Begin a series of posts LJ-user se-boy about the trip to Pakistan: Pakistan have Returned somewhat earlier than expected. On this trip:
1. Was partially completed one of the most difficult, as it turned out, the tracks in Pakistan. 2. As a result, has eroded (and then tweaked) health, which, in fact, had to cut the route. 3. Managed to understand that Pakistan is a country that has nothing to do with what we see on the news. It's much better and more interesting. 4. Managed to meet and build a friendship with the person who made the point in one of the greatest mountaineering mysteries of the twentieth century. 5. Managed to walk in the shadow of one of the most mysterious and hard-to-reach eight-thousanders of the planet. This Mountain of fate, she's a killer she's Naked mountain, it is the King of the mountains. The world's best known under two last names.
1. Nanga Parbat (Naked mountain), also called Diamir (King of mountains). Apical part Rubalskaja slope
Warm July day I was brought to a provincial shop fabrics in Moscow. Just canceled a trip to Tibet, and I began to consider the option of Pakistan was written and sent the first letter, but all hung in the air, no certainty, no hope.
In the store the walls were stands with folded in rolls of fabrics in different colors and variegation, shabby and spotted with flies, the walls in some places were decorated with panels of embroidery and beading, which is so unpretentious that it is better to bare wall. It was boring and stuffy.
Suddenly among an abundance of cheap popular "evenings on a farm near Dikanka" and "Krivonos and locomotive fists taking the farm" the opinion drew a figure with a strange form of the building and the inscription in Latin Baltit fort. Damn! The trip will be possible!
It is not known how on the outskirts of Moscow at the fabric store was the image of Baltit Fort situated in Hunza, in Northern Pakistan, but in similar signs, I believe, because until now they always worked.
More than just happy that Pakistan refers to its Northern part, where the three greatest mountain range – the Himalayas, Karakoram and Hindu Kush, are very different from the country in which we imagine his comrades doing the news. Of course, not everything is simple – there are many problems, it is overpopulated, people are mired in poverty. Difficulties with education, employment, sanitation, and medical care. Separate the issue of radicalization and Islamization. No wonder, many of these troubles are almost everywhere. But if you consider through what difficulties have to be in the country...
2. Pakistani girl 11 years brings back younger brother
But for some reason no one talks about beautiful people, among whom many Pakistanis; no one talks about welcoming inhabitants of the mountains, which for the guest is ready for everything ("my house is your house" is an iron rule in the mountainous Pakistan); silent and stunningly beautiful landscapes and unspoilt nature. I hope this situation will be corrected in spite of those who make Pakistan the world monster.
3. Trucks and buses – art and the pride of every driver
Of course, I can't speak "for all Odessa", that is for the whole Pakistan because he was only in the Northern part. But the experience says only one thing – it is certainly worth a return, and wants.
4. River valley Astor (the height of about 3500 meters)
As it turned out in the process, the circular trek around Nanga Parbat is considered one of the most difficult in the country. The main difficulty is the lack of villages in one part of the route and the pass Maseno (5399 metres), descend from the slope and fresh snow had, hedging with an ice pick and a rope, that was the first time in my practice, because I am not a climber.
5. Xenia on a stone ledge above the glacier. Rear peak Aigiri
In addition, this track is fairly self-contained, it is necessary to carry food, gas, tents, and so on. And if not for our guide and mountain porters, I know – live from the pass we She wouldn't have gone.
Not counting the difficult approaches on both sides to the pass glacier (cracks, no trails as such), you need not only good knowledge of the terrain and climbing skills, which is what our guides had in full measure, but the authority among the population of local villages. The authority possessed by our guide – he is known, I think, without exception, all local residents within a radius of hundreds of kilometers from Nanga Parbat.
Without these people can quickly become poor and dead, and, as usual, at the same time.
6. The remains of a mountain goat at an altitude of about 4500 meters. Decomposition there is almost no, it's mummy
7. Your humble servant close to the pass (altitude of about 5200 meters). Behind these mountains starts the Free Kashmir
8. Look to the right there is the killer...
First and foremost, it became clear that ordinary Soviet citizen to go to Pakistan only by invitation, other options exist. From neighboring countries like you can just cross the border, but the prospect of a trip to China, Afghanistan, Iran or India to the intersection of Pakistani land borders did not appeal.
The second problem was the fact that the Pakistani agencies, specializing in mountain routes, was unanimous in its narrow-mindedness and insanity in part of the postulate "to meet the client". Pakistan is visited by few tourists, many of them or climbers who need a good environment downstairs as their main work starts from a height of 4-5 km, or Europeans, require a certain level of comfort.
Apparently, this imposed on local agencies fingerprint in the form of package tours which are all inclusive and price is just astronomical. On sent to a number of agencies standard letters ("trek around Nanga Parbat for two people, please send the order to the prices and conditions") came no less stereotypical answers. Price unanimously in all cases exceeded $ 2,300 per person, reaching sometimes up to 3 thousand.
Attempts to play on the slide nor nothing, one had the feeling that, as in Nepal, there is a scheme, which all prefer to stick. Only in Nepal you can come and resolve all issues personally, here is no invitation did not turn up. To deceive people is not good (you would probably pseudocapacity to all the conditions and then, upon arrival in the country to send away the Agency), therefore, had to enter into an unequal battle correspondence with all agencies directly, explaining that the track I do not need to figure the tables, chairs, shower, portable toilet and things like that, and are only interested in the guide and the porter for food, as part of the track passes out of the villages. Your 20 extra pounds in the backpacks I carry myself.
Don't really understand Europeans. What is the point to go to the track, which is all the way down to the point that you can probably hire a palanquin, in which you will suffer? And you will collapse it and will feel the crown Prince...
9. To break through the defense only succeeded in the case of one Agency, the Manager of which named Ali interested in customers and were not only pleasant, but absolutely sane man. In addition, from time to time he takes part in the tracks. After a couple of emails the cost of the tour per person fell first to two thousand, and then to 1560 dollars on the nose that was already acceptable. Of course, the price could be bring down and more, but in this case worth to be safe. And then suddenly turned out to be that instead of normal cars to the site will have to get something like...
10. A bus on the Karakorum highway. At the bottom of the Indus river
We eventually agreed on the amount of 1560. This includes: transfer from airport to hotel on arrival and back (Etihad Airways flies to Islamabad in the evening departure to Moscow about four o'clock in the morning); in fact the hotel in Islamabad for two nights with Breakfast (the room was quite expensive, but I lost sight of solving a bunch of other issues), two domestic flights (round-trip) and then by jeep through mountain roads to the beginning of the track or, in the case of bad weather, transfer by land to the payment of the three porters and guide during the whole route, their food and equipment; food for us; the warranty for the work of porters and a guide and no problems with them.
Guide, running is the best in the region and a very reputable person. He knows the terrain of the Kashmir Himalayas and the number of routes in the Karakoram, Chitral, the valleys of dir and SWAT. He solves all the problems along the way, ranging from the banal tips, ending problems with the search and hiring of porters, meeting with local, trade when you purchase any items and equipment (in the mountains who knows little English, and Urdu I never bothered to learn :)), etc., etc.
Porters took three guide carries no load, it carries the baggage porter, the other two porters carry two double tents, all meals, necessary utensils, including a gas cylinder (above 4 thousand no firewood) and their belongings. Our backpacks, utensils and a tent we were carrying themselves. The only relief – your sleeping bag, I flipped to one of the porters.
In General, the work of Ali and his Agency should evaluate as "excellent". A guide and mountain porters just gold people, such is rarely seen. Friendship with them I cherish. There were some pitfalls and small management problems caused by my ignorance of local peculiarities, but it was solved. The second ride of these problems, of course, will not arise. To write here about it will not – is already a great text to get, I can tell you, if anyone, will decide to go.
Now is the technical part of the Agency sends an invitation and duplicate it to the Embassy of Pakistan in Russia by Fax. In the absence of such reserves in the Embassy no you will not talk at all. Required: one completed visa application, 3 (if memory serves) pictures, translated into English and notarized proof of salary, a passport, until the expiry which is more than six months, purchased tickets (of which we really didn't ask). The queue at the Embassy at all. Visa is issued within five working days, costs about $ 100, if I'm not mistaken (I took more, with Susie less, I don't know why) and looks like this.
11. There is reason to think the visa number 467 for 9 months...
12. Journalists at the Embassy are not very good, long detain questions like "why why Yes, Yes what if..." and look with suspicion...
With regard to the work of porters, no Humpty Dumpty, as in Nepal. The price of the work of porters are fixed by the government. Quote from the official document where PRs Pakistani rupee (at the moment 1 US dollar equals 85 Pakistani rupees):
Ministry of Tourism, Government of Pakistan has approved porters wage rates for the calendar year 2011 as per details given below:
1. Overall wages per stage – 455 PRs Wages – 239 PRs Return/Empty Run – 120 PRs Ration Money – 96 2 PRs. Charges per Crossing expedition/party for high passes above 4000 meters – 598 3 PRs. Wages for rest day/normal stoppage – 227 4 PRs. Kit allowance upto 4 stages – 239 PRs 5. Kit allowance beyond 4 stages – 478 6 PRs. Meat money per trip – 179 PRs
The porter in the region of Gilgit-Baltistan can carry a maximum of 25 kg of weight. Trackers have to hire porter service through the local tourist office or through local administration. In case of conflict with the porters last word remains behind the Ministry of tourism of Pakistan. In the case of abuse by tourists should be a ban on visits to Gilgit-Baltistan for a period of three years with the prosecution according to law.
This here is in brief the contents of official papers which were received from agencies in response to my query about the cost of services of porters. A small remark. Distance per day is called a stage, if these "flow" is small, we can do two a day, but the payment is appropriate. All this headache we have not had wages of porters engaged in the guide, and in General, again, the problems with the porters was absent.
Given prices, the Ministry of tourism increases by 10% per year. Do not forget about tipping the porters, they go at the rate of 50 rupees per day. Tips are paid, of course, at the end of the track.
In General, something like that. If you do it right, you are welcome to try authentic mountain food with a Pakistani twist. ????
13. Roadside eatery
Islamabad gives the impression of wide streets, proper planning, good-quality buildings. Solid city where you can take the time, felt that it was specifically built as the capital, this, however, it is somewhat artificial. Previously, the capital was Karachi, then Rawalpindi, now the last sort of merged with Islamabad in one piece, although differences are evident – Rawalpindi significantly noisier, dirtier and hostnamelen, the movement of road transport, there are a lot of companies.
14. In Rawalpindi so you can ride in Islamabad no
And Islamabad similar to Moscow, 60 years: little machines for such wide streets, green, large space. Many hotels, government buildings, diplomatic quarter, solid offices.
15. Of the local bus. People sometimes even on the sides hanging
The morning passes in a debate in the local hypermarket Metro. During our correspondence Ali sent a list of products that he buys usually for expeditions before their arrival to save time. More than half of the names I didn't know specific names, which for Europeans or climbers, may be obvious, but to us solid dark forest. It was therefore agreed that we will go to buy food together.
Discussed menu for the whole track, recruit Ksenya full cart of food, ranging from Chinese noodles and local dishes of fast preparation, ending with the nuts, dry - and tinned fruit and a jar of honey, but Ali looked at the range, says only one word: "enough". Oddly as we took the food based Breakfast-lunch-dinner, but he knows better...
Ksenia protests against the purchase of additional food, and so hard that Ali, observing political correctness, quietly whispers to me: "let's take her to the hotel and we will go again yourself, otherwise upstairs you will die of hunger." We laugh together, yet still we buy more products.
Ali, where we will pack all of this? Based on weight, for food will need a separate conference room. I'll give you the drum. Drum? — No, plastic barrel with lockable lid. This is the perfect container for food and to carry it conveniently.
16. Products and a barrel drum in a hotel room. In the bag a bunch of products
The drum, incidentally, lives up to its name. Subsequently, by an unlucky coincidence he flew away from the pass with all our food. This mourning echoing roar and flying at me wildly rotating barrel I will remember forever – rasshiryat products for several hundred meters along the slope, the drum reached the glacier and disappeared into a crack. Remember, at this point, it was a pity a jar of condensed milk, which we brought with us to celebrate the crossing...
However, I somehow got ahead of myself... Back to the hotel, stuffed the food in the barrel. Full to the eyeballs. And it's only our food, the porters, in addition, will suffer. Plus still have to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, because some of the concentrates does not go far. Ali advises to be purchased closer to the beginning of the route, in the towns and villages that we pass along the way.
17. A fragment of one of the cards. Green represents the route traversed
At first glance it seems that the area is heavily populated and surrounded by nothing but civilization – names already on each other overlap. I really didn't know whether to happy or sad, because I wanted something more wild. However, the first impression is erroneous. At the savagery of these places will give a hundred points ahead of the popular Nepali tracks, and the recent floods, mudflows and landslides finally made some parts of Northern Pakistan desert and inaccessible.
Two centimeters on the map in almost any direction from the Karakorum highway (the thick road that runs along the Indus, highlighted in red), and the people in the villages have no idea of what education, sanitation and hygiene; there is no light, gas, running water; houses in the mountain villages have in common with these houses only the name, often it is built of stone walls with a roof, not even sealed with grout.
18. The disguise is almost perfect
Itself the Karakoram highway – the usual two, and more often poltoradyadko, serpentine, in the best years in which it was possible somehow to pass, but now would be appropriate, the term "creep" – floods and landslides have completely killed the road.
However, all this will be known only later, but for now a glimpse of time to look at a government building, one of the largest mosques in the world in the suburbs of Islamabad and drive to meet our guide.
19. The Faisal mosque on 300 thousand worshipers. Covers an area of 19 hectares
The mosque is named in honor of the murdered Saudi king Faisal bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud. He offered to build and Finance the construction itself, which at current prices cost about $ 120 million. There is also the international Islamic University and the mausoleum of one of the most notorious dictators of Pakistan, about which it is found.
20. The complex of government buildings. Filmed on the go
Beyond these concrete blocks and barbed wires can not pass, and here to stay banned. After the explosion of the "Mariott" hotel, located on the left when looking at the photo, guard government buildings and the diplomatic quarter substantially increased.
First, the entire area is well exposed to visible – not hide. Second, to get, for example, in any Embassy, it is necessary to come to a special item, where will be searched from head to toe, take all things and transplanted into a special bus. Only such a bus may enter the territory of departue, any other transport, apparently, will be shot without warning.
Unfortunately, photos of Islamabad is very small – on arrival there was no time, and we thought on the way back to devote a day to the city, to walk, to buy Souvenirs. However, fate decreed otherwise, and Islamabad, we have not seen...
To get acquainted with the guide went in the evening. When he emerged towards the car from the roadside of the building, then in the darkness they saw that Ali decided to take us to some Mujahid – the outline of the figure it was evident that the tour guide guy in Pakistani clothes and with a beard. Imagination dorisovyvat on the shoulder of a Kalashnikov, but fortunately, it was not.
"Perhaps, under the protection of this guide we definitely will not shoot you, but where is the guarantee that he ain't gonna shoot us? After all, we going we in Kashmir and walk there will be a few dozen kilometers from the "zones of control" – the disputed border with India". To think these thoughts as follows could not – we got out of the car and went to meet the person with whom you had to share a table and shelter one day.
Worrying was for naught. Perhaps, during the communication with the guides I have never met a more skilled person, more balanced and more friendly. Samandar Khan, is also very famous – he and his relatives found the remains of a climber günther Messner, putting an end to the sensational stories that have affected the fate of many people. These events will be the subject of a separate entry, as this topic was written not one book, it is thanks to this story in particular, I was in Pakistan.
21. Samandar Khan and yours truly