Wednesday 7 September 2011

Thinking of going to the Karakoram?

I've had a couple of emails over the last few weeks asking me how to go about organising a mountaineering trip to the Karakoram or Broad Peak and who we used to organise logistics/permits etc in Pakistan.

Firstly, I'm happy to answer questions if I have time, feel free to email:

If you're looking for a recommendation of an operator I'd highly recommend the operator we used: Lela Peak Expeditions

Email address:

Monday 8 August 2011

2 summits, 60 toes and 60 fingers

2 summits, 60 toes, 60 fingers (just) and heaps of photographs and memories. We're all recovering with respective families, wives, girlfriends and catching up on the monstrous email inboxes.

We arrived back late on Thursday afternoon into Manchester and went straight to a restaurant in Chorlton to fulfil some of the hunger cravings... red wine, mozzarella, duck salad and so on and so forth.

A big thank you to those of you that supported us whilst we were away either through email, text, blog comments or by pledging money to the DEC floods appeal. It was great to hear from you, even though in many cases we were unable to reply.

We saw much of the flood devastation in a number of valleys and support is very much needed for the region. If you still want to donate you can do here:

Who knows what next on the agenda, the email has already had its first suggestion for 2013...

Here's a tabloid style article about us that made it into the local Islamabad paper (Scott says he didn't say half of it):

And finally, the team would also like to pay its respects to Jeff (Chung Wai Hung from Hong Kong) who sadly died in a fall we witnessed from Base Camp on the 25th July. Our thoughts are with the rest of his team, his friends and his family. As we all said on the day: nobody deserves to die following our dreams...

Monday 1 August 2011

Back in Skardu and on the way home

It's been all quiet on the communication front lately, mainly because we've had a manic few days getting out of the Baltoro.


With the weather looking only so so for any summit attempts in the near future and the already succesful summits in the team we took the deicision to leave BC early.  There is only a small Taiwanese team and some Iranians attempting a new route left and breaking a new trail would be very difficult with only a few people, following the heavy snows we had towards the end of the month.  We managed to get a flight change to the 4th of August however this left us 5 days to get from BC to Islamabad.


Under normal conditions we would have been able to get out of the gondogoro la pass in 2-3 days however the weather prevented us going over the pass so we had to make to decision to "run" down the Baltoro in 3 days.  So what took 7 days on the way up has taken 3 on the way down.  Some sore feet, broken shoes, mardy mules and heavy packs, but we made it down.  It felt a bit like doing 3 marathons in 3 days, which in effect it probably roughly was in distance terms.


We're now in Skardu, having showered for the first time in a month and shaved the ridiculous beards off.  Now time to leave on the bus back down the KKH as there were no available seats on the flight back.  Fingers crossed for a better journey back than the 40 hours up.


Then off to the Marriot for a beer then home…  See you all in 4 days!

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Summit Success

Congratulations to Scott and Koldo (and the few others) who sumitted yesterday.

Sunday 24 July 2011

Celebrating the Aga Kahn's birthday

Although this was about a week ago, Team Taiwan just produced this little beauty of Rob having a dance for the Aga Kahn's birthday.


No beer or drugs involved just altitude induced hypoxia.


We're all chipping in for dancing lessons before his big day with Tracy next year.



Camp 3 tagged and a couple of summits

A small break in the weather saw JR, Duncan and Scott make it to camp 3 (7100m), Rob and Mason turned around about halfway up from camp 3.  An amazing effort from Mason so far who has nearly broken 7000m having only been to 3000m before this trip!


On 21st/22nd a Russian and French summited the main peak and two catalans also summited in a round trip of 30 hours from camp 3.  Given the high winds this is a very strong effort and the first summits of the year.  They're still up on the mountain so we're not aware of how they are.  Two are still up there as far as we know, hopefully they'll be seen descending soon but this will mean 2 days above camp 3 in high winds.


There's a lot of tough decisions going on as the weather forecasts are varied and the windspeeds are still high.  The Canadaian team is going for an attempt on the 25th along with Koldo from our team.  Scott and Duncan have waited at camp 2 hoping to go for a summit attempt with them.  They sound in good spirits and we’re hoping for the best for them but it will be a tough time staying above 6000m for 4 days.  Let's hope the forecaasts come in and the winds drop low enough for an easier summit than those previously.


JR descended from camp 3 to base camp yesterday with some frostnip to two fingers in his left hand (but nothing serious) and is waiting for another window later in the month to potentially go up with Rob, Mason and the Taiwan team should the weather allow it.  They are all now well acclimatized to have a strong attempt if the weather breaks.


Good luck to Scott and Duncan and everyone else on the mountain, fingers crossed for a break in the weather, successful summits and safe descents.

Thursday 21 July 2011

Weather grrrr...

How things can change in a few days…


The forecast was looking good for a summit window on the 26th / 27th and the team are lined up to be as acclimatized as they can be. Yesterday we received news that it had all changed due to movements in the subtropical Jetstream. We all hoped this would just be a one off rotten forecast and predictions / the models would come good again today, however it has just confirmed that this window has closed.


As time for most teams is running out everyone has been buzzing around base camp all day comparing weather forecasts and trying to come up with a strategy for an attempt. All forecasts seem to show the same uncertainty for a window… The main consensus at the moment is to try on the 24th when winds are looking the lowest.


Tonight the guys are sleeping at camp 2 and hoping to reach camp 3 early in the morning to access conditions. A team of 8 / 10 Spanish are due to start an attempt from camp 3 later this evening so we plan on getting some feedback on conditions from their experience.


So in brief the weather looks windy until the 25th with a drop on the 24th then precipitation is due on the 26th which would close our chances. Let's hope they have it wrong and some more opportunity's appear!!!


Nobody has the runs at the moment!!! So I have attached a picture of our toilet so we don’t forget what it looks like.  


Hope you are all well back home and the weather is better there.


PS The 40 pints of I.P.A. (Indian Pale Ale) is brewing very well and expected to be ready in 3 days.