PAKISTAN 2017

First off, I'd like to thank Everybody who worked hard to get me to Pakistan.

 For those who don't know, The world lost Scott Adamson and Kyle Dempster last fall in the mountains of Pakistan. Those boys were unlike anyone I've ever met. The boys were climbing on the Ogre II and never made it back to base camp. This year has been beyond words. Getting a trip organized to go be where the boys were was an effort I almost didn't know how to emotionally navigate after all that had happened. Luckily I have the best friends in the world, and with generous support of the climbing community Ghafoor Abdul, Jewell Lund, Andrew Burr, Doom Fassbinder and I were able to pull this thing off.

Huge thank you to Rab Equipment, Liberty Mountain, Hyperlite Mountain Gear, Outdoor Research, Black Diamond, Lowa boots, Specialized bicycles, La Sportiva and Revelate Designs.

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Pictured in the clouds is the north face of the Ogre 2, Where Scott Adamson and Kyle Dempster were last seen. Photo taken from the boys base camp by me.

We went to Pakistan with the spirit of the boys in mind. We planned a fat tire bike overland journey to the Choktoi Glacier. Home of the Ogre 2, Ogre 1, and Latok. We crossed river and glaciers, Cried and Laughed, but most of all visited a place that was so sacred to both Kyle and Scott. We also Established a beautiful memorial at the base camp Scott and Kyle stayed at. Andrew Burr had this incredible vision and with the unwavering help of Doom and  Ghafoor, Aziz and Hauseen made something none of us could have imagined. The memorial is Perfect. 

 BIKE GANGZZZZZZ

BIKE GANGZZZZZZ

When we arrived in Skardu (City In Gilgit- Baltistan) we caused quite the Ruckus. Not only were we white people on bikes riding around Pakistan, But we were American, and our bike tires were so FAT. So naturally people stared. There are many motorcycles in Pakistan but the good old fashion bicycle is far and few between. So the kids who had bikes were super excited to show us and would ride around town with us. I mean look how cool we look....

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 doom being silly on a day ride around Skardu. 

doom being silly on a day ride around Skardu. 

DAY ONE TOWARDS THE CHOKTOI BASE CAMP

So then we were off! On our first day we rode from the town of Skardu towards the Village of Askole (where the road ends). We did a long, hot ride then threw our bikes in the jeep to make it to Askole before nightfall. We actually had a very tight regiment for this trip. We had one month before our flights returned to America. And when the mountains get involved things always seem to take a little more time.

 Doom broke a chain like 10 minutes outta town. Good thing he's a bike ninja, we were on the road in no time.

Doom broke a chain like 10 minutes outta town. Good thing he's a bike ninja, we were on the road in no time.

 At this point I didn't know our porters brought a kalashnikov or else i could have given her a go!

At this point I didn't know our porters brought a kalashnikov or else i could have given her a go!

 All along the way to Askole women and children were harvesting wheat. Really was fields of shimmering gold.

All along the way to Askole women and children were harvesting wheat. Really was fields of shimmering gold.

 Doom started a chase for the school boys, it was so adorable. They loved him.They were so shy until he started messing around then they were in full effect.

Doom started a chase for the school boys, it was so adorable. They loved him.They were so shy until he started messing around then they were in full effect.

 Jewell, Doom and Burr on the sandy jeep road

Jewell, Doom and Burr on the sandy jeep road

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 Then we piled into this thing

Then we piled into this thing

 it was a little cramped . 

it was a little cramped . 

 then the road that dropped off 2000 feet was washed out so obviously the bad ass Pakistanis just fixed it with man power and a few sand bags. Needless to say i got out of the vehicle when they drove the once broken stretch. After the driver had cleared the stretch he immediately got outta the jeep to smoke a cigarette. Which confirmed I was not over reacting , haha.

then the road that dropped off 2000 feet was washed out so obviously the bad ass Pakistanis just fixed it with man power and a few sand bags. Needless to say i got out of the vehicle when they drove the once broken stretch. After the driver had cleared the stretch he immediately got outta the jeep to smoke a cigarette. Which confirmed I was not over reacting , haha.

 Our driver. He liked to dance to indian club music, it was amazing.

Our driver. He liked to dance to indian club music, it was amazing.

DAY TWO TOWARDS THE CHOKTOI BASE CAMP

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So we ate and we slept and we woke up decently early to depart out of Askole. We were excited to head into the mountians, and apparantly so was the rest of the village. The Pakastanis were fascinated that we were taking bikes to Latok, many of them being porters to the Choktoi knew just how stupid this idea was. But we were gonna do it anyways. Adventure! right?

 and naturally we didnt make it a mile before the kids came running. Everyone was so curious!

and naturally we didnt make it a mile before the kids came running. Everyone was so curious!

 The little boys size up jewell

The little boys size up jewell

 and try out the bikes!

and try out the bikes!

 Right outta Askole there is this rickety bridge, we got to do laps over it on the bikes. It was crazy! nothing like a torrent river to keep you going in a straight line. 

Right outta Askole there is this rickety bridge, we got to do laps over it on the bikes. It was crazy! nothing like a torrent river to keep you going in a straight line. 

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 This day was the best day of the trip as far as riding goes. we got stretches of sand as pictured here spliced with cobble stones and steep cliff hike a bikes. 

This day was the best day of the trip as far as riding goes. we got stretches of sand as pictured here spliced with cobble stones and steep cliff hike a bikes. 

 this part was my favorite riding of the whole trip. it was just too cool. a rock stacked snigle track on the side of a river. 

this part was my favorite riding of the whole trip. it was just too cool. a rock stacked snigle track on the side of a river. 

 doom in green, shredding!

doom in green, shredding!

 jewell navigating the cobbles. This was some of the most annoying riding for me. It gave you confidence you could ride it smooth cause it looked so mellow but then you were thrown off the rocks by a sliding tire every now and again.

jewell navigating the cobbles. This was some of the most annoying riding for me. It gave you confidence you could ride it smooth cause it looked so mellow but then you were thrown off the rocks by a sliding tire every now and again.

 and this is what gave us flat tires outta all the gnar. Pretty rose petals with some thorns scattered in-between.

and this is what gave us flat tires outta all the gnar. Pretty rose petals with some thorns scattered in-between.

 our posse. We had 5 animals and about 10 porters for our gear, food, camp set up and memorial materials. It was crazy for me to have that many people in the mountains with us. I had never used more than 3 porters of expeditions and had always gone in a very minimalist style. But this was definitely not that style. We were living large. we even had vegtables and live chickens in base camp.

our posse. We had 5 animals and about 10 porters for our gear, food, camp set up and memorial materials. It was crazy for me to have that many people in the mountains with us. I had never used more than 3 porters of expeditions and had always gone in a very minimalist style. But this was definitely not that style. We were living large. we even had vegtables and live chickens in base camp.

DAY THREE TOWARDS THR CHOKTOI BASECAMP

 DAY THREE SUCKED. it was a short distance, maybe only 6 miles.... but look at that talus. Yup, bikes on that. What were we thinking? so we pushed and carried our 70 lbs bikes.....

DAY THREE SUCKED. it was a short distance, maybe only 6 miles.... but look at that talus. Yup, bikes on that. What were we thinking? so we pushed and carried our 70 lbs bikes.....

 awesome riding

awesome riding

 it was somewhere around here shit got real steep but I was too busy carrying a bike to take pictures. 

it was somewhere around here shit got real steep but I was too busy carrying a bike to take pictures. 

 Scott would always pick me wildflowers. so I picked them as we rode, and tried to adorn myself as often as i could. 

Scott would always pick me wildflowers. so I picked them as we rode, and tried to adorn myself as often as i could. 

 we had arrived at camp for the night. porters chilling for hours cause we were so slow carrying our bikes.

we had arrived at camp for the night. porters chilling for hours cause we were so slow carrying our bikes.

 Its good to travel with goofballs. Andrew Burr and Doom. And yes, a donkey carried us in plastic chairs. Yea, yeah, i know. 

Its good to travel with goofballs. Andrew Burr and Doom. And yes, a donkey carried us in plastic chairs. Yea, yeah, i know. 

DAY FOUR TOWARDS THE CHOKTOI BASECAMP

so at the end of day three we had actually arrived on the Choktoi glacier proper. It was lots of talus covered ice, and that went on into day four but nonetheless we were where we had aimed to be. So lots of feelings were in the air. 

I personally had a really challenging day. I had dreamed about traveling here with Scott. Climbing these mountains, meeting these people. It was incredibly bittersweet to be in this beautiful place without him. And know that he was physically so close by , but i didn't know where he was. and i couldn't hold him, or kiss him. That I was just here, alive. And he wasn't.

To make it all more interesting, I don't do good at high altitude. That was the reason I had never been to the Choktoi in years past. In 2014 I got very ill on a Expedition to Nepal to Attempt Unclimbed peaks in the Rowaling Himal. I left after struggling around 19,000 with cerebral edema and severe chest pains that later turned into coughing up blood.

After arriving home my symptoms worsened and I Experienced a elevated magnitude of health issues and have been struggling with in years following that trip. Scott had been my rock through all of this. He was super committed to getting me strong and back into the mountains. Every day, every time I struggled with it, he had my back. We were so scared for me to return to high altitude, after spending so much time in hospitals with specialists that could guarantee no safety for me and my mysterious health condition.  So we waited, and I did not go to Pakistan with him in 2016.  He always told me the mountains weren't worth my life.

But here I was, testing my luck one year later, now without him. Feeling strong and healthy but still so scared, but I wanted to be near him so bad. I wanted to see all he saw. Experienced what he had in his last days. My family and friends struggled with this, and so did I. But I felt I must go. 

I had been running marathon distances around 10,000 feet back in the USA. sleeping as high as I could in my truck around Silverton , Colorado. I climbed Mt. Whitney at 14,500 before I left to see how I would do. And I appeared to be doing fantastic. I did all I could to prepare, and I felt ready. 

In Pakistan I tested my heart rate and oxygen saturation every day and kept a journal. I was taking Diamox and was monitoring how I felt very closely. But as we got further up it did catch up with me. I just was'nt recovering like the rest of the group. My heart rate would continue to climb. This was something I knew was a high possibility of and unfortunately was now becoming a reality. 

 Andy burr standing on one of the heavy metal hills we carried our nikes over

Andy burr standing on one of the heavy metal hills we carried our nikes over

 Hussain and Ghafoor waiting on us like usual. But we had made it to ridible glacier!

Hussain and Ghafoor waiting on us like usual. But we had made it to ridible glacier!

 jewell and doom sunscreening up.

jewell and doom sunscreening up.

 Ghafoor taking a mid day nap next to our glacial highway to basecamp.

Ghafoor taking a mid day nap next to our glacial highway to basecamp.

 We had turned the corner and I was a little too preoccupied to get the camera out. But it looked something like this, the Ogre2, distinguishable yet still in the clouds. Off in the distance was the mountain that claimed the lives of our loves. Jewell and I lost it. and we sat there for a great while, trying to process what had happened and where we were. I love that lady, so thankful to have her. This day was a trying one. So grateful to be there but missing our boys so much. And knowing they were here somewhere.

We had turned the corner and I was a little too preoccupied to get the camera out. But it looked something like this, the Ogre2, distinguishable yet still in the clouds. Off in the distance was the mountain that claimed the lives of our loves. Jewell and I lost it. and we sat there for a great while, trying to process what had happened and where we were. I love that lady, so thankful to have her. This day was a trying one. So grateful to be there but missing our boys so much. And knowing they were here somewhere.

 And next to the ogre 2 was Latok a daunting yet shining beauty.  And so in a daze of confusion we carried our bikes the remaining portion through the talus to camp. We had done the first half of  what we came to do "rode" to the boys' base camp to just be. Be where they had been.

And next to the ogre 2 was Latok a daunting yet shining beauty.

And so in a daze of confusion we carried our bikes the remaining portion through the talus to camp. We had done the first half of  what we came to do "rode" to the boys' base camp to just be. Be where they had been.

 camp. with the Ogre one peeping out on the right.

camp. with the Ogre one peeping out on the right.

OUR WEEK AT THE CHOKTOI BASE CAMP

We spent a little over a week at 15,000 feet. The Choktoi basecamp. This base camp was situated a few miles up from the traditional camp used for Latok. Ghafoor had built this camp specially for Kyle and Scott. It was their second year here, and they wanted to be close to the Ogre 2. So there I slept in Scott's tent. In the same place he slept. That felt nice

 Jewell and I spent our days walking around the glacier. Jewell studies glaciology and was often surveying or taking samples of the snow/ice. I warndered around listening to tunes, writing letters to Scott and letting it all sink in.   

Jewell and I spent our days walking around the glacier. Jewell studies glaciology and was often surveying or taking samples of the snow/ice. I warndered around listening to tunes, writing letters to Scott and letting it all sink in.

 

 This was the ice fall that seperated us from the actual base proper of the ogre 2 (on left). The boys had to climb it to access the mountain. But Scott had told me it was very dangerous to climb up, even worse to Descend. We had also just heard horrible accounts from Alex Huber and his party from just days earlier. It was prone to rock and ice fall on both sides. As well as avalanches. We decided to stop here and figured it was best not to go any further.   Jewell, the boys and I all went to visit the face at separate times throughout our stay. I was only able to go once. The face was at 18,000 feet approximately. I felt totally fine when I was up there, but I was unable to recover from spiking that high. My heart rate was resting very high and my oxygen sats were dropping so I chose to stay in base camp after my trip here. I felt like the universe kept me just well enough to get here. To get me as close as I could get to Scott. And for that I was grateful.

This was the ice fall that seperated us from the actual base proper of the ogre 2 (on left). The boys had to climb it to access the mountain. But Scott had told me it was very dangerous to climb up, even worse to Descend. We had also just heard horrible accounts from Alex Huber and his party from just days earlier. It was prone to rock and ice fall on both sides. As well as avalanches. We decided to stop here and figured it was best not to go any further. 

Jewell, the boys and I all went to visit the face at separate times throughout our stay. I was only able to go once. The face was at 18,000 feet approximately. I felt totally fine when I was up there, but I was unable to recover from spiking that high. My heart rate was resting very high and my oxygen sats were dropping so I chose to stay in base camp after my trip here. I felt like the universe kept me just well enough to get here. To get me as close as I could get to Scott. And for that I was grateful.

 Being there was weird. I didn't know what to do, I stood talking to someone who was there, but not in the present. I felt closer and yet further just not knowing exactly where our boys could be.   I will say that being back home and looking at the daunting photos of the ogres north face that I had I often struggled with the line, Feeling only in moments that it was some sort of suicide mission because it was so technical and at such a altitude.   But as I got closer to the face all that melted away. Of all the Alpine objectives in the Choktoi I  truly felt that the Ogre 2 was a fantastic choice.  Its steep face was protected from slides, The ice and snow systems that zig zagged across the face started with lower angle corner systems and linked into the headwall to an incredible high point on the summit ridge. The Route made sense. It was logical. It was hard and proud, yes. But not impractical or improbable , Shit just happens. Whether it was human error, unsuspected rockfall, or being trapped by the 10 day storm our boys didn't come home, and nothing was going to change that. Why and how the accident happened all of a sudden didn't matter. I regained trust in the boys decisions and abilities and walked away with a little more calm. A little more grace, although I feel I'm still far from graceful with it all.

Being there was weird. I didn't know what to do, I stood talking to someone who was there, but not in the present. I felt closer and yet further just not knowing exactly where our boys could be. 

I will say that being back home and looking at the daunting photos of the ogres north face that I had I often struggled with the line, Feeling only in moments that it was some sort of suicide mission because it was so technical and at such a altitude. 

But as I got closer to the face all that melted away. Of all the Alpine objectives in the Choktoi I  truly felt that the Ogre 2 was a fantastic choice.  Its steep face was protected from slides, The ice and snow systems that zig zagged across the face started with lower angle corner systems and linked into the headwall to an incredible high point on the summit ridge. The Route made sense. It was logical. It was hard and proud, yes. But not impractical or improbable , Shit just happens. Whether it was human error, unsuspected rockfall, or being trapped by the 10 day storm our boys didn't come home, and nothing was going to change that. Why and how the accident happened all of a sudden didn't matter. I regained trust in the boys decisions and abilities and walked away with a little more calm. A little more grace, although I feel I'm still far from graceful with it all.

 The top of the Ogre 2 was almost always covered with clouds, but a few days that week they lifted. We felt incredibly lucky to see the summit.  I spent a lot of time in camp writing to Scott in a journal I had made for him. Listening to old voicemails, scrolling through photos. Piecing together the pieces of his and Kyle's time in Pakistan. I had a memory card from their previous year's trip and I was able to retrace the places they spent time, the things that made them smile, the times they got sick, the people that were with them. It all made me feel a bit closer. 

The top of the Ogre 2 was almost always covered with clouds, but a few days that week they lifted. We felt incredibly lucky to see the summit.

I spent a lot of time in camp writing to Scott in a journal I had made for him. Listening to old voicemails, scrolling through photos. Piecing together the pieces of his and Kyle's time in Pakistan. I had a memory card from their previous year's trip and I was able to retrace the places they spent time, the things that made them smile, the times they got sick, the people that were with them. It all made me feel a bit closer. 

 There is a book both for Kyle and Scott on the Choktoi now, where anyone is welcome to leave letters , thoughts or drawings. whatever feels right.

There is a book both for Kyle and Scott on the Choktoi now, where anyone is welcome to leave letters , thoughts or drawings. whatever feels right.

 This incredible memorial came to be something so much more beautiful than I could even Imagine. Andrew Burr had a vision, and with the help of the families, steel fabricators in SLC and a hard working group on the Choktoi this came to life.   The Ogre 2 is obscured in the clouds in this photo, but when the clouds clear you can see the upper 2 thirds in it's beauty behind the plaques. There are two benches, an incredible patio and dozens of wildflowers. This area was just a rugged hill side above camp. Now its a place I Know Kyle and Scott would have loved to sip coffee and look at the mountains. I can't thank Ghafoor, Quasim, Aziz , Doom and Andy enough. Many hard hours were put into this. Literally moving boulders to make this happen. 

This incredible memorial came to be something so much more beautiful than I could even Imagine. Andrew Burr had a vision, and with the help of the families, steel fabricators in SLC and a hard working group on the Choktoi this came to life. 

The Ogre 2 is obscured in the clouds in this photo, but when the clouds clear you can see the upper 2 thirds in it's beauty behind the plaques. There are two benches, an incredible patio and dozens of wildflowers. This area was just a rugged hill side above camp. Now its a place I Know Kyle and Scott would have loved to sip coffee and look at the mountains. I can't thank Ghafoor, Quasim, Aziz , Doom and Andy enough. Many hard hours were put into this. Literally moving boulders to make this happen. 

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 Scott was awarded the Jack Roberts Lifetime achievement award at the Cody Ice fest in 2017, so I brought it to the Choktoi for him along with some sandstone from the homeland. A heart shaped piece of sandstone.

Scott was awarded the Jack Roberts Lifetime achievement award at the Cody Ice fest in 2017, so I brought it to the Choktoi for him along with some sandstone from the homeland. A heart shaped piece of sandstone.

 Soon it was time to head out of the Valley. Doom and Burr took their bikes up and over Sim La Pass while Jewell and I hiked out the way we came in. My health was stable but man, I couldn't get to oxygen soon enough. Better to play it safe.

Soon it was time to head out of the Valley. Doom and Burr took their bikes up and over Sim La Pass while Jewell and I hiked out the way we came in. My health was stable but man, I couldn't get to oxygen soon enough. Better to play it safe.

 Got our base camp all packed up on the donkes

Got our base camp all packed up on the donkes

 One of the last times we could see the Ogre and Ogre2

One of the last times we could see the Ogre and Ogre2

 Jewell weaving in and out of the crazy moraine features.

Jewell weaving in and out of the crazy moraine features.

 We spent a few beautiful and surreal days getting back to Askole.

We spent a few beautiful and surreal days getting back to Askole.

 Jewell looking tiny in the mountans.

Jewell looking tiny in the mountans.

 river crossings

river crossings

 When Jewell and I got to Askole we spent time with the families of our expedition crew. It was so cool to meet kids, drink tea and share a good laugh between cultural barriers. 

When Jewell and I got to Askole we spent time with the families of our expedition crew. It was so cool to meet kids, drink tea and share a good laugh between cultural barriers. 

 Quassim's son who was studying in Skardu home for a visit.

Quassim's son who was studying in Skardu home for a visit.

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Jewell stayed in the North to go see Ghafoor's home and meet his wife and family. I had to catch my flight home to America. In a strange Blur of days I mostly wandered around the markets of Islamabad wondering if it was all a dream. Played tourist the best I could, visiting one of the major Mosques, getting Henna and visiting a few historical sites and museums.

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 Pakistan is a beautiful place full of beautiful people. I'm eternally grateful I got to go see the place that brought so much magic to our boys. I hope for all you close to the boys that I run into you and share all that I can. It's hard for me to write about, because there is so much I don't even know where to start. So don't be scared to ask. I want to share.  Thanks everyone.

Pakistan is a beautiful place full of beautiful people. I'm eternally grateful I got to go see the place that brought so much magic to our boys. I hope for all you close to the boys that I run into you and share all that I can. It's hard for me to write about, because there is so much I don't even know where to start. So don't be scared to ask. I want to share.

Thanks everyone.