8th of June – From Payu 3600m to Urdukas 4150m
Today was going to be a quite long and difficult day. In order to try and gain time, the plan was to walk from Payu directly to Urdukas without stopping at Kubutze, as is usually the case. This meant that a 9 hour walk was waiting for us.
We woke up at 5:30am in order to get ready and leave at 6:30. The beginning of the walk was quite pleasant and we were slowly walking to the direction of the glacier. After a one hour walk, we reached the tongue of the glacier and started to climb onto it. Surprisingly we couldn't really see the ice. The Baltoro Galcier is mainly covered by stones and big rocks. From time to time, it is possible to see a small cliff of ice or a lake that has formed into the ice. But the majority of the time we are walking on rocks and stones.
As soon as we were on the glacier, the difficult part started. The ice forms a lot of small hills and the only way to go through the glacier is by walking up and down over these hills. Taking into acount that we are in between 3'600 and 4'000 meters in altitude, it doesn't make the walk easier.
Because we couldn't see the ice most of the time, it was hard to realize that something "live" was under our feet. Some passages were quite strategic and it was important not to stay too long at any part of the track as the ice under the stones would melt that made the path unstable.
During the day, a few groups of Young Explorers formed, depending on their speed.
At the end of the morning, we could see for the first time the Trango Tower. An impressive mountain, very well known in the alpinist world.
We stopped for a very quick lunch after 6 hours of walk in Kubutze. The kitchen staff, as usual were amazing and had prepare for us a soup and some pasta.
After having quickly eaten something, we moved ahead to Urdukas for another 3 to 4 hour walk. It was definitely the hardest part of the day.
The Urdukas camp is located above the glacier, so that you have a nice and steep uphill to go through before reaching the camp. It was a difficult challenge for all of us.
A good cup of tea was waiting for us in the mess tent.
A 7:30 we had dinner and a short briefing to prepare the day for tomorrow.
Our next destination will be Goro II were we will meet with the snow!