Spantik, August 2004
During August, 2004 I took part in Field Touring Alpine's
Spantik Expedition. This was a commercial expedition to the
7027m high Spantik. The expedition comprised 18 members, two
guides and a number of local Pakistani staff. From arrival in
Islamabad to departure the expedition lasted one month. What
follows is a brief summary of the expedition. Click on
photographs for larger pictures.
By the 1st of August most members had found
their way to the Shalimar Hotel in Islamabad, although one
member had arrived stealthily and had been hiding in his room! Bookings had been
made for the following day for the PIA flight to Skardu.
However, as in the previous 5 days, the flight was
cancelled so we were all bundled into two coaster busses
for the two day trip along the banks of the Indus.
Once in Skardu last minute preparations were
made. A trip was taken to Satpara Lake. Whilst there a feed of
fresh trout and chips was a relief from the monotonous chicken
dishes, dhal and chipattis.
From Skardu jeeps were used for the trip to
Arundu. The road is quite rough especially once the road
leading to Askoli is left so the trip took most of the day. The
night was spent camped just beyond the town site and we had an
interesting time with the locals.
The trek from Arundu to base camp took place
over three days. For the whole trip the Chogo Longma Glacier
was followed with the first two days mostly on the true left
lateral moraine. The final day is mostly on the glacial ice.
Our expedition used 120 porters to carry the gear to base camp.
The Spantik base camp is at approximately 4300m.
After a couple of days of acclimatisation
at base came we carried some gear to camp 1. The route
begins up the face directly behind base camp up to the
south east ridge. The ridge is then followed, mainly on
rocky ground, to camp 1. Following a rest day at base camp
members moved up and occupied camp 1.
Following a rest day at camp 1 seven members
moved up and occupied camp 2. The weather conditions
deteriorated overnight and it snowed the following day. After
the second day at camp 2 the snow became heavier. Given that
half a metre of new snow had had fallen on the knee to thigh
deep snow that had been encountered by other expeditions above
camp 2 our attempt was called off.
The trek out to Arundu was spread over two
days. Photographs to the right and below show the route along
the south east ridge. From Arundu we retraced our trip to base
As an independent project I think that
Spantik is a worthy objective for those with good experience in
the mountains. Those with limited experience should use
the services of a commercial expedition. Overall the services
provided by Field Touring Alpine were good and what I expected
for the money that I parted with. The guides provided by FTA
were knowledable and personable. FTA use Adventure Tours
Pakistan as there agents in Pakistan. The staff provided by ATP
were friendly and performed well. Food was also good and
plentiful (it was better than that provided at most of the
The bit of advice I would give to anybody
looking for a commercial trip to join is ask lots of questions
and know what you are buying and getting yourself into. Also be
truthful about your experience and your