Pakistan: The scoop on permits, insurance and safety
Last week, Gerlinde and Gnaro reported problems with their climbing permit, and the Benegas brothers had similar trouble. “Our full first day in Islamabad was full of surprises, related to new regulations and procedures with the rescue insurances,” reported Damian.
“As common practice we got pretty good insurance, but the local government didn’t care. They needed either a deposit of $6,000 or a letter of the embassy promising that the embassy will pay the cost of the rescue. Of course the first thing the consulate said to us was: “You guys should not be in this country.” So after a long discussion with our agency we came up with the deposit.”
Dave Hancock reporting from Islamabad: "No money, no go"
Field Touring are one of the world's most active operators inside the Karakoram. This year they have return expeditions to Broad Peak and Gasherbrum II, climbs on Spantik and Trango, and a host of treks. A note from FTA head Dave Hancock arrived a few days back, from Islamabad where he was preparing for his teams arrival and expedition to Broad Peak (8051m):
"You might want to let your readership know that every permit expedition this season has to deposit US$6000 with the MOT in order to acquire helicopter surety. No money, no go. That they have chosen to let everybody arrive without prior advice of this new regulation, is quite extra-ordinary. I know of several teams of British college students whom are en-route and will need to be on the phone to mum and dad pretty quickly after they arrive."
"Chilas Hotel locking its gates at night is not need to declare Pakistan a No - Go area"
"On a brighter note, and after more than a dozen trips to Pakistan, I can say with some glee that Islamabad and Rawalpindi are looking downright clean and organised, and major new road-works have been completed easing much of the congestion. People on the street are praising Musharaff's efforts towards progressing Pakistan's social and economic prosperity. Pity he can't change the weather but, it's still 40C in the shade."
"As has been typical for the last as many years as I can remember, the streets are civil and the mood is good. Security is fine, despite the occasional utterring of trepidation from some tourists on the Karakoram Highway. The fact that the Chilas Hotel locks its gates at night is not need to declare Pakistan a No - Go area. It seems some western governments like to issue travel advisories when a travellers washing gets pinched off a hotel laundry line."
50 climbers on 70+ permits
"The last serious incident involving a western tourist in the northern areas was nearly 10 years ago when, very sadly, photographer Ned Gillette was killed during a bungled robbery in the Haramosh area while trekking alone. Going by those figures, the US State Dpt needs to issue Travel warnings to approximately 135 US cities straight away..."
"Arrival numbers for this season are well below what was experienced last year - some 350 climbers on 70+ permits and around 2000 trekkers are expected in the Northern Areas. That should provide for relatively quiet trails, and plenty of available man-power for portage. It's a good time to come, so grab your boots and get on the phone to your ticketing agent, and plan your trip when you get here, you've got the whole splendour of the
amazing Karakoram Range to choose from!"
Field Touring Alpine's international 2005 Broad Peak team has some experience to it; amongst them 6 Everest summits, Cho Oyu, Manaslu, Dhaulaghiri, Broad Peak, and Makalu. Climbers on the expedition include the French female alpinist Frederique Delrieu, who has ticked four 8000ers without oxygen, Mexican Everest summitteers Rodrigo Ponce and Alejandro Garibay, Seven Summits club member Francis Slakey, and Colorado based James Sparks. This will be James' second attempt at Broad, after being turned around above 7000m by high wind. He has previously climbed Cho Oyu and Everest. The expedition members arrived in Islamabad on June 20 for their 50 day climb. Field Touring will be operating dispatches via its site.
Field Touring, which specializes in low cost expeditions for independent styled climbers and trekkers, are one of the world's most active operators inside the Karakoram. This year they have return expeditions to Broad Peak and Gasherbrum II, climbs on Spantik and Trango, and a host of treks.
Autor: Dave Hancock, firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information at: http://www.fieldtouring.com