As I write, our son Richard is somewhere in NE Pakistan heading to Skardu before setting out on a trek, run by KE Adventure, to K2 Base Camp and Concordia in the heart of the Karakoram. I am very envious. The trek to Concordia takes one into the heart of some of the most spectacular mountain scenery anywhere in the world: up the Baltoro Glacier, past the Trango Towers, to a horseshoe of majestic 8,000M peaks including Broad Peak, Gasherbrum IV, and the mighty K2 – the ‘Savage Mountain’ – the second highest summit in the world. I am eagerly looking forward to seeing his images when he returns in late August.
Both our children have inherited my love of mountains and have walked and climbed Alpine peaks with me. In 1969 I was immensely fortunate to be able to take time out from my medical studies to be a member of the first major organized trek to Everest Base Camp, led by Sir Eric Shipton. Shipton’s name will always be associated with Everest; firstly as a leader of some of the pre-war expeditions to the North side of the mountain, and secondly as the man who in 1951 led a reconnaissance expedition that identified the route through Solo Khumbu to Everest, and the potential route up it, from the Nepal (south) side used by the successful 1953 British expedition and all future teams from Nepal.
A few years ago I grabbed an all too short opportunity to return to Solu Khumbu and trek up as far as Pheriche (4,371M) on the approach to Everest Base Camp, taking my son with me. A tremendous experience for both of us.
The image above is of Ama Dablam as seen from the NW from near Pheriche. Ama Dablam is a stunning sentinel mountain that is passed on the route from Namche Bazaar to Pheriche. This image was originally a Kodachrome transparency taken on my first trip in 1969, and scanned with a Nikon Coolscan recently. On that visit I took 24 rolls of Kodachrome and used a Pentax S1a camera with a clip-on exposure meter. Astonishingly the camera produced perfectly exposed images, which are still usable today (although quite dusty). Quite a feat!