Friday, June 27, 2008

First Carry to ABC

Today we headed up to ABC through the ice fall. Not that difficult and route finding proved to be the biggest challenge. The route was wanded at one point but the sun melts the wands out pretty quickly. We saw the start of our route this morning, and the best description to Camp 1 is a long hard slog up a snow slope. It is fairly protected and we will probably not be heading up that way until sometime next week. It will be dependent on when our additional loads arrive and the weather. We plan on doing another carry of our personal gear to ABC tommorrow to help us in our acclimitization process

Thursday, June 26, 2008

K2 Base Camp

We have arrived into K2 Base Camp, some of us in better form then others. I had the inevitable bout of lower GI issues on the walk from Broad Peak Base camp to K2 Base Camp. Luckily it was intense and quick, and now I feel so uch better.

The last two days of trekking were simply spectaclur. We arrived in the The Throne room of the Mountain Gods, also known as Concordia. The views are amazing with K2, Broad Peak, G4, and so many other peaks to gaze at it simply overwhelms a person.

The first view of K2 was impressive with a clear blue sky and our route partially visible. K2 is more imposing in person then from any picture and you have ever seen of it.

The team spent today improving our base camp, expanding our dining tent, installing a toliet tent with running water(thanks Chirring) the running water is actually a glacier run off stream. The glacier has two sides, one is the bathroom side(outgoing) and the other is the ingoing or drinking water side. We also put up a shower tent, and installed the banners and flags of our sponsors, Warid Telecom and Bank Alfalal.

We had a great lunch with pokara, and we are getting the gear we have on sight organized. Unfortunately most of our high altitude kit is still on its way up from Askole because it was delayed getting through customs.

Overall things are going great. There are several other teams already working on establishing the route. The Koreans have sherpa's setting up camp 1 and 2 on the Abruzzi and we have been watching the Dutch put in their camp 2 on the SSE Ridge. Base camp is a friendly place and we will be making the rounds getting to know the other team. The weather has been great so far and we hope it continues.

If anyone would like to send me an email you can do so at:

Looking forward to hearing from you.

On a personal note, thank you to everyone who send their thoughts and sympathy regarding my grandmother. She has been in my thoughts and it has been a tough thing to go through on the mountain.

Climb High, Climb Hard, Come Home,


Sunday, June 22, 2008


We had a long day of hiking today up the Baltaro glacier. Lots of ups and downs but amazing views. We were able to stare at the Trango Towers as we hiked up the glacier, and even got a glimpse of Broad Peak. It looked so close, but is still a three day hike away. We are all feeling pretty good, although a bit tired. I got my usual set of blisters and I am nursing them tenderly. Fred has been battling the scourge of Pakistan with some lower gi issues, but he is doing well none the less.

The rest of the team is moving well and we all just want to arrive at base camp and escape the braying of the donkeys that happens every nite. I am not sure which team hired donkeys but they should be severly reprimanded. The braying is a constant throughut the nite.

Hopefully I will be able to send a few pictures once we reach base camp.

Climb High, Climb Hard, Come Home!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Rest Day in Paiju

We have arrived in the little oasis known as Paiju. We hiked two days from Askole to arive here after spending on night in Jhula. Paiju is an oasis with trees and running water. It will probably be the last time we see trees for quite some time. The team is doing well on the hike, and eventually we will figure out the procedure for getting the choice camp sites. We had a restful nite with a light rain. It helped to keep the dust down. Although the donkeys braying in the night was a little annoying.

We are about a mile below the base of the Baltaro glagcier. We are going to spend the day resting and the porters will take care of their meat rations The chickens and goats that have been travelling with us will no longer be on the trek, except in our bellies.

On Saturday we will hike to Urdukas which is about an 8 hour hike up the side of the glacier. Spend the night and then move up to Goro 2, then onto Concordia, then base camp. We have been moving quite well, and the porters are helping out tremendously. We have 110 porters carrying about 25kg per person. That is not all our own food and gear, but they are also carrying the food that they need for a 11 day hike for all those people as well.

We have been fortunate with weather, which has been cloudy an overcast in the afternoon with a little rain. Which helps keep it cool, and keeps the dust down.

A few stomach issues have been happening, but nothing that is not expected.

A personal note, my grandmother passed away on Wednesday afternoon. She and my Grandfather just celebrated their 65th anniversary a few weeks ago, and many of you sent them cards for that amazing milestone. I want to thank you for that, it provide a big boost for my grandmother to receive cards from all over the world. I think it helped motivate her to keep going until that celebration. I am thankful she had a great life, full of love and kindness. She is in my thoughts and prayers. If she could be in yours as well I would appreciate it.

"It is a fearful thing to love which death can touch." Anne Smith

All the Best,


Sunday, June 15, 2008


We arrived in Skardu on Saturday morning, and for some unknown reason the pictures went through to the blog, but none of the text.

The really BIG NEWS is that we are now SPONSORED by WARID TELECOM AND BANK ALFALAH!!!! I cannot begin to express enough thanks to Shahzad Rauf, who is a my friend as well as my sisters, for his untiring efforts to help us make this happen. We are incredibly excited to have them as part of our team, and we are going to post their Logo's and Banners just about everywhere we go. We did a photo shoot before we left Islamabad and you can see the Team Picture with the ZEM logo on it, which is a product of Warid Telecom. Zem is Warid Telecom's prepaid cell phone product, that we have been fortunate enough to be able to use while in Pakistan. I know I have been able to make calls all over the world with it at an amazingly low cost. 

Shahzad has been a tremendous host, putting us up in an incredible place in Islamabad. We had amazing meals, excellent service, and beautiful surroundings. He has made our arrival into Pakistan a truly remarkable experience and we have received so much help in securing our last minute items in Pakistan from Shahzad and his staff. You can see the back of the house in one of the photo's from below.  It resembles an English Manor house with the groomed lawn which made a perfect place to set up the tents to check them out. The tents will be our home far longer then guest house. It is a great study in contrast. 

I think that good spirit has helped us on our journey and made our transition into Skardu truly effortless. We made our flight on the first attempt, which saved us a bone jarring 33 hour drive. Instead we had a flight that was 45 minutes that allowed us to get great views of the Karakoram. In fact, the pilot even let us into the cockpit so that we could take pictures of the range. You can see one of those photo's below. 

Our gear will be arriving today, after the 33 hour drive, and this afternoon we will be sorting it all out into 25kg porter loads. It is interesting to reflect on the journey that it has taken as well, and where it will go. So much of the gear consists of the things that are necessary for us to survive us we go higher, and some of it is purely for comfort.  I can remember going through my list 5-6 times to make sure that I had enough food, clothing, and climbing equipment, and yet you still remember items that you would like to have with you. I purchased an umbrella for the trek in to help provide shade on sunny days, and protection from the rain. The amount of electronic equipment is a bit overwhelming with the team having several satellite phones, camera's, computers, and solar panels. All so that we can provide updates to those who are following us at home. 

But in the end we are here to climb a mountain for ourselves first. It is the challenge and simplicity of the mountain life that I am looking forward to although the luxuries that we have enjoyed up to this point have been wonderful. 

I want to finish by again saying thank you to Warid Telecom and Bank Alfalah for their support of our climb. I think it is a truly unique situation with two Pakistan companies providing sponsorship to an international team of climbers, to climb the highest point within their country. All of the people we have met have been warm, inviting, and gracious. It is an amazing country to visit and one I would recommend to anyone.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

More Photo's

Greetings from Skardu

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Oops, I Did it Again

I am in Islamabad, and guess what?

If you were thinking that there is a major political event unfolding in Pakistan you are absolutely correct. This seems to be a trend with me. I arrive in a country just as things are starting to change. I might actually start hiring myself out to countries to facilitate change. They overthrew the Monarchy in Nepal while climbing Everest. A coup in Thailand while I was there. New government in Chile, etc....

Friday there will be a huge political demonstration by the attorneys and judges within Pakistan. They have been marching across the country for a few days and converge on Islamabad on Friday. From what I understand they are trying to change the constitution within Pakistan to have the less power within the executive branch and more power in the legislative branch. We will see if it has any impact.

Our plan is to lay low in the Warid Telecom Guest House that we are being hosted at by my friend, Shahzad Rauf, and his company, Warid Telecom.

This has affected our plans slightly, but not significantly and everything should be back to normal by Saturday. We will fly to Skardu on Saturday, spend a few days there sorting gear, weighing loads, and preparing for the trek. After that we will start our trek into Base Camp from Askole which will take us about 7 days.

The team is strong and excited and we are all looking forward to getting in the mountains, although we will miss the plush accomodations of the past few days.

Again, no need to worry, we will be safe and sound in our guest house.

Climb High, Climb Hard, Come Home

Islamabad, Pakistan

Monday, June 9, 2008

At the airport

I am sitting in the airport, after mastering the rules of excess baggage. I had a total of 4 bags of gear. 1 bag of food(about 70lbs), 1 bag of group gear (including 12 jetboil stoves, I left a few behind, expedition shirts for the team), 1 bag of personal gear, and 1 bag with boots and such. The total weight is about 240 lbs for the bargain price of $420.

A calm is descending upon me as I prepare to depart the hectic frenzy that has ensued my life over the past few weeks. The frenzy of packing, buying, and double checking everything. There is only one thing that I have forgotten that I can think of and it is not essential.

I am excited, nervous, and full of anticpation. I just spoke with my friend Beth G on the phone and she said have fun. My comment was that mountaineering is not fun while your doing it, but exhilarating in retrospect. Very similar to Mark Twains comment about travel. And K2 is travel to the extreme. My goal is to be safe, be calm, and above all else come home.

Climbing is a solitary experience undertaken with a team. Only you know what you are feeling, what you are thinking, and how much your body can take. The team enables you to perform at a higher level then you could by yourself. And that is what I am hoping to experience upon meeting the team in Islamabad. That together we will be able to perform this extraordinary feat together.

My thanks goes out to all my family and friends who have supported me in this project and my thoughts are with them.

Climb Hard, Climb High, Come HOME!

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