Karakoram Range, Xinjiang Province, China/East Turkestan
It had been 3 years since I had been to Pakistan & still the trip haunted me. Constantly I find myself pining to return to the Karakoram. But circumstances beyond my control make this increasingly difficult, as I can't in good conscience tell my family that I'm going to a country where climbers or trekkers have been specifically targeted & murdered. So I decided to head into the range from the other side, through Xinjiang Province, China.
We made the journey in 15 days with five tourists, three guides, two camel-men, two donkeys, and eight camels. This is the first view of the mountain, from the Yulin Valley. China had a strange effect on me - initially immobilized, stunned by the restrictions imposed upon the public, frustrated and disgusted with a great deal of what I saw - industrial pollution, a police state imposed upon the Uighur people, scheduling on the trek not being exactly as advertised, lambs being slaughtered in the street. But the moment I left I thought to myself - "I cannot wait to go back - I know exactly how I would do it next time." Go figure.