I swore underneath my breath. The clouds had indeed been following us since Payiu. If they caught up with us, we were screwed. If the pass became unnavigable due to bad weather, we would all have to walk back down the West-Vigne and then the Baltoro which would take us about 6 to 7 days as opposed to the 2 days of trekking we would have to do once we were over the pass. Damn damn damn. My fever was getting worse, and my stomach had ditched nodding in favour of growling , screaming and raging. I wasn’t up for a 7 day walk down 2 glaciers and I was certain I couldn’t do the pass in my current condition either. Oh yeah, and we didn’t have food for 7 days. Short of a paralyzing fit, I could imagine nothing else that could give me the excuse I needed to avoid the pass tonight. Damn it.
“Is there lunch?” I asked, raising myself on my elbow inside my sleeping bag.
“Maggie noodles. It’s being prepared.”
I lay back waiting desperately for that one hot bowl of liquid. I was going to make it last as long as I could. But first I would hold it in my hands and feel the warmth. The soup/noodles took its time. I think Najam brought me a bowl after almost an hour – well it felt like an hour anyway – and I held on to the bowl, letting the warmth seep into my palms. And then my stomach growled. Crap. No pun intended.
An essay on the 2001 trek to K2 base camp by Ali Reza Jaffery
Initial Impressions on the Trek to K2 by Khizer Usmani