Because we had no internet in basecamp and very slow internet before and after basecamp, we send text SMS to our precious Alexia to give updates during the expedition. Alexia put these texts on facebook. Below, all the messages are gathered and here and there pictures are added for the fun of it.
And we're off to an adventure! 5 weeks of climbing in one of the least visited areas of Pakistan, but probably one with the biggest potential. Keep updated through our website www.pakistan-expedition.com or follow us on our Facebook!
We are in Islamabad! The flight went really smoothly. Now we are in the hotel, dealing with a jetlag. The next step is the flight to Gilgit!
This morning we made it to Gilgit, but four duffles are still in Islamabad. The airport guys simply decided to leave them behind without informing us. Now let's hope they arrive tomorrow as promised. Furthermore we have met our friendly guide Saleh and we shopped for some local clothes. You should see the pics, but internet is very slow...
The A-team has safely arrived at base camp today around 13:00 local time. Because there are no pictures to be seen yet, we have to believe them when they say the landscape is breathtaking..
Today was the first acclimatization day. They went up to 4237m. The conditions are really good and there is no risk of avalanches
Yesterday was the last acclimatization day for the guys, they spent the night at 5000m and got Menno as a cook (well he probably put water in the sachet of adventure food...).
If the weather allows it they will try to start to summit on Monday
Not only stomach pain and small appetite are a trouble, doubt about timing and conditions start to raise... there is a lot of snow and it is pretty warm up there...Tomorrow they will have a day out, bouldering around
A nice update from the team:
"Besides the usual altitude headaches, stomach issues and sun burnt lips everything is going well. A couple of days ago we plodded through deep wet snow to 5000m and slept there for a couple of nights. Our tents are now pitched below the first difficulties on Kachqiant. The remaining climb looks tricky but we will try our best. Today we go back to our camp on the ridge. Greetings from the team."
And also - for those who are interested -, after days of Dahl, they finally got some french fries to eat !!!
From the team:
A lot happened in the past days. Danny suffered from intense fever attacks (reasons unknown). He almost had to leave the expedition but after taking antibiotics he recovered really well. It looks like he can resume the climbing soon, so we are very relieved. We did further acclimatisation and exploration up to 5300m. Climbing takes place at night to let the snow refreeze. Now we have to wait for good weather. The forecast looks good after the weekend so hopefully we can do a summit push.
The team is going today for a summit push, expecting to reach the top on Tuesday. Ruud wasn't feeling good enough for this last attempt. This morning his body said No, so he made the difficult but smart call to not pursue.
The team is safely back in base camp. No summit unfortunately. We turned around at 5500m. We climbed during the night to avoid the slushy snowpack of the day. As we climbed higher the wind got very cold and the snow conditions became worse. Even with many layers of thick mountain clothes we shivered a lot. Hopefully we can do another try. We learned a lot from this attempt so different tactics may help us the next time. Greetings from our base camp.
Because it is not only about climbing a mountain, guide Saleh is sharing some warming up techniques, maybe it also work with our cows ones;):
This is a traditional techniques to keep worm in mountains to burnt Yak dunks to make fire. As recently during rainy chill cold time in Kashqand peak Base camp. This is best activity and enviornmental friendly technique to keep worm instead of cutting forest trees to make fire. Yaks dried dunks cathes fire much as petrol . So this type of activity will help every climber and hiker in mountains of Pakistan
The first ascent of Kachqiant peak is Dutch!
From the team:
We still owe you an update about our final climbing days.
After the failed summit attempt on Kachqiant we went for two different mountains. Menno and Ruud went for the right ridge on the Chiantir Chish (c. 6200m). They packed a tent and food for 4 days. On a height of 5800m altitude they decided to retreat. The rock was very poor and there were a lot of wet snow avalanches. Luckily they enjoyed their onsight mountaineering adventure a lot. They had a very good view over the surrounding mountains and enjoyed the whole trip.
Danny and Bas went for a final try on the Kachqiant. Regaining the previous highpoint (5450m) proved difficult again, but this time there was no wind. An extra camp, lots of food and thick down jackets were part of the new tactic. On 2.30am they left the tent at 5500m. The snow was immediately very powdery and unconsolidated. Unfortunately it wouldn't improve during the rest of the climb. A lot of exhausting snow wading followed, sometimes layered above bullet hard black ice. They were also a couple of 70 degree ice pitches. The final summit ridge was long but less steep. On 4 pm they reached the summit. What a happy moment! The sat phone gps was indicating a height of 5985m, although 3 maps report a height above 6000m. They descended with abalakovs and arrived at the tent at 1am, completely exhausted. The next day they descended the tricky ridge to 5000m. After some sleep only the final walk to 3600m remained. It felt very good to come back in base camp.
Now, a few days later, we are in Gilgit. Tomorrow we will start the drive to Islamabad.
- Below pics of the attempt of Ruud & Menno -