Before sunrise we left with Thalia from Elati and about 10:30 she left
me at the airport El. Venizelos where my friends Teo and John were waiting
for me. We were lucky that we didn't have to pay extra money for our
overweight luggage. The flight was one our delayed and in Bahrain we
had to wait 40 minutes in the plain because there was no parking place
for the plain.
Razaq was waiting for us at Islamabad's airport. By taxi we went at
the Miraj hotel to have breakfast and rest. In the noon and the afternoon
we went shopping and had a dinner. The weather in Islamabad was very
damp because of the monsoon.
Early in the morning we left from the hotel to Islamabad's airport.
We had 50 kg overweight luggage and we had to pay extra 2700 Pakistan
rupees. Our flight had a delay but the weather in Chitral was good,
so we left. Abdulkhaliq was waiting for us at the airport and we spent
the night at the Tirich Mir View hotel. Muslims had their bayram and
the Mosque was pretty crowded. We went to the police station to get
our staying there permission. In the afternoon we went shopping to buy
some of the things that we need to have on the mountain. In the evening
we had our last weather forecast from internet and dinner at the hotel.
Even though we woke up early the jeep was delayed, so we left at 8:10
from Chitral with Abdulkhaliq, his daughter Fatima, one of his friends
and all our things. In Buni we stopped to fix our broken car. The road
up to the Shagrom village was very bad and it was difficult to get there.
Although the view of Buni Zom and Tirich Mir was great. From Shagrom
we could see the summits of Kono Zom, Tirich Mir and Raghshur Zom. We
did our camp in the camping of the village. We started packing our equipment
and luggage for the porters.
Every summer villagers go up to Bandok area so it was imposable to find
14 porters to carry our things up to the base camp. We found only 11
and we left our three rucksacks with the climbing equipment to the village.
We went ahead and we wait in the Udren Gol the porters. There is a natural
bridge of glacier that we turn from right side of the river to left
side. The slopes are very steep and there were no path. Porters create
steps with their axes. After the path was better and area more flat
up to Shong-o-Lasht (3200m), where we did a long stop. We continue higher
towards to Lopar Gol where there is the conflux of the steams Lopar
and Raghshur. It was not able to cross Raghshur stream and we had to
climb a difficult rock wall about 100 meters high up to II UIAA difficulties
using rope because it was very difficult for the porters to climb with
their loads. We continue higher into the steep grass fields but it was
to late (17:30). We stop leave our luggage (3580m) and we when lower
into the area call "jungle" (3500m), due to the bushy forest. Here there
is spring water, Abdulkhaliq cook and we sleep on the big rocks.
Tsapati and tea was our fast breakfast early in the morning. We continue
traversing the rocky part from the right side. Higher we met a steep
losing field about 30 meters where we make holds with the traditional
piolets. Track was very difficult, and we try to find a route that will
leads to the glacier. We continue traversing until we reach a stream
with drinkable water. After crossing the stream we direct climb high
following the small ridge. We reach the altitude of 4200m and the route
was really very difficult. Teo, Giannis, me and Ronchiro choose the
direct way when porters traverse a few meters to the left. After an
hour we reach met all together almost on the glacier. The view from
Raghshur was great and the huge glacier just in front of us. Abdulkhaliq
knows a flat place 20 meters from the ice of the glacier where run water.
Here we start to make our Base Camp (BC). Porters was paid by Abdulkhaliq
and left running back to Shagrom. We work for many hours to create flat
places for our tents. Base camp was on 4430 meters altitude and has
3 sleeping tents and one kitchen tent.
Due to high altitude I had headache and I had a very bad sleep. Temperature
at night was below zero. We had late a breakfast (9:15) and we prepare
out equipment for higher. Our target was to move the equipments higher
and also to get acclimatized with the high altitude. Glacier was quite
flat and without many crevasses. After two hours trekking we reach the
highest point of the glacier that can see rocks and we left out equipment.
Here we make plan for our route to the west ridge. Abdulkhaliq prepare
lunch, when we return back to BC.
Today we were waiting the three porters to bring our rest equipment
from Shagrom. We suppose that they will be in the morning but finally
they reach BC at 15:00, carrying 75 Kg of climbing equipments. Porters
reach BC from another route and they believe that was easier that the
first one that we climb. Without to lose time, we toke our equipments
and at 17:00 we climb up to the glacier on the immediate stop, where
we had our rest equipments, left form yesterday. We place a tent and
We wake up at 5:00 and we start our climbing at 6:15 with full equipment
and roped together to cross the glacier. We cross the huge crevasses
without problem and climb the long ramp (20-30 degrees). At 9:30 we
reach the huge bergschrund. Here we begin to climb with pitches where
the first one was 75 meters combining the ropes together, where Teo
found a ice part for belay. Teo continue leading while me and Giannis
following using jumar Next pitch was in almost 60 degrees ice for 30
meters and almost same with the third one pitch. The last one was 90
meters long because Teo needs to find a flat place in the soft snow
to belay near the ridge. This pitch was in fresh snow 50 degrees but
very dangerous due to none anchor climb and to unstable snow. Finally,
at 17:00 we reach the col in the west ridge of Raghshur at 5530 meters.
We find a very good place for camp, where a few meters lower runs clean
water at the afternoons. Giannis was very bad due to altitude and it
toke us a lot of time to make the camp and cook. Weather was perfect
and sunny, while the temperature inside the tent was -3C.
Night was silent, but all of us has headache due to altitude. At 6:30
we wake up and have breakfast. We roped together and a few meters lower
Teo makes a belay. From here we make a rappel 55 meters and we reach
one of the old belays. Second rappel was 35 meters while the third one
was 60 meters, just on the limit of the ropes. The fourth rappel ends
into the huge crevasse. In total less than two hours we need to rappel
the slop. We continue the ramp roped together until the intermediate
stop in the bottom (4775m). We leave part of our stuff, we take a rest
and continue to BC where we reach it at 12:30. Giannis was filling very
bad while Teo was much better. I was filling quite good and no too tired.
Today Abdulkhaliq butchered Ronchiro. He started cooking lunch very
early in the morning. The weather was not very good, so I woke up frozen.
It was a relaxing day at the base camp. The food was very good and we
did our plans for the final ascent.
We prepared the food and our equipment for the next camp. We got the
weather forecast; we were feeling better, so everything was ready.
At was night when Abdulkhaliq wake up us. We had breakfast and at 4:10
we left for the camp. We reach the ramp very soon and we climb for the
send time the icy slopes to the col in west ridge. This time we did
4 pitches using the same technique as the first time. Some belays needs
had problem and we make them again. I was exhausted when I reach the
col (15:00) due to long too but mostly due to hot and sunny day. We
had dinner and we rest, a cold night came with -4C inside the tent.
In the morning we prepare to climb higher and to explore the area, in
order to find a route to the summit. West ridge starts with 50 degrees
ice and continue with an exposed rocky part. After about one hour we
reach the bottom of the rocky towers (5630m). This was the highest point
of the Italians in 1974. First, we try to traverse for the right side
(south) but was not possible due to long vertical rocks of the towers.
Such, Teo starts traversing from the left (north) the mixed snow/rock
slopes. After one long pitch Teo realize that this was the most viable
route to continue, and return back. Weather was prefect all the days
that we were on one high camp.
At 7:00 we start will all equipment, to climb the ridge towards the
rock towers (8:20). We made the first pitch, traverse from the left
(north). After the second pitch we attempt the couloir after the rock
towers. Teo leads and the third pitch, climbing the couloir, which has
no good snow conditions. In the end of the pitch about 50 meters, Teo
face the huge cornice of the ridge, impossible to climb it. We decide
that we can not continue and we return back to our camp. We had realized
that we are not able to continue from the previous day. At the afternoon
I follow the ridge to west until the summit P 5578 meters, this peak
is western than the camp on the west ridge. From here I have panoramic
view for the mountains of Hindukush. In the rocks just on the camp we
left a yellow plastic bottle, where we have a message with details for
our detail attempt and contact info, in order to give help to the next
Alarm rings at 6 in the morning, at 7 we start to descent. Belay was
destroyed for the hot days, and Teo make new. We rappel from abalakov
holes, I was the last one, Teo (the heavier one) was checking first
that it was strong, with backup an ice screw. In two hours we have reach
the bottom of the steep slop. We fast cross the glacier and descent
from the ramp. In few hours we reach the intermediate stop, where there
were and our rest equipment. Here we had an hour stop and we load in
our backpacks all the equipment from there. Our load was very big, but
in order to avoid one more climb here, we carry everything now. Even
the route was no difficult, we were quite tired, everything ends at
12:00 in base camp. Abdulkhaliq was not in Base Camp. He has went to
Shagrom village the days that we were on the high camp. At 15:00 Abdulkhaliq
arrive in BC and we had dinner all together.
This was a rest day in BC. We have time to pack our equipment and prepare
everything for our departure.
Porters arrive in BC at 12:00 and at 13:45 we start to descent all together
to the village. The descent was quite difficult and long. Route was
different than from ascent and we cross Raghshur stream from an ice
(glacier) natural bridge. Late in the afternoon we reach Shong-o-Lasht
and continue lower. Finally, at 17:30 we reach an place called Manitso-Kurang
3170m where there is a very nice view to two waterfalls. We bivouac
near the river with the porters.
Before the sunrise, we had breakfast and at 7:30 begin the trekking.
Shagrom village was not far, nut weather was very hot. At 10:30 we reach
Shagrom and we rest in the camping. Teo divide an old climbing rope
and gift it the porters while we sell the static rope. We had reach
lunch in the house of Abdulkhaliq and we rest in his guest house. At
the afternoon Razaq guide un tin the village.
At the morning we depart with the jeep from Shagrom and at noon we arrive
in Chitral. We rest in Tirich Mir view hotel and we had a shower after
many days. In the afternoon I met Professor Karig Baig in tourist information
By car we went from Ayun to Brun of Bumburet. Then we went to Kalashadur
where we met Thanasis, Maria, Liana and Christina. We talked and had
lunch together. In the afternoon we walked up to Batrik village and
we returned at night in Kalashadur, where we spend the night.
Early in the morning we took the first jeep to Chitral. Shopping, internet
and rest in the hotel. I spend my day at the tourist information with
Professor Karig Baig. Our flight to Islamabad was cancelled so we decided
to go by car. In the evening Razaqs family prepared dinner for us in
his house 10 km south of Chitral.
The mini bus Toyota Hiace arrives in the hotel at 8:30. We load our
luggage and we pass from the police to define our departure. The road
to Islamabad crosses the trouble areas of Taliban. Mini bus has two
drivers, but before Lowari pass gear box stacked in 1st gear. It was
unable to change gear and we cross Lowari pass with the 1st gear. Just
before Dir gear box starts to work again. We stop for service but they
make nothing and continue. A few kilometers after Upper Dir, gear box
was completely destroyed. We stop in a gas station without to know who
we will continue to Islamabad. One of the drivers went to Dir and came
back with a workman to repair the car. Finally after an hour of work,
car was ready to drive to the capital. One screw has been missed and
placed a new one. At 18:30 we cross Madren Pass which is closing at
the night fro security reasons. Road had many check points and blocks
from the police and the army. Many times they check our luggage but
when they realize that we where foreigners they let us to continue.
Generally, the road form Dir to the capital was very good and flat due
to constructions. Near Mardar city we follow Μ1 highway and at 22:00
we arrive in Islamabad, and we overnight in Miraj Hotel.
At the hotel, we had a relaxing day. Early in the afternoon we went
for a walk and we arrange the taxi that would take as to the airport.
At 4:00 we took two taxis from the hotel to the airport. We were stopped
by a police block. They were asking for special documents that we needn't
to have. Finally they asked 500$ to let us go. We denied, we gave them
1000 rupees and we were on time at the airport. In the afternoon we
were in Athens, after a short stop in Bahrain. Thalia was waiting for
me and together we drove back to Elati.