Friday, 12 June 2009

Exit Newtonmore and arrival at Islamabad.

Above: Stoats man trying to read the Koran in his hotel in Islamabad. The beverage list is more to his liking!
Stoats man repacking his bags at T2 Manchester airport ensuring that there is only 40 Kg in total as that is the Air Blue baggage allowance. His carry on actually came to 29 Kg, but he manged to get it through security and on to the plane!
The Air blue flight Manchester to Islamabad went OK .We were routed by Turkey to re fuel and that went well, but on take off we collided with birds so the plane had to land in Turkey again and there was delay of about one and a half hours as the plane was checked and found to be safe to fly. We were met in Islamabad and taken to the Best Western hotel. After some rushed introductions we had to repack our gear into porter loads of 25Kg and load up a truck and send it by road to Gilgit. The team plan to fly to Gilgit tomorrow morning as we wish to move fast and get into the mountains as soon as possible to aid our acclimatisation. If the flights do not fly due to weather then we have a bus lined up to drive us there along the Karakorum highway.
Rick Allen has just arrived at midnight and is repacking ready for the 6.00 am start tomorrow morning. Sandy has been making final arrangements and paying out vasts amounts of dollars to the local agents and others. We have decided to take two bottles of Oxygen and two face masks with regulators for emergency medical reasons and have also two high altitude porters coming with our three man expedition team. We are teamed up with a big Austrian expedition and we are all moving as one big team to base camp and after that we will split into our own expedition teams.
TNT has still not got our air freight to us and for ten days now it has been stuck in Karachi but every day they said, it will arrive tomorrow for certain. But it has not and today Sandy spoke to the TNT reps. in Karachi and they demanded payment of around 200 Euros. This is a total surprise and we are finding it hard to understand why they are asking for an extra payment now rather than ten days ago! But its all arranged and payment is set up for tomorrow so maybe we will get our equipment soon. This is a hassle as it means we have to employ more people to take the equipment to base camp and catch up with us.
Still its all part of mountaineering . but man.. its tough to get people in the UK and Karachi to understand how much we rely on our equipment and on them to deliver it as promised!
All cool other wise...
There are expeditions also heading into Skardu for K2. Apparently there has been a high snowfall this year so lots of snow high up but the approach walk should be clear of snow by now.
So, Ed, Rick and Sandy are in pone place together ready to climb and all fine, Stoats man is doing OK and things are looking good!

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