Our journey to K2 has begun in earnest. We left Skardu somewhat later than anticipated as we needed to wait for our Pakistani Liaison Officer, a member of the military who will stay with us throughout our expedition. Once on the road we made good time until, well the video tells it all.
The road starts off paved then becomes smooth dirt, then lose gravel and then a muddy trail barely dug into the side of steep mountain sides, thus the problem.
The first was a wash out area from a stream high on a hillside, it washed out the “road” creating a primordial ooze of mud that literally sucked our Toyota FJ Cruisers into the abyss. The good news was that we traveled in a caravan, the bad news was the entire caravan got stuck. But through human power, one by one each FJ was rescued to the cheers of the drivers, riders and locals who lendt a helpful hand.
Next was a landslide on an extremely narrow road, also carved into a steep hillside. This obstacle brought us to a total halt with most everyone standing around staring at rocks falling towards us. Finally a few courageous souls, led by our fearless leader Garrett, took a few shovels to clear the debris and each FJ made a heretic run under the potential stone burial.
Finally, there was the bridge that was not. A 300’ span across the raging river, it had lost a few planks, well actually a lot of planks, so many in fact that there was no bridge. But the FJ drivers came prepared with new wood slats that served the purpose so this delay was not too long.
As we made our way from Skardu to Askole, I was pleased to see so many children in school uniforms on the roads. Many of the students were girls. As is well known, if you want to lead a change, start by educating the girls.
In this vein, Alzheimer’s impact on women is beyond understanding. Women in their 60s twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease over the rest of their lives as they are breast cancer. We must find a cure – please donate today.
Every place we stopped we were greeted with smiles. I felt very safe along our journey.
We finally arrived in Askole around 9pm, taking a full 11 hours instead of the normal 7. Tired, we piled into tents for a short night before getting up at 5am for the walk to our first night on the first day of our trek to K2.
We made the trek to Jhola at about 10,500’ in 6 hours, a bit shorter than expected. We were rewarded today with a heavy morning rain changing to drizzle but no one complained as it was better then a scorching sun at this altitude. More reports and videos soon 🙂
So, on our way to K2! We are having fun and everyone is doing well.
Memories are Everything