Thursday, June 10, 2010

Welcome to Pakistan

"Every man's life lies within the present; for the past is spent and done with, and the future is uncertain".
Marcus Aurelius

Sometimes you just have to go somewhere to see a place and experience it for yourself. Believing everything you see in the media or heeding government warnings about instability in certain countries only distorts the reality and creates the wrong perceptions. Sure, there are places in every country that are dangerous and volatile, but these places exist in every country.... LA, New york, London, Sydney. I guess Pakistan is like that too, but I had to see for myself. Trouble wont find you if you don't seek it out.

I guess my lifestyle of working and going on intermittent climbing expeditions leaves people wondering when they'll see me next or what adventure I'm embarking on next. The most common reaction when I mentioned I was going to Pakistan was usually disbelief and I get bombarded with an array of questions.

Is it safe?
Why are you going there.?
and the usual question.. When are you climbing Everest? (I don't bother answering this question because its stupid )

After arriving at 2am, a few day ago, I've been settling in to the new pace of expedition life. Seeing and experiencing a new country and culture with the anticipation of heading to the mountains again is amazing.  I arrived ont he same flight as one of my team mates Brian and we've been cruising around and checking Islamabad out.

First impressions are of an ordered moderate country with incredibly friendly people who try to be helpful despite the language difficulties. The roads are a bit chaotic and probably the most dangerous part of this trip. We have already been in a low speed collision in a car with no seatbelts with a car that had no tail lights. No damage to vehicle or persons. It was actually pretty funny.

I  had sent a barrel of gear over as unaccompanied baggage so Brian and I spent half a day in customs trying to retrieve it. It became rather comical and if Brian hadnt been told that he couldnt use his video camera, we would have had it on film. Its incredible how many people are required to do one job. Everyone was very helpful though.

Now we are just waiting in Islamabad waiting for a flight to Skardu and the mountains. Today the flights have been commandeered by the army and the president so we went dvd shopping.

There arent many tourists here this year. only 25 expeditions have been issued this year and the locals have been suffering the decline in business. Compared to over 80 expeditions last year and over 6000 permits issued in 1997.

stay tuned


  1. Awesome brother, getting me super-psyched!! how i wish i was there... go do your thing brother!!! :D

  2. You're one very luck man to be getting out there so much, very inspirational Rob. I know you'll have an amazing time over there and I'll be following your blog with interest.