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
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
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.
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 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.
is one of our porters taking a break. He wears this shalwar kameez every day in sun, rain
Whenever the porters stop, they squat like
this, sometimes for a very long time. Westerners do not find this position
young porter was probably still a student, on a summer trip to see the
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
are the porter backpacks with lightly padded shoulder straps, hard wood
or metal backboards, and no waist belt.
These guys are really tough (an
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