The Approach by the Pecchus Glacier





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Friday 2nd August

Bruce and Rob set off up Pecchus. 8 days food and an early start  - they didn’t seem to want to go with Harry and Nev (now feeling better) who went up the same way a bit later. H and Nev only planned to reach the Moac [Note: a blue and red 3 man tent we used as an camp on the Pecchus glacier] on the first day. Bruce and Rob wanted to get further on. Couldn’t see the point of having a knackering first day when there was a good camp available, myself.

Saturday 3rd August

Harry and Nev returned. Nev had had a bad attack of the sh*ts and vomiting at the Moac camp, so ....

Monday 5th August

Had my first solid sh*t for a few days, so pronounced myself fit and this morning Harry and I set off up the Pecchus. Got to the Moac after a very bad trog. Resting every few minutes and feeling very weak. Found remains of Austrian camp on top grass slope. Had a pog of corned beef and spud. Felt very sick, sh*tting all night.

Tuesday 6th August

Felt very bad. Harry decided to do a carry up while I stayed in camp. He went up, turned round at 3.30. I spent all day laying about. Had bit of ready meal - repeat performance of last night. Started snowing in the night.

Wednesday 7th August

Snowing and raining, layed in bed. Then water started flowing under the tent. Got out and dug channels all round. Then Rob & Bruce appeared out of the clag. They had got to upper plateau and climbed a peak. They went on down to base camp. Cleared up and went down too. Stayed high and scrambled down a gully, made a change. Got to base camp about 5. (It had stopped raining when we left) Everything was really green and earthy smelling - some crops were flattened. No dust. Atmosphere bad in base camp. We had decided to go straight back up tomorrow.

Thursday 8th August

Half got ready then decided not to go. It was just too much hassle to get the food sorted. Cloudy in afternoon.

Friday 9th August

Set off nice and early. Both going well. Got to Moac. Then continued up with heavy sacks, really knackered when we stopped at H’s food dump. Food tins in complete chaos. Really hopeless not having man/day packs. Feeling very cold and pissed off.

Saturday 10th August

Feeling even worse this morning. Carried on up - left late - bad going. Reached red bivi bag. Dumped spare rope - for some reason had taken 3 ropes, one double, one single - cut double. Decided to go up left - hoping to find Austrian route. Much easier going. Slogged up to A1 bivi on rocks with water nearby 16,650 feet [ 5 075 m ]. Glacier ahead level and clear, until final snow slope to upper plateau. Cold night.

Sunday 11th August

Got up, had breakfast, puked it all up - in order. Decided to head down to bring up Moac and more food. Descended right up close to rocks. Managed to fall into crevasse up to shoulders. Harry gave me a hand to get out and we roped up. Not good ascent route. Scrambled down moraine then left crevasses etc. on old path. Met Bruce and Rob at Moac. They were just getting ready to carry on up. When we told them the plan they decided to come up with us in the morning. Then after further consideration, bearing in mind the weather cycle which would mean we’d all get to the foot of Koyo Zom as the bad spell set in, they decided to go back to base camp and bring up a Vango [Note: heavy 3 man tent] and more food. Then we’d all sit out the bad spell high up prior to hopefully a 3 or 4 day spell of good weather, with all four of us already high up. Also we could take the Vango fly-sheet for a high camp on the glacier plateau - it should be big enough for 4.

News from base camp :- Ickbal's friend had arrived with a big piece of goat meat - curry all round. Nev still had bad sh*ts. I was very annoyed to hear that Nev and Colin had decided to go for a trip up the valley, but Ickbal had refused permission till checked with some one a few miles up the valley. Really pissed off with this because if they could walk up the valley (and a day trip up the Chatiboi) they could certainly do a bit of load carrying up the Pecchus, as just now this was vital. Felt very much like saying f*ck the lot and going back to Chitral. Anyway this was another reason for R & B to head down. The plan being that all 4 of them would come up as R & B couldn’t carry 2 loads from Old to New Moac sites - we’ll see what happens. Settled down for the night, all of us trying to work out these plans, which weren’t finalised until the next day.

Monday 12th August

Got up latish. Fixed plans and R & B set off down, meaning to return with N & C next day. We set off with Moac and 6 days food. Guts bad again - stain on C’s long Johns bears witness. Set off feeling bad at 11.30. Sacks not too bad. Just after first few snow pitches H announced we only had 2000 feet [ 600 m ] to go - I thought we’d never make it - neither of us relished the thought of a night out with only sleeping bags and no other warm gear. Reached food dump - luckily only a few pounds there - and set off up water course. After a very painful slog - not helped by a bad dose of the sh*ts, but helped by following old foot prints - we got to bivi sight at 7 o’clock, just as sun went in. Cloudy already so very glad to be there - too long a day really - 3100 feet [ 950 m ] (up) to 16,650  [ 5 075 m ] - although the altitude increased as the barometer dropped. Tent went up in place of bivi bag, and settled in for coming night - marred only by nocturnal sh*ts. Little snow in night - lots of clag. Had attack of nervous depression in the night - the usual kind, had a sh*t, two Codine phosphate and 2 sleeping pills and I was OK again. Slept like a log after that. Harry seems to be going well now, it was the other way round the first time we came to this place. I hope Nev and Colin get their ideas sorted out, we’ll have a good chance then !

Tuesday 13th August

Slept late, weather claggy with intermittent snow. Decided to have a rest day. Perhaps we could have done a carry up to the plateau before too much new snow fall but didn’t have the heart. Hoped to get guts better so that when (if!) the next good spell comes we can make a real try - it’ll be the last chance. Fried up some mackerel for lunch - much better than cold. Barometer still dropping slowly. 9 - 10 days food left - should be plenty. A tent is a real luxury - or to tell the truth, a necessity in this kind of area. Touch of n. d.  again - very slight.

Wednesday 14th August

Woke to the patter of snow after good sleep. Weather still undecided. Bit of snow, bit of sun, generally claggy. Covering of fresh snow. Had fine lunch of scrambled egg, sausage & beans. Yesterday had fried mackerel - much better hot than cold. At about 10 o’clock it was clear and Harry had scrambled up the rock peak behind a bit. He shouted down so I went up with a rope, 3 crabs and a couple of caggies - I thought he meant the top was only a scramble away, 2 1/2 hrs later we’d done about 600 feet, ie. up to 17,400 [ 5 300 m ] and gained the ridge - several fine pitches on solid granite. But the top was still a long way off so we took some photos of fine cloud covered mountains and set off down the other side [Note: of the ridge] where an easy scramble led to snow then 5 minutes back to the tent. Weather still unpredictable - bit of wind this evening. The mountain behind will give several very fine granite rock climbs, if we have time. Surprising no sign of the others - they should have been here tonight. Food count this morning 8 - 10 days left. Windy night at first, then wind died and it got cold.


We were now all looking for a way up the Pecchus glacier.

This is what we had come for!

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