A pioneering expedition to the inaccessible north side of K2, this is an attempt at running the river that flows from its legendary northern flank down one of the most inaccessible valleys in the world.
Mission: To trek to basecamp on the north flank of K2 and raft from the glacier outlet down to Yarkent.
Savage mountain: Very few people have ever been to the inaccessible northern flank of K2 and very few expeditions have attempted to climb it from this side, due to the difficulty of access. We are attempting to raft the river that is fed by the glaciers on the “savage mountain”, leading for days through a valley that is completely uninhabited in this barren region of western China.
The trek to the basecamp used by climbers attempting the northern route onto K2 will take six days. Supported by camels we will forge a route through deep valleys in the northern flank of the Karakoram range. Moving through the historically significant Shaksgam Valley, where the legendary Great Game explorer Francis Younghusband led the first British expedition in 1889 and Kenneth Mason surveyed in 1926, we move west along the Shaksgam river before heading south up the Sarpo Lago river to an area known as Younghusband’s Camp and used by climbers as basecamp for the push onto K2. This area was also famously visited by Shipton and Tilman in 1937, when they mapped the northern approaches to K2.
The River. After exploring basecamp and the glacier that snakes off the northern side of K2 we will prepare our gear for the next phase of the expedition. The rafting will begin as close as possible to the source of the river at the glacier outlet. We will then follow the river through uncharted valleys for the next eight days, travelling approximately 55 – 65km a day. The river is an unknown quantity, the only time it has been rafted was by two Russians, Vladimir Lysenko and Boris Ivanov in July, 1996 and we are attempting it in September. We will be using satellite imagery to plan our progress safely down the river under supervision of our expert guides. It will take us six days to reach any sort of habitation as we drift through remote valleys that time has forgotten. It will be about as remote an expedition as is possible.
The expedition will begin in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan. We will then drive for two days through the Kyrgyz mountains to Kashgar in China. From Kashgar, it is another day and a half drive down to the start point of our trek, the final part along a road that has only just been completed. Once at the startpoint, we will pick up the camels and begin the six day trek to K2 basecamp. After a day of preparation, the rafting section will begin, leading us on an eight day voyage down one of the worlds most remote rivers. Once we have completed the mission in Yarkant, we have a two day drive back to Bishkek on which to reflect on our achievement!
Leadership. Secret Compass has yet again teamed up with Pete Meredith, the most distinguished pioneer of expedition rafting in Africa. After conducting the first source to sea of the Nile in 2004, Pete has pioneered new routes on a number of African rivers and is looking forward to taking this experience to Asia.
Will be in basic guest-houses and hotels when travelling through Kyrgyzstan and China to the start point of the trek. When trekking and rafting we will be wild camping.
We will be eating in local restaurants and hotels when travelling to and from the start of the trek and the raft finish point. These will have local Kyrgyz and Chinese meals. When we are trekking we will have a cook to prepare fresh food for us. Once we are on the river we will be eating dehydrated trekking rations.
On the trip will involve bumpy rides in 4WD vehicles and minibuses, trekking and rafting!
Team members should be over 21 and fit and healthy as this expedition involves several days of continuous trekking and rafting activity. We will be trekking between 10 and 20km and spending up to 10 hours a day on the rafts. You should be a strong swimmer, capable of making a positive impact on the paddling team and able to pull yourself up into the raft. Most importantly, you should have a positive, can do, adventurous spirit and have an imaginative sense of humour!
All our expeditions are priced on a LAND ONLY basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from the expedition. You must book your own flights but we can suggest airlines and flight times. Further information will be provided upon booking.
WHAT IS INCLUDED?
• Full services of Secret Compass leader and leading rafting guides.
• All meals
• All transport as outlined in the itinerary.
• All specialist and safety equipment
• All accommodation (Including tents)
• All permits
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED?
• Local airport taxes
• Tips to local guides
• Beverages & any costs of a personal nature.
• International Flights
• Personal equipment. (Upon booking you will receive a comprehensive kit list).