We’ve made it to Skardu!

Hey everyone,SANY0053

We made it into Skardu today.  It has been a wild journey already.  I rendezvoused with Clint in the Abu Dhabi airport.  He arrived there from Egypt minus one bag that Luftansa left in Germany.  I came from Denver via a cancelled flight, a different flight, an impromptu bus ride through Queens, then the nicest flight I’ve ever taken on Etihad Airways, complete with jasmine-scented mist pouring out of the ceiling.  One more flight put us in Islamabad at 4am, where we first met our great guide Zafar Iqbal Baltistan Adventure Tours.  Zafar has been extremely helpful, from getting together materials for the hasty shelter project to getting us through the red tape at the Pakistan Alpine Club and the airport.  We sat in Islambad for a day waiting for good weather to fly to Skardu.  Clint and I took advantage of the time to shop for some Balochi rugs, eat some street food, and watch bad CIA adventure movies.  We managed to time our arrival in Pakistan with the start of Ramadan, so eating during daylight hours has come to a standstill.  Miraculously, Clint’s bag caught up with us this morning and we lucked out with clear weather for the flight to Skardu, elevation 7600 feet.  The whole Karakoram Range was laid out in full splendor providing great views of K2, Masherbrum, Gasherbrum, and Nanga Parbat.

karakoram

It was nice to get back in the mountains after several days in the hot humid lowlands.  Zafar lent us his Honda 125 motorcycle to blast up to Zampara Lake above town.  The wind was blowing a steady 10-12 knots which had me wishing I’d packed a kite and board.SANY0135

Tomorrow we are off up the Valley to Zafar’s hometown of Khaplu with Karim our cook, our food and gear, and enough materials to build three model post-earthquake hasty shelters.  Hopefully we can get some sandbags stacked real soon.  Wish us luck!  We have Danika’s cell phone working so we’re not totally disconnected from civilization just yet…

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Alpine Edge Engineering, LLC
Matthew D. Hepp, P.E.
605 River Park Drive
Ridgway, Colorado
(970) 318-1469
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