The first time I saw the Rakaposhi it was on our way to Sost, we did a small stop to have a better view, in a corner there it was, imposing and white. We were lucky they told us, it is not seen very often from the road, so it is necessary to stop and wait for the clouds to clear… The mountains have their own climate.
That day we stopped on the way to stretch our legs, drink something and enjoy the show I forgot to take a photo before the clouds covered the top, I have already told you a thousand times that I prefer to enjoy and then take a picture, sometimes we forget the second part, so the picture you see here is not a really good or clear one. We spent at least an hour resting in the small park at the foot of the waterfall that works as a viewpoint, tried to wait to see it again but it did not happen. When we returned to the motorcycle we realized that we had left it with the keys in it, we were stupidly laughing and remembered the moment we entered the country convinced of how “dangerous” it was going to be.
The second time I saw it was shortly after the viewpoint, timidly cleared for a few seconds while I was up in the back of the bike at 60 km per hour in the KKH. I got excited again, never in my life had a mountain made me feel this way … and that’s when I became obsessed. I would have to touch it or I wouldn’t be happy.
We drew up the plan to put a visit to the base camp, thanks to Rao’s help we could reach our goal: Minapin, once there he put us in touch with the owner of Osho Hotel who welcomed us, explained the trek and filled our bellies the night before the adventure.
9 in the morning, from the hotel you can’t see the mountain, I couldn’t stand it because all I wanted was to have a coffee while looking at it. I left the room with tired eyes and hoping that somehow the world had shifted and was there. We ate some of the samosas from the day before in the room and packed our backpack for our walk. We would go up with the intention of staying one night so it was necessary to cook and camp. Supposedly there is a camp with tents at the top it is supposed that at the top but the season had just started and we knew first hand that it was very possible there was nothing up there, we prepared everything in one single backpack and the other small one we used to carry water and some snacks.
At 1:30 in the afternoon, we left the hotel after the strongest hours of sunshine had passed as recommended (either start super early or after midday). The walks had been described to us as easy, so it should not be much of a problem getting to base camp in about three hours. The first thing we did was crossing the town and finally take one of the small dirt roads (the second one) on the right hand side, from there the road begins to climb crossing the river towards the mountain on a road that could be used by a Jeep, zigzagging, that road ends at the actual start of the trek. This first part under the sun was hard, but then the path is not very steep and it becomes much more enjoyable. The first step would be to reach the first camp: Taghapari camp, from there we would be halfway to the base camp.
At about an hour we passed a small house with goats and a couple of children playing, they decided to walk with us for about 400 meters. Upon arrival at the waterfall we had instructions to follow “to the left”, but we did not see any option other than climbing the waterfall (effectively to the left), it was from that moment that the climb became a torture and although thanks to the GPS we knew where we were, we also knew this should not be the way. After climbing the waterfall we passed Tagahpari aside. In a frustrated attempt to find the route again we ended up in a dry river that clearly reached the small summit and decided to follow it, the steepness was over 45 degrees at least.
It was horrible, and we knew it was our fault, a couple of days before we spoke with Tatiana and Javi, two guys that did the climb about a month before us, they told us how they ended up climbing a horribly steep road and they had to hurry down because there was nothing set at the camp and they were not prepared to spend the night. I was happy thinking about our backpack, the same one that was killing us while climbing, then I realised we were probably at the same steep trail as them.
5 in the afternoon, almost 4 hours had passed and we had not yet arrived, Jesper began to have problems with height so during the last meters of the climb I did it with the camping backpack on my shoulder. It was frustrating, we could see the end of the climb and we knew from there the road would be much easier, but it was impossible to continue climbing at a good pace. While we were obviously suffering to make it even more hilarious we crossed a shepherd and his goats going down the dry river as if it was the boulevard, in flip-flops and without any complications.
As soon as we managed to pass the ridge, everything made sense, not only made sense, it was all worth it. There the immense glacier awaited us, ready for our eyes, being so close to such a structure was one of the best gifts that the mountain could give me. Rakaposhi welcomed me and asked me with a smile “Why did you take so long?”,
I fell in love with the Rakaposhi as someone who falls in love with a television star, in an absurd and irrational way, I sat on the precipice to observe the magnitude of the glacier and the rest of the way we still had to walk. We continued the way up slow while we felt the air on our faces and to enjoy Rakaposhi welcoming us. By then we were back to the right path, we walked next to the glacier the last few meters on an intimidating and beautiful cliff and finally, we reached the base camp, it was totally empty, some cows, a donkey and us.
6:15 pm, we arrived before sunset, we walked a little more around once the tent was on the ground on a surprisingly flat surface and when night fell we cooked what little we had and went to sleep in the middle of the most beautiful mountain that I have seen in my life.
The Rakaposhi is the foot of the highest mountain without breaks in its ascent, more than 6000 meters of an uninterrupted slope, with its 7788 meters high it is the 27th highest peak on the planet. All those numbers stopped making sense spending a night in its arms and waking up to the sound of the water thawing and the cows licking our tent. I have not felt anything like that again ever again.
We shared breakfast with the cows and the donkey, we took the last photos before leaving and began our descent without haste but without stopping, not before saying our goodbyes. We spent about 30 minutes sitting in front of the glacier. Finding the right path was almost embarrassing, in case you do the trek…. before reaching (quite before) the waterfall the path takes a turn to the left and continues to climb at a more than manageable pace. Actually, if we had done it on the correct way it would have taken us half the time it did, but well, maybe it wouldn’t have had the same emotion.
We reached the final part of the route, the zig-zag unpaved road. We crossed some locals with donkeys loaded up to the top, they were prepared to start the season on the camp, so that was the last night we could enjoy it as we did, perfect timing. We reached the cherry fields and the pickers welcomed us with a good bunch of the tastiest cherries we have tasted so far, we finished the last few meters and returned to the hotel where Osho was waiting for us with a hot tea. We spent a couple more nights in Minapin. For the more daring, with more time and experience, you can continue the path to the Diran base camp by crossing the glacier, we would have considered it but we have never crossed a glacier, ever, and we did not want it to be the first and the last so we leave it on the to-do list for the future. You can also book a trek with experienced trekkers if it’s also your first time but we still want to do it, just ask in town.
Without a doubt, the trek to Rakaposhi base camp is one of the best things we have done.