The hike today was a long one, lasting almost 8 hours! Departing Paiju we quickly left the Baltoro River edge and gained access to the glacier. Once on the glacier, the trail became less evident and varied. Glaciers have undulating terrain so we spent time climbing up and down small ridges. Many glacial ponds dotted the landscape and the trail wound its way around them, adding time to the trek.
The rain started falling soon after we got onto the glacier, causing the rocks to become slippery. Everyone’s wet shoes slipped off their feet, which made the going even slower. Most of us had umbrellas that kept the rain off, and since the temperature was warm we kept going in shorts and T-shirts.
The trail of porters was over 2 miles long as they spread out, making their way along the path. They wear very light shoes, mostly molded rubber sneakers, with some of them sporting only socks with flip-flops! They wear traditional pants and shirts made from thin cotton and, in some cases they have old, worn out coats. It is really impressive to see these guys work and live in these conditions with such Spartan gear.
After leaving Paiju at 6:00AM, with only a short break for something to eat, I arrived at Urdukas by 1:00PM. When I got here, most people were hiding under large overhanging rocks to get out of the rain. Gradually, as the porters arrived we set up tents and slowly made camp. Farman got the kitchen going and tea was being made. As I unpacked my bag, I noticed that my sleeping bag and clothes were damp! I spent a couple of hours laying in them in an attempt to dry them out.
Lunch was ready at about 3:00PM and some soup and crackers hit the spot. The rain kept falling and showed no signs of easing off, and by the time dinner rolled around at 7:00PM the rain was still going! The mud around the tents was getting deeper as the rain continued to fall. Russ said if it continued to rain in the morning we would stay here tomorrow.
It rained all night and then at about 2:00AM it seemed to stop…until we realized that the rain had turned to snow and we had about 3 inches covering our tent. By the time 5:00AM rolled around, there were almost 6 inches on the ground! No one was moving today.