GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
The Karakorm range may be considered part of, or separate from the main Himalayas. Geographers normally assign the Nanga Parbat massif as the western extremity of the Himalayas, with the Karakorm extending north of the Indus valley. The Karakoram comprises the most heavily glaciated region of the world outside the polar regions - indeed the Baltoro glacier on the approach to K2 is over 55kms long. It also includes 14 peaks over 25,000 feet (7600m) making it one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in the world - as all who have visited the region will at least.
The Karakoram is subject to the Southwest monsoon that draws its moisture from the Arabian Sea from mid-June until the end of August. During this time the occasional storm will move north up the Indus Valley as far as the Karakorm, although the regularity and intensity of the rains is far less apparent than in the nearby regions of the Indian Himalayas. Localized storms on the higher elevations of the Karakorm are a further important consideration. Records of three or four days of intense bad weather followed by similar fine periods seem to characterize the region and even in September, trekking groups are well advised to prepare for at least one bad spell of weather during the expedition.
Your guide will brief the group in Rawalpindi as to the exact arrangements for the expeditor. During the first day in Rawalpindi the group may be required to attend a briefing at the Ministry of Tourism in Islamabad. The following day we plan to fly to Skardu, however, inclement weather can necessitate us having to travel by surface and arrangements will be made should this eventuate. Once on the trek, a routing is established, with bed-tea at 6 00 - 6:30 am and enough time to pack our kitbags before a breakfast of porridge or cornflakes, eggs and local breads, tea and coffee. Most of our walking will be done in the morning with a one-hour break for lunch. Lunch includes juice or hot drinks, a variety of sweet and savory biscuits, tinned fish, pate, spreads, cheese, dried fruit and nuts. We try to reach camp by mid/late afternoon so there is time to relax and enjoy the beauty of the mountains.
Hot drinks will be prepared shortly after arriving and then the time is free until the evening meal at around 7.00 p.m. It typically consists of soup, a main course of mutton or vegetable curry with other accompanying dishes and roti. Dessert may be jelly or custard pudding as well as hot drinks.
The variety of foods available throughout the expedition is excellent considering our continued isolation. When we are at altitude the routine may vary somewhat according to the conditions and facilities available variable and obviously the days will be longer (7 to 10 hours), however there is ample supply of good food whether it is a packed lunch or a formal picnic.
In the evening the people usually gather in the mess tent into chart before retiring by 9.00-9.300 p.m. for a good night's sleep.
Experienced Himalayan Logistic Pakistan Guides lead the expedition. They are experienced mountaineers and have guided many expeditions in the area. Likewise, the cook and his crew have a great deal of experience in working in the mountains. Finally, there will be many porters ready to carry all our supplies for the trip duration (We can pick up little or no supplies en route).
ACUTE MOUNTAIN SICKNESS
When we ascend above 2500 meters our bodies have to acclimatize to the decreasing amount of the oxygen available. To allow our bodies to adjust Himalayan Logistic has structured its treks so that you ascend slowly, allowing acclimatization to occur. However, during the acclimatization process, you may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Head ache
- Disturbed sleep
- Loss of appetite/nausea
- Shortness of Breath
- Swelling of the hands an face
All Himalayan Logistic Guides have extensive first aid training and we urge you to communicate with the group guide at all times should you have any symptoms of the above. The only cure for Acute Mountain Sickness is to descend.
Please note that your group guide has ultimate responsibility and may ask you to descend if symptoms persist.
Walking Boots should be sturdy and of good quality to handle the rugged moraine conditions. Leather is the most suitable or, for people who prefer lightweight boots, leather boots that have Gore-Tex or Sympa-Tex waterproofing should be worn. They should be well broken in and the correct fit. You should have a second pair of walking shoes for easier terrain and/or for around camp such as runners. Continuous days of moraine walking and river crossings wear cheaper and lightweight shoes out quickly. They result in foot problems (e.g. blisters) that may spoil your holiday. You need proofing wax and brush (if you have all leather boots) and lightweight walking shoes or runners
Snow gaiters - corduroy or canvas, secured with Velcro and studs and a hook, no zips.
Thongs/sandals - very useful for river crossings and around camp
Socks - 3 pairs lighter weight and at least 2 pairs thick wool or polypropylene (Thorlo brand or similar are ideal) Note - this is assuming you wear one pair at a time Underwear - 3-4 changes
Several shirts - 2-3 cotton T-shirts preferably with collar, and 1 long sleeved shirt
Scarf - lightweight cotton - for sun protection around neck
Swimming costume - essential if you intend to wash at streams
Sleeping bag - it should be rate for four-season use, approx· temperature rating -10 to 15 degrees. Large daypack or small rucksack- minimum 45-litre capacity, with an effective waist harness and comfortable shoulder straps
Sunglasses - with 100% UV and infrared protection (ensure that prescription glasses also have the same level of protection from the sun)
Headlamp or small torch with spare alkaline batteries and globe
Basic first aid kit - blister protection, medication for bad stomach upsets, throat lozenges and mild painkillers e.g. Aspro, Panadol. Sewing kit, penknife, Sun block and lip salve-ample supplies for the trip duration
Toiletries - comb, soap, facecloth, toothbrush, paste, shampoo, small towel
Water bottles - 2x litres minimum, Nalgene or Sigg brand
Thermarest - additional comfort on long treks; reading material, cards, scrabble etc, especially for any extended· bad weather we may encounter.
Camera and film
Notebook and pen
A sweet treat for the group from home (optional) e.g. chocolate or sweets - well received by the other members!
Walking trousers/skirt/shorts - 2/3 firs - ensure you have both· warmer and lightweight clothing for extremes of temperature and weather conditions. Being a Muslim country, clothing should be long and baggy for both men and women whilst in cities and generally whilst on trek.
Thermal underwear - long sleeved top and long johns, polypropylene or· chlorofibre two tops are useful for evening and daywear.
Warm trousers - Polarfleece, Thinsulate or wool for evenings around camp.
Lightweight wool jumper - A good intermediary layer
Thicker wool shirt/jumper or Polarfleece jacket/pullover
Waterproof jacket - must be completely waterproof, not shoe proof, Gore-Tex is ideal. It must fit comfortably whilst wearing warm clothing and wearing your rucksack. It must have a hood, zipper flap and storm cuffs and come down over hips.
Waterproof trousers - preferably with zip-through legs so they may be· easily removed.
Gloves - 1 pair thermal gloves (polypropylene or chlorofibre) and 1 pair Dachstein preshrunk wool; Mitts or thick wool or fleece gloves; Alternately a thermal pair of gloves with a Gore-tax pair of mitts which have a fleece liner Waterproof mitts
Wool or polar - fleece hat and thermal balaclava; Sunhat/visor
WHAT YOU CARRY
You should consider carrying with you extra warm clothing, a rain jacket, at least a litre of water (2 1itres at times), film and camera gear, valuables and any necessary medical toiletry items such as lip-eze or sun screen lotion.
A spacious rucksack (minimum 40 litres) with a good waist harness and shoulder straps makes trekking far more enjoyable