Post-expedition Report prepared by Faiz Ali,
Mountain Guide and Executive Member of Alpine Club of Pakistan.
2003 KOREA KUNYANG CHHISH EAST ( 7,400-)
FIRST ASCENT EXPEDITION
||INTRODUCTION: Every year
many mountaineering expeditions visit Pakistan. They are supposed to
accompany a Liaison Officer deputed by Ministry of Tourism to assist them.
Some of the expeditions also like to hire a Mountain Guide to assist them
in Mountains. This summer (2003), I found such an opportunity and was
engaged as a Mountain Guide with Korean Kunyang Chhish East (7,400-M)
First Ascent Expedition from 1st May, 2003 to 20th June, 2003. Usually,
Liaison Officers are supposed to submit post-expedition report to their
respective nominators. However, keeping in view important aspects of the
expedition, this report is being written for information and guidance of
concerned quarters and interested people in the world of mountaineering.
||BEFORE THE EXPEDITION:
Kunyang Chhish East (means hidden peak) is a virgin one. This peak has
even never been attempted by any expedition before. Like every
mountaineer, Korean mountaineers also wanted to surmount a virgin peak.
Mr. Sung Man Park, my old friend, last year, inquired about the fact that
whether this peak is still unclimbed. I explored maximum sources i.e.
Ministry of Tourism, and some Tour Operators including Nazir Sabir
Expeditions, Himalaya Trek & Tours, Pakistan Guides (Mr. Kaiser Khan)
etc. I also contacted local guides, high altitude porters. Though rarely
available on the subject, I consulted books as well. All sources showed no
clue about any attempt on This peak. However, it was revealed that there
were some expeditions on peaks around Kunyang Chhish East (7,400-M).
I passed on this fact to Mr. Park. He was
very pleased and planned this expedition. After fulfilling necessary
formalities Mr. Park got permit for his 10-member team.
||ARRIVAL OF EXPEDITON AND
PRELIMINARIES: The expedition arrived Islamabad on 1st May, 2003. On 2nd
May they visited Tourism Division for first contact meeting. The Liaison
Officer (Mr. Muhammad Nadeem Malik Commando, from Lahore) also reported
on 2nd May. The team had already engaged me as their Mountain Guide.
However, they also requested me to help them to fulfill necessary
formalities and everyday jobs before their departure to Mountains. The
team also took the services of Himalaya Trek & Tours for official
obligations and paperwork. We managed to complete all things. We hired a
High Altitude porter (Mr. Muhammad Qurban from Shimsahl); a cook (Mr. Sher
Zaman from Astore); Assistant Cooks (Mr. Muhammad Saghir and Nusrat Ahmed
both from Islamabad). The team was briefed on 3rd May. On 4th and 5th we
did local shopping and on 6th we left Islamabad for Mountains, though
there were some rumors about blockage of KKH.
|We started our
journey on 6th May at 6:00 A.M. and reached Chilas at 9:00 P.M. The road
was block and there was no chance to cross these slides on the KKH.
However, we decided to stay in Chilas Inn. Next morning we visited the
road-side and reached Gunar Farm on feet. The road was terribly damaged
and there was no hope of its opening in the next couple of weeks. Then we
visited local administration office. They were also unaware about the
prospects of road clearance. We stayed here for 03 days and walked around
the town. We also visited nearby rock carvings of Buddha. When we realized
that there is no chance of road clearance, we decided to hire porter from
Gunar Farm to Thilichi (about 45 Kms. Walk). We hired 100 porters and
each charged Rs.1,000/-. In Chilas, Mr. Zafar Waqar, Assistant
Commissioner and Mr. Habib ur Rehman, Magistrate, both helped us to hire
porters. Iím thankful for their this co-operation.
||The expedition started trek
on 11th May in the morning and reached Thilichi in the evening. From here
we hired vehicles (3 hi-ace, Rs.2000/- charged by each) and reached Gilgit
at night. Here we stayed in Madina Hotel. Next morning, we resumed our
journey and reached Genesh at 11:00 AM. Here we stayed in Krakoram
Highway Inn. Here we visited the beautiful town of Karimabad, Baltit Fort
and Genish Fort.
|We also visited Nagar Police
Station and Tehsil office to hire porters. Here we came to know that there
is a Union of porters. The people of Hispar wanted to get hired 50%
porters from their village and 50% from Nagar. After a long discussion, it
was decided that while going up, porters from Nagar will be hired, and
while returning from the base camp from Hispar, as it has been a practice
for a quite long time. There are 5 stages. The rate was finalized as
follows: Rs.220/- per stage; Rs.110/- for empty return; kit Rs.200/- and
Rs.50- for Yak (meat). In this way each porter was paid Rs.1900/-. We
also wanted to hire jeeps from Genish to Hispar. Jeep Owners/Drivers of
Nagar also have Union.
They do not allow jeeps from any other area.
They charge Rs.3,500/- for just 5-6 hours drive which is also monopolistic
price. We hired 7 jeeps from Nagar and reached in the evening as the road was
not smooth. Some of the stuff, we dumped at the house Chairman of Hispar. Our
hired sixty porters were ready to carry load.
|TREK TO BASE CAMP: Now
started the phase of real adventure. Just after 10 minutes we came across
a bridge which was built by Mr. Shifa Ali who charged Rs.30/- each to
cross this bridge. According, to him it was got built by him and bore cost
of ten yaks. After 3 hours walk we reached the first stage known as Phloli
Chhish (means place of trees). After further three hours walk we reached
at second stage namely Bulimbut (means Spring stone). Then after having a
walk of 45 minutes on Kayung Chhish glacier we reached at 3rd stage
Bitanmaal (Magic place). There is a legend of magic associated with this
Here Yaks of the village are also kept and
only one person (now a days Mr. Shifa Ali was deputed) from the village
accompanies them to look after. He also informed that there is no expedition
which ever attempted this Peak. However, he told us the story about a Polish
expedition which came to climb Main Kayung Chhish(7,852-M) a couple of years
ago. We spent a night there and enjoyed the hospitality of Mr. Shifa Ali who
served us with Milk and Luhsi (drink made of yogurt and milk).
||Next day, after walking two
hours we reached the fourth stage Duchkin Das (a place where milk-cow was
stopped). Then two hours further walk we reached Phumari Chhish and after
one hour further walk we reach the Base Camp (4,200-M) of Kayung Chhish
East. It is known as Phush Dalala (dirty-smell place). As there are few
stones smell like a chemical. Thatís why local have named is so.
CLIMBING STARTS: On 20th June we started our
climb. We reached at the height of 4,460-M and started to establish
Advance Base Camp (ABC). The route was not difficult. We comfortably
reached there in four hours.
|On 23rd we reached at the
height of 4,715-M and set up Camp-I. After that the glacier was broken and
it was really very difficult to cross. However, we tried to find a route
but could not. We also tried to make our own route from different sides
and fixed rope on many places. But after spending a couple of days in this
struggle we could not succeed in marking our way. Then leader had a
meeting, after discussion, we abandoned this route and decided to attempt
it from the West-South Side. On 1st June we established Camp-I at the
height of 5200-M. This route was also difficult and dangerous so we fixed
about 250-M rope on our way to Camp-I. After establishing Camp-I we strive
for Camp-II. After a few days climb we could establish Camp-II at the
height of 6,100-M. From here, too, it was difficult to trace route for our
However, again working hard we could not find
our way, and finally, decided to abandon our expedition. At Camp-II we were at
a few steps from Ice Cake Peak 6,400-M peak. Therefore, the leader decided to
attempt it before concluding the expedition. On 9th June at 8:00 AM the leader
along with five members namely Park Sung Man, Yen Yong Hun, Shim Yeong Keon,
Ko Jung Sig, Kim Man Kun and Jang Ki Seob reached on the top of Cake Peak
|BASE CAMP STAY-WINDING UP OF
EXPEDITION: During the course of our expedition in the base camp, it is
difficult to find fresh vegetables and meat. For fresh meat we bought a
Yak and slaughtered. Mr. Aslam Shahid Rana, LO of Japanese Expedition
Kunyang Chish Main (7,852-M) visited us. He also brought some food and
medicine for our expedition. Two French also visited our Base Camp who
were the members of Pak-France Joint Expedition Kunyang Chish East. We
could not see any LO with them.
On 10-11th June, we started to pack our
expedition. We also gathered all the rubbish which we had already brought from
the higher camps and also collected from the base camp and burnt it before
leaving.We made sure that nothing is left except footprint. We hired porters
of Hispar village. On 12th June we started our trek back and reached Hispar
Village in about 10 hours.
||ESTABLISHMENT OF MEDICAL
CAMP: In Hispar we set up a Medical Camp. Ms. Hawng Mi Ae, the doctor of
the expedition examined a number of local patients and medicated them. The
team also distributed medicines amounting to US $ 3,200 among locals.
|RETURN TO ISLAMABAD: On our
return, the jeep road was block at Horo and we have to pay addition amount
of Rs.330/- to each porter. From Horo we hired 07 jeeps at Rs.1200/- per
jeep. But when we reached Genish, the Driversí Union office bearers of
Nagar reached their and forced our leader to pay Rs.2000/- for each jeep.
It was a surprising demand for us, however,
in order to avoid legal proceedings against them, and save their time, the
leader decided to pay them according to their desire. On 16th June in the
morning we hired Coach and drove to Islamabad via Gilgit.
ARRIVAL IN ISLAMABAD: The expedition arrived
Islamabad on 17th noon. We immediately rushed to Travel Office and got their
seats booking/confirmation. PIA office confirmed seats for 20th June. Next
day the team visited Tourism Division for debriefing. Now team had three days
on heir disposal to be spent. Unfortunately, one of the members got sick and
we had to bring him to Hospital where after necessary medication the Doctor
advised him for rest. However, he recovered soon. The weather was hot in
Islamabad and we decided to visit Murree Hills. On 19th June we spent the
whole day in Murree and enjoyed natural beauty of the area.
Finally, all the team members flew by PIA
towards their home.
CONCLUSION: At the end, I would like to say
that it was a unique experience to go as a Mountain Guide with foreign
expedition. Besides, many other difficulties which usually, mountaineers face
while on their expeditions, we faced few additional problems due to road
blockage, transport/Jeep Union, Porters Union etc. This increased the cost of
the expedition for which almost every expedition keeps some provision.
However, this expedition compelled to pay much more than the emergency
provisions they kept. It is may be mentioned here that this expedition has a
budget of US $ 70,000.
Like every expedition, this team also
submitted, de-briefing Performa. My experience is that usually such problems
are not highlight while de-briefing as they are in hurry to go home. Moreover,
in every team, at least a few mountaineers want to come back and they hesitate
to bring in black and white to avoid any future complication. I think each LO
should submit a separate report. It will not only be helpful for people in
mountaineering world but also serve as a feedback for others such as Tourism
Division etc. I welcome any information/inquiry needed by any interested
person about this expedition/peak.