Food and Gear

There is a great section on climbing porters at The Sherpas are much alike their less famous equivalents in the Karakorums; the Baltis.

Just as the Sherpas of the Khumbu Valley, the Baltis of the Karakorums are much appreciated by the climbers. The porters work with you; sometimes they even die with you. Be good to them and check The Sherpas for guidance. There is another section on the site describing the climbers. It goes for all altitude climbing so check it out at Fellow climbers. In the Karakorums, there are however some differences that you will encounter.

Fellow Climbers

In the Everest Himalayas, it is possible to meet all kinds of climbers. Alpine aces climb side by side of alpine novices as human dreamers crowd to ascent the tallest mountain of them all.

In the Karakorums, the situation is strikingly different. One after the other, climbers emerge from nowhere, attempting their 10th, 11th or last of the Himalayan crown; all the 8000rs of the earth.

A single summit of Everest suddenly seems bleak in the face of climbers counting out Kanchenjunga, Nanga Parbat, Makalu and other giants for the breakfast "chai".

That doesn´t mean that the politics and interactions with fellow climbers differ from the ones on Everest. It is still the same egos, lack of law, good guys and bad guys surviving together against all odds in a volunteer war.

It´s just that the human nature will be tougher in the Karakorums. There will be the resolute Russians, the proud Spaniards, the intrepid Koreans. There will be more risk taken, more honor gained but most of all - countless more climbing tales to be shared in the dark, cold tents.

If you are well liked, you will be offered Russian horsefat from a tube, Mexican honeycomb cookies or Netherland sweet oatbread baked by somebody's mom. There will be the fierce spice paste in a glass jar brought from Kazakstan or even American cheese cake made from the local goat/camel/yak cheese.

You will chat with the most skilled climbers on the planet. Watch treats crumble in the beards of wild men with fiery eyes. Meet women living lives far from the ordinary. You will listen to the sagas of the mountains, tales of bravery whispered out of sleeping bags, hopes and fears shared in all the languages of our world.

With this experience of mutual struggle and glory faced together with strangers, in this place of the most remote coordinates in the world, you will probably find that the summit becomes of lesser importance. Instead, you might discover that we are all the same really, making the human kind just an endless family of brothers and sisters.

Hanging on a steep slope, clinging to the edge of a black rock face in a roaring wind, you will not be able to distinguish friend from enemy on the mountain. You will both be just humans, tied to the same rope, saving each other's lives without a word. That will be the golden crown of K2 that you will carry in your heart for the rest of your life.

Promotion link

Adventure News