The several months of planning, training and emailing seem to blur together and I find myself back in Islamabad Pakistan waiting to fly to Skardu and the mountains. The last week or so is truly a blur. Things kicked off with a 9pm phone call from Pat Goodman who was en-route to VT to pack and climb prior to departing. Pat's trusty Toyota Previa "Junebug" had pretty much dropped the drive shaft near the Pennsylvania/New York border and it seemed unlikely to be revived at the time. I hopped in my Tacoma and made the 5 hour drive down to meet him, arriving wound up on three mugs of iced-espresso at 3am. Miraculously all that was needed were a couple of parts and van was going to be good to go the next day. Pat and I headed north while Will Meinen, also en-route to meet us in Vermont, picked up the van the next day.
The rest of our journey to Vermont involved stopping by the Sterling Rope factory to pick up ropes, partying in North Conway with a bunch of our friends, several of whom are headed out on awesome adventures this summer, and nearly hitting a moose on route 2 in Vermont. The adventure seemed to have already begun!
With all three of us finally together in Vermont we headed to Cannon Cliff to try and get some climbing in before all of the packing. Hoards of blackflies threatened to lift us off of the wall and we all felt fortunate to be heading to a place this summer where bugs are not an issue. Following days passed in a blur of shopping for food, packing, weighing bags, re-packing and finally throwing everything into Pat's Previa to head to Boston's Logan airport.
After 24 hours of flying from BOS to London, to Bahrain it was great to finally see my friends Ghulam and Sajjad from Blue Sky Treks and Tours, waiting for us outside the arrival gate in Islamabad. Now we find ourselves in the quintessential Karakorum experience, waiting in the sweltering 100 degree heat of Islamabad waiting to hopefully fly to Skardu tomorrow morning. It feels great to be back and we're all psyched for the next phase of the adventure.
Pat and Will outside the airport in Islamabad