Here are a few of the mountains we met along the way.
This is a view up the Baltoro glacier, with our first sight of the famous Trango tower group on the left. The Baltoro is the flat grey jumble in the center right. Several porters are just visible on the trail along the river.
The dark green vertical strip on the left are the trees of Paiyu camp, the last we would see for days. It was also the last camp off the glacier. We had a full rest day here is this lovely, shaded place and we used it to explore some of the nearby terrain, including an area much like the slot canyons of Utah.
The trek schedule going in allowed for acclimatization to the altitude, very necessary as we went to 17,000 feet. We never really felt the altitude since we had been able to train at up to 14,000 ft here at home. All of the other clients were from sea level and had to be much tougher than we did.
The full moon, Paiyu (21,654'), Uli Biaho (19,957') and Mark (5.7') all pose together near Urdukas (split boulder) camp.
The recent snow fall has already melted off the glacier, but the peaks are still snowy.
Yet another unnamed peak along the Baltoro glacier. Here it has been freshly frosted with several feet of new snow.
In the lower 48, this big, rugged and scary looking peak would be a beacon for climbers. In the Karakoram, it barely makes it out of the "ridge" classification.
We approached Goro II camp (Rock II) in a howling snow squall, set up our tents in a flash, and burrowed in. Half an hour later the clouds began to clear.
The views became ever more stunning over the next hour as more and more peaks came out of the clouds. Then, a perfect sunset and a full moon ... Amazing!
Here Fazal, the guide, and the clients stand in awe before some unnamed peaks directly above our camp.
Another view from Goro II. The lovely spire-like summit of Masherbrum peak (far to the right on the skyline) captivated us for an hour as it played coy behind the clouds. It is one of the famous peaks in the area - 25,660 feet.
A lovely sunset view from Goro II. Paiyu is in the sun to the left.
In the shadows to the right is the striking dome of Uli Biaho.
Brenda's favorite peak, the very picturesque Mustagh Tower. At 23,860 feet it rises 10,000 (TEN thousand!) feet above the Baltoro glacier.
26,000 foot Gasherbrum IV, an even more famous peak, guards the head of the valley just up from Goro II. Pat and Natasha ascend a ridge on the Baltoro glacier at the lower left.
We watched G-4 getting larger and larger over several days as we walked up the Baltoro.
Our camp at Concordia with Golden Throne (23,983') in the background. Concordia is the place where several huge glaciers join to become the Baltoro.
In the soft light at sunset, this peak did look like a huge armchair.
K2 (at sunrise) straddles the head of the Godwin-Austen glacier feeding into Concordia. This is the second highest mountain in the world at 28,741 feet. It towered nearly 14,000 feet above us at Concordia. The back side of K2 is in China.
K2 is a much more technical and difficult mountain than Everest. More people have died on this mountain than have summited. It is notorious for bad weather, avalanches, rockfall, and high winds. The main route, named Abruzzi ridge, goes along the right skyline. We had a ridiculously unlikely two full days of perfect weather and a full moon - the views were unparalleled all day and night.
This is part of 25,110' Chogolisa (Bride peak) at sunset, Mark's favorite mountain.
It consists of a very long knife-edged, corniced ridgeline. One of the most famous mountain climbers, Herman Buhl died on this ridgeline. He apparently fell through one of the cornices, and tumbled thousands of feet to the base of the mountain. His body was never found.
During the night we camped near it, we heard countless avalanches rumbling for many long minutes each down the side. The audible length of each slide emphasized just how big these peaks are. We were well away from the base where huge piles of avalanche debris collected.