Urdukas

June 26, 2018

Today was the hardest so far, as our traveling village moved from Paiju to Urdukas.  I feel fine until there is a steady uphill stretch and then the elevation hits me. Hard.  All of this is perfectly normal,  still makes me mad.  We trekked for about 12 miles again, but there was a lot of up and down today since we are now on the moraine of the Baltoro glacier.  Overall we gained about 2200 feet (670 meters) and are at 13,335 feet (4,064 meters).  

It took me a while this morning to settle into the right pace and after I did I started to feel better.  Until I turned around and saw a wall of grey clouds moving up the valley behind me.  I quickened my pace, uselessly thinking that I could move faster than the weather.  Shortly after I felt the wind, and then the rain.  I was trekking by myself, meandering in a field of wet rocks, thankfully I caught up with some of our Sherpa team.  Together we walked up onto a sandy hill and looked down to a raging river and porters on the other side.  We'd need to cross.  I was already soaking wet, and now it was lightly hailing.  I walked down to the bank with Tashi and we took off our boots.  I was not excited about crossing the frigid river, but there weren't any other options.  Tashi and I waded barefoot in the thigh-high swift water,  half way through he grabbed my arm, not sure if it was to help me or because he was concerned but I was thankful for it, if I slipped on a rock my K2 attempt would be over.  We made it to the other side, and both screamed as the blood returned to our feet.  

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Urdakas is the best camp by far.  Across the moraine are the Trango Towers which are completely stunning, maybe the most beautiful peaks I've seen.  Since we're one of the biggest teams, we were able to secure one of the largest camp sites, which looks directly at the towers.  The sun was just starting to peak through the clouds when we arrived, and each site has plenty of running water, so people began cleaning up on the drain platform perched on a ledge right across from the towers.  First I just washed my legs and arms, but then Klara and I decided that today was the day to wash our hair.  Best "shower" ever!  Clean hair feels aaaaamazing!