Pakistan 2004, Expedition to Mountain Buni Zom 6551m, Ascent to peak Gordoghan Zom III 6158m

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North-West Frontier Provience (NWFP) Hin, Pakistan, Asia
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Jun 9, 2004
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Pakistan 2004 , Expedition to Mountain Buni Zom 6551m

2004 - Expedition to Mountain Buni Zom 6551m

Tuesday 25th May 2004: Flying from Athens - Tripoli - Islamabad - Karachi

At 10:00 in the morning was our meeting time in airport Eleftherios Venizelos. Panos Sakellaris with me came from Trikala to Athens one day before while George Zardalidis and Babis Politis came from Xanthi by the early morning fly. We haven't any problem to carry 130 Kgrs of baggage in check in. By Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) we flied from Athens to Tripoli in Libya and from there to Islamabad. On the fly from Tripoli to Islamabad we I show my village and Meteora, Olympus, Athos and Feggari mountains. The air-hostesses do not know that to plane fly until Karachi, and finally we get actions. After a long stop in Islamabad (2 hours) the plane take of from Islamabad with only 5 passengers, (we were 4 and one more person), such the fly was only for us. Finally 6 o'clock next day we land in Karachi international airport.

Wednesday 26th May 2004: Flying from Karachi to Peshawar, from Peshawar by car to Chitral

In Karachi airport the police our equipment but only open one barrel. We exchange money (totally 800 euros) from euros to rupees (1 euro=68 rupees) At 7:15 the next plane takes off from Karachi airport and about 9 in morning we land in Peshawar. This plane was full of people and the environment looks like different, it was our first touch with Pakistan. When we arrive in Peshawar the plane from Peshawar to Chitral had already left. So we get a car and we went to bus station for Chitral of mini-buses driving 15 minutes in the city of Peshawar. We hire a special mini-bus for 4800 rupees to pick up us to Chitral. We leave from Peshawar at 11:30 and we went straight to Lowari Pass 3118m. We reach Lowari before sunset, the driver was really very dangerous and drive so fast.
Finally we arrive in Chinnar Inn hotel in 23:00 and we found plenty room to stay for the next days.

Thursday 27th May 2004: Chitral city

First of all, in morning we visit police station to get the permit license to stay in the Chitral region. After, we bought all the necessary foods and equipments for the mountain.
Now days, in Chitral you can find a lot of thinks, biscuits, powder milk, con flakes, cans, oil, etc. Also there are internet cafe but with very slow connection. In evening I was not feeling well and I had fever and diarria.

Friday 28th May 2004: Sick in Chitral city

All day I was on the bed with almost 39 C fever in the Chinnar Inn hotel. I was felling very bad, and I had not sleep last night. I got some pills and immediately they help me. Late in evening I begun felling better.

Saturday 29th May 2004: The trip from Chitral to Rahman and trek to Phargam village

Early in the morning, the jeep driver came to the hotel. We agreed on the transportation fee to Harchin for 3000 rupees. We loaded our equipment (4 big backpacks, 2 barrels and 5-7small bags) on the jeep and we left from Chitral at 6:30. The road was very bad and narrow, just for one car, while only jeeps can go to Harchin. We made a stop in Awi village where you have a very nice view of the North face of Buni Zom's peaks, Awi Zom 6484m, just a few kilometers away from us. After a long trip we finally reached Harchin village. The bridge to Rahman was repaired and the jeep passed to the Rahman village. The road was very narrow and the jeep was going very slow. We crossed the Rahman village and we stopped in the middle of the route to Phargam. We paid 3800 rupees in total for the jeep. Porters appeared in no time, and we began bargaining. We asked about Amir, but in a few minutes Amir arrived. He began saying that he was a mountain guide and talked about his Rest house in Phargam, but then Amir recognized me and George as the Younani (Greeks). We agreed on a transport fee of 700 rupees for each porter from there to Kulakmali (Base Camp) for the next day. First, we walked to his house where we camped outside (Amir's Rest House). In the evening we made a trek higher on the way to Kulakmali for acclimatization. Amir' s wife prepared rice for dinner.

Sunday 30th May 2004 : Trekking with porters from Phargam to Base Camp

Fortunately the weather appeared to get better and the snow began melting. Along with Giorgos we trekked to the rock wall which we reached after one hour. It began snowing again but we continued preparing the equipment for the ascension and after a while it stopped snowing. I walked ahead and began placing the pitons. For 2 hours I was hanging from the rock face and I placed 6 pitons, trying to go up to a narrow pass following its direction. Suddenly a blizzard made us return as fast as we could to the base camp. Panos was heading to the rock wall looking for us. We met him a little lower and returned together to the base camp. We entered the tents, while the weather seemed to get worse. By 21:00 the snow had settled and our tents were covered.

Monday 31st May 2004: Climbing the rock wall

Fortunately the weather appeared to get better and the snow began melting. Along with Giorgos we trekked to the rock wall which we reached after one hour. It began snowing again but we continued preparing the equipment for the ascension and after a while it stopped snowing. I walked ahead and began placing the pitons. For 2 hours I was hanging from the rock face and I placed 6 pitons, trying to go up to a narrow pass following its direction. Suddenly a blizzard made us return as fast as we could to the base camp. Panos was heading to the rock wall looking for us. We met him a little lower and returned together to the base camp. We entered the tents, while the weather seemed to get worse. By 21:00 the snow had settled and our tents were covered.

Tuesday 1st June 2004 : Bad weather - Climbing the rock wall

Today is the first day of the summer, however outside there is 10 cm of snow, but fortunately there hasn't been any rain. We try to arrange the equipment and clear the tents out of snow. Suddenly, Amir shows up and helps us out. We make breakfast, plain rice, in order to regain the energy we lost up to now. At 9 we begin trekking to the rock wall all together, and Amir follows behind us. I begin the rock climbing while securing Giorgos. Amir says that we should move ourselves continuously, diagonally up to the waterfall. I advance a few meters closer to the waterfall and reach a vertical wall and a gap of 50 meters followed by a vertical and negative rock. I got tired and went down. Giorgos goes up but he cannot continue either. While looking at the rock wall I observe that there is a belay exactly above the point that I had reached before. Giorgos goes down and I continue and soon I reach the belay that has two pitons and a rope. I add a belt and continue putting a new piton on the way to the waterfall. Suddenly the weather turns bad and a blizzard arrives. Amir leaves first, while we gather the materials and go fast back to the base camp. We set up also the third tent we had under bad weather. However after an hour or so the sun came out again and the weather improved. We slept at 18:00.

Wednesday 2nd June 2004: Climbing the rock wall

We woke up early in the morning, about 7:00, the weather seemed to be better, but we could see some fog on the horizon. Along with Giorgos, at 8:30, we went to the rock wall. Initially we removed all the unnecessary pitons up to the belay. I continue putting two pitons beyond the belay, and Giorgos climbs up to the belay, in order to continue to the second belay. I begin to go up and I put another piton but cannot pass a small negative rock. This is the big moment when we decide to interrupt the efforts from this point. With difficulty we go down leaving only the belt in the belay. Then we had to carry all the materials and food down to the base camp, something very difficult, but we finally managed it. The deliberation on the continuity of the mission was that we should move ourselves to the Gordoghan glacier. Tomorrow we will go up to the glacier for acclimatization and then we will find porters to transport the materials. Giorgos hopes to climb the Main peak by crossing first the North peak. I believe that we will not accomplish so much.

Thursday 3rd June 2004: Trekking from BC to Gordoghan glacier 4700m and back to BC

We wake up at 4:30, have breakfast and prepare small rucksacks for the ascent to the Gordoghan glacier. At 5:50 we leave the base camp and reach the fringes of the glacier at 7:00. An ascent begins from the familiar path, but shortly after the beginning we were tired due to the high altitude. The weather is rather good, but a cloud hides the sun during the whole time. At 4100m Panos withdraws from the effort and starts for a late return back to the BC. The remaining three of us continue, while Babis remains a little behind on the ascent. After the laborious ascent we reach the glacier at 4700 meters, where it's very cold and everything is covered in snow. In certain points the snow gets as high as our elbows. After 30 minutes Babis arrived, tired. The return is very difficult on the rocky terrain. We reach the crossroads with the path to Kulakmali, where Babis stays to rest. Panos waits for us impatiently at the BC. Babis remained a long way back from us, and reached us after an hour. Food and rest after such a laborious course.

Friday 4th June 2004: Waiting for Amir

Since early in the morning we had been waiting for Amir to come but finally he didn't. We agreed to remain for another day in the BC hoping that tomorrow Amir will come in order to help us arrange the transport of the material to the Gordoghan glacier and find a place to stay in Phargam village. Today was a day to rest so we arranged the food supplies for the difficult days that would follow up in the mountain. The weather was very good today and the sun was shining all day long.

Saturday 5th June 2004: Panos and Babis return back to Phargam

Amir does not arrive today either. Panos will return to the Phargam village in order to send porters to the BC. Suddenly Babis changed his mind and while we were to go up to the top of Gordoghan he told us that he would return back to Greece. We started to reorganize our schedule again at 11:00, due to the fact that Panos with a heavy rucksack and Babis with one small backpack were leaving for Phargam. Panos would remain for one day in Phargam while Babis would leave straight for Chitral in order to change his ticket and return back to Greece as soon as possible. Thus I remain with Giorgos in the BC waiting for the porters to arrive the day after.

Sunday 6th June 2004: Trekking to Camp 1 (4700m) in Gordoghan glacier

At 8:00 in the morning the porters arrived along with Amir at the BC. The rucksacks were prepared and all together, me, Giorgos and 3 Porters, left with 15 Kg each for the Gordoghan glacier. Amir would take care of transporting the rest of the equipment back to the village, where Panos and Babis were waiting. After several hours of laborious trekking we reached the Gordoghan glacier and since we paid the porters more (550 rupees) they left with the prospect of coming back the next day to transfer more equipment. We made Camp 1 while the stove didn't function and at about 13:00 it began to snow and was very cold. We set up the camp quickly and lay in the tent to rest.

Monday 7th June 2004 : Trekking for Camp 1 (4700m) to Camp 2 (5065m) on Gordoghan glacier

At 8:00 the 3 porters arrived, we left Camp 1 to go higher on the Gordoghan glacier. At the beginning it was a little difficult but afterwards the glacier became smoother and was completely covered with snow and ice. A new danger appeared due to some crevasses in the glacier. Approaching the icefall near the Buni Zom II and III peaks there were many crevasses, which were also hidden by the fresh snow. The Porters did not want to continue further because it seemed dangerous to them and they had fulfilled the agreement they had made. The Porters left us alone and finally we returned in a secure area at 5065m, where we made camp 2. We ate and rested during that freezing cold evening. We were in a very bad situation and the water was not drinkable.

Tuesday 8th June 2004: Trekking for Camp 2 (5065m) - Camp 3 (4916m) on Gordoghan glacier

Early in the morning we packed the equipment and began climbing higher up the Gordoghan glacier. I did not feel well and feared those crevasses. The rucksacks were very heavy (23Kg). We decided to go back and climb up by another ridge on the glacier. This route was very long and impossible to continue with all that equipment. Thus we started the descent in the glacier and about an hour later we found ourselves at 4816 meters where we made camp 3, specifically on the route which leads to Gordoghan Zom peak. With camp 3 set up we went to fetch water from the rill that runs near the camp. Using first a rope I went down to the stream to get drinkable water, and after I made certain that there were no crevasses I repeated this without ropes.

Wednesday 9th June 2004: Summit day, Camp 3 (4916m) - Gordoghan Zom III peak 6158m - Camp 3

The alarm rang at 2:30, we quickly had breakfast and got ourselves ready, and at 3:40 we began climbing. The snow was frozen. Giorgos went first, we passed the narrow gully slopes and reached the flat slopes, where we went up with a fast tempo and without stopping. Then we got on the ridge where the slope was steeper. At 5800 meters the frozen snow turned to ice and made the ascent very difficult. Giorgos had an ache in the abdomen and he could not continue further, thus he began the descent while we were at 6070 meters. First I thought about returning, following Giorgos, but something inside me said that I should not leave for a second time this peak and continue climbing alone. Thus, I made a last effort and after a lot of labor and fear I reached the final slope that was in fact an ice wall. However, I finally reached the snowcapped summit of the peak at 11:00. But which peak is this? The GPS shows 6158 meters altitude: is this Gordoghan Zom I, II or another peak? The view from the peak was amazing. I took a few photographs and I enjoyed the peaks of Hindukush that surrounded me. The wind took the flag and my gloves. At 11:20 I decided to return because the descent looked very dangerous. Carefully I went down the ice sector and headed to the snowcapped slopes taking big steps trying to reach Giorgos, and I met him at 5400 meters. At 13:40 we reached C3, after 10 hours of climbing (7 hours ascent and 3 descent). My toes were frozen, during the whole time I was climbing. I did not feel even my fingers in the evening, although I had continuously tried to warm them. We had to get through a very cold night.

Thursday 10th June 2004: Long and hard trekking from Camp 3 to Harchin village

When I woke up my toes were frozen and I could not feel them. It was 7:00 in the morning, and I boiled some water to put my feet in, but it proved pointless. Our tent internally was covered in snow and at each movement the snow fell on us, while outside everything was frozen. We packed our heavy backpacks, and we began the descent on the glacier. Two rucksacks, 22 Kg each. At 8 o'clock we reached the difficult (rocky) part of the descent on the Gordoghan glacier. Afterwards we went down the ram shackled rocky slopes on the glacier's moraine. After a lot of weariness, sweat and exhaustion we reached the Phargam village at 13:30 and went to Amir's house. We succeeded in going 2000 meters down walking on very bad terrain. We had been in Amir's house since 14:00, while Amir appeared at 18:30, and along with two porters we left immediately to Harchin village, since it would be dark soon. At night we reached the house of the schoolteacher. He hosted us in his house and he offered food and room for our overnight stay.

Friday 11th June 2004: Travel from Harchin to Chitral

We woke up early in the morning, about 5 o'clock, and we had breakfast. The jeep was waiting to pick us up for Mastuj for a fee of 100 rupees. We reached a gas station in Mastuj and waited for another jeep to take us to Chitral. After about a quarter of an hour we found a jeep that was going to Chitral. After 45 minutes of travel I realized that I had lost the plastic bag which included my passport, all my money, my identification card, everything. Chaos: we stopped the first car we met that was going back in order to take us back to the store in Mastuj. Very stressed, the trip seemed very long, and the thoughts of what would follow were haunting my mind: would I be able to return back home, back to Greece? We finally reached the gas station in Mastuj. Relieved, I found the plastic bag with all my things covered in mud and dirt just in front of the store. I felt happier than ever before, after an hour full of anxiety. We entered another jeep that headed to Chitral and arrived there at 18:00. At the Chinnar Inn we met Panos and Mpampis, and there we rested and had a nice bath. There we met tourists from other countries and discussed travel experiences together.

Saturday 12th June 2004: Panos got sick

When we woke up in morning, Panos did not feel well, he had diarrhea and fever. We were obliged to remain in Chitral another day. We strolled in the city and chatted with the foreigners in the hotel. We had dinner at an Afghan restaurant that was very close to our hotel, just near the bridge. I spent the evening with Giorgos and Karin, we went for mango juice at a bar on the corner. There we found a trekking guide who told us that the next day we would get in contact with an experienced mountain guide of Tirich Mir. I stayed until late at the bar, up to 22:30, talking with the very friendly and cheerful Afghan owner of the bar.

Sunday 13th June 2004: Trying to find an experienced mountain guide in Chitral

I woke up early. Iqbal (the trekking guide) came along with a friend of his who proved not to have gone up in Tirick Mir but just trekked to camp 1. However, he told me that the next day a more experienced mountain guide would come. With Karin and the German guy we had breakfast at a very clean restaurant. We ate chicken soup. At midday we went with Mpampis to the PTDC hotel where we found an old friend. He told us to go to the Hindukush Heights Hotel for more information on climbing guides. We took the jeep of the German guy (who had been living for 23 years in Pakistan) and went to the Hindukush Heights Hotel 5 Km outside Chitral. There, we met the two pilots and talked about a lot of things. The householder (Siraj) wanted to make an expedition to Tirich Mir and he would help us with everything we might need. He gave us all the information we needed in order to get in contact with him and then we went back to Chinnar Inn hotel. Afterwards, at 21:00 we went to the bar of the Afghan for mango juice mixed with yogurt milk shake.

Monday 14th June 2004: Travel to Kalash valley (Boumbouret)

Iqbal, along with Razaq, came to our hotel in the morning. Razaq had gone up to camp 3 on Tirich Mir mountain while his brother had reached the summit. We discussed all the details on their climbing to Tirich Mir. In the afternoon we left to Kalash valleys. With the jeep we reached the Check Point where we paid 200 rupees (!) to enter the Kalash valleys. After half an hour we reached Broon village where we met Thanasis, but Pitsa was at the Birir valley. Pitsa cooked for us Greek food for dinner.

Tuesday 15th June 2004: Trekking between the villages in Boumbouret

A very bad night for me and Giorgos. We had diarrhea and stomach pains. All day long we were not feeling very well. Giorgos remained at the hotel while the rest of us went to the Krakal village along with Pitsa. We handed out some biscuits to the children of the school and visited the whole village. The rest of the day we remained at the hotel resting. In the afternoon we went with the jeep to Roumbour where a funeral was taking place. They offered us Chapati and a kind of cheese, while they danced around the dead man singing. Anish spoke aloud to the dead man, as if he was waiting to receive an answer.

Wednesday 16th June 2004: Visiting Broon and Anish villages

Giorgos and Mpampis left in the morning from Broon to return back to Chitral. Panos and I went to drink Greek coffee at Pitsa's house and began trekking to Anish and Broon villages. In the afternoon we went with Pitsa to the houses of the Kalash people in Broon village in order to collect old clothes and objects for the Kalashdur. Kalashadur or The House of Kalash is a culture center and museum that Greek volunteers are building in Broon village. Finally, we realized that a lot of useful objects of historical value were locked away in the deposits.

Thursday 17th June 2004: Boumbouret valley

Early in the morning we woke up and went to find Pitsa and Thanasis. An old friend of ours, Sher Khan, came from Roumbour. With the jeep we went up to the Krakal, we did some shopping and offered candies to the children of the school. Then we returned on foot back to Broon where we waited eagerly for the splendid Greek lentils. In the afternoon we had a discussion on the Kalash culture with the owner of the Fazi hotel. Then we continued with Pitsa the recovery and purchase of old objects for the museum in Broon village. At night we had dinner at the hotel, eggs, and we drank local wine.

Friday 18th June 2004: From Boumbouret to Birir and back to Chitral

At 8:30 we left Broon for the third valley, named Birir. First we had to go back to Ayun and then take the road to Birir. The road ends at a stream. We stopped in the lower slum to drink tea and afterwards with the jeep we continued further. At the end of the road we left Pitsa and we returned back to Ayun. There we waited for an hour and we left by mini-bus to Chitral, where we arrived at 14:00. An Australian-Swiss couple was at the hotel. They gave me the Japanese maps of Hindukush and Karakoram and made a photocopy of them. In the afternoon we met Sher Khan and together to meet a mountain guide, Razaq.

Saturday 19th June 2004: Selling in Bazaar

Today we went to the market not to buy anything but in order to sell our equipment. We sold the 40-meter rope for 320 rupees and the camping-gas at half the price for which we bought them. We went for walks in the city and met the mountain guide Razaq. We arranged a car for our trip back to Peshawar.

Sunday 20th June 2004: From Chitral to Peshawar by mini bus

My last walk in the city of Chitral. The car arrived at the hotel at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. We left from Chitral to Peshawar with two drivers, and they drove fast and dangerously while drinking. A stop on the Lowari Pass after the 40 turns that we made in order to go up. In Dir village we had a cup of tea before it would get dark. We should pass Lowari Pass before night, because it is dangerous due to highwaymen. The driver changed because he was sleepy, however after that we were continuously in alert in case the driver would fall asleep. Nevertheless, we reached the airport of Peshawar at 2:30. However, the policeman did not allow us to enter the airport before 5:00 in morning, which is the time that the airport opens. Thus we were for two hours waiting outside the airport until it would finally open. Babis was not very well and he had diarrhea.

Monday 21st June 2004: A view of Peshawar and flight to Islamabad

At 5 o'clock finally we entered the airport and slept on the grass until it was 8 o'clock, while I slept on the two handcarts with our baggage so that nobody could steal our equipment. Then Panos and Giorgos and I went by rixo (three-wheel taxi) to the Afghan market. A whole street only with jewels, another only with clothes, another only with shoes. From there with another rixo we went to the museum that has a lot of statues of the Buddha, from the 2nd and the 3rd century B.C. Also there were wooden statues made by Kalash. From there we went back to the airport by rixo paying only 40 rupees. We had to wait 5 hours for our flight to Islamabad. Finally, we entered a Fokker F27 a 44-seat aircraft and after a few minutes we went back in the airport, as the weather was too bad for the plane to take off. After half an hour we entered again an aircraft and finally took off at 17:30. After a 45-minute low altitude flight, we landed in the international airport of Islamabad. There, PIA offered us hotel accommodation and transport to the city by mini-bus which waited for us outside the airport. They dropped us off at Marine Hotel where we arrived at 20:00. There we had a hot shower and dinner. We had only 2 hours of sleep, and 30 minutes after midnight we left by mini-bus to the airport, that is about 15Km from the city.

Tuesday 22nd June 2004: Flying from Islamabad to Athens and Athens to Alexandroupoli

After a lot of checks at the airport we entered the aircraft at 4:20. Since there was only one flight to Athens we had to change planes in Karachi. It was raining the whole morning in Islamabad. We changed plane in Karachi where we took our final flight to Athens. The weather in Iran was not good and it was cloudy, so I could not see mount Damavand. At 11:50 we landed in Athens airport. My cousin, Giorgos came to pick us up from the airport. While Giorgos and I bought tickets to fly to Alexandroupoli, Panos and Mpampis went with Giorgos. Giorgos and I waited again at the airport for a few hours, from which we flew at 16:35 with Aegean Airlines to Alexandroupoli. At Alexandroupoli airport of Irini was waiting for us and we returned by car to Xanthi.


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Pakistan 2004, Expedition to Mountain Buni Zom 6551m, Ascent to peak Gordoghan Zom III 6158m

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