PAKISTAN – PREPARATIONS IN KARIMABAD FOR THE FIRST TIME MOUNTAIN
FIRST DAY IN KARIMABAD WITH KARAKORUM EXPEDITIONS
Finally we left the dusty and crowded streets behind us with Karakorum Expeditions. Karimabad is located at the elevation of 2500m and is the starting point for tours in the Distaghil Sar massif. Since many of us were already dealing with gastrointestinal problems and we should also shoot a movie, we are planning a one-day stay here. It is also easy to stand in this beautiful valley. In addition, we have to stock up in Karimabad with the necessary food for our expedition. So we buy an estimated 3 kg of dried fruit. Whether that’s the right thing for our stomachs remains to be set. We stay in a nice hotel right on the main street with lots of little shops, which suggests that tourism is an important cornerstone in this part of Pakistan. From the narrations of the locals, we also learn that tourism seemed to blossom here until it came to an abrupt end on September 11th. Since then it’s only going very slowly uphill. Most tourists come from their own country. Occasionally, mountaineers and trekkers can be found in this area. In a small shop, we acquire a traditional Hunza outfit for the entire crew. Hunza is the name of a whole region in northern Pakistan. Here the people are very open and friendly. These robes were worn earlier, similar to the Tyrolean costume, every day, now more at various celebrations. Freshly dressed we reach the “Baltit-Fort”, the castle at the top of the city.
FIRST ACCOMMODATION TOUR Part of the crew set off in the late afternoon for the Ladyfinger Basecamp. However, incoming rain and dusk compels us to return over a steep, small path, which brings us out of the valley to a beautiful vantage point. Once there, we are greeted by a worker and invited to his hut for Chai (Tea). They told us about their work as path builder. They are three boys and spend a whole month on the hill in tent and stone hut and chisel the way out of the rock.
The next day we want to continue after obtaining a permit for Shimshal Valley, our destination where Karakorum Expedition assists us at their best. The scheduled half-hour in office, pulls out about five hours due to power failure and Pakistani cosiness and so we would not make it to Shimshal today. Pakistani time can be emotionally multiplied by five, a peculiarity that is hard to understand at first, as everything in the Western world is focused on punctuality. The longer one is there, the better one will find oneself off, and in the end even learn to appreciate this way of living. Stress is not known here and there is probably no problem that could not be solved with a shared tea. Tomorrow it will go, “Inschallah” (phrase you hear in Pakistan every day and translated “If God wills it” means), on to Shimshal. An exciting road awaits us …