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Day 21: Skardu to Concordia

Michael Palin - HimalayaI can't quite believe that all this is really happening. That I'm struggling in slapstick fashion through six feet of snow in a country where the average daytime temperatures have been around 40C (104F). That, only five hours after drinking a cup of coffee in a crashed DC-3, I should be a mere five miles from the second highest peak on earth, half a dozen miles from the Chinese border and 13 miles from where heavily armed Pakistani and Indian troops are eye-balling each other on the Line of Control.

The reward for all our efforts is an uninterrupted view of K2 (Karakoram 2), standing with symmetrical grandeur to the northwest, straddling the Chinese border. Not a wisp of cloud obscures the summit, which I know has tempted many to risk, and in some cases give their lives on a mountain much harder and crueller than Everest.

I feel hugely lucky to be here at Concordia, even if we have done it the easy way. And the helicopter doesn't return for almost an hour, giving us time to take it all in, and, very slightly, to panic.
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  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 21: Skardu to Concordia
  • Country/sea: Pakistan
  • Place: Concordia
  • Book page no: 46

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