in the Northern Part of the Park. We are going for 4 days to Hingol, Baluchistan, March 14-17, 2008 and setting up a medical camp. Read on for the details.
Soon after we got married, my wife Sabiha asked me to get a Ford F1 truck for her. I tried my best but could not find any in Pakistan. Some thirty years later, on one of her visits to America, she found one in a small town called Dry Town near Sacramento, California. She convinced the owner to sell it to her and I think she got it for $140 (exact amount she has not told me – only that it cost more to have it towed to our friend Javed Akber’s house in Sacramento). Till we could figure out how to have it shipped to Karachi, for over a year the Ford truck remained parked in Javed’s garage (while their own two cars remained out in the open).
“ Like any long trip, we started planning this a long time ago. Some (Asad, me) had wanted to do a major hike for years, and Concordia was always at the top of the list of the many, many places to go hiking in Northern Pakistan. “The world’s greatest museum of shape and form” is how Italian mountaineer/author Fosco Maraini described Concordia in his book, Karakoram. Galen Rowell called it the “Throne of the Mountain Gods”. Come 2007, somehow or the other, 5 of us decided to finally go.
The pre-trip preparations involved a lot of research, finding hiking and cold weather equipment, and trying to get into shape for the long hike ahead. Our plan is detailed below, and hopefully anyone else looking for information on planning this hike on their own will find it helpful. The pictures of the hike are up over here, and an article about the actual trip will be up soon.
The year 2007 is called the ‘Visit Pakistan Year’. Nature, however, seems to be against us as rainstorms and floods have hit most parts of the country leaving thousands homeless and in desperate need of assistance. The Lal Masjid issue has overshadowed the devastation in the areas and the nation sits glued to their televisions regarding the crisis. The United Nations has deployed a five member assistance team to assess the situation in the flood hit areas, according to John Homes, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator. The greatest danger lies in the growing probability of an epidemic outbreak. According to sources, the top priority goods in need in the areas include tents, blankets and emergency medical kits but above all of water purification tablets. These tablets are known as ‘Puritabs’ are available at most local chemists. Besides these medicines, according to the Daily Times, more than forty victims of snake bites have been reported in Baluchistan, and the government is also making arrangements for anti-venom vials for the areas.
The Hingol National Park, largest National Park of Pakistan, is one of the three sub projects of the Protected Areas Management Project (PAMP). The principle objective of project is to achieve the sustainable conservation of globally and nationally significant habitats and species through community participation.
The Hingol National Park Management is organizing a two-day consultative workshop
on “Scientific Surveys for Park Management” on 2nd and 3rd of February 2007 at, Karachi, in order to finalize the management plan of the Park.