“How did we managed to get lost again??”, I heard behind my back. What could I say. We were lost. Again. But this time I could blame our friend from Hunza who said there is no way we can get lost. Well, maybe for him who was born here and climbed Broad Peak (8000m) along with many other giants it was easy. No signs, hundreds of footpaths- we simply had to take a wrong one. Our goal was Ultar glacier but after trying to pass Death Valley trail which led on the very edge of the cliff, we gave up. Anyway, we found a nice spot and decided to camp there enjoying the day talking about the universe.
I still had hope we could get there and soon the hope arrived. Little beardy shepherd who just came back from Ultar symphatised with 2 poor Europeans and decided to show us the way to the glacier. It wasn’t easy though as we had to go down a 400 m steep slope in order to find a right trail. He helped us offering his bamboo stick and soon we reached the trail where he turned back giving us some of his walnuts. Sweet grandpa. After few hours almost dead we got to the Ultar base camp which included a small stoned house and few yacks. As soon as the sun was gone it was freezing cold so we smothered ourselves with sleeping bags and entered the dream world.
Soon we found out that this trek wasn’t actually too bad. After leaving Karimabad we decided to hitchhike to Nagar valley and hike to the Rush lake. Even though road barely existed, we were very lucky to catch some comfy tractor who took us to Hopar along with tonne of walnuts. Nagar valley is amazing. Tiny villages and farmlands where people live slowly and work hard. After finding a hotel we decided to ask about the trail. And here they were, alert like ninjas, local police. They advised us that we have to go with a guide but unfortunately there is no guide as people celebrate Muharram. Great. Thanks to my skills of persuasion and our vet friend who helped us to convince the police, we got a guide for 4000 rupees. Probably he cursed us hundred times (normally he takes much more) but as he didn’t speak English, he kept it for himself.
The condition was one. No sleeping in the tent as our guide simply didn’t have one. After 6 hours of walking and passing two glaciers the first day we camped in the shepherd hut on the base of the mountain. Even though we lost few hours of trekking, Ibrahim cooked a chicken soup for us, we could rest and entertain ourselves by throwing rocks into a can. The conversation was weird if any so we quickly fell asleep to the smoke of a campfire. The next day trekking through sand, rocks and snow we reached Rush lake. The views were amazing, purely clear blue lake surrounded by snowy mountains, only us and Karakoram. We didn’t have a chance to enjoy the place for long as we decided to get to the hotel the same day. I’ve never been so tired in my whole life. After 13 hours of trekking we could barely move. We reached the hotel after dusk where after a small dinner Callum said one thing: “Never again”.
As always I had hunger for more though. I knew that Callum wouldn’t agree for another trek so we decided to see Passu for 1-2 days. We hitchhiked from Karimabad all the way to the north passing astonishing Attabad lake in the middle of rocky peaks. We caught a jeep with nice guys who were touring around Pakistan checking the quality of education at schools. Dream job, especially that they were about… 19 years old. After passing few villages on the north we realized that “Passu” means actually 2 empty hotels and 1 shop that sold almost nothing. Well, on the map it looked a little bigger. We thought of spending the night in one of the abandoned houses but finally we decided to go back as we had literally nothing to eat. The views were amazing though, really worth seeing. As we knew Karimabad as a back of our hands we stayed in Aliabad that time. It was 2 relaxing days watching films, eating Real food and exploring the area. But as typical Europeans addicted to wifi we quickly left after finding out in the whole village there wasn’t any.