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Published: December 5th 2019
That Chinese Toilet Tent AgainSleeping at:
Actually, think it's a different groups - the Chinese were helicoptering out earlier
Khoburche Sleeping Altitude:
3830m Trekking Distance:
Unbelievable the difference a day makes. The sun is back out and it's looking like a beautiful day to be out there. Only 21 km to do today and we're losing significant altitude- piece of cake- hahahahahaha..... Feeling energised again. Breakfast is cornflakes and pancakes (!) and a never ending jar of nutella, there also seems to be a never ending assortment of lurid orangey-yellow tropical fruit jams but the pictures on the label always have a mango so they are off limits for me- although they would probably be ok, I suspect the fruit jams don't actually contain fruit. I secrete away a pancake into my lunch size dry bag-still in the habit of packing half of my breakfast away for later. Gulp down 2 cups of Spanish instant coffee (courtesy of Fernando).
We say goodbye again to Fernando and Chisato, apparently the helicopter might
come today, or it might not.... The contingency is that if it hasn't arrived by 0900 they will start on foot and horse. We planned on an early departure but don't actually leave until just after 0800. The front
runners are off and racing, Lynton and I and our new head guide (formerly chief of kitchen), Ashan, are next. Ashan is a very experienced guy in his own right, he actually guides as well. Before the trek a Facebook post emerged of a seriously bad incident of a young guy falling down a crevasse after his ropes had failed, it was graphically recorded and an essay written by one of the other trekkers in the group (she was a remote area Dr who had worked in lots of high altitude camps, etc). Seeing that just a couple of weeks out was worrying (to say the least) and I went to great lengths to try to find out which company it was and to re-examine my travel insurance- it was woefully inadequate. On a mission (and having now spooked Mary, Lynton and I found out later, my Dad, who watched every excruciating detail on Youtube), I rang and cross compared about 15 different companies before finally finding itrek
(underwritten by Lloyd's)- for a huge amount of money they would provide exceptional comprehensive cover. They were one of few companies that provided fixed rope and glacier trekking cover. My premium was
huge- $520 (it seems even huger now that we didn't end up using the fixed ropes on Gondogoro)!! Unfortunately you had to take it for the entire Australia to Australia duration of your trip and I was away for over 7 weeks- if you were just away for a 3 week trek it would be much more reasonable. If I thought I had paid a lot, Mary had to pay a lot more- sucks to be >60 Mary! Anyway.... back to the reason that I mentioned all of that.... Ashan was one of the guides that assisted in the rescue and repatriation operation (we still don't know which agency was involved but it wasn't ours). Bottom line, we were in good hands with Ashan.
The link below is sobering reading, the clip attached makes my skin crawl. https://austererisk.com/articles/bad-times-baltoro?fbclid=IwAR2T0GkOi7Vhvd0VolHX-uBn6yYBH2DCaBEJAUudJA9zQBdSwEjv3_wNs5k
The morning's trekking was glorious, still tough (especially initially with a stiff and grazed knee), but glorious. Even more so when the helicopters started flying through the valley just after 0900. We waved madly at them as they came back overhead a second time just in case Chisato and Fernando were in one of them. Apparently they fly in
pairs for security reasons. At least 6 flew out overhead before lunch- busy day on The Baltoro! Lunch was at Urdukas, it was weird coming back through it, it was busy with a lot of groups - all looking decidedly cleaner and more relaxed than us. Gen, Anthony and Danny got a bit off track coming into Urdukas, given that they were without a guide at all (Ashan was with Lynton and I all morning), I guess it wasn't all that surprising. I relished going down the super steep hill after lunch- it was blissfully easy compared to having to climb up it the week before.
The afternoon was pretty warm, very rocky and dusty. Ashan skipped ahead, fell behind, chatted with every passing porter and horseman. Lynton and I tag teamed the lead across the rocks but basically walked alone. Very peaceful. Very immense. A good afternoon. The camp came into sight at 1500 and we were sitting in the dining tent by 1600 eating pakhoras and drinking lemon tea. Mary and I got the shitty tent again but I don't even care, I feel good. Attempt a wet bag wash in the warm tent. We take it
in turns. We have perfected this technique although I always go first as Mary makes a lot of splashy mess compared to me. Looking forward to dinner tonight, starving!
The Irish are next to us and the bug is running back through their camp again. We all seem to be good in that regard, it's just the coughs that linger. We stay up latish chatting. Great group, lots of camaraderie.
The views are epically good, the night sky is sensational- Khoburche delivers.
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