Sunday, 31 May 2009

So close yet so far

It is an unreal feeling to be back in Himalaya after 17 years of absence. Today I'm sitting and looking up the Baltoro Glacier and it makes me almost euphoric. The shear size of the Trang Groupe and all surrounding peaks is just unreal. There are outstanding lines and projects on every peak I can see. The expedition has not even kicked off yet and still I'm super exited about what the future holds in its hands. It will be ups and downs and for sure disappointments but if you don’t go out and take a shoot at your dream routes nothing will ever happen. The weather so far has been great so a mental note is to be on the go early June next time around. Our expedition leader Bruce Normand and trekking agent ATP has done a superb job getting the logistics together for this trip.

For me all this is new and far from what I expected. Last time around for me it was quite minimalist in comparison to this expedition and yet we are a small 5 man team aiming to go light. With our 90 porters that can feel contradictive but we are about to spend 8 weeks trying to set up a new route on Gasherbrum 4 and I think we will need the time. To give you a point of reference the Russian K2 West Face Expedition had 700 porters to BC.

What is nice about an early start is that there is little litter and no one else on the trek so we have all camps to ourselves. In a few weeks the area will be swamped with trekking groups and expeditions all fighting for a tent spot in the shade. Our LO and cooking team is just outstanding so we might not lose that much weight after all... Well we will see about that. The comfort of modern Himalaya climbing is great and it helps a lot not to be bothered with logistics, porter negotiations and general hassle. We walk, eat and get mentally prepared for what is to come on the mountain and spend lots of time having a great time sharing stories.

Well in a few days we will be in BC and then we will get a sense of snow conditions and the look of the route. Last but most important I would like to extend my sincere condolences to Sergey Samoilov who tragically lost his life on the Lothse Everest traverse. All of us at the G4 expedition where deeply saddened by this tragic loss of a great climber.