2002 - Expedition to Mountain Buni Zom 6551m
Tuesday 2nd July 2002: Flying from Athens - Tripoli - Karachi
At 6:00 in the morning was our meeting time in Sintagma, in Athens. George came from Xanthi and Nikolas from Elati, Trikala. Using the public bus, we arrived to the airport Eleftherios Venizelos at 8:00. The X-ray detector, found the 4 gas fuels, and they did not accept us to get them with us in the airplane. By Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) we flied from Athens to Tripoli in Libya and from there to Karachi. The flight to Tripoli was great because we got nice glimpses from Peloponissos and Italy and took about two hours. In Africa it was completely different. A sand storm was over the airport and we made a dangerous landing. The temperature in Tripoli was 46 C !!!. In the plane we waited for 2 hours and it was very hot. Finally, we took off for a long flight to Karachi. Ikaros and Samos was the last Greek lands we saw. Crossing Turkey, It got dark and it was time for sleeping.
Wednesday 3rd July 2002: Flying from Karachi to Islamabad, view of the capital
At 3:00 in the morning we arrived in Karachi's airport. The next plane from Karachi to Islamabad was at 8:55 in the morning. Waiting so long at night in an airport gate, just for the next fly, is not something nice. From the breakfast we had in the plane, I understood that the food in Pakistan is not very good, and is very spicy. The Islamabad's airport looked like a road in the forest. It is very small like a bus station. We were very lucky, we didn't lose anything during the trip, so we went out in Islamabad. Moien is a friend* from Islamabad whom I met by means of internet. He was waiting outside for us, and we could recognize him from a big label that he was carrying with our names written on it. We met him and his brother and got a taxi to take us to his house. They would accommodate us in their rooms. Entering the house they guided us to their room, without allowing us to see anybody else. In the morning we'd already had a rest after the long trip. We took a wagon car from the south Islamabad and then went to the center, to exchange money.
Thursday 4th July 2002: Islamabad
In the morning a friend of Moien came at his home to make some kind of deal for the car with which we'd go to Harchin. After having argued for a long time we agreed to go within two days from Islamabad to Harchin. Our plan was to stay for one night in Chitral where we would find a mountain guide that would come with us to climbing. The total cost for a 4x4 jeep was 10500 rupees for the 2 day trip until the Harchin village, and we gave the money to the person who owned the car. That afternoon we went to the nearest market to buy some food in packets for our dinner. Finally we found only rise, and we bought 2 big packets about 2 Kg to have dinner at home. Our friend offered to serve us the rise himself in plates in our room. After ten minutes, our friend entered the room holding two small plates that contained about 1/10 of the rise that we'd bought. What happened to the rest of the rise? Maybe, it would be better for them to ask first? That night in Islamabad was very hot, and we understood that it was not a good place to stay. Anyway, we slept early thinking about the long travel that we'd have the next days.
Friday 5th July 2002: The trip from Islamabad to Chitral
We woke up at 7:40 and it was a bit late because we had arranged to leave with the jeep at 8:00. Everybody was sleeping, what happened? We tried to find where the two brothers were, but nobody was there. At about 9:00 in morning we understood that they had told the jeep driver to come after 10:00 in the morning. The brothers could not get out of their home before 10:00 in the morning. After arguing for a little while with them, the jeep came at about 11:00. We picked up the luggage and passed from the center to buy bread for the climbing. In the jeep we were too many persons, me and George of course, the two brothers, a friend of the brother and the contact person, and the driver of course. On the way to center, in Islamabad City a wheel of the jeep burst. It would take us half an hour to put the reserve and after that we tried to find a car-shop to repair the old wheel, but finally it could not be repaired. So, went back to the company and they gave us another jeep, with a new driver. The long trip begun and we crossed the big river "Indus" and our first stop for dinner was in Mardan city. The restaurant was so dirty that we were thinking to not eat there, but finally we took the decision to try it as we were really hungry. The road after Mardan was narrow full of bumps, and always going higher as it went close to the mountains. The landscape around us kept changing till we found ourselves surrounded by a lot of mountains. Dir is a long village and the people there are xenophobic; in general that area is dangerous for the foreigners. The dirty road after Dir looked like a big snake. The are 41 "Z" to pass from the Lowari Pass at 3118m. It was dark, and yet we had not passed it, the travel looked like endless. It was not a sunny day and it was then when we felt the first drops of the rain. At 10 o'clock on the Lowari Pass it was really very cold. Late at night we made a stop in a caravanserai for dinner where I saw an enormous spider and I understood that was quite dangerous the environment there. We were lucky because we passed from the first police control without being checked. At 2:30 after midnight we reached Chitral city, but at this time it was impossible to find our guide for the mountains, so we had to wait until the morning. The driver was tired and our friend told us that the car could not continue until Harchin village because it had to be the next day at noon in Islamabad. We argued for about 1 hour with them who are not friends but mafia. They asked more money to pick us up to Harchin and also even for the trip back to Chital. We did not accept to give more money to the mafia persons and found a PTDC hotel where we contacted the receptionist and dealed to leave out backpack to the hotel's yard until morning. So, we took the luggage to the hotel's yard where we passed the night.
Saturday 6th July 2002: The trip from Chitral to Harchin
Early in the morning, Iqbal a safari jeep driver came in the hotel. We agreed about the transportation to Harchin for 4500 rupees. He informed us that there were no special mountain guides for the Buni Zom mountain and that at this time there was in Buni Zom Base camp an Expedition from Lahore. We went to the police station to make a license for the Chitral region and we met Usman a financial manager that had some information for the Pakistan expedition. We left from Chitral at 11:30. The road was very bad and narrow, just for a car. Only jeeps can go to Harchin. After the long trip we reached Harchin village at 17:00. Iqbal helped us to find 4 porters from Rahman village for the next day. We made a camp in the fields in Rahman village and had the last rest before the long and difficult climbing.