SummitClimb - SummitTrek K2 Base Camp Trek and Pastore Trekking Peak Climb

SummitClimb - SummitTrek K2 Base Camp Trek and Pastore Trekking Peak Climb

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Today we returned from a fantastic trip in the Karakoram. There were 12 of us members with 22 high quality local guides, climbers and staff. We climbed Pastore Trekking Peak, EXCITING, crossed the Gondogoro La Pass, so we could do a loop trip and did not have to walk down the same way we walked up. We visited the Gilkey Memorial and K2 Base camp, and camped above 4800 metres/ 15,500 feet for a week. What an incredible way to spend 3-4 weeks during June and July!!

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July 18 - Well last night we didn't get back into Skardu until 9pm, that's because we stopped in our guides home to enjoy an incredible banquet spread out on a tablecloth on the floor of a huge room with all of us sitting round the "table" on comfy cushions and carpets. The food consisted  of about a dozen home made favorites prepared  from local vegetables, fruits, meats and seasonings. It seemed virtually  everything was grown right there in the village. Obviously many people had worked on this banquet and there was a very festive atmosphere. After lunch we all fell asleep on our cushions for 30 minutes, then we woke up and walked around the narrow rock streets and mud houses of the town, exploring the mosque and school. It was dark when we got to Skardu, but some of us still managed to get late night haircuts and do  shopping. We passed out around midnight in our hotel rooms with lovely views of the Skardu River valley under the moonlight. Our flight was called early this morning so had to get up at 5am (no rest for the wicked). Again the weather was perfectly amazing and the flight was exactly on time. While we were in the air for 1 hour we saw all of the classics like Rakaposhi, Tirich Mir, and of course the immense massif of Nanga Parbat. Arriving in Islamabad (ISB) early, we went straight to the airlines counter and were able to push our flights forward by 2 days so we can fly tonight. ISB is having a heat wave, so we have opted for a trip to the massive 5 floor airconditioned shopping mall known as Centaurus. Once inside, we threw down the gauntlet and went to McDonald's for French fries and milkshakes. Sometimes it's just got to be done. In the incredible 5 floors of shops we stocked up on souvenirs and gifts for the loved ones at home. Finishing our afternoon chilling out in a comfortable coffee shop, we finally said our goodbyes and jumped in the taxi for the airport. What an incredible journey it has been, what amazing experiences we have had, new friends we have made, and huge challenges we have faced together. Looking forward to seeing all of you again. Ps. Just received an update on our staff member dentist appointment: he got 2 root canals and 2 crowns. It was a 3 hour procedure. The office looks very clean in the photos. Total cost of the full procedure including all supplies: 142 euros!

k2 base camp trek

July 17 - Yesterday afternoon we trekked through light rain, crossing a few rivers and even met 2 guys carrying huge bundles of firewood across a vast arid rocky plain surrounded by towering mud cliffs on one side, the now enormous rock covered 10km long x 1k wide Masherbrum Glacier, and at base of this triangular plateau a boiling grey river to be jumped on huge boulders. Oh, those 2 guys carrying huge firewood bundles? They were also simultaneously herding 1463 sheep and goats to be sold at the live animal auction in Skardu. Hard working fellows indeed. Finally we made it to Saitcho camp at junction of Charakusa and Gondogoro rivers at 3550m. Normally its a large grassy flat river bank with rose bushes, willows and junipers. This year due to 2 weeks of nonstop sunny June-July weather followed by torrential rain, rivers breached their banks, stripped away the grass and buildings, leaving behind 20cm caked mud - sand. Last night we camped on  a surviving grass patch beside a piece of a wrecked building. This morning we awoke early to tip the staff, many complex calcs to ensure fairness: thanks Fabio! Sunny today we can see Mounts K6 and K7 looking like Middle Earth. One of our staff has tooth pain. We will take him to the dentist in Skardu. Just found out our team member Sammy is the youngest (age 12) ever to cross the Gondogoro La pass. CONGRATULATIONS SAMMY!  Ok now we are walking in the hot sun 3 flat hours along the river to Hushe Village. We made it to the park gate. Goodbye K2 we will miss you!


July 16 - 12 hour sleep. Morning at Kuispang lakeside covered by thin snowfall. Crawling into dining tent we sip tea/coffee. Watch sunrise over Gondogoro through binoculars: no fresh tracks = no pass crossings today. Mists rise from the lake. Hardy wildflowers poke heads out of snow. We absorb panorama: giant wall of freshly snow painted Gondogoro peaks parade before us. Its sinking in: we're the only tourists in valley. Now lets trek beneath Laila Peak,  jutting spire - dominant granite spike, vertical back,  60+ degree snow front. Step lightly under her, tiptoe over huge ice sheet studded with rocks. She looks to be 7000m tall so monstrous near path. Map is lying: Laila's barely 6000? No way! Down here on the ground, she has a big black ice tongue poking nearly across the trail. Big as 2 city blocks and 30 stories high, it groans, spits out boulders as we dash past. Next we round mighty Masherbrum 7821m with a mile wide ice fall, a jungle of broken blocks birthing from her tum. We're sauntering high above throbbing 10k long glacier on wildflower slopes along velvet duff trails. Tall grassy slopes now dotted with many black cows. A 1k green bench with waterfall, lake, a few tents is Dalzampa at 4300k. It means field of flowers. We lay in grass looking up at sky. A few raindrops hit our eyelids as we eat lunch. 3 people appear from the tents. They are climbing Laila Peak, made it to c2. This is their bc and now awaiting cooler temps: their ice screws keep falling out = danger. Its beginning to rain now.

July 15 - We awoke at 9pm and crossed the Gondogoro La pass under a full moon. It took 12 hours. No one has been over it for several days as there were 10 - 15 cm of new snow and no visible tracks. Our climbing staff and the Hushe Team did a fabulous job of route finding. Weather was warm sunny and cloudy mixed with no winds. We saw no other groups crossing. We are camped on the opposite side of the pass at a beautiful lake and there are no other tourists here. Big meadows of wild flowers and green grass, its very scenic warm and peaceful here!

July 14 - 5am breakfast. Foggy, cloudy, windy, light snow, low visibility. Packed up camp, walked down to Concordia, ate lunch in snow flurries. Phone call from Skardu: our trekking group flight cancelled due to clouds. Now they are driving to ISB. Wish them a safe and scenic journey. After lunch we walk to Ali Camp at 5000m. Quick dinner, now in sleeping bags. Will try to cross Gondogoro La pass in 3 hours from now. Please wish us luck!

July 13 - We woke up at 2am and are climbing through the wee hours of the morning on Pastore Peak. So far we made it to 5540m. It was snowing but now the sun is out = 6am. We continue climbing. 730am a snow wind blizzard is blowing in = hard to see. We had better go down to  PPBC. Everyone is safe!

July 12 -  Wake up at 2am to check weather and chat with our Balti climbing team. There are a few snow flakes and raindrops but we can see stars and moon in the sky above, so the clouds are not so thick. We decide the weather is good enough to attempt Pastore Peak. Our Balti climbing team packs up and heads out to fix the remaining 300m of rope to the summit. We'll keep in touch via walkie talkie. After a 630 breakfast we pack our climbing gear, sleeping bags, matts, warm clothes, boots, snacks, tents, stoves, fuel, food, tp, and med kit. Its a lovely sunny morning, best we have seen in 4 days. We are 5 members, 2 staff and 3 porters crossing the Godwin Austin glacier. We help one another cross 3 rivers = exciting! Then we hike up the lateral moraine at the side of the Pastore Glacier for 3 hours. Reaching 5000m we come to a flat spot - perfect place to camp. Our cook prepares lunch and staff set up tents. We crawl in for a nap. The phone rings. Our 5 members and 10 staff who trekked across the Gondogoro La pass made it down safely and are now in a jeep driving to Skardu. Hurrah! We feel very relieved, we were so worried about them. Our climbing staff call on the walkie talkie to say they are just below the summit and are fixing rope around some crevasses. Now they have returned to us here at Pastore Peak base camp and we are planning our ascent to the summit for tomorrow, weather and conditions permitting. Fingers crossed...

July 11 - Cloudy weather today in Broad Peak base camp with rain fog snow wind and low visibility. We will remain here today eating drinking sleeping. We pray for better weather so we can try to reach Pastore Peak tomorrow. Thanks for wishing us luck!

July 10 - Light and steady rain all night. We're concerned about our 5 members and 10 staff  supposed to cross the pass. Hope they will be ok. Weather continues to be rainy and cloudy today. We even saw a few snow flurries mixed in with the rain. Everyone is taking a rest day here in Broad Peak bc, including our climbing staff. Sitting together and chatting and comparing notes, it seems no one has climbed Pastore Peak for 4 years, although people have tried. We thought the weather was getting better over the last few days but today it seems to be deteriorating. So we are radio-ing our friends in K2 bc. They have one of those customised forecasts tailored to each camp on K2. Not cheap to say the least. However they are kind enough to give us the updated forecast for 6379m Pastore Peak: 10 July (today) = bad. 11 July = good. 12 July = good. 13 July = snow storm. So we are going to Pastore bc tomorrow and try for the summit the next day (12th), God willing. By the way, during the radio call we learn the sherpa with compound fracture is being well treated in good ISB hospital. Later this morning a foreign trekker wanders into camp asking after our doctor Elena. He has diarrhea for a week with no correct medication. Dr Elena sorts him out with new meds, thank u very much. Moral of story: don't drink untreated water, or eat food or from dishes washed in it. Phone rings. We find out Eric's flight has arrived in isb safely, what a relief! Now we have to pack our rucksacks for summit attempt. Please wish us luck.

July 9 -  Our Balti climbing staff returned to bc last night and are up early preping to go fix rope to the summit. Mario, our comms man, is checking and solar charging our walkie-talkies for communication on the mountain. Gabriele and Muzafar, a kitchen guy, hike up to K2 bc to borrow rope, because our climbing staff carried all 900m of ours up to Pastore bc, leaving us nothing to practice with here. In a few hours our lads return from K2bc with a 50m coil of 9mm rope kindly loaned to us by a K2 expedition. It's heartening to see various teams work together and help one another. Our skillful cook whips up a tasty mac n cheese lunch, then we take a nap. SummitClimb's office manager Sue sends a satphone message: Eric's Skardu - Islamabad (ISB) flight cancelled due to weather. If it does'nt go tomorrow he'll take a 2 day jeep ride to isb. A pretty but long journey. Does bad luck come in 3s in Baltistan? We choose a slope on Broad Peak side of camp, tie our borrowed rope to a huge boulder on top, throwing the remaining coil to the bottom. We're setting this top rope to practice descending fixed lines via arm rappel/abseil, used on lower angle slopes. We're provided a sound track by 7 Balti porters watching us who found a water jug and are drumming a beat, singing and dancing while we climb! WALKIE TALKIE CRACKLES TO LIFE: its our climbing staff. They are at 5600m, have found a safe route, fixed 600m of rope, are planning to retreat back here to Broad Peak bc after a long day. Only 300m to go to the summit!

July 8 - As soon as we reached our camp last night we checked our kit for the meds for the sherpa with the compound fracture. We have a lot in our very large kit, but we dont have the specific type he needs, like IV antibiotics, so now we are praying a rescue heli will come for him soon. We just received a phone call from Skardu. Remember teamate Eric who rode off on a horse on 3 July? He made it back to Skardu last night. Due to heavy rain the road below Askoli is washed out in 5 places and he had to change jeeps 4 times OMG. Thank God he made it and he is ok. Today 5 of our team members are leaving base camp to trek back out to Skardu over the Gondogoro La pass. They have achieved their goal of visiting K2 bc and are ready to go home. During their trek out they will be assisted by 10 staff members, so are in very good hands. We will miss you very much Jim, Rupert, Tiziana, Nick and Sammy. It was so special trekking with u. During our time together we shared many excitements, challenges and built strong bonds. We hear motors in the distance. 2 helicopters roar past our camp flying just above our tents to pick up the injured sherpa. Our prayers answered. After lunch our 3 Balti climbing staff head out to check the route to Pastore Peak base camp, to find the best river crossings and carry rope, ice screws, snow bars in preparation for fixing the route to the summit. The weather is decent, lots of big white clouds swirling but plenty of blue sky.

July (part b) 7 - Gilkey Memorial, fine viewpoint, perched 75m above and 1k away from colourful K2 bc. Down glacier are Concordia and giant Chogolisa Peak, K2's bride. Up glacier: Chinese border peaks. We are entranced by brilliant K2 bc and arrive in 30 minutes. A lateral moraine covered by flat rocks. Busy village atmosphere; interesting walking between rows of tents, small to large. A few hundred people are resting in their tents, drinking tea, doing laundry, chatting on phone, checking instagram. We stroll past 3 large BCs, each with large dining tents ringed by small sleep tents. Passing a huge camp, a boss pops out to invite us for lunch. WOW! Can we refuse? A nice meal: soup n sandwich n tea, thanks very much. We're invited to Sherpa prayer ceremony called puja, bringing good luck to K2 teams. A lama/priest sits cross legged on the ground chanting at an altar sprouting prayer flags. We chill in comfy chairs drinking tea, on command tossing rice at prayer flags. Puja finished, we stand, gazing around with fresh eyes: mighty K2, deep blue sky, puffy white clouds. A moment of crystal silence. Then suddenly: A BOOM BOX. THUMPING BALTISTAN DANCE MUSIC. Everyone forms into a circle and starts  CLAPPING, CHEERING. Dancers twirl in the center. Everybody's smiling laughing, all cares are forgotten. But we must return to our camp. Walking through another team's camp, their leader asks our doctor if we have meds for a Sherpa hit by rockfall with compound fracture. No heli for 3 days = high risk of infection

July (part a) 7 -  Late-ish breakfast. A few light sprinkles last night but nothing like the night before. We prepare to walk to Gilkey Memorial. Its a bit foggy. We can't see more than 1/2 way up the mountains, due to low cloud ceiling. As we take our 1st steps up the K2 path, a light rain begins - we stop to put on our waterproofs. Continuing along the path in the drizzle, heads down, stepping over loose rocks, we glance up to see a blue hole opening overhead, and then another opens, and another, and in 20 minutes the whole sky is clearing out. Once again the Karakoram proves true the old saying: if you don't like the weather wait 20 minutes. We arrive at our destination Gilkey Memorial, where many of the climbers who died on K2 are memorialized. 30 years back one could step directly off the Godwin Austin glacier right onto the Gilkey Memorial (they were at the same level), now its a 50 metre climb! The memorial is a pile of rocks, which, at its apex, has many rows of stainless steel dinner plates strung around it with wire or rope and some are even bolted or screwed. Each plate has the name and date of the person who died pecked into it by ice hammer and sharp piton. Some of the plates are hanging precariously and about to fall off; we try to retie them, but there are so many. There are also more elaborate brass plaques with inscriptions and pictures. In addition there are some small scattered piles of clothing, boots, helmets and a few bones. We feel sad, humbled, and tears come to our eyes...

July 6 - Rest day in Broad Peak base camp. It rains hard off and on through the night. Breakfast bell rings at a relaxed 8am. Its still raining so no reason to rush. Some of us are a bit damp - we forget that when its raining and u are sleeping in a double wall tent in heavy rain you should not press against walls or push duffle bag or personal things against walls, or condensation will form inside the tent. After a drizzly morning we eat a massive lunch of fresh vegetables, potatoes, pasta, and fruit and fresh goat (for the meat eaters among us). Following lunch, we retreat to our tents for a nap. And then the shouting begins: SUN - THE SUN'S OUT !!! Quickly we rally, put on our climbing gear, gather ropes, ice screws and slings, and head out the back of our camp, toward the broad peak glacier. 12 minutes of walking downhill and we are on a glacier with ice pinnacles jutting out like quills on a hedgehog's back. We choose a likely looking ice wall and all the members help to install screws and rope to make an ice climbing ropes course. 1) abseil/rappel, 2) jumar/axe, 3) traverse, 4) arm rappel. Everyone takes turns going around the course, doing all of the pitches and checking one anothers harnesses and tie-ins. As Nick and Sammy say, what an amazing place to practice ice climbing, at the base of K2 with the summit right over our heads!

July 5 - Walk to Broad Peak BC...only takes about 4 hours from Concordia at modest pace. We are going up appx 300 metres, not a huge amount, but as we are already at high altitude, we feel it.. The weather is cooler today with a few whispy clouds. As we walk up the moraine we enter the center of the Godwin Austin valley and the views become incredible: on our right Broad Peak, to the left Pastore Peak, in the center K2 blocking the head of the valley. And all around us many other tall peaks too numerous to count, but without names. Given so many pointy teeth on both sides of us we feel we are walking into a shark's mouth. Never seen anything like this. Just now, ominous dark clouds begin to chase us up the glacier from Concordia. Wow the weather can change fast around here. Suddenly, rounding the moraine, we stumble upon our broad peak base camp and are instantly welcomed by an already prepared tasty dinner. Our amazing staff get the tents up just before a heavy rain storm sweeps into camp. We dive into our personal tents, seeking shelter from the storm.

July 4 - Concordia rest day, camping on 3 huge glaciers, surrounded by K2, G4, Broad and Mitre Peaks. Concordia: one of the world's most scenic spots. Where else can u find such a combo: towering peaks + vast glaciers. We've been lucky with weather: 14 sunny days in a row! Today we have hot showers, clean laundry, shade in our large comfy dining tent, amazing meals. We prepare our harnesses: ascenders, descenders, safety lines, slings, carabiners, ice axes, helmets, boots, crampons, ropes. Afternoon weather cools, we walk 15 minutes to large ice ridge where we tie into a rope team. 5 mtrs apart we practice crampon walking over ice with proper distance and rope tension between us. We put in ice screws and abseil from them. We belay with figure-8 and use hip belay. We climb up, down, and traverse. What a spot to practice: Concordia!

July 3 - Chilly AM in Goro2. Sun warms us ¡ breakfast. We pack duffles. Staff break down tents. 1 member does'nt feel well. He takes breakfast in his tent. After consulting with our Doctor, he decides to descend from here, and trek up no more = wise decision. We will miss Eric very much. We all say fond goodbyes. A strong horse is brought around. Eric climbs aboard. 4 guides lead the horse and carry his duffle, to reach back down to Skardu in 5 days. Conditions are perfect for safe descent by horse. Us remaining 11 trek up the easy path on a gentle gradient, strolling over flat rock glacier. Along the way, we see 3 more people descending via horse. Weaving our way through a forest of ice pilgrims on a flat winding trail feels as if we are in the minotaur's labyrinth, or a corn maze :) At a clear stream our cooks prepare a lunch feast. Crossing a few small rolling hills WE REACH CONCORDIA !

July 2 - Early breakfast 7am to beat the heat. Nice easy walk on flat stones. Highlight of today's trek are the massive white ice pilgrims protuding from the black stones, looking like a convoy of sailing ships. We stopped by a clear stream for a light lunch of noodle soup, green tea, fresh melon, bread, nuts and apricots. A bit more gentle walking and we arrived Goro 2 camp at 2:30pm after an easy day. We only went up 150 metres today. This is a spectacular camp, on a large glacial plain covered in flat rocks, with ice pilgrims jutting. Mountain views are 360 degrees dominated by stunning Mount Masherbrum, originally named K1, far and away the finest peak we can see from here

July 1 - rest day. Urdukas camp at 4000m named for the Duke of Abruzzi who led 1st K2 expedition in early 20th century. On a grassy slope high above the daunting Baltoro, a veritable sea of hot grey rocks, seething green rivers,  dripping black ice, lies a surprising group of solid beige boulders, each the size of a large house. At the foot of the boulders are camping terraces built up over years. In honor of Duke, rock climbers amongst us set up top rope on 8 metre rock face in the midst of camp. Men, women and kids age 12 to 65 (locals too), practice rock climbing + belay. An easy fun off-width transitions to dihedral chimney with friction slab traverse, hand jam crack finish. Climb is named "Duke and Duchess" grade French PD, British Severe, Australian 14, North American 5.5 = super easy. What could be more special than spending morning climbing fun rock in shadow of infamous monstrous 20k wide by 2000m high rock walls across valley from us: Cathedral Peak,  Lobsang Spire, Devil's Tooth, Great Trango? After hungrily devouring tasty lunch prepared by skillful cooks, we spend afternoon watching upper Urdukas hanging glacier calving. Its about 1k down valley and huge ice chunks keep ripping off the 5000m terminus, plunging down punished rock slabs into dirty gullies where lehars of mud, stones + car sized boulders erupt. This reminds us to keep looking up slope while treking, and to absorb the enormity of this Karakoram in which we are as tiny as ants, humbled to the higher powers within Earth and Sky.

June 30 - Let's wake up at 7:30 am in Khoburtse camp, a shadeless rock garden at the base of a huge grassy slope to the side of and above the Baltoro Glacier. 8am - enjoy a big breakfast while gazing at unbelievable views of enormous rock faces of Uli Biaho and the Trango Group. 9:30am - begin hiking through moraines and up a final 100m slope covered in lush green willow bushes to reach the camp of Urdukas. 12:30pm - our amazing staff  set up the dining and kitchen tents and prepare a big lunch. 2:00pm - we are washing clothing, taking showers, relaxing in welcome shade of spacious dining tent while perched in cushy armchairs. 6:00pm - delicious dinner begins with sparkling egg drop soup, crispy prawn crackers. Next:  main courses of fresh aromatic aubergine curry (not spicy); fresh russian salad of cabbage, carrots, a bit of sweet onion, with bits of orange and salad cream; spaghetti with fresh home made tomato sauce; fresh roasted chicken for the non-vegetarians. Dessert is fresh mango slices, followed by herbal tea from Genepy flowers hand picked from the slopes above our camp. 8pm - sun sets over Uli Biaho and twilight creeps up the Baltoro Glacier. We make our way toward our personal sleeping tents. 9:00pm - we are all tucked into bed in our separate tents and drift off to sleep with sounds of the river rushing far below, also distant drumbeats and the chorus of our porters singing a lovely harmony and dancing around a camp fire they have built in a large flat spot up against a tall cliff face.

June 29 - today we enter Baltoro Glacier,  enormous ice sheet 3k wide x 40k long, covered by rocks. Walking Baltoro means forever clambering up and down  large piles of rocks, stones, boulders, sand, and glacial dust - following hot dusty donkey paths through undulating, tortuously fractured terrain with occasional walls of black ice constantly dripping in boiling sun into green  brown ponds, some tiny, others massive. Sometime enormous boiling brown rivers explode out from beneath dripping black ice walls. It seems such forceful torrents could grind a boulder into pebbles, turn stones to dust. We climb up the valley wall onto lateral moraines, cliffs,  scree slopes spitting stones down upon us. WATCH OUT! Traversing above the mighty Baltoro we are treated to breath taking views of rarely seen world famous jutting giants Uli Biaho + Trango Tower. Rounding another large pile of rubble, suddenly in the distance we see tents - Halleluyah! , its tonight's camp, called Khuburtse. BUT. 1st we must cross raging Khuburtse River. In afternoon it's roaring, brown, fast, deep, wide, filled with silt and rocks - a torrent. Our amazing staff lock arms with us at the widest shallowest spot and we're off. 12 members ranging from age 12 to 65 hailing from 3 countries will embrace a range of river crossing styles:  shoes on, sandles, crocs, socks, barefoot, horseback, and even walking the land-ice bridge over an abyss where the entire river dissapears into a hole forever.  WE'RE ACROSS! 30 minutes later we reach camp.

June 28 - Rest day in Paiyu camp. Wake up late. Delicious relaxing breakfast. Our amazing staff washes our laundry. As the sun rises high in the sky we seek shade beneath ancient huge cottonwood and willow trees. Our kitchen prepares hot showers and we refresh. After a tasty lunch, we watch in amazement as hang gliders soar over the Great Trango Tower. Time for a lovely nap in our personal tents. During the evening, we take tasty dinner on our campsite terrace watching golden sunset across the massive Braldu River valley, neath the looming Liligo peaks. A blanket of stars sweeps over the night sky. Time for bed!

June 27 - We wake early after a very good sleep to enjoy a delicious breakfast and begin walking beneath mighty Mount Bakhurdas jutting into blue skies with a few spotty clouds.  Here the path is a jeep road amongst sandy banks, boulders, and slabs following the massive Braldu river. Suddenly the jeep road ends where a dozer and compressor park. For the rest of our journey we will be on donkey and porter trails. We enjoy a simple and nutritious lunch at Mundrung, aka Bardumal. They even have hot tea and cold coke! After lunch we follow closely the banks of the raging grey Braldu river at times walking with our toes in the water. Rising onto a boulder strewn Martian plateau we are treated to 1st views of Great Trango and Cathedral Peak, looking the spines on a stegasauras' back. Our day finishes at Paiyu camp on terraces carved into the slope amongst shady trees with a flowing cool stream - much appreciated after all day walking in the sun. Our loyal staff set the tents, make drinks and dinner, then we wander to our beds, drifting off to peaceful sleep under starry skies.

June 26 - part b: Along the road we stopped for lunch in the shady grove of Apo Ali Gone village, with fresh bread, fruit, local tea, and even a cake! After a few more hours of jeeping, we stopped for tea at the famous Askole village and then continued jeeping to Jola bridge, where we got out to hunt for red garnet gem stones. the slopes here are peppered with them! Finally we drove to Jola campsite where we found our tents already set up. Saying goodbye to our brave jeep drivers we enjoyed a delicious meal and went to bed

June 26 - part a. We entered K2 national park today. The sun is blasting down on us. The guards at the park entrance check our permits and passports and LO, we're in! A deep sense of relief sweeps over us, recalling all of the challenges we faced just to come this far. The roads are interesting. In the beginning well tarmaced and wide, becoming narrow and bumpy, with impressive dropoffs.

Team Roster:

Dan Mazur - leader,

Dr Elena - Italy,

Eric - Texas,

Ms Fiore - Italy,

Mario - Italy,

Fabio - Italy,

Ms Tiziana - Italy

Nick - Pittsburgh and UK,

Sammy - Pittsburgh and UK,

Rupert - UK and Pittsburgh,

Gabriele - Italy,

Jim - Pittsburgh.