Update: Pakistan Ski Expedition update June 30th, 2005:
We’ve had a
great week here in Pakistan. The sun has been shining every day and Jörgen and
I have engraved the first ski tracks on Laila Peak. Laila Peak is one of the
most amazing mountains I’ve ever seen, like a needle it points straight up in
the sky. It’s north-west flank has a steepness of 45-50 deegres in more than
1500 vertical meters. The first day we started off by going up to our camp at
5000 meters. 02.30 the next morning we put on the crampons and continued
climbing up the slopes of Laila. At sunrise we were met by the magnificent
view over the Karakoram giants: K2, Broad Peak and the Gasherbrums. An
unforgettable moment! After eight hours of challenging climbing on hard and
solid snow the conditions changed. The terrain got steeper and steeper and we
were now swinging our ice axes into solid ice with only a thin layer of dry
snow to cover it. We had to use all our gear, ice screws and rope, to continue
upwards. A couple of hours later and only 150 meters from the summit we felt
that there was no way we could ski in these icy conditions and decided to turn
around. With excitement we put on our skis and made the first ski turns ever
on Laila Peak. It was more than 1500 vertical meters down to the bottom. With
the almost 50 degrees steep slope we had to concentrate on every turn not to
make any mistake. The icy conditions turned into solid snow and we could relax
and enjoy the skiing. Not every day you can check out the majestic K2 when
you’re cruising the ski slopes. A long and exciting ski run ended on the
Gondogoro glacier where our friend and cook Muhammad Ali served us some
snacks. A perfect ending on a great ski.
made a second attempt on the mountain four days after our first, hoping that
the conditions would have changed. It had not. There was still too icy on the
top of the mountain to make it possible to ski.
We will now
rest in our camp for a few days, waiting for porters, before heading over the
Gondogoro pass and on to Gasherbrum Base Camp and new adventures.
Fredrik Ericsson and Jörgen Aamot
Karakorams in Pakistan contains some of the most spectacular mountains in the
world. Here you’ll find Laila Peak (6614 m), which is said to be the most
beautiful mountain in Asia. No one has ever skied that mountain. Fredrik
Ericsson and Jörgen Aamot are, this summer, taking on that challenge, as the
first in the world they will try to ski descend the steep slopes of Laila
all, after Laila Peak they will continue up the Baltoro Valley to make an
attempt to ski descend an unskied line on Gasherbrum 2 (8035 m), the 13th
highest mountain in the world.
Ericsson is a skier and mountaineer that’s spending most of his time in the
mountains around Chamonix, France. He has gained a position as one of the top
ski mountaineers in the world after ski descents of Shisha Pangma (8013 m) in
Tibet and Peak Somoni (7495 m) in Tajikistan. Fredrik has also first ski
descents in Sarek National Park, Spitsbergen and the Hurrungane mountains in
Norway. This year he’s looking forward to ski his second 8000-meters peak.
Aamot grew up in the mountains of Oppdal, Norway. He’s teaching skiing,
climbing and avalanche awareness at the Hallingdal College in Gol, Norway.
During the last few years he’s gathered multiple first ski descents throughout
Norway for example in the Lyngen Alps, Hurrungane and Sunndalen Alps. This
will be his first encounter with the high mountains of Karakoram.
Expedition: On June 8, Fredrik and Jörgen will fly to Islamabad in Pakistan.
After a few days of sorting out permits and general preparations they will
continue up north to the Karakoram Mountains. First they will travel with
jeeps via Skardu to Hushe and from there continue on foot. Porters will help
out carrying gear up to Laila Peak Base Camp which they will reach after 7
days. Thereafter they will use a couple of weeks for acclimatisation and
climbing to make it up to the top of Laila Peak, 6614 meters. That’s when the
big adventures start. Fredrik and Jörgen will try to ski the steep west face
of Laila Peak, something that’s never been done before.
Laila Peak they will continue up the Baltoro Valley via Gondogoro pass and
Concordia to the Gasherbrum glacier where the Gasherbrum Base Camp is situated
at 5200 meters. During the next few weeks they will try to climb Gasherbrum 2
(8035 m) which is the 13th highest peak in the world. Well on the summit
Fredrik and Jörgen will try to ski descend the mountain via an unskied line.
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