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Kim Brown
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Kim Brown
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PostSat Sep 11, 2021 11:32 am 
Simply wonderful. I read every word! Had me on the edge of my seat, to be honest. I'm glad the rest of your party were able to join you later. Wonderful, wonderful write-up.

"..living on the east side of the Sierra world be ideal - except for harsher winters and the chance of apocalyptic fires burning the whole area." Bosterson, NWHiker's marketing expert

GaliWalker
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GaliWalker
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PostSat Sep 11, 2021 12:05 pm 
Thanks, Kim! I wasnít sure if people would take the time to go through the words, so your comment is extremely welcome. smile.gif

'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!" Photography: flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani
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Matt
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PostSat Sep 11, 2021 12:58 pm 
Wow, GaliWalker, some amazing places you visited, and great photos.

ďAs beacons mountains burned at evening.Ē J.R.R. Tolkien

GaliWalker
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Kim Brown
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Kim Brown
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PostSat Sep 11, 2021 8:57 pm 
GaliWalker wrote:
Thanks, Kim! I wasnít sure if people would take the time to go through the words, so your comment is extremely welcome. smile.gif
Yup, the writing is great. Well- organized, clear, and definitely adds to the beauty of the photos!

"..living on the east side of the Sierra world be ideal - except for harsher winters and the chance of apocalyptic fires burning the whole area." Bosterson, NWHiker's marketing expert
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GaliWalker
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PostWed Oct 06, 2021 11:33 am 
Over the past few weeks, I've been periodically going over my set of unprocessed photos, which had missed the first cut. Here are some of them that I've done since the original trip report(s):
Bakhor Das Peak
Bakhor Das Peak
Bakhor Das Peak
Bakhor Das Peak
Trango Towers
Trango Towers
Trango Towers
Trango Towers
Trango Towers
Trango Towers
Cathedral and Trango Towers
Cathedral and Trango Towers
Trango Towers
Trango Towers
Trango Towers
Trango Towers
Uli Biaho Tower
Uli Biaho Tower
Gasherbrum IV by moonlight
Gasherbrum IV by moonlight
Masherbrum
Masherbrum
Bial Peak
Bial Peak
Concordia and Gasherbrum IV
Concordia and Gasherbrum IV
K2
K2
K2 from the Godwin Austin Glacier
K2 from the Godwin Austin Glacier
Mitre Peak from the Godwin Austin Glacier
Mitre Peak from the Godwin Austin Glacier
Laila Peak
Laila Peak
Laila Peak
Laila Peak

'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!" Photography: flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani

Slim, Waterman, fyodorova, Alpine Pedestrian, reststep  Josh Lewis
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fyodorova
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PostSat Oct 09, 2021 2:16 pm 
Wonderful story and photos. Your photos and words really evoke the drama of this part of the world. It's a region I'm unlikely to visit - the closest thing I have done is the Khan Tengri glacier trek in Kyrgyzstan and I have to say the stark landscape was just a little too cold and nasty for my liking. My husband did the same trek over Gondogoro La in 2004, before we met. We read this trip report together and it brought back a lot of memories for him. His group encountered some of the same obstacles as yours: hikers with altitude sickness and a cancelled flight from Skardu. He thinks there was more snow on the backside of Masherbrum than what you saw. He had perfectly clear weather around the Trango Towers but had to hunker down on Gondogoro La waiting for a snowstorm to pass. Unlike you, he went with his then-girlfriend, who broke with him halfway through the trek. He thinks one of the running jumps across a stream was the last time she spoke to him lol.gif There is a happy ending to this story; after the breakup my now-husband moved into a shared house with an old friend of his, which eventually led to our meeting. Thanks again for sharing your experiences in this part of the world that most of us will never visit.

GaliWalker
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GaliWalker
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PostMon Oct 11, 2021 6:02 am 
fyodorova wrote:
Unlike you, he went with his then-girlfriend, who broke with him halfway through the trek. He thinks one of the running jumps across a stream was the last time she spoke to him† lol.gif There is a happy ending to this story; after the breakup my now-husband moved into a shared house with an old friend of his, which eventually led to our meeting.
Yeah, both parties have to be committed for this trip, so itís probably a good way to test drive ones relationship before you tie the knot for good. winksmile.gif Good news for you! up.gif My feeling is that the stress level is high enough on this trip that by the second or third day you donít want to bother with being unnecessarily polite, as you ordinarily would. Every book on K2 climbs that Iíve read seems to have some friction amongst party members. Obviously, here we arenít climbing a mountain, but stillÖ

'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!" Photography: flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani
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Stefan
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PostMon Oct 11, 2021 12:58 pm 
That is awesome! I have done that.....for all those others that have not been in there in the Karakorum....this is a tough trek. Not easy! Doable....just not easy. And then, when you come back and see the "mountains" of Washington....you will now consider the Washington mountains to be hills. Beautiful stuff Galiwalker!

Art is an adventure.

GaliWalker
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resilient
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PostMon Oct 11, 2021 9:51 pm 
Thank you so much Galiwalker for sharing your epic journey with us and not just this time around but also in 2016 and 2013 as well. Inspired by the magnificent landscape, I am toying with the idea of heading over there in the next year or two. A few questions if I may and when you get a chance, that might help me in making some decisions. 1. If you could recommend one trek would it be the one you did in 2013, the snow lake trek in 2016 or the Gondogoro La trek you did this time around? My preference would be to see as many 8000+m peaks as possible. 2. You mentioned safety was less of a concern this time around. With the situation in neighboring Afghanistan, do you think swat would become less safe to travel from now on? 3. You did the first trip in July and this one in Aug. Which month would you recommend to do a trip like this? 4. Are there any essential piece(s) of gear you would recommend traveling with that are not mentioned on Vertical Explorers website? You mentioned using a helmet, micro spikes and a harness..were these provided by VE or did you pack those in for yourself?

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GaliWalker
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PostTue Oct 12, 2021 6:13 am 
resilient wrote:
1. If you could recommend one trek would it be the one you did in 2013, the snow lake trek in 2016 or the Gondogoro La trek you did this time around? My preference would be to see as many 8000+m peaks as possible.
This trek - Concordia to K2 basecamp and over Gondogoro La - is the best of the three. It's got more variety, all of the 'big name' peaks, and plenty of challenges (if that's what you want). The peaks on my 2016 trek to Snow Lake - we were unable to cross the pass between the Biafo Glacier and the Hispar Glacier due to a huge crevasse that had opened up (although I was told on this trip that it had closed back up) - were equally amazing to look at, but they aren't 8,000m. Plus, I'd suggest the Baltoro Glacier over the Biafo for your first foray into the Karakorams, since the latter has many crevasses that you have to hurdle. And crossing Snow Lake is fraught with tension, since all of the crevasses are hidden under snow. Nanga Parbat, the world's 9th highest peak, which is part of the Himalayas and not the Karakorams, can be seen on the journey to Skardu (whether from the road or the air). That is common for all three trips.
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2. You mentioned safety was less of a concern this time around. With the situation in neighboring Afghanistan, do you think swat would become less safe to travel from now on?
The Pakistani Taliban are different from the ones in Afghanistan. They have their own agenda. Is there a danger of spillover? Sure, but I wouldn't know how to quantify it. You would have to ask your tour operator, or someone in Pakistan. For now, the Swat Valley was peaceful, and tourism was thriving. By the way, you may not go through the Swat Valley; you may travel through the Kaghan Valley instead (that's the way we went in 2016), which is potentially safer.
Quote:
3. You did the first trip in July and this one in Aug. Which month would you recommend to do a trip like this?
Mid-late July. Our group was the last one to make it over Gondogoro La (late August). The people responsible for fixing the ropes were going to take them down for the season after us.
Quote:
4. Are there any essential piece(s) of gear you would recommend traveling with that are not mentioned on Vertical Explorers website? You mentioned using a helmet, micro spikes and a harness..were these provided by VE or did you pack those in for yourself?
VE provided helmets and harnesses. I had taken my own microspikes, although VE would have provided these too. I would recommend taking your own microspikes with you from here; they're better made than the Chinese versions I saw. You won't need an ice axe in July/Aug. Other than that, here are some random pieces of advice:
  • The fitter you are the more you'll enjoy the trek. I was able to roam around camp every day, taking pictures and generally enjoying myself (which, incidentally, also helped in my acclimatization process). There were a few others who would retire to their tents, wiped out from the day or the altitude.
  • Don't try and go too fast, especially at the higher altitudes. Exertion leads to headaches. I confess, I was lucky to not be affected by the altitude that much, so I did not experience this, but that's what some others were complaining about.
  • The advice I was given was not to sleep for 4hrs upon reaching your destination. When you sleep, your body reverts to the last altitude it was used to.
  • Stay hydrated!
  • To avoid stomach problems I did not eat anything uncooked, so no salads or un-boiled/non-bottled water. Despite this I carried two courses of antibiotics with me: one for any gastrointestinal issues and one general. Thankfully, I did not need either.
  • If you're given a choice by your tour company, select the thickest mattress possible! The glacier can be cold at night and its surface is covered with rocks and scree.

'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!" Photography: flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani

resilient
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ibnbatoot
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PostFri Nov 12, 2021 11:53 pm 
Wow - a great read! Galiwalker, thanks for this highly informative, entertaining trip report! I am in the initial stages of planning K2 trek. I am a little bit confused, which trek route you completed with Vertical Explorers? https://vepakistan.com/tour/k2-base-camp-gondogoro-la-trek/ or https://vepakistan.com/tour/grand-base-camps-trek/ Did you think it worth the effort and expense to see the the Grand Base Camp or only K2 base camp https://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8006605 thanks

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timberghost
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PostWed Nov 17, 2021 7:02 am 
great write up

GaliWalker
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inquest
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PostTue Feb 08, 2022 10:34 pm 
Wow! Thanks so much for this report and the pictures. I've wanted to visit K2 and Pakistan for a long time, but was put off by the logistics and security concerns. Maybe this will get me going!

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travelers
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PostFri Apr 22, 2022 6:05 pm 
Another interesting report. Thanks for this detailed report.Don't know if I'll ever get there, but trip reports such as this make nwhikers interesting & relevant.

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flwerhead
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PostSat Sep 10, 2022 11:54 pm 
your photos are fabulous, thanks for posting.

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