Tuesday, June 30, 2015


We had a nice rest day in the Skardu Valley yesterday and are preparing to head by jeep to our next stop Askole where we will begin our approx 80 mile trek in to base camp. Everyone is looking forward to actually getting on the trail. Most of the intestinal issues that many of us have been dealing with have subsided and seems like most everyone is feeling strong.

the beautiful Skardu Valley

More importantly the temperature is very cool which will be a God-send as many times this time of year teams can see  temperatures well into the 100's during the first part of the trek.
Our jeep ride today is approx 8 hours and will take us along the Braldu River towards the inner sanctum and doorway to the Karakoram Range

Monday, June 29, 2015

Karakoram Highway

After waiting for two days in Islamabad for a flight to Skardu our team opted for the two day journey on the infamous Karakoram highway. We boarded our bus at 2am Sunday morning and the adventure began!

The highway was built in the 1960's and is probably one of the most incredible feats of design and execution given its location and the constant changing landscape though which it winds. After a few hours we entered the canyon that winds along the Indus river and the real knuckle biting began. If the actual highway was not enough we were also aware that we were traveling through somewhat unstable territory politically even though we were assured that it was perfectly safe...I decided to go incognito just in case...

Apparently our driver thought he was in training for the Indy 500 and proceeded to make record time along our chosen route.... caffeine propelled him along..

After a few too many near misses I was voted to commandeer our own transportation and we found the perfect vehicle

A quick inspection showed it was deserted 

Like bees on honey we were on it!

After only 1/2 a mile we were pulled over at a check point by the colonel himself

He asked me to exit the vehicle slowly

We told him we are just trying to get to K2 base camp explaining our predicament... after exchanging a few pleasantries he bid us farewell 

The next guys were not so lucky...

We got a smaller sleeker ride and we were off again.

The rest of the drive was uneventful and we spent the night in Chilas right along the banks of the Indus. Today 10 hours further put us in Skardu

We will spend a rest day here tomorrow before taking an 8 hour jeep ride to Askole on Wed.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Islamabad cont.

Double click on photos to view larger versions.

Another day was spent catching up on sleep, eating and checking our gear for the climb. We had a nice tour of the city last night with stops at the Pakistan Monument in the middle of the city.

Ramadan is in full swing so we were about the only ones there which was very cool. Then we visited the largest mosque in the city that apparently holds 74k people inside... and another 200k outside...

 It was a beautiful place to see. Then it was time for another meal and we found a great local restaurant with a wonderful buffet... everyone packed it on Islamabad Style!
Tom goes big at the buffet!
There was also the opportunity to try on some of the local headwear... Mirza and I were the male models!
There was no flight this am to Skardu due to bad weather.. we are crossing our fingers that we can get a flight this afternoon or tomorrow to avoid the 30 hour trip by bus on the Karakoram Highway...Inshala (God willing) we will get a flight!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2015


After a 15+ hour flight to Dubai, 7 hour layover and a short 2 and 1/2 hour flight from Dubai to Islamabad we arrived in Pakistan. I was on the same flight from Dubai as Vanessa O'Brien one of our team members so we shared the fun of finding all of our bags  and getting through the airport which was relatively smooth.

We were met by Mirza Ali our Pakistani organizer and climber who will be with us all the way and our bags were promptly loaded ....Pakistan style!

Islamabad is a very interesting place. I saw almost no trash and the the city had much more greenery than I expected. The are some great vehicles here that put Pimp My Ride to shame!

There are beautiful hills to the West and we took a wonderful hike for an hour up to the top of one of the pine covered hills

and had dinner at a restaurant overlooking the entire city. The food was absolutely AMAZING and I must say I felt extremely lucky to be in such a beautiful place. The people here are incredibly welcoming and have an incredible calmness about them.

We have a free day in Islamabad today and then tomorrow we fly (assuming the weather cooperates) over the Himalayas to Skardu in the North. We will fly right over Nanga Parbat which should be incredible!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Patience greasshopper

As I went online this am I was amazed at all of the climbers already en route to K2 from all reaches of the globe. Some are already half way in to base camp, some are on connecting flights from Islamabad to Skardu or waiting and praying for this flight to not be delayed due to weather. Some are packing and starting their trek today... and there are many still waiting to embark. As I sit here at home enjoying my father's day watching my boys gear up to go surfing I can't help but feel antsy to get this journey started and yet I still have two days until departure. But those two days will provide rest, relaxation, sleep, food, time with family and final preparation time all of which will be hard or impossible to come by starting very soon. I must remember to be patient, to be humble, to be thankful for all that I have and all that is coming... patience grasshopper