Text Box: Nicholas Rice
Extreme High Altitude Athlete
Text Box: Xpedition 8000

2008 K2 and Broad Peak Expedition

Dispatch Seventy-one: August 9th, 2008

Day Seventy-one: K2 Base Camp to Goro II; Problems With Porters

Today, I woke up at 4:00am after an hour of sleep, and joined Abbas and Fazal in packing up camp into 25kg loads for the porters who had arrived the night before. It took us a lot longer than anticipated and we didn’t start down until around 7:00am. I led the way with Fazal and Abbas and one of the Sirdars stayed in the back as the sweep. Three hours later, I was sitting in Concordia at the ATP tent with Sultan having tea. Everything seemed to be going well aside from the fast formed blisters I already had begun developing. I continued down towards our destination: Goro I. Three hours later, upon arriving in Goro II, I noticed a few porters had already moved into their stone squares (which they put a tarp over and sleep in). I asked, knowing full well I wasn’t going to get an honest answer out of them, if the plan to go all the way to Goro I had changed. They said that we were supposed to stop here. I knew this wasn’t the case, but told them that we would wait for Fazal and Abbas to get here so they could tell the porters in Urdu that they needed to go the remaining hour and half to Goro I. After he arrived, quite tired, I decided that since it was only an hour and a half to Goro I, it wouldn’t make too much difference for tomorrow’s long day. After it was finalized, Abbas and Fazal got to pitching my tent, as I surveyed the scattered bags to make sure that they were all here. Of course they weren’t. I asked that the porters bring all the bags down to close to my tent, as not only did I need things from my trekking bag, but while the bags were being moved around constantly, it was impossible to count them. After my request, absolutely nothing happened. No one brought anything down. Abbas went up to yell at the porters and try to convince them to cooperate. Still, they were quite resistant to simply move the duffels down the hill 20 meters. I walked up as well, shaking my head in disappointment; the porters know that I am the one who tips them in the end. They FINALLY decided to cooperate, after Abbas started carrying one of the bags down himself. I have never had such problems with porters so early in the trek. Thank god it is only another two days till Askole, where we can be rid of this strangely uncooperative group of porters from Shigar. As I counted the bags, I of course was missing two... Abbas explained that there were another ten porters still coming  (this over two hours after I arrived in Goro II). I am quite worried for tomorrow, when the walk will probably take me around ten hours, and the slower porters who knows how long. Tomorrow, we plan on trekking to Paiju (four camps away). It is the longest day of the trek, and I fully expect some more problems with the porters.


In Photos:

Left: Porters enroute to Goro II

Right: Mitre Peak, which towers over Concordia, but is dwarfed by the surrounding 8000 and high 7000 meter peaks.