5th September, 2011
FTAs 2011 Spantik expedition got off to a flying start, literally, with all members directly connecting their international flights with the domestic flight to Skardu bypassing Islamabad altogether!
The trek in to Spantik is really spectacular, the highlights being camping in the green fertile Valley by Arandu Village and the trek across the amazing flat expanse of the Chogo Lugma Glacier.
We arrived in Base camp to find the joint Australian /Pakistan Military team packing up in preparation to leave the mountain the next morning, which they did in a Mi18 helicopter! While it was a little annoying for us having to restrain our camp from being blown down to the Glacier under the down draft for the chopper, it did leave us the mountain all to our selves which was really cool!
The next 2 weeks we had a mixture of beautiful views to the surrounding peaks and glaciers and torrential rain and snow storms which the members battled through valiantly. The two weekd culminated in three perfect days of clear calm weather in which we pushed the route up to an incredibly scenic camp 3. The vista from camp 3 revealed brilliant views of K2, Broad Peak, the Gasherbrums, the Latoks and many more!
On the morning of the 22nd we arose at 3am to another perfect weather day with all members feeling fit, acclimatised and confident of getting high on the mountain. Our HAPs did a great job for us breaking trail up the SW ridge, at times with over knee-deep snow, to reveal a beautiful snow dome summit at about 8am. From the top of Spantik we were treated to yet more incredible views all around, from Rakaposhi in Hunza back over to K2 and the Karakorum peaks !
|FTA 2011 members on top!|
The next afternoon all members were safe and well back in base camp and celebrating the teams shared success with a bottle of 10year old whiskey (supplied by Phillip - thanks very much!).
We have to thank the local staff who did a great job on the trip, the kitchen staff in particular were excellent, probably the best base camp food I've had and not a single illness amongst the members for the entire expedition!
In short, great trek, great climb and great team, thanks very much !
I'll get a load of pics up shortly so look back on the blog for images from the trek and climb!