Mountaineering :: Trekking :: Ski touring


On 22 July the Jagged Globe team, led by David Hamilton, became the first trekking group of the 2007 season to cross the 5,585m Ghondokoro Pass linking the Baltoro and Hushe Valleys. This route is normally open to trekking groups from late June each year. However, this year a large crevasse on the Baltoro side prevented many groups from crossing during the month of July.

The six person Jagged Globe group were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time as local high altitide porters prepared the route and fixed several hundred metres of rope on 20 and 21 July. The Jagged Globe group also came prepared with several hundred extra metres of rope, plus a selection of climbing hardware. Much of the group's heavy equipment was sent back to Skardu via Askole and a select group of 12 porters, plus 4 guides and kitchen staff were provided with crampons to assist their ascent of the snow slopes leading to the pass.

The large crevasse that had caused the early season problems had been filled by a natural snow bridge and only a short 15 metre icy section required special care and attention. The main difficulty faced by the group was the unseasonably mild weather that led to soft snow on the approach to the Ghondokoro Pass. The descent on the Hushe side was also harder than expected as the trail across the scree slopes was often indistinct. The group received a 'hero's welcome' from the villagers in Hushe for opening the pass and Skardu tour operators began to revise their programmes for the summer on hearing the news.

Making the first crossing of the Ghondokoro Pass in 2007 was not the only successful achievement of this group. Despite numerous transport setbacks, they had a fantastic journey through Pakistan's varied mountain regions. A landslide on the Karakoram Highway near Besham forced an extra day of road travel at the start of the journey. The diversion through the Kaghan Valley and over the Babusar Pass added an extra highlight to the itinerary. Cloudy conditions during much of the trek helped to keep the daytime temperatures pleasant for walking. The weather cleared spectacularly before the team reached Concordia and they were rewarded with three days of perfect weather in the Upper Baltoro. During this time team members visited the base camps of Broad Peak and K2, meeting some of the expedition climbers attempting the peaks.

The team were strong and capable and the members were well-equipped to cope with the challenges of travel and trekking in the Karakoram. All agreed that the trip had been an unforgettable experience in one of the world's most dramatic mountain ranges.

David Hamilton
Skardu, Pakistan, August 2007


David Hamilton
High Adventure
67 Castle Road
CV10 0SG


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