As Kivik and Sam flew in from Belgium and Nelson came straight from New Zealand the team only got united on Sunday 2AM, when team Belgium happily busted in on a sleeping Nelson at the marvelous “Cottage Yes Please”.
We spend a few hectic days in New Delhi – where the pressing heat and humidity are ever present – to make the final arrangements and payments to the booking office. Unpacking and repacking; cruising in a rickshaw at full speed through possibly the most chaotic traffic in the world; meeting lots of unknown friends in the streets shouting “My friend, how are you doing?” as you stroll by; Delhi sure is an experience on its own.
A short meeting in the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) took us through all the essentials, and after leaving some non-essential gear there, we were set to leave Delhi in search of mountains.
A way too early flight took the team together with the Liaison Officer from Delhi to Leh where the dry and fresh air was a welcome change. We met up with our cooks and already had some amazing glances of the endless mountains of Jammyu and Kishtwar.
Wednesday morning we packed all our stuff, together with the food the Liaison Officer bought into a bus and started the drive to Kargil – supposedly a mere 230km away. As the definition of a road changes from place to place we soon discovered the trip would take around 7 to 8 hours. From paved roads to gravel to diggers temporarily blocking the one lane road; it sure made for some diversion during our ‘passive acclimatization’. Tomorrow we drive another 6 hours to a small town near Phey, where we will pack the yaks and start our 2 day approach to basecamp.
Stomach issues have already introduced themselves and at 3500m altitude in Leh, a light but constant headache made communication quite interesting (English, Dutch and French all through each other).
But the stoke is high, and we cannot wait to set foot on the glacier.
You’ll hear from us again once we’re in basecamp!