October 12, 2000
Unbelievable, spectacular, well organized, great
diversity, super friendly!
OUTSTANDING ALL THE WAY! I thank you for the single
most wonderful trip I've taken in years and years; and keep
in mind that safaris are my business. Everything just went so
incredibly smoothly and well, and we felt so well taken care
of it was a great vacation for me, even being in the very same
business. Salman and the staff were just great. The porters
were fine, and such fun to interact with.
The timing of the trip, the number of days, the
pace, etc., couldn't have been better. We certainly would have
liked to cross over Gondogoro La, but it couldn't be helped.
We made up for it by going up to the Khyber Pass, and having
a couple of wonderful days in Peshawar(which must be the friendliest
city in the world).
The mountains are definitely more spectacular
than Nepal, the food is far better, and the porters, people,
etc., are far friendlier. It makes me so sad to think of all
the US propaganda that is put out about Pakistan. I HAVE NEVER
VISITED A FRIENDLIER COUNTRY, anywhere in the entire world,
truly. I just talked and photographed every one and they couldn't
have been more embracing then they were.
I was just so amazed at that, every single day.
I could have spent a week just in Peshawar alone, much less
the rest of the country. It certainly is a far safer place to
travel than Kenya, including the Khyber Pass.
Thank you so much for an oustanding adventure.
I'll see you in the spring, show you the pictures, etc.
most gratefully yours,
Paul W. Whistler
"Now you must prepare yourself spiritually to see the
big mountains." This was the advice given to me from
our guide as we began to enter the "Throne Room of the
Mountain Gods," Galen Rowell's term for the greatest
concentration of high peaks on Earth.
I recently returned from Pakistan and a trek to K2 with Concordia
Expeditions, based in Buena Vista, Colorado. I can say without
reservation that every aspect of this trek was expertly prepared
by Concordia Expeditions.
Concordia's guide was extremely well connected in Pakistan,
and most competent to conduct treks to the heart of Karakoram.
He hired the best porters, known from years of experience,
as well as the finest available cook. Our cook came from an
impressive background of expedition experience, and our meals
were clearly the envy of other trekkers with guides.
Concordia Expeditions is owned and operated by Pakistanis
who know and love their country. As we walked past the famous
and impressive peaks of Paiju, Trango Towers, Masherbrum,
and Gasherbrum on our way to K2, we were fully immersed in
Pakistani mountain culture and lore. The spiritual power of
the Karadoram was therefore a forceful presence on our trek.
Our trek culminated with three spectacular days in Concordia,
the great glacial intersection at the base of K2. Here, surrounded
by seven- and eight-thousand meter peaks, we had indeed arrived,
spiritually and physically, in the Throne Room of the Mountain
For anyone considering a trek through the Karakoram,
I strongly recommend Concordia Expeditions. Not only is Concordia
the finest adventure company to guide treks through the Karakoram,
the staff shares a heartfelt love of the mountains that will
make your trip the most memorable of a lifetime.
some of our recent guests say:
"...But I know that when I look at the pictures, they will
be able to stir in me these multi-dimensional memories, vivid
sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings of a wonderful time on the
'Bizz' Johns, Colorado
"...Well, thanx for arranging a fine trip and now I shall
return to Mr. Starr's report!"
Craig Feeney, M.D., Washington
"...I hope that one day we in the USA can extend the hospitality
shown to us as visitors in your country."
Kathy Peroff, Washington DC
(from letter written to our family
"...Now that I've been back here and have had time to reflect
on my experience on the Baltoro, it really has been (and will
be) one of the high points of my life. Thanks for everything you
did for me along the way."
Chris Oppfelt, Washington
(from letter written to one of our
"...I want you to know, with all of my heart, that I had
the greatest time in Pakistan. The people, Fazal and all of his
crew, all were fantastic and gave us the best of Pakistan."
Mercedes Pierrend, Peru
I would like to thank you for arranging a tremendous
Gondogoro La trip in northern Pakistan for us. The views were
breathtaking and your staff were wonderful. The trip was very
I would like to comment on traveling in Pakistan.
There is a lot of debate on whether traveling to Pakistan is
safe, and I would like to voice the opinion that it is indeed
safe, specially when traveling with a tour company such as yours.
With the Kashmir border skirmish, rumors of imminent
terrorist activity, and reports of certain areas off limits
to foreigners, I certainly had concerns about safety. But following
your leadership, I felt very confident we would avoid any suspect
areas, and we would be taken care of if the political situation
should truly turn volatile. I am happy to report no terrorists
or battle fields were encountered! And may I also note that
by respecting the local customs, I found the Pakistani people
to be regularly very friendly and helpful.
Obviously 100% safety cannot be guaranteed on
any trip to anywhere, as danger can be encountered in any part
of the world at any time. But, I would consider traveling to
Pakistan no more dangerous than traveling to any other part
of world, including the USA, and considerably safer than many.
I would like to return someday, and would recommend
a trip to Pakistan to everyone.
John & Alma Price
Shawnee Mission, KS
We want to thank you for the most beautiful and
fascinating trip in our seventy-some years. Our early odyssey
in northern Pakistan surpassed all expectations: for sheer loveliness,
for friendliness, for courtesy and for just plain pleasure.
To travel in the greatest range of mountains in
the world, with a friendly local guide, the most professional
(and delightful) guide possible, our experienced and friendly
drivers, into towns, villages, and valleys that are endlessly
engaging--what could be more pleasurable! Accommodations were
fine, food was nutritious, and comforts were plentiful.
One of us walks with a cane--and somewhat slowly
at that. Climbing in and out of old forts, going down slopes,
traveling in other passageways, these posed no problem. If anything,
the Pakistanis were almost too helpful. They showed genuine
and consistent concern for the welfare of their visitors. Their
warmth was very welcoming.
It is unfortunate that official statements are
made suggesting that travel in Pakistan be restricted. And no
time, in no place did we feel the slightest threat. In the towns
of Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Gilgit, Karimabad, and in
Hunza Valley, in the shops and streets, in the hotels and restaurants,
in the private homes we visited we always felt secure and were
consistently treated as personal guests.
We only regret is that it will be a while before
we can return.
John R. Price & Alma R. Price
David Stiller & Jean Aaro
Jean and I wish to express our sincerest, whole-hearted
thanks for what was genuinely a trek of a lifetime. We are reasonably
well-traveled and cannot remember a vacation that went so smoothly.
Even the weather was incredible.
In spite of everyone's pre-trek worries and frequent
admonitions to "go with the flow," we congratulate
you and everyone with Concordia Expeditions for
organizing such an enjoyable trek. As one of our group said
after passing through the Braldu Gorge and reaching Askole,
"If our trek ended today, I've gotten my money's worth."
Of course, our trek did not end there. As we worked
our way up the Baltoro Glacier to Concordia, then over Gondogoro
La and out through Hushe, essentially circumnavigating Masherbrum,
the sights simply got better and better. What incredible memories
One element of which you should be proud is your
Pakistani staff. We met numerous other trekkers coming down
the Baltoro, satisfied with the scenery but rolling their eyes
over their local guides and porters. In EVERY case, they were
at least moderately frustrated with the difficulty of communicating
with local staff, leading to some unfortunate misunderstandings.
To Concordia's credit, your guides and senior
staff, from Hunza, managed our Balti porters with skill and
fairness. And their ability to speak English enhanced our communications
and enjoyment. Most of all, we appreciated seeing the Karakoram
and Hunza through the eyes of Pakistanis. We made friends in
Karimabad and Skardu and expect to see them again. And certainly,
when we plan our next trip to the Karakoram, perhaps to Snow
Lake, we will not hesitate to use Concordia Expeditions.
Once again, many thanks for a fantastic trip.
David Stiller & Jean Aaro
by Norman Brown,
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Angry, savage, wild-eyed mountains,
Hurling peak after peak, stacking tower upon tower,
Flexing great knotted granite sinews each
Supporting long chain-saw blades that rip the sky-
All tooth, fang, snag and pinnacle.
Hard, fierce, punishing mountains,
Forged on an anvil of high, sun blasted deserts,
Thrust up in traumatic tectonic collision,
Then cut by desolate, dangerous rivers
Themselves born live from ugly grinding glaciers
Busily gouging clean, incredible, desperately vertical
Walls of mountains.
Bold, brash, restless mountains,
Young and insolent and unforgiving,
Fickle with weather,
Foolish with lives,
Indifferent to any sense of rational order,
Crazed with mass and jumble and chaos,
Pleased, in fact, with absolute and unmitigated excess.
Silent and secretive mountains
Hiding deep in their faults and folds a special place
Guarded by fortress, tower, and spire-
"Nameless" and "Trango," "Lobsang"
Hiding there in splendid isolation
An implausible place-"Concordia" is its name-
Because there it is a world of glaciers unsurpassed
And mountain gods so awesome all together dwell-
"K-2" and "Gasherbrum,"
"Broad Peak" and "Masherbrum."
Oh, mighty Karakoram...
Most exuberant and overwhelming of mountains,
Holding ever close your "once upon a time" Concordia,
So marvelous and full of inspiration
That every human struggle, every sacrifice and pain
Is resolved altogether in the glory and the grandeur
Of such a quintessential mountian place,
Such an amphitheater sublime,
Such an unrestrained assemblage of mountain, snow and glacier,
Spirit, cloud and sky.