trekking the Baltoro Getting There The People The Panorama The Mountains Getting Back September 11, 2001

Let us introduce you to some of the people we met while in Pakistan.

The trekking group at K2These are the westerners in our trekking group. From the left: Natasha, Mark, Brenda, Fazal (the Pakistani guide), Jack, Dale and Pat.

Behind us is a spectacular view of K2 from Concordia. To the left of K2 is the much smaller peak Angelus.

Read more about trekking and Pakistan with Concordia Expeditions

Askole kidsWe saw these little boys in the tiny village of Askole, an hour from the end of the road and a full day's jeep drive from a real town. This town had a strong Tibetan influence, which you may notice in the clothing of the youngest child (in the arms of the oldest).

Unlike most of the children we saw, they were a little dirty and unkempt. Most of the people we saw were neat and well groomed, despite their living conditions. Without exception, the children were smiling.

Men in tea shopThe cook and waiter in a small roadside cafe on the jeep road. The two squatting men are making chapatis, a tortilla-like flat bread which is a dietary staple.

The other three are just hanging out having some tea. All were very happy to have their picture taken.

Kids on roadsideThese two little girls and boy were in one of the villages along the KKH. The clothing on the girl to the left is the frillier, ruffled kind worn by the youngest girls. The girl in the gold is a bit unusual in that she does not have a dupatta or head scarf.

Girl at tire shopThis girl is typically dressed for girls and women in a very colorful shalwar kameez and dupatta. Her shy smile was also typical - foreigners are still foreign in Pakistan.

She is leaning against a pile of tires, the "sign" for her father's tire shop along the KKH.

Porter restingThis is one of our porters taking a break. He wears this shalwar kameez every day in sun, rain or snow.

Whenever the porters stop, they squat like this, sometimes for a very long time. Westerners do not find this position as comfortable.

Young porterThis young porter was probably still a student, on a summer trip to see the mountains.

He is wearing the typical trekking outfit, including the rubber shoes they are issued at the beginning of the trek.

Imagine walking on the roughest trail you have ever been on with these crummy rubber shoes that do not even have real laces.

Imagine also that you are carrying 65 pounds of supplies! And - that you are the size of Brenda, or smaller!

 

Another of our photogenic porters in the beautiful evening light at Concordia. This one is gazing at Brenda, so she gazed back a bit through the camera with his permission.

While they were never offensive about it, the porters seemed to find the triple combination of Westerner, female, and blond almost irresistible. Most Pakistani men still do not have much social contact with women other than their mother, sisters and wife. It was as if they were watching TV and Brenda had the fun experience of feeling like a super model for three weeks!

Notice his shoes : he is lucky to have shoes like this instead of the regular rubber issue.

Three of our older porters in Askole at the start of the trek. The man in the white head scarf was 65 years old and carried the live chickens in a crate strapped to his pack frame.
The porters, most of them Baltis from the Baltistan region, differed from most westerners in another way - they were extraordinarily cheerful! This one stopped along the way to sing. They frequently sang in the evening and upon rising, even in the snow storm.

At the beginning of the trek, we had 52 porters and 6 other staff for 6 clients. Every few days, as we used up supplies, a few "extra" porters would be released back to Thongol - a long walk.

This is the core group of 20 porters plus 6 kitchen and guide staff who stayed with us through the whole trek. Behind them is Broad Peak, another 8,000m, from Concordia.

Selecting the goatsHere is John, the assistant guide, selecting goats for the group. He purchased two, one for the porters and the other for the trekkers.

The goats were sacrificed at Paiyu camp to ensure good luck on the trek.

These are the porter backpacks with lightly padded shoulder straps, hard wood or metal backboards, and no waist belt.

These guys are really tough (an understatement!)

Urdukas camp with the famous Nameless tower in back, with the longest granite face in the world. Our group and another group are organizing loads and drying out after the snows higher up. Some tent sites are small flat areas cleared from among the jumbled rocks on the glacial ice.



Getting There | The People | The Panorama | The Mountains | Getting Back | September 11, 2001