K2 Base Camp trek diary, the introduction
by Khalid Omar
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 really 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.
For what really happened, read on!
The time up to June 18th, 2007
A lot of planning went into organizing everything - Nabil's recommendation of Mhd. Nazir of Indus Motel in Skardu made things a lot easier for us, as he gave us good and accurate advise on the actual hike.
The actual plan is outlined over here, but the three main sources used:
- Nabil (and others) - people who had previously done this trek, so their advise was very welcome
- The internet - there seem to be hundreds of companies arranging guided tours, so we used their pre-planned itineries to chart our own.
- Mhd. Nazir - the most essential part of the planning process, he helped us to organize the porters, arrange the food and kitchen equipment, found us a reliable guide etc.
Tents: Mountaineering tents are available in Skardu at 7-10K, and we might just need to buy one. Though later on we found out that our best option was to have bought tents from Higher or Zuflah in Lahore.
- This trip diary, to be filled out daily, hopefully by all of us. that didn't happen! After the trip, this will be handy for putting up a travelogue.
- Photos - 2Gigs by 4 memory cards means a lot of photos, about 3200 or so! Ended up taking 2500 plus photos
- MiniDV Camcorder - Bought by popular demand of the entire group, turned out not to be such a good idea. Took 18 hours of tape and enough battery. ed: ended up in the river
Note: next time will take along a handcranked OLPC type laptop
Preplanning, June 2007
The planning is always a major part of every trip, and this being the first time for everyone we had a lot to do, things to find out, equipment to purchase and in between try to get in some exercise.
Just a few days before we meet in Islamabad, everything is arranged by now, have booked a couple of rooms in Rawalpindi, borrowed a GPS, and did a final few calls to Skardu. Mhd. Nazir must have gotten sick of our calls, as we grilled him about every small detail!
The bad news is that 2 crevasses are blocking the route to Gondogorola, and 5 teams have returned without attempting the crossing.
Hopefully, by the time we get to Skardu it should be passable.
Another piece of advice: Locals are prone to exaggerating difficulties to extract money out of suspecting trekkers, so be aware. Keep noting the altitude every few hours, and if someone gets sick, it is very useful in figuring out what altitide caused the problem and thus what height to go back down to.
Were told that there is a hiking and mountaineering store in Rawalpindi called Gownhouse on Murree road, went there but found nothing particularly useful, the few good things were hideously overpriced.
More news from Skardu on the 25th: The route to Gondogorola is shut, but 'gora' expeditions have provided equipment (dynamite, portable bridges etc.) to reopen it. There is a 35 feet wide crevass blocking the route. Might be impossible to cross this summer.
Four of the five team members are in Rwp now, and booked on the morning flight to Skardu. The fifth person is going to arrive a day later.
Posted in K2 Base Camp Hike, May 1, 2008, by Khalid Omar