Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Base Camp

Sept 2nd

Another early start at 5am but this time the team were totally psyched because we knew by the end of the day we would finally have reached Base Camp and be close to our objective – Trango Tower ! We would not be disappointed even after waiting over 8 months for this day.

I had managed to collect some ice off the glacier as we apparoacged our camp last night. This i put straight into my freezer back to keep my insulin supplies cool. Insulin needs to be kept at fridge température and the +35C conditions we had been experiencing over the last few days had been freaking me out. But as we started the last day to base camp i felt much beter.

Lunch stop was a lovely rocky camp High above the main Baltor Glacier after a walk through juniper trèes, the smell of which reminded Pierre and I of Corsica.

A steep uphill hike folowed and suddenly we were on the edge of the Trango Glacier. I started getting my usual BC urge and legged it across this famous river of ice with views of Trango Tower getting stronger and larger with every step. Just as we left the glacier we were suddenly in front of our access gully, the top of which is 4800m …….there it was – Trango Tower !

5 minutes later and there was Base Camp, a beautiful setting right by  a calm glacial lake with smooth granite slabs creating an impressive back wall.

Stunning views surounded us – Uli Biaho, Great Trango, Trango Monk – walls and walls and walls of grey/orange granite. A rock climber nirvana – and our home for the next 4 weeks !

We paid and tipped the porters leaving them with a rousing chorus of Frere Jacques led by Pierre, our French Doctor. We pitched our tents and started sorting gear, only to be rudely interupted by an aweful sight – to celerbrate our arrival our Pakistan guides said that it was tradition to slaughter a goat. Our two hairy friends who had accompanied us since Skardu were split up and one was led away to killing rock. The goat was quickly sliced and diced but we were all saddened to learn a very young live kid was found inside. It is a very différant life in Pakistan and even harder in this land of rock and ice.

After our hearty goat dinner we packed our bags for tomorows carry to Advance Base on Trango and crashed out around 10pm – those who needed it full of pain killers to stop the inévitable haedaches –we were now living at 4,000m.


Sept 3rd

Another early start at 6am– breakfast of chappattis,  omlettes, and porridge all washed down with galons of milky tea, we were off by 6.30am

 The approach gully to Trango is pretty legendary- surounded by huge towering walls and capped wih hanging séracs – large lumps of ice that can fall at any time we ascended with caution. Around 9am a huge CRACK had us all scurying for cover as a big lump from high up on the NW face of Great Trango. I thought my number was up but in an instant realised that the few tons of snow and ice that was falling seemingly straight towrds us was dropping harmlessly into a side gully. We continued on ……. Cautiously !

We reached ABC – a huge boulder –around midday and then a really hard pullup to our final destination for today – a rock block at 5,000m just underneath the col that was the start of the technical climbing. We were all feeling the altitude by now acentuated by the fierce sunlight. It was time to drop our gear and descend to BC. 


vi said...


Ravie d'avoir de vos news et que vous êtes bien installé au base camp. la vue est fantastique, ce n'est pas tous les jours que l'on voit des 6000 mètres dans ces wc, profitez-en bien.
Bonne acclimatation à tous et grosses bises à....

christine said...

salut denis et a toute l'équipe

super de pouvoir vous suivre au jour le jour. On a l'impression de faire parti du voyage.
bon courage

François ROY said...

Salut Denis

Bravo,merci pour la com et pour les belles photos,bon courage à toute l'équipe pour la suite de l'expé.


julie said...

salut Pierre
C'est génial de pouvoir vous suivre jours aprés jours...
Les paysages sont splendides!
Bon courage a tous pour la suite.

Boyan said...

Hi guys!! Welcome to the BC! Great that you already climbed up to is always easy in the beginning..take a short rest and feel the mountain! Karakorum is an amazing mountain! Jerry, my humalog and NPH supplies have always suffered these temperature changes (+35 to -2). The minimum temp before you can see crystals in the liquid is ca. -5C. Do not worry, for 4 weeks the insulin will survive for sure! Take care and GOOD LUCK!!

Boyan Petrov

VANINA said...

Cher Papa Pierre.
Je viens de terminer ma semaine à l'école et tout s'est bien passé. Demain j'invite Charlotte à venir jouer. Ma maîtresse est très gentille. J'ai vu que tu vas bien. As-tu reçu le mail de Maman? Je t'embrasse très fort. VANINA