Saturday, November 17, 2007

Rakaposhi Base Camp

We got a minibus from Gilgit to Mirapin with Kevin, a bloke we met at Madina Guesthouse. Kevin was from Shefield and emigrated to Canberra, Australia, six years ago and has developed the strangest ozzie cum Yorkshire accent. Kevin loves Pakistan, “It’s my favourite country” and has been here six times. Last time he was here he climbed up to Rakaposhi base camp with his mountain bike then whizzed down at break neck speed. This year he’d been up two times already, without bike, but the weather wasn’t clear. He’d brought all the gear, snow shoes, tent, cooker… “I’ll give it one more go”.

We stayed at Diran Guest house, a beautiful place with a stunning orchard garden. We had an early breakfast the next day and set off around 8am, ish. It was a good long days walk but we reached the grassy meadow of Tagaphari (3261m) by around 3pm.

There was a Kitchen tent at the top hosted by ‘Dali’, as David our friend from Spain dubbed him due to his curly tosh. Dali cooked us up some well needed Dal and Rice. We decided to stay the night and they pitched us up a small dome North Face tent. Kevin had his own gear and food as he was hoping to stay a few days. The only other people at the site were three Australian girls plus their guide, cook and porters.

We took a walk up the mountain bank opposite us for fine views of the meadow, glaciers and peaks. The glaciers from above look like a mountain range themselves, as if you were flying over. En route we befriended the camp goat. The goat thought it was a dog and followed our every step.

It got cold at night but we were pretty snug in our tent with all our clothes on and the thick sleeping bags we hired off Dali.

In the middle of the night, Kev said, from his tent, “are you awake, its been snowing, you’d best push the snow off your tent”, I pushed and tapped it off from the inside then went back to sleep. Later in the night the cook from the Ozzie camp came over and shook our tent. The next morning he was saying that he had been up making sure the snow was off all the tents as if it gets too thick you can suffocate from lack of oxygen in your tent!

It had snowed heavy in the night and the meadow was now thick with snow. It was going to be fun going anywhere. Kevin decided he better come back down with us as it would be difficult to go anywhere up there. We had breakfast then set off down, our goat following us all the way. It was a little tricky as the snow was quite thick, around 20cm, but we managed to find a path. Karen, white with fear, was dragged by Kevin and his Ice pick through the worst bits.

We stayed another night at the Diran indulging in their lovely roast potatoes. The next morning we got the bus north to Aliabad where we got a Suzuki shared taxi to Karimabad. Kevin headed back to Gilgit, but would be heading north later.

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