Slowly, Slowly (What's Urdu for That?)... Concordia, Pakistan

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August 14th 2019
Published: November 24th 2019
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Departing Goro IDeparting Goro IDeparting Goro I

Beautiful light and cloud at play
Sleeping at: CONCORDIA!!!!

Sleeping Altitude: 4590m

Trekking Distance: 21.8 km


06:30 departure in noticeably cooler conditions, grey sky. We're putting in another big day to make up time and will reach Concordia this afternoon- this is a major milestone and the most scenic of all of the campsites to date. The morning is dominated by glacier moraine and ice, the afternoon- more moraine and ice, some very speccy ice formations and some small flowing glacial streams to cross. It isn't as difficult as previous days despite the consistent altitude gains and we make good time. Lunch is at 10:50 and we are actually in camp by 13:40, so 7 hours including lunch. Coming into Concordia is exciting, I'm really pleased to have made it as there have been moments of real doubt. All of us have now reached "The Throne Room Of The Gods", as Concordia is described. It doesn't disappoint!!!!! We are absolutely surrounded- Mitre Peak (6030m) to the right, Golden Throne (Baltoro Kangri) (7312m) next to it and the Gasherbrum Group is in front (Gen has claimed one of them as his own- I think he has nabbed a newly named Gen 6). Broad
Glacier Trekking Glacier Trekking Glacier Trekking

Continuing up the Baltoro
Peak (8050m) is to the left and there's K2 (8611m) behind the Godwin Austen Glacier. Well, it's supposed to be there! It is completely shrouded in low cloud when we arrive. We have 2 nights here so SHOULD get a look at it at some point (fingers crossed).

After a bit of a break some of us go to the ice hill about a 10 minute walk from camp. The crampons that have been carted all the way from Skardu need to be tested out in anticipation of the Gondogoro La crossing. I've only ever used mini spikes (in Nepal) and have no mountaineering experience at all (which adds to my apprehension) but our group is an incredibly supportive one and encourages me no end. I had been thinking that maybe I should stop at Concordia and turn around with Mary (I had kept that thought to myself) but having gotten here I've been convinced that I can do it, sooooo.... crampon practice it is. We meet up with some of the Irish group on their way back from practice- good to see them again.

Back to the crampons... Anthony is really experienced, having done tons of extreme
Super Large Ice TowersSuper Large Ice TowersSuper Large Ice Towers

Lynton is 180cm- this one is at least 6 Lyntons tall
climbing all over the world, and declares the crampons supplied by Snowland are completely useless to the point of dangerous. It seems that the size supplied is too big and my boots aren't crampon compatible so he and Fernando (also super experienced) work on binding them to my boots as best as they can with what we have available. I head up the big ice hill tentatively and it feels OK, I think I can do this!!, coming down is another matter as one of my boots slips out of the crampon... Anthony and Fernando try again to make them more secure. Lynton and Danny have also hired their crampons, with bigger feet they are having a bit more success with them. Danny is a natural, he's off and up the hill in a flash. Chisato, too, is a powerhouse up there (she is a powerhouse on all terrains actually and is one of the frontrunners in the group).

At dinner we discuss tomorrow's plans for our rest and acclimatisation day, we will trek to Broad Peak Base Camp. The Irish group were to be trekking out to K2 basecamp and overnighting but with the weather conditions and the
fact that half of the group have gastro they have shelved the idea (I've done a tent call to dispense wisdom and medication advice as requested). Juma thinks we should make Broad Peak without too much trouble. Really chilly tonight, as well as being camped on slippery ice, the dining tent is on even more uneven ice- the chairs and tables are all a bit precarious. We manage .... dinner is awesome- massive plate of spaghetti carbonara. We get a huge treat for dessert- a cake! A huge, delicious, decorated cake for Pakistan Independence day. The flags come out and we play Zindabad Pakistan on my phone - added to my Spotify playlist when I was back in Lahore after the border ceremony. It's a total earworm but will stay on my list as a reminder!

The other big treat for the night is a frozen solid conglomeration of Whittakers chocolate peanut and coconut slices... Here's the story- I had bought 10 of them from home thinking I'd squirrel them away and have 1 a day (all to my greedy self!!) on the trek. Put them all into a ziploc bag with some packs of tissues, etc and
put them into my trek bag. Well... trek day 1- too hot for chocolate so left them in the trek bag only to find that they had all pretty much exploded out of their packages and were in a chocolatey, gooey mess. Double ziploc bagged for day 2, day 3 still too melted, day 4 they had solidified a bit so i extracted out the tissue packs. By day 5 I couldn't look at them but trek day 6 (today) was cause for celebration and in the state they were in they were perfect for sharing- as in peel back the ziploc bags, peel of individual packaging and sort of cut them up into manageable chunks. Despite their journey and end state they were pretty damn delicious! By now it's like 21:30 but we're all feeling pretty upbeat (sugar high) to be here- a late night!! Go off in pairs to the loo- it's a minefield of human waste, torches at the ready so as not to step in it. Yuck.

The Pakistani crew celebrate into the night with music and dancing (and left over cake).

So glad to be here.

Additional photos below
Photos: 33, Displayed: 26


Permanent Army CampPermanent Army Camp
Permanent Army Camp

I'm not sure where we passed Goro II
Getting CloserGetting Closer
Getting Closer

Sense of elation building!

Snack TimeSnack Time
Snack Time

Anthony (L), Danny (R)

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