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Himalaya Expedition – Day 6

06.06.2010 – We started this morning from Johla and had a 7 hour walk ahead of us. Our destination was Payu. A walk starting at 3’200 meters and rising to 3’600meters.

The porters are used to waking up with the sun and at around 5am we could already hear activity around our tents. We had planned to be ready for breakfast at 7am. Of course, as soon as we got out of the tents, our porters were already waiting for our bags in order to organize their loads. We quickly dismantled the tents and went for a breakfast, with the knowledge that we would not be stopping too long for a good lunch, but only have a short break with dry fruits, nuts and chocolate.

We started our walk in the shadow of the mountains. The temperature was a bit chilly but as soon as we started to walk the temperature became comfortable. After around 30 min we turned northeast to follow the valley that would lead us to the Baltoro Glacier.

Thanks to the sun the temperature raised quickly and we were once again taking off layers of clothing leaving us in only shorts and T-shirts.

As usual, the porters with their big loads on their backs were quicker than us and were constantly overtaking us.

We were still following the river along the Baltoro Glacier. The water level was so low that we could sometimes walk in what was a few years ago, the bed of the river.
Surprisingly the bed of the river was mainly made out of sand, nice, fine sand that many beaches would envy!!

At around 11am we shortly stopped for lunch and could see for the first time our first 8000m peak surrounded by some small light clouds. We finally discovered the mighty Broad Peak!

As we had done the day before, we used our Katadyn Water filters to filter our drinking water from a small stream.

After lunch the sun was still shining and the wind was dropping. It was becoming very hot.

Around 1.5 hours before we reached the camp we had to attack one last steep climb and most of us could feel the affects of the altitude. Of course, no one can walk as fast at 3’600m above sea level.

There was a strong wind blowing when we reached the camp which gave us some trouble when setting up the solar panels. Thanks to a few stones, we finally found a solution to stabilize them and were able to recharge our ILAND batteries.

After a quick soup and some biscuits, we had a bit of free time during which some of the team tried to wash some clothing, write in their diaries or meet to discuss about the day and the mountains surrounding us.

At 7pm we had dinner in the mess tent. As soon as we finished dinner we could hear a drum going in the back of the camp. It was the porters who were playing and dancing. Some of our Young Explorers joined them in this traditional dance.

Payu is always an important stop for the porters as it is the last camp before the Baltoro Glacier. In order to get ready to go further, it is also traditional for the porters to have a rest day in Payu.

Tomorrow we will have the chance to experience the traditional ritual that the local people perform before climbing onto the glacier.

A blog written by Erica and Hugo – Paiju camp

It is currently 20:34 and the 18 members of the expedition just ate a scrumptious carbohydrate-packed meal. Today we ate breakfast at around 7 in Jola camp and began walking at 7:30. We were very efficient this morning and got an early start!

We hiked for around 7 hours today; however everyone has a different pace so some got to Paiju earlier than others. The trail was continuously along side the Baltoro River and was often on just sand, where the river once was. There were many hills to climb, which most of us felt due to the altitude at 3400 m but following the up there was a down, which was a nice relief! The sand we were often walking on was filled with mica; which is a shiny mineral that made the sand look like it was filled with silver specks. Every season the river changes in height and strength and this season it is extremely low. We were able to see many perfectly round rocks (typically metamorphic) that were shaped by the river in previous seasons. This made it quite interesting to walk over because you could lose the trail easily and you had to be careful where to put your feet so as not to twist an ankle.

We were constantly looking around us at the beautiful mountains that slowly came into view as we walked closer to our destination. Our senses were always aware and active today because the landscape was constantly changing; rocks, wind (carrying donkey feces) and vegetation.

Near the end of the day we walked around a corner and suddenly the Baltoro Glacier was in view. And WOW was it in view! It is so much bigger than we had imagined! It takes up the width of the entire Baltoro Valley. From what we can see so far, it is completely covered in debris. This makes the glacier look like lots of rock piled on top of itself, when actually there is only a thin layer of rock with very thick ice underneath.

Now we are at the Paiju camp and the weather is changing quickly so we have to be more prepared and aware of the environment around us. So when we are up at higher altitude we can better understand these changes and adapt to them more efficiently. We are learning about ways to make our stay up in altitude more enjoyable and easy. For example Erwan told us how to organize our tent at night and keep certain habits; like getting used to having clothing inside our sleeping bag at night. Also we learned that we must be more aware of our body so that we don’t get too tired up in altitude.

We are all ready for some sleep!



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