"An alpine style ascent of Tahu Ratum (6651m) is a particularly noteworthy and challenging objective, which will help raise the profile of British mountaineering." - Sir Chris Bonington - Expedition Patron.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Final Post: Over and Out

Appologies to any one who has checked, because this is long overdue. Hamish, Holly, Luke and I are safe and sound back in the UK. We had a brilliant time in Pakistan, but unfortunately were foiled by bad weather and we unable to climb Tahu Ratum.

I've written up an expedition report, which goes over our trip in detail. It can be found here.

Hamish has put in a lot of time and effort into producing this excellent video, which offers a good flavor of our trip:

Tahu Ratum - A Clouded Dream from hamish dunn on Vimeo.

A final huge thank you to any one and everyone who supported this summer, particularly the orgainisations that gave us grants, without your support we would have been unable to go to Pakistan last summer.

Tom Ripley

Monday, 30 August 2010

Sweaty Islamabad

A very hot and humid morning here in Islamabad.
We've spent a few days in the capital tying up loose ends. We've had a fair amount of admin to do such as paying our agent, collecting our helicopter rescue deposit and changing our plane tickets. On Sunday Luke and Hamish went climbing at a local crag with John Arran and we all spent a lovely evening out with Nazir Sabir. Monday involved another 3 hours arguing at the PIA offices to get the 240GBP of flight change charges waived. We went from manager to manager and eventually got the district manager to waive the charges- the branch manager was furious!

We're flying out of Islamabad in 4 hours and will be back in the UK this evening.

Watch this space for photos!

by Hamish

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Chicken Tonight......

Hey everyone just got this text message off the team:

"Left base camp this morning.

Fresh Chicken on the Menu tonight!

All attempts on the mountain thwarted by bad weather.

Looking forward to getting back to civilisation.

Love the team x"

Unfortunately the weather that has been causing the floods in Pakistan has also prevented the boys from climbing Tahu Ratum which is a real shame.

I can't wait to see them all, and wish them a safe journey home.


Wednesday, 11 August 2010


Whooaaa you guys are being spoiled now...another text from the team.....

"Sun came out briefly this pm, so we used the petrol stove to heat rocks and put a tarp over the top to make a sauna! Love the team x"

I feel the deepest pity for Holly for having to put up with the guy's pasty bodies.....

Hopefully next time I post something they will have acclimatised, and be ready for an attempt, or at least done some bouldering!!


Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Patience is a virtue.....

Just got this off the team......

"It has been raining for 5 days solid.

Out of honey and have played every card game we know.

Please send us suggestions for anything to stave off boredom to our sat-phone.

Hamish, Holly, Luke and Tom."

So you heard the boss.....send suggestions to: +8821651075983.

Lets hope the weather clears up!


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Arrived at Base Camp

Just got a text update from the team:

"Arrived at base camp today after 6 day trek.

We had to play hardball with the porters and won after they tried to raise the price yet again.

Tahu Ratum looks stunning and the home-brew beer is brewing."

Nice looks like the floods havent hindered them and they have their priorities sorted!

Will let you know anymore as soon as I know.


Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Expedition does not equal holiday...

This is our fourth day in Pakistan but it seems like we've been away much longer!


After an entertaining overnight flight with PIA (and the best in-flight meal I have ever tasted - curry and chapatti) we arrived in Islamabad at 6am. Even at this time in the morning the temperature was in the high thirties and very humid. The airport is a little outside of Islamabad and it was a thirty minute ride to where we were staying. This was our first experience of Pakistani driving and it was certainly eye opening. To an outsider there seems to be little logic between the movements of cars, horses, cyclists and ornately decorated trucks. According to our driver there are few accidents, so this strange kind of dance must really work!

We arrived at Jamsine lodge, our thankfully air-conditioned guest house. After a few hours of much needed kip we met our guide and spent the afternoon driving round the city visiting officials from the Alpine Club of Pakistan and the helicopter rescue company (hopefully we won't meet again!). We spent the evening in browsing the vibrant markets of downtown Islamabad - In a vain effort to turn his life around, Tom picked up a few books including: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Watch this space! - Before meeting up with John Arran, a climber from Sheffield, working out here. Alcohol is available in Pakistan, so we had to go to a very discreet downstairs bar in the Marriot hotel to aquire our illicit beverages. It was great to meet up and share stories (and thanks for dinner!). He has recently put up the hardest sport route in Pakistan, and plans to keep breaking the record every weekend!


After an (almost) alpine start we arrived at the airport for the early flight to Gilgit. It was all looking good until it was cancelled 10 minutes before departure. The locals protested but after two hours we all gave up, and with some trepidation elected to take the notoreous Karakoram Highway. We also gained an extra passenger - sharing the bumpy ride with lecturer from Texas University - studying the traditional languages of the Hunza Valley.

A typical view on the death defying KKH - Photo: Luke Hunt.

Driving up into the mountains we passed through some eye opening scenes in the Pakistani countryside. The area is so full of life! We set off late and had to drive some of the most dangerous roads (in terms of bandits and big drops) at night. We passed through some interesting areas and at one point shared our vehicle with a Policeman, compete with AK47! All very exciting! We arrived in our guesthouse in Chileas after 22 hours on the go. Thanks to our tireless driver, who kept us bouncing and bumping along the crumbly and sometimes missing road and more importantly from plummiting into the abyss!


With the most dangerous roads behind us and our new found immunity to crumbly edges and steep drops we made our merry way up the Hunza valley. We are now staying in the Hilltop Hotel in Karimmabad - I make no exaggeration when I say this valley is the one of most beautiful I have ever been to, with soaring mountains, colourful, friendly people and lush vegetation.

Today we have been shopping for all the food we will need for the expedition. Having developed a taste for chapatti and curry, (and underestimated costs somewhat!) we are planning to live on a very traditional diet during the expediton.

The trip so far has been a richly intense experience, with a new challenge around every corner. At time of writing Hamish has just infomed us that a small landsilde has blocked the road up to Hispar Village and is about to cause us no end of trouble...

This will be our last detailed post until we return to civilisation. However, we are intending send updates via sat phone texts so stay tuned!

By Luke and Tom.