Tuesday 30 July 2013

Base camp!

It is great to eventually be at our our base camp in the Charakusa valley. I think it is easily the most beautiful base camp I have ever stayed at. Situated on the moraine alongside the Charakusa glacier below K7 and directly across from K6, there’s no shortage of amazing views. It’s just a massive play ground for alpinists and rock climbers, amazing!
Base camp in the Charakusa Valley - a room with a view!

The journey from Skardu to base camp was fairly uneventful. The jeep ride up to Hushe first along the Karakoram High Way and then up the Hushe valley was bumpy and dusty, but went by fairly quickly. Once in Hushe we sorted all the gear into 25kg loads for the porters to set off with the next day. The locals in Hushe were all so welcoming and friendly towards us. It is a real shame to hear how few expeditions and trekking groups have passed through this year since the terrible attack at Nanga Parbat and everyone is keen to assure us of our safety in this valley. It really is having a big effect on the local communities and a reason why most of the village men turned up hoping to be chosen as porters to take us into base camp.

The view down the Hushe Valley and the wheat fields
One of the many bridges we crossed on the drive up to Hushe
The local kids muck in to help unload the jeeps

The two day trek from Hushe with an overnight stop at Saicho was so hot, but a 4.45am start yesterday got us to base camp before the worst of the heat and let the porters easily get back to Hushe that day. It is the middle of Ramadan at the moment so everyone is fasting - no food or drink between sun up and sun down. I am truly amazed by how the porters managed to carry the loads through the heat with no water, it certainly made me and Jon feel a bit awkward stopping for drinks and eating around them.

Porters heading out of Hushe with Mashabrum in front
Which way are we off to Jon?
The porters heading up to Base Camp on the second day
Walking alongside the Charakusa glacier (photo – Jon Griffith)
Ali, one of our cooks, chilling with the porters before they head back to Hushe
Jon taking a chilly dip in a glacier pool below K6, yes it was very cold!!

Today we headed up the Charakusa glacier to have a look at Link Sar, there’s no need to go anywhere to look at K6 as it dominates the view from base camp. Although you can’t get to see much of Link Sar, it was good to have a look around and try to take it all in, it really is an impressive valley with massive granite pillars and big alpine faces everywhere, so much to do! Jon thinks everything is a lot drier than last year which is a bit of a shame, but nothing to worry about and it is great not having to suss out the approaches with Jon’s knowledge from last year. The only annoying thing is we seem to have arrived towards the end of a really good weather window, but hopefully it will last a couple more days to allow us to get out and start the acclimatization over the next few days.

Jon dwarfed by the massive north face of K6
At the head of the Charakusa glacier trying to get a view of the summit of Link Sar, its somewhere back there! (photo – Jon Griffith)

1 comment:

  1. Great photos, They made me quite whistfull.
    I know some of the people in them and I have camped in the Charakusa. Hope your having an good trip may your granite be sound.