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

2008 K2 and Broad Peak Expedition

Dispatch Seventy-three: August 11th, 2008

Day Seventy-three: Lillygo to Jhula; Scorching Heat; Excruciating Pain

Today, we woke up at 5:00, completed our morning routine, and got started on the trek down to Jhula. I put off taking the vicodin for a little while, as I knew full well that it would effect me to a greater extent at this altitude and the side effects would be greater (i.e., Nausea and other gastrointestinal effects, especially at the termination of the half-life). After two excruciating hours, we arrived in Paiju. Fazal and I took an hour break there, sharing some Pakistani chai with some of the kitchen staff for a Canadian trekking group. It was after this that I finally decided to take 7.5mg of Vicodin. Within twenty minutes, I felt the effects begin and for the first time noticed what felt like a rubber band snapping in my foot with each step. My hypothesis as to what the injury was drifted from a stress fracture to either a torn muscle or ligament. Regardless, I knew that masking the pain and continuing to walk on the foot over this kind of terrain wasn’t a good idea from a health perspective. I had little choice though as the weather wasn’t compatible for a helicopter evacuation, and I had to continue down each day toward Islamabad without stopping if I was to catch my flight on the 16th and still be able to complete the many responsibilities I had in Islamabad (Debriefing at the Ministry of Tourism, coordinating with the French Embassy regarding Hugues personal effects, etc.). Around five hours after leaving Paiju, we finally arrived exhausted in Jhula. I was relieved that we had a relatively normal day of trekking tomorrow from Jhula to Askole (4 hours) the following day, although I had heard that the road to Askole was still washed out and that we might have to walk down to the next village to get the jeeps. I did an interview from my tent in Jhula, knowing that when I arrived in Skardu the following day, I would need to leave either by flight or by road  the next morning, giving me only one night in Skardu. I had my final dinner with Abbas and Fazal, gave them their tips, and then went to bed.


In Photos:

Left: Paiju

Right: Paiju