2004 - Expedition to Mountain Buni Zom 6551m
Saturday 12th June 2004: Panos got sick
When we woke up in morning, Panos did not feel well, he had diarrhea and fever. We were obliged to remain in Chitral another day. We strolled in the city and chatted with the foreigners in the hotel. We had dinner at an Afghan restaurant that was very close to our hotel, just near the bridge. I spent the evening with Giorgos and Karin, we went for mango juice at a bar on the corner. There we found a trekking guide who told us that the next day we would get in contact with an experienced mountain guide of Tirich Mir. I stayed until late at the bar, up to 22:30, talking with the very friendly and cheerful Afghan owner of the bar.
Sunday 13th June 2004: Trying to find an experienced mountain guide in Chitral
I woke up early. Iqbal (the trekking guide) came along with a friend of his who proved not to have gone up in Tirick Mir but just trekked to camp 1. However, he told me that the next day a more experienced mountain guide would come. With Karin and the German guy we had breakfast at a very clean restaurant. We ate chicken soup. At midday we went with Mpampis to the PTDC hotel where we found an old friend. He told us to go to the Hindukush Heights Hotel for more information on climbing guides. We took the jeep of the German guy (who had been living for 23 years in Pakistan) and went to the Hindukush Heights Hotel 5 Km outside Chitral. There, we met the two pilots and talked about a lot of things. The householder (Siraj) wanted to make an expedition to Tirich Mir and he would help us with everything we might need. He gave us all the information we needed in order to get in contact with him and then we went back to Chinnar Inn hotel. Afterwards, at 21:00 we went to the bar of the Afghan for mango juice mixed with yogurt milk shake.
Monday 14th June 2004: Travel to Kalash valley (Boumbouret)
Iqbal, along with Razaq, came to our hotel in the morning. Razaq had gone up to camp 3 on Tirich Mir mountain while his brother had reached the summit. We discussed all the details on their climbing to Tirich Mir. In the afternoon we left to Kalash valleys. With the jeep we reached the Check Point where we paid 200 rupees (!) to enter the Kalash valleys. After half an hour we reached Broon village where we met Thanasis, but Pitsa was at the Birir valley. Pitsa cooked for us Greek food for dinner.
Tuesday 15th June 2004: Trekking between the villages in Boumbouret
A very bad night for me and Giorgos. We had diarrhea and stomach pains. All day long we were not feeling very well. Giorgos remained at the hotel while the rest of us went to the Krakal village along with Pitsa. We handed out some biscuits to the children of the school and visited the whole village. The rest of the day we remained at the hotel resting. In the afternoon we went with the jeep to Roumbour where a funeral was taking place. They offered us Chapati and a kind of cheese, while they danced around the dead man singing. Anish spoke aloud to the dead man, as if he was waiting to receive an answer.
Wednesday 16th June 2004: Visiting Broon and Anish villages
Giorgos and Mpampis left in the morning from Broon to return back to Chitral. Panos and I went to drink Greek coffee at Pitsa's house and began trekking to Anish and Broon villages. In the afternoon we went with Pitsa to the houses of the Kalash people in Broon village in order to collect old clothes and objects for the Kalashdur. Kalashadur or The House of Kalash is a culture center and museum that Greek volunteers are building in Broon village. Finally, we realized that a lot of useful objects of historical value were locked away in the deposits.
Thursday 17th June 2004: Boumbouret valley
Early in the morning we woke up and went to find Pitsa and Thanasis. An old friend of ours, Sher Khan, came from Roumbour. With the jeep we went up to the Krakal, we did some shopping and offered candies to the children of the school. Then we returned on foot back to Broon where we waited eagerly for the splendid Greek lentils. In the afternoon we had a discussion on the Kalash culture with the owner of the Fazi hotel. Then we continued with Pitsa the recovery and purchase of old objects for the museum in Broon village. At night we had dinner at the hotel, eggs, and we drank local wine.
Friday 18th June 2004: From Boumbouret to Birir and back to Chitral
At 8:30 we left Broon for the third valley, named Birir. First we had to go back to Ayun and then take the road to Birir. The road ends at a stream. We stopped in the lower slum to drink tea and afterwards with the jeep we continued further. At the end of the road we left Pitsa and we returned back to Ayun. There we waited for an hour and we left by mini-bus to Chitral, where we arrived at 14:00. An Australian-Swiss couple was at the hotel. They gave me the Japanese maps of Hindukush and Karakoram and made a photocopy of them. In the afternoon we met Sher Khan and together to meet a mountain guide, Razaq.
Saturday 19th June 2004: Selling in Bazaar
Today we went to the market not to buy anything but in order to sell our equipment. We sold the 40-meter rope for 320 rupees and the camping-gas at half the price for which we bought them. We went for walks in the city and met the mountain guide Razaq. We arranged a car for our trip back to Peshawar.
Sunday 20th June 2004: From Chitral to Peshawar by mini bus
My last walk in the city of Chitral. The car arrived at the hotel at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. We left from Chitral to Peshawar with two drivers, and they drove fast and dangerously while drinking. A stop on the Lowari Pass after the 40 turns that we made in order to go up. In Dir village we had a cup of tea before it would get dark. We should pass Lowari Pass before night, because it is dangerous due to highwaymen. The driver changed because he was sleepy, however after that we were continuously in alert in case the driver would fall asleep. Nevertheless, we reached the airport of Peshawar at 2:30. However, the policeman did not allow us to enter the airport before 5:00 in morning, which is the time that the airport opens. Thus we were for two hours waiting outside the airport until it would finally open. Babis was not very well and he had diarrhea.
Monday 21st June 2004: A view of Peshawar and flight to Islamabad
At 5 o'clock finally we entered the airport and slept on the grass until it was 8 o'clock, while I slept on the two handcarts with our baggage so that nobody could steal our equipment. Then Panos and Giorgos and I went by rixo (three-wheel taxi) to the Afghan market. A whole street only with jewels, another only with clothes, another only with shoes. From there with another rixo we went to the museum that has a lot of statues of the Buddha, from the 2nd and the 3rd century B.C. Also there were wooden statues made by Kalash. From there we went back to the airport by rixo paying only 40 rupees. We had to wait 5 hours for our flight to Islamabad. Finally, we entered a Fokker F27 a 44-seat aircraft and after a few minutes we went back in the airport, as the weather was too bad for the plane to take off. After half an hour we entered again an aircraft and finally took off at 17:30. After a 45-minute low altitude flight, we landed in the international airport of Islamabad. There, PIA offered us hotel accommodation and transport to the city by mini-bus which waited for us outside the airport. They dropped us off at Marine Hotel where we arrived at 20:00. There we had a hot shower and dinner. We had only 2 hours of sleep, and 30 minutes after midnight we left by mini-bus to the airport, that is about 15Km from the city.
Tuesday 22nd June 2004: Flying from Islamabad to Athens and Athens to Alexandroupoli
After a lot of checks at the airport we entered the aircraft at 4:20. Since there was only one flight to Athens we had to change planes in Karachi. It was raining the whole morning in Islamabad. We changed plane in Karachi where we took our final flight to Athens. The weather in Iran was not good and it was cloudy, so I could not see mount Damavand. At 11:50 we landed in Athens airport. My cousin, Giorgos came to pick us up from the airport. While Giorgos and I bought tickets to fly to Alexandroupoli, Panos and Mpampis went with Giorgos. Giorgos and I waited again at the airport for a few hours, from which we flew at 16:35 with Aegean Airlines to Alexandroupoli. At Alexandroupoli airport of Irini was waiting for us and we returned by car to Xanthi.